Friday, July 03 2009
BELMONT PARK NOTES: Friday, July 3, 2009
ELMONT, N.Y. – Dancing Forever, third in an allowance in his 2009 debut on May 31, is heading into the Grade 1, $500,000 Man o’ War on July 11 at Belmont Park in good order as Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey contemplates a schedule that will bring the 6-year-old horse back to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita.
“I thought he ran good the other day,” said McGaughey. “He was always a big horse and it took him a while to get things together in his career. He had a break over the winter, and whatever bumps and bruises he had, had a chance to go away.”
PLETCHER HOPING RECENT HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF IN THE TOM FOOL
ELMONT, N.Y. – In 34 previous editions of the Tom Fool Handicap, three-year-olds have been victorious only three times, most recently in 2000 when Todd Pletcher saddled Trippi to a 4½-length victory in the seven-furlong race.
Sunday, Pletcher is hoping history repeats itself when he sends out Michael B. Tabor’s sophomore star Munnings against four older horses in the Grade 2, $200,000 sprint at Belmont Park.
Thursday, July 02 2009
CALVIN BOREL AUTOGRAPH SIGNING SATURDAY AT BELMONT PARK
ELMONT, N.Y. – Jockey Calvin Borel, regular rider of Preakness and Mother Goose winner Rachel Alexandra, will autograph photos at Belmont Park on Saturday, July 4 from 2-2:45 p.m.
Borel will sign 8x10 glossy, color copies of Rachel Alexandra from the June 27 Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes, a race in which the Steve Asmussen-trained filly shattered two stakes records – margin of victory and final time. The daughter of Medaglia d’Oro defeated her two rivals by a 19¼-length margin, considerably more than the 13½-length victory achieved by the great Ruffian in 1975, and completed the race in 1:46.33, besting Lakeway’s previous record of 1:46.58 set in 1994.
DWYER, SUBURBAN PROMISE FIERCE COMPETITION
ELMONT, N.Y. – Like the Grade 1 Prioress, both the Grade 2 Dwyer Stakes and the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap on Saturday’s Fourth of July card at Belmont Park have much to offer in terms of storied history and fierce competition in their respective renewals.
Saturday’s 93rd running of the Dwyer Stakes for three-year-olds comes with its own unique story. Named for Mike and Phil Dwyer – whose Dwyer Brothers Stable campaigned five Belmont Stakes winners in the 1880s – the $200,000, 1 1/16 mile Dwyer will kick off The New York Racing Association, Inc.’s regular Saturday afternoon $350,000 guaranteed late Pick 4 in the eighth race.
FLEET FIELD OF NINE ASSEMBLED FOR GRADE 1 PRIORESS
ELMONT, N.Y. – The only Grade 1 six-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies in the United States, the $300,000 Prioress at Belmont Park has long been a showcase for some of the fastest fillies on the planet, from Ta Wee in 1969 to Safely Kept in 1989, Xtra Heat in 2001 to Indian Blessing in 2008.
The 62nd edition, part of a trio of graded stakes to be run on Saturday, July 4, including the Grade 2, $400,000 Suburban Handicap and the Grade 2, $200,000 Dwyer, shows why it deserves its Grade 1 status, having attracted a field of nine outstanding fillies headed by Arnold Zechter’s Grade 1 Acorn winner Gabby’s Golden Gal.
RACING AND WAGERING BOARD NOW ALLOWING MORE SUPERFECTAS
The New York State Racing and Wagering Board today enacted new directives that lay the groundwork for more Superfecta wagering opportunities for both Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing fans.
“Superfectas are popular with some racing fans because if you’re lucky enough to hold a winning ticket, the payoff can be a princely sum,” Racing and Wagering Board Chairman John D. Sabini said. “We are looking constantly for ways to help the fans, the tracks and the horsemen. When we rewrite guidelines in a way that have a positive impact on overall handle, everyone comes out a winner.”
Wednesday, July 01 2009
Belmont Park Notes: Tuesday, June 30, 2009
ELMONT, N.Y. – The upcoming Fourth of July weekend at Belmont Park promises to deliver plenty of fireworks on the track, with a trio of great stakes races on Saturday, Independence Day, in the Grade 2, $400,000 Suburban Handicap, the Grade 2, $200,000 Dwyer for three-year-olds and the Grade 1, $300,000 Prioress for three-year-old fillies, followed by Sunday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will be well-represented throughout, with Let’s Go Stable’s Ready’s Echo starting in the 1¼-mile Suburban, Edward P. Evans’ three-year-old American Dance going in the 1 1/16th mile Dwyer and his three-year-old filly, Light Green, going in the six-furlong Prioress, and Michael B. Tabor’s three-year-old Munnings starting in the seven-furlong Tom Fool.
Monday, June 29 2009
PORTE BONHEUR TAKES FLIGHT IN FIRST FLIGHT HANDICAP
ELMONT, N.Y. -- Her name translates into “Lucky Charm,” and Sunday afternoon at Belmont Park, Porte Bonheur made her own luck as she ran down Spritely in the final strides to take the 32nd running of the Grade 2, $150,000 First Flight Handicap for fillies and mares.
Ridden by Belmont Park’s top jockey, Ramon Dominguez, the four-year-old daughter of Hennessy enjoyed a ground-saving trip through opening fractions of 22.74 and 45.13 set by Carolyn’s Cat and Sunday Geisha, then swung wide straightening for home to wear down a game Spritely and win by a nose.
AMITYVILLE RESIDENT WINS BELMONT HANDICAPPING CHALLENGE
ELMONT, N.Y. – William Garb, a 52-year-old former computer operator from Amityville, N.Y., claimed the $40,000 grand prize in Belmont Park’s 2009 Summer Handicapping Challenge, defeating 229 other contestants en route to victory.
Along with the second and third place finishers, Garb will be on the three-member Belmont Park team for the 2010 NTRA/Daily Racing Form National Handicapping Championship (NHC), to be held this coming January at the Red Rock Casino, Resort, and Spa in Las Vegas. The NHC is giving out a grand total of $1 million in prize money with the first-place winner receiving $500,000 and earning NTRA Handicapper of the Year honors at the 2010 Eclipse Awards.
Sunday, June 28 2009
“RACHEL” TAKES UP SUMMER RESIDENCE IN SARATOGA SPRINGS
ELMONT, N.Y. – Scarcely 12 hours after her record-setting victory in Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Mother Goose at Belmont Park, Rachel Alexandra stepped onto a van that carried her up the Northway to Saratoga Race Course, which will be the base for her summer campaign.
“She ran a big race,” said trainer Steve Asmussen of the three-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, who set a stakes record of 1:46.33 for the nine furlongs, along with establishing the largest margin of victory (19¼ lengths) in the 53-year history of the race. “I think (jockey) Calvin (Borel) said it best – she’s not normal.”
NO FAIRY TALE - RACHEL ALEXANDRA BEST IN MOTHER GOOSE
ELMONT, N.Y. – For a brief second, it looked like Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra might be in for a tough race, but on the far turn jockey Calvin Borel asked his filly for run and with an explosive move she quickly opened up for an authoritative 19 1/4-length win in the Grade 1, $300,000 Mother Goose.
The Steve Asmussen-trained daughter of Medaglia d’Oro shattered two Mother Goose records – the margin of victory and final time, 1:46.33. The previous record for time was held by Lakeway (1994, 1:46.40) and the margin belonged to the great Ruffian (13 ½ lengths, 1975).
Saturday, June 27 2009
RACHEL TO FACE TWO IN MOTHER GOOSE FOLLOWING SCRATCHES
ELMONT, N.Y. – The field for today’s 53rd edition of the Grade 1, $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes was reduced to three Saturday morning with the scratches of Don’t Forget Gil and Hopeful Image, leaving Preakness heroine Rachel Alexandra to face only Flashing and Malibu Prayer.
Alan Brodsky’s Don’t Forget Gil was scratched due to an elevated temperature, according to trainer Mark Hennig, while Hopeful Image had not recuperated sufficiently from a mild case of colic she suffered Wednesday evening, said trainer Gerald Procino.