Thursday, April 09 2009
STABLE NOTES, THURSDAY, APRIL 9TH, 2009
STEINER ‘WORKS’ HIS WAY TO KENTUCKY DERBY WITH PIONEEROF THE NILE
Joey Steiner never won the Kentucky Derby. Never rode in it, as a matter of fact. But on May 2 of this year, the former jockey could enjoy a vicarious victory, if Pioneerof the Nile wins the 135th classic at Churchill Downs.
Steiner is the regular exercise rider for the son of 2003 Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker, who has captured four consecutive stakes races, including the Grade I Santa Anita Derby last Saturday. Trainer Bob Baffert has employed Steiner on his efficient work team for some seven months. During that span, Pioneerof the Nile has developed into one of the favorites for the Run for the Roses.
LAST CHANCE FOR GOMEZ TO TIE RECORD ABOARD TUCSAN EVENING
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 9, 2009) – Garrett Gomez, the nation’s leading jockey in purse earnings the last three years and America’s Eclipse Award winner the last two, will employ a final opportunity on Sunday to equal a Santa Anita record for most stakes victories by a jockey in a single season, which is 19.
Gomez, who left Santa Anita to ride full-time at the Keeneland meeting that opened on April 3, returns to handle the enigmatic 4-year-old Irish-bred filly Tuscan Evening in the Grade III, $100,000 Las Cienegas Handicap for fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs on turf.
BATTLE OF HASTINGS SEEKS ANOTHER STAKES WIN IN LA PUENTE
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 9, 2009) – British-bred Battle of Hastings, upset winner of the Grade III Baldwin Stakes on March 1 when, according to jockey Tyler Baze, “the light bulb went on,” will attempt to further illuminate his career prospects on Saturday in Santa Anita’s $100,000 La Puente Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf.
Battle of Hastings, who drew the challenging No. 12 post among 13 entrants in the event’s 29th running, will be joined by Jeff Mullins-trained stablemate Leedstheway in the contentious lineup with several of the sophomores racing on grass for the first time.
Godolphin’s Desert Party, Regal Ransom Arrive for Derby 135
LOUISVILLE, KY. (April 9, 2009) – The two horses that represent the Kentucky Derby (Grade I) hopes of Dubai-based Godolphin are settling into new surroundings at Churchill Downs after a late afternoon arrival on Thursday at the historic home of the “Run for the Roses.” Earlier in the day, likely Kentucky Oaks (GI) favorite Rachel Alexandra returned to her home track following an overnight van ride from Oaklawn Park, where she romped in the Fantasy Stakes (GII) on Sunday.
Desert Party, winner of the UAE 2000 Guineas and last year’s Sanford (GII) at Saratoga, and Regal Ransom, who upset his stablemate in the $2 million UAE Derby (GII) on March 28 at Nad Al Sheba, arrived by van at the quarantine facility in Barn 45 at Churchill Downs shortly after 5 p.m. (EDT).
SALZMAN TWO-YEAR-OLD FILLY SETS TRACK RECORD IN DEBUT
LAUREL, MD. 04-09-09---Gator Prowl won the first two-year-old race of the year in Maryland by a whopping 11-1/2 lengths in 52.11, breaking a 45-year-old track record for the 4-1/2 furlong distance over the main track at Laurel Park.
The daughter of Roar of the Tiger is trained and co-owned by John Salzman, Jr. It is the eighth time this decade that a Salzman (John Sr., Tim and John Jr.) conditioned the first juvenile winner of the year in the state.
Read more articles in the Laurel
Informed Decision Edges Ventura In Vinery Madison Stakes
Lexington, Ky. (April 9, 2009)— Informed Decision returned from a 5 ½-month layoff Thursday at Keeneland to upset heavily favored Ventura in the $300,000, Grade 1 Vinery Madison Stakes.
Ventura, the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner, took the lead in deep stretch under jockey Garrett Gomez but Informed Decision and John Velazquez rallied in the final 100 yards of the seven-furlong race for a head victory.
Read more articles in the Keeneland
SPACIOUS NORTH PARK NEW SITE FOR FRIDAY NIGHT CONCERT
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (April 9, 2009) — Hollywood Park will move its Friday night concert series to the spacious North Park to better accommodate patrons at the 2009 Spring/Summer Meet.
KC and the Sunshine Band will be the first to appear with a performance following the final race on Friday, April 24. First post time is at 7:05 p.m.
TOP CALIFORNIA SIRE UNUSUAL HEAT REPRESENTED BY THREE WINNERS AT GGF
ALBANY -- The top California sire Unusual Heat had to be a proud father following the conclusion of Wednesday's racing at Golden Gate Fields.
The 4-year-old filly Mystical Heat, the 6-year-old gelding Unusual Treasure, and the 4-year-old colt Quite Unusual - all sired by Unusual Heat - won races to give their papa a three-win afternoon.
Barn Notes 4-8-2009
Pastel Gal Carries Sackatoga Colors into Deep South Beach Water
Trainer Barclay Tagg and Sackatoga Stable general partner Jack Knowlton thought that 5-year-old Pastel Gal earned a chance in a black-type race after two come-from-behind allowance victories this season at Gulfstream Park, and Saturday’s $50,000 South Beach Stakes at 7½ furlongs on turf was their chosen target.
“It looks like the water is pretty deep in there,” said Knowlton Thursday morning. “But we’re here and she’s never been better, so we’ll take our chances. I talked to Robin (assistant trainer Robin Smullen) after the entries came out and she said that it looked like a Grade 2 stakes.
Keeneland Barn Notes—Thursday, April 9, 2009
MAFAAZ HAS MEET AND GREET WITH STARTING GATE CREW
Shadwell Stable’s Mafaaz (GB), who will race Saturday in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) in his Amerian debut, visited the starting gate Thursday morning at Keeneland and then galloped a mile and a quarter under exercise rider Miguel Moya.
“He just walked in the there and backed right out,” said Les Reynolds, head traveling lad for trainer John Gosden. “We just wanted him to get used to the gate here and let the gate personnel see him.
Read more articles in the Keeneland
NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance
In October 2008, the NTRA announced the formation of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.
The Alliance’s mission is to improve the safety of horse racing, protect the sport’s integrity and increase public awareness of horse racing’s safety and integrity programs.
The Alliance supports the broader mission of the NTRA – to improve the economics of horse racing and improve the sport’s popularity – by seeking to reduce racehorse injuries and by speaking on behalf of the industry on issues associated with equine athletic competition.
CHURCHILL DOWNS RECEIVES ACCREDITATION FOLLOWING REVIEW
At a press conference today at Churchill Downs, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced that the Louisville, Ky., racetrack has been fully accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance following a comprehensive review of racing operations at the facility. Churchill Downs is the first track to be so designated by the Alliance.
The accreditation of Churchill Downs was the culmination of a lengthy certification process that began with Churchill’s completion of a 48-page written application. Churchill Downs then hosted several meetings with Alliance officials and met with the Alliance’s independent monitor, The Honorable Tommy G. Thompson, a former Governor of Wisconsin and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary. The on-site review was led by Jennifer Durenberger, DVM; racing official Richard J. Lewis; and Mike Ziegler, executive director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. Thompson also attended and observed the on-site review.