Thursday, October 01 2009


GIO PONTI GOES FOR FIVE IN JOE HIRSCH TURF CLASSIC


ELMONT, N.Y. – While Saturday marks the 33rd running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, it will also mark the first running of the race since its namesake, influential turf writer Joe Hirsch, died in January 2009.

It is fitting that one of New York’s top turf races should honor one of the sport’s top turf writers – the race was renamed for Hirsch following his 2003 retirement – and equally fitting that the 2009 edition has drawn a diverse field of nine talented runners.





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FABULOUS STRIKE BACK FOR ANOTHER VOSBURGH


ELMONT, N.Y. – When the field loads into the gate for Saturday’s 70th running of the Grade 1, $400,000 Vosburgh at Belmont Park, Fabulous Strike will be back in familiar territory.

Now 6, the son of Smart Strike scored the first Grade 1 victory of his career in the 2007 Vosburgh, drawing off to win by nearly six lengths over Talent Search and favored Discreet Cat, then came back the following year to finish second by a head after running the entire six furlongs with a sprung shoe.





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HISTORY ON THE LINE IN JOCKEY CLUB GOLD CUP


ELMONT, N.Y. – Back in May, a handsome chestnut son of 2004 Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone arrived at Belmont Park with a little-known trainer, no jockey, and just one victory from four races on his resume.

Four months later, that same chestnut colt – a little bigger, a little stronger, and whole lot richer – has a chance to do what no 3-year-old has in 20 years: win the Belmont Stakes, Shadwell Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup in the same year.





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Wednesday, September 30 2009


BELMONT PARK NOTES: Wednesday, September 30, 2009


ELMONT, N.Y. – After standing in the gate, Belmont Stakes and Shadwell Travers winner Summer Bird opened up through the stretch during his gallop at Belmont Park this morning, and schooled between races in the afternoon as trainer Tim Ice put the finishing touches on the colt’s preparations for Saturday’s Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup.

The 1¼-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup, the centerpiece of “Super Saturday” will be the chestnut colt’s first meeting with older horses, among them Whitney and Woodward runner-up Macho Again and Suburban Handicap winner Dry Martini.





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NYRA OFFERS $500,000 GUARANTEED PICK 4 ON JOCKEY CLUB GOLD CUP DAY


ELMONT, N.Y. -- The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) has announced that it will offer a $500,000 Guaranteed All Grade 1 Pick 4 on Jockey Club Gold Cup Day, Saturday, October 3 at Belmont Park. All four races will be televised during the MSG Plus and Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) broadcast from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. that day.

The $500,000 Guaranteed Pick 4 will include the following races, subject to change until entries are drawn:





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Sunday, September 27 2009


MINERALOGIST STRIKES GOLD IN GIMMA; MAKE NOTE TAKES BONGARD


ELMONT, N.Y. – Chester and Mary Broman’s heavily-favored Mineralogist and Richlyn Farms’ longshot Make Note both scored their first stakes victories at Belmont Park Sunday afternoon, with Mineralogist drawing clear in the $108,500 Joseph A. Gimma and Make Note taking over in the final yards of the $107,000 Bertram F. Bongard.

With Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux up, Mineralogist grabbed the lead at the head of the stretch and went on to a 3¾ victory over Sugar Trade in the Joseph A. Gimma, a race restricted to 2-year-old New York-bred fillies. Trained by John Kimmel, Mineralogist extended her record to 2-1-0 from four starts and returned $2.80 as part of an entry with Screen Saviour.





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INDIAN BLESSING GALLANT IN DEFENDING ‘BLOOM’ TITLE


ELMONT, N.Y. – Indian Blessing rewarded her connections’ confidence Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park, dueling with Sara Louise down to the wire to win the 16th running of the Grade 2, $156,500 Gallant Bloom. Notching her first victory of the year, the 4-year-old filly also earned an automatic berth in the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on November 6 at Santa Anita through the “Win and You’re In” challenge series.

After breaking a half-step slowly, the two-time Eclipse-award winning daughter of Indian Charlie recovered quickly and raced behind early leaders Any Limit and Thunders Dove before splitting horses to take the lead at the five-sixteenths pole. Challenged by 3-year-old Sara Louise in the stretch, Indian Blessing fought back relentlessly and prevailed by a head at the wire to win the Gallant Bloom for the second straight year.





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Saturday, September 26 2009


CONTENDERS PREPARE FOR SUPER SATURDAY


ELMONT, N.Y. – A trio of contenders for Saturday’s Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup had their final tune-ups for the 1¼-mile race on a busy morning at Belmont Park.

Belmont Stakes and Shadwell Travers winner Summer Bird, with Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard, went five furlongs in 1:02.40, while Quality Road, third in the Travers, covered the same distance in 1:01.60. Asiatic Boy, most recently fourth to Rachel Alexandra in the Woodward, went a half-mile in a bullet 47.55, fastest of 38 at the distance.





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Friday, September 25 2009


CONTESSA LOOKS TO SHIFT GEARS IN SUNDAY’S STAKES


ELMONT, N.Y. – It’s no secret that Gary Contessa has been New York’s leading trainer for the past three years on the strength of his claiming game. This weekend at Belmont Park, however, the 51-year-old trainer will get some answers not only about a pair of 2-year-olds, but perhaps about himself as well.

On Sunday, Contessa will saddle Winning Move Stable’s Valuable Lady against seven other New York-bred fillies in the $100,000-added Joseph A. Gimma Stakes and Darlene Bilinski’s Camptown Blues against six state-bred colts in the $100,000-added Bertram F. Bongard Stakes. A victory by one, or both, would be a first of sorts for Contessa, whose stakes success with 2-year-olds has come primarily at Aqueduct, including True Affair in the 1992 Tempted, Grey Comet in the 2002 Damon Runyon, and My Kitty in the 2006 East View.





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BELMONT PARK NOTES: Friday, September 25, 2009


ELMONT, N.Y. – Trainer Rick Dutrow reported from Aqueduct Race Track Friday morning that last weekend’s Grade 2 Futurity winner D’ Funnybone was doing well, but that he still had not made a determination on the next start for Paul Pompa, Jr.’s colt.

“We’re happy with the way he’s going,” Dutrow said. “We’ll be keeping an eye on the Champagne [Grade 1, $400,000, October 10 at Belmont Park] since it’s coming up first. He could run there, or train straight up to the Breeders’ Cup. We won’t change his training schedule either way. He’ll train right here at Aqueduct because this track is unbelievable. I’d hate to send him out there [to Santa Anita] ahead of time. We’d probably go at the last minute and run him.”





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Wednesday, September 23 2009


MSG PLUS OFFERS LIVE JOCKEY CLUB GOLD CUP DAY COVERAGE


ELMONT, N.Y. – MSG Plus, in partnership with The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA), will offer live coverage of the Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational from Belmont Park on Saturday, October 3 from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. The telecast will also include coverage of four other prestigious Grade 1 races from Belmont Park.

As expected, the Jockey Club Gold Cup is lining up as one of the best races of the year. It marks the first time that Belmont Stakes and Shadwell Travers winner Summer Bird will compete against older horses. The 3-year-old son of Birdstone, trained by Tim Ice, has earned more than $1.5 million in only seven lifetime starts.





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Monday, September 21 2009


YOU GO WEST GIRL SCORES IN INAUGURAL JOHN HETTINGER


ELMONT, N.Y. – Craig Bernick’s You Go West Girl overtook front-running Stormy Relations in the final strides and was able to hold off late-charging Chestoria and Love Cove to win the first running of the $107,500 John Hettinger Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares.

Trained by Tom Proctor, the 5-year-old daughter of Mr. Greeley raced along the inside for six furlongs before angling out in upper stretch to take the lead and prevail by a neck. Her final time for the nine furlongs was 1:48.05 over the firm inner turf with the rails set at nine feet.





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