Sunday, September 21 2008
IT’S YOUR TURN, CURLIN!
In the days leading to next Saturday’s 90th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational, two words are going to be used over and over again: history and class.
Both words can be combined into one word – Curlin.
Stonestreet Stable’s reigning Horse of the Year could become the first American Thoroughbred to reach $10 million in earnings. Curlin has earned $9,796,800 and trails only Cigar, who earned $9,999,815, as racing’s top money-earner. The winner’s share of the Jockey Club Gold Cup purse is $450,000, and that would vault Curlin to the top of the money pile. Second ($150,000), third ($75,000) or fourth ($37,000) would leave Curlin short of Cigar’s mark.
Saturday, September 20 2008
RE-START FOR REREADTHEFOOTNOTES IN BONGARD
The continuing success of the New York Breeding & Racing Program and the support it has received from the New York Racing Association has given many owners, breeders and trainers a chance at recouping their investments in racing.
That is why it surprised trainer Kiaran McLaughlin when a state-bred race at Saratoga he had pointed for did not go, and he was forced to send Rereadthefootnotes to Monmouth Park for the Grade 3 Sapling.
“It’s not unusual for an `a other than’ not to go and you have to step your horse up in company,” McLaughlin said. “But this was a $100,000 race, so it was really surprising that it didn’t go. Rereadthefootnotes was ready to run, so I had no choice but to run him at Monmouth.”
Thursday, September 18 2008
CAN ELOPE RUN OFF WITH GALLANT BLOOM?
There’s not much to glean from the past performances of Peter Blum’s four-year-old filly, Elope – she’s only run twice in her life, and only once this year. But her 11 ¾-length victory at Saratoga Race Course on August 3 was enough to convince trainer Bruce Levine that Elope rates a shot at champion Indian Blessing in Saturday’s 15th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont Park.
“She doesn’t know who the competition is; she only knows it’s a race,” said Levine of Elope, who broke her maiden last September at Turfway Park for trainer Eddie Kenneally over an all-weather track in her only other start. “I think she deserves a chance. Her race at Saratoga was spectacular.”
CHAMPION GOOD NIGHT SHIRT SEEKS LONESOME GLORY
Good Night Shirt’s journey to a second Eclipse Award resumes this Sunday at Belmont Park when he goes out to defend his title in the Grade 1, $150,000 Lonesome Glory Steeplechase. The son of Concern won the inaugural running of the 2½-mile stakes in 2007 en route to year-end honors and returns from his customary summer vacation as the horse to beat.
Last year’s Lonesome Glory proved a validation of sorts for Good Night Shirt. The Jack Fisher-trainee entered on the heels of an upset win in the Grade 1 Iroquois looking to prove his Nashville win was no fluke. A year later, the reigning champion enters at the top of the sport, climbing up the all-time leader board and aiming for his fourth consecutive Grade 1 triumph and sixth overall.
Belmont Park Notes - Sept. 18/08
Hal J. Earnhardt’s Indian Blessing will again be the fans’ choice Saturday afternoon when she heads the field in the 15th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap for fillies and mares at six and a half furlongs.
The three-year-old Indian Charlie filly has won seven of nine career starts with two seconds. Last year’s champion juvenile filly, she won the Grade 1 Prioress in the mud here on July 5 and Saratoga’s Grade 1 Test on August 2.
Tuesday, September 16 2008
CURLIN “AWESOME” IN JOCKEY CLUB GOLD CUP WORK
Reigning Horse of the Year Curlin turned in an effortless five-furlong breeze Monday morning over the fast Oklahoma training track at Saratoga Race Course, covering the distance in 1:01.80 under regular exercise rider Carlos Rosas.
Clockers caught Curlin, who worked in company inside stablemate Hawaii Calls, covering the first three furlongs in :37 4/5 and galloping out six furlongs in 1:14 4/5. The four-year-old son of Smart Strike, owned by Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stables, will have one more move before he attempts to break Cigar’s all-time money-winning record and become racing’s first $10 million horse in the 90th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational at Belmont Park on September 27.
Monday, September 15 2008
BANROCK TAKES LEAD AND HOLDS ON FOR COLE VICTORY
Nyala Farm’s Banrock found himself in the unlikely role of pacesetter Sunday afternoon at Belmont Park in the 33rd running of the $109,900 Ashley T. Cole Handicap at nine furlongs on the turf, but wound up in more familiar surroundings. Namely, Belmont Park’s winners’ circle.
Favored by the crowd of 4,816, especially with the scratches of Hammock and Al Basha, Banrock took the lead to set a quarter-mile of 26.86, a half of :52.05. The portable rail was out 18 feet on the soft inner turf course, and with the pace as slow as it was, jockey Kent Desormeaux rode Banrock with supreme confidence.
Sunday, September 14 2008
FUTURITY, MATRON RECAP
Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren’s Charitable Man turned in a solid, professional effort Saturday afternoon in just his second career start and won the 119th running of the Grade 2, $250,000 Futurity at Belmont Park for two-year-olds at seven furlongs by a length over Flying Pegasus.
In fact, the victory impressed jockey Alan Garcia so much that he made a bold prediction
“He’s going to the Kentucky Derby,” Garcia said.
He is certainly on the right track. Charitable Man is a son of Lemon Drop Kid, who won the Futurity in 1998, and then went on to win the Belmont Stakes and Travers in 1999 and the 2000 Whitney.
Saturday, September 13 2008
OLD FOES EARN MUTUAL RESPECT IN ASHLEY T. COLE ‘CAP
Trainers Tom Bush and Angel Penna Jr. have the star horses among nine entered for Sunday’s 33rd running of the $100,000-added Ashley T. Cole Handicap with Banrock and Al Basha, respectively.
Just which one of those stars will shine brightest is anyone’s guess and you’re not going to get much help from either Bush or Penna.
“The horse that won at Saratoga, that’s the horse to beat,” Penna said of Bush’s West Point Handicap winner Banrock. ”And, he’s getting better.”
Countered Bush: “Angel’s horse didn’t run his race up at Saratoga for whatever reason, but he is a very dangerous horse.”
NYRA EMERGES FROM BANKRUPTCY
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced today that it has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and has filed Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State of New York effectively creating the new New York Racing Association as of 12:00 Noon, Friday, September 12. The new NYRA was selected by the State to continue operating racing pursuant to State legislation enacted on February 13, 2008 which awarded NYRA a 25-year franchise to run Saratoga Race Course, Belmont Park, and Aqueduct Racetrack, which NYRA has operated since 1955.
Thursday, September 11 2008
YOUNGSTERS GET A CHANCE TO SHINE IN FUTURITY, MATRON
Many promising two-year-olds debut at Saratoga Race Course, but it is at Belmont Park’s Fall Championship meet that racing’s future stars distinguish themselves. Horses such as Man o’War, Bold Ruler, Affirmed and Forty Niner made their presence known in the Futurity, while its filly counterpart, the Matron, has showcased such luminaries as Storm Flag Flying, Before Dawn, Cicada, and Beaugay early in their careers.
Saturday, a field of seven colts looks to take a step toward stardom when the Grade 2, $250,000 Futurity is run for the 119th time, while nine fillies go postward in the 102nd edition of the Grade 2, $250,000 Matron, both at seven furlongs.
`LITTLE FISH’ AWESOME I AM GOES AFTER BIG ONE IN GAZELLE
Even if the field was larger, Godolphin Stable’s Music Note would still be a standout in Saturday’s 113th running of the Grade 1, $250,000 Gazelle for three-year-old fillies at nine furlongs.
Not only is Music Note battle-tested – Music Note comes in off a thrilling head loss to archrival Proud Spell in the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga Race Course on August 16 – but the A.P. Indy filly is back at Belmont Park, where she has won three of four career starts, including Grade 1 victories in the nine-furlong Mother Goose and the Coaching Club American Oaks at a mile and a quarter.