Saturday, March 07 2009
FIERCE WIND BLOWS AWAY CHALLENGER COMPETITION
OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 7, 2009) Fierce Wind, victor of the 2008 running of the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, captured the 18th rendition of the $65,000 Challenger Stakes today, running the 1 1/16 miles over the main track in 1:45.01. Fierce Wind is owned by Halsey Minor’s Minor Stable, is trained by William Phipps and was ridden to victory by Tampa’s leading rider Daniel Centeno.
Fierce Wind broke alertly, settled behind early leaders Fearless Vision and Paradise Dancer, and swept to the lead in final strides to win by a neck. Fearless Vision was second and Paradise Dancer rounded out the trifecta, which yielded $47.40 from a $2 wager.
Kiss With a Twist takes Wintergreen Stakes
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 7, 2009 . . . Kiss With a Twist earned her second Turfway Park stakes trophy Saturday, wearing down the leader in the stretch and taking the $50,000 Wintergreen Stakes by three-quarters of a length. Final time for the mile was 1:37.61.
Jockey Billy Troilo kept Kiss With a Twist behind the moderate pace set by Unspoken Word, who broke from the outside of the five-horse field and had the lead before the first turn. Racing without pressure, Unspoken Word led by two and three lengths down the backstretch, setting the pace at :24.42 and :48.25 through half. She still led at the quarter pole, clocking the distance in 1:12.70, but by then Troilo had moved Kiss With a Twist up to challenge. The two fought side by side, with ‘Kiss’ having a slight lead, until Unspoken Word gave way in mid-stretch. She dropped back to finish third, 1 1/2 lengths behind De Star Xpress, who closed like a fresh horse to nearly catch the winner.
Read more articles in the Turfway
FAVORED GOTTA HAVE HER EASILY GETS FARAWAY EYES PURSE WIN
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 6, 2009) – After competing in five successive graded stakes races and finishing second three times, Gotta Have Her found the climate in Friday’s $61,200 Faraway Eyes Purse to be ideal while registering a 1 ½ -length victory in the 6 ½-furlong event for fillies and mares over Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.
As the 13-10 favorite in a field of eight, Gotta Have Her tracked the early leaders before jockey Tyler Baze found an opening between horses in midstretch, and the 5-year-old mare steadily drew away from her rivals while running the distance in 1:13.35.
STABLE NOTES, FRIDAY, MARCH 6TH, 2009
FOR GOMEZ, EIGHT IS ENOUGH IN WIDE OPEN SANTA ANITA HANDICAP
With 14 entries and a 9-2 morning line favorite, Saturday’s $1 million Santa Anita Handicap presents handicappers with a plethora of perplexing propositions. Garrett Gomez, who rides 9-2 choice Colonel John in the Grade I race at 1 ¼ miles, recognizes the challenge, but was not overwhelmed with strategic options as post time drew within 24 hours.
“There are eight horses that can actually win the race,” said Santa Anita’s riding leader and winner of the Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey the past two years. “It’s wide open, and it’s going to come down to who gets the best trip and who handles the race track best.”
MIKE STRAIGHT GETS FIRST WIN IN FIRST START
OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 6, 2009) Apprentice jockey Mike Straight got his first win from his first career ride today in the sixth race aboard Ready Ruler for trainer Michael Thomas and owner Leighton Evans. Straight, who is a graduate of Chris McCarron’s North American Racing Academy, is the twin brother of Maryland jockey Matthew Straight. Born and raised outside of Saratoga Springs, New York, Straight was exposed to horse racing at an early age and said that his parents encouraged his love of horses and riding since his childhood. “I’ve always been interested in riding; I’ve always gone to the races and I’ve always wanted to be a jockey. My parents were all for it - when I was about nine, they bought my brother and me an Equicizer to practice on. It’s taken years of dedication and practice and watching races to get here, and I really have to thank Chris McCarron and the school (the North American Racing Academy) and my parents and brother for helping me out.”
CHALLENGER DRAWS COMPETITIVE FIELD OF TEN
OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 6, 2009) The $65,000 Challenger Stakes for four-year-olds and upwards going 1 1/16 miles on the main track has garnered ten entries for the seventh and featured race. Headlining the filed is Fierce Wind, last year’s victor in the Sam F. Davis Stakes. The four-year-old son of Dixie Union captured an overnight handicap here on January 16 and has recorded a bullet workout at Payson Park on February 18, running four furlongs in :48.2 for trainer William Phipps.
HOLLENDORFER, BAZE SEEK RICHES AT SANTA ANITA
The Bay Area's leading men in horse racing, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and jockey Russell Baze, will be gunning for big money at Santa Anita Saturday.
Hollendorfer will try to win the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap for the second straight year when he sends out Blue Exit in the 1 1/4-mile classic for 4-year-olds and up. Hollendorfer won the 2008 Big 'Cap with Heatseeker and is hoping to become only the fourth trainer in the 72-year history of the Santa Anita Handicap to win the feature in consecutive years with different horses.
Group 1 turf race on at Abu Dhabi on Sunday
The Group 1 Liwa Oasis, over 1400m on the Abu Dhabi turf, is the highlight of the Capital’s 13th meeting of the season on Sunday with seven declared.
Kindly sponsored by Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, the Liwa Oasis has been won in each of the last two years by wonder mare Mizzna but, sadly, she is out injured.
In her absence, Doug Watson’s Quaolina looks the most likely winner in the hands of Richard Hills and the trainer said: “She has had one run for us and ran very well. She is going well at home and this looks an ideal opportunity for her.”
Friday, March 06 2009
LONGHOT GIVES JOCKEY HER FIRST CAREER WIN
Seeing that Wild Holly had lost her last three by a combined total of 54 ½ lengths and that her jockey was a winless 10-pound apprentice, bettors sent the 8-year-old mare off as a 64 to 1 longshot in today’s fifth race at Aqueduct Racetrack.
As the field approached the wire with the more logical horses tussling for the lead, Wild Holly launched a bid from way back and out in the middle of the track. She charged from sixth to first to win by three lengths, paying $131.00.
Read more articles in the Aqueduct
Al Khali Joins Pletcher’s Potential Derby Team
WinStar Farm’s 3-year-old Al Khali rallied through the stretch for a three-quarter length victory under John Velazquez in a 1 1/8 mile allowance test Friday afternoon at Gulfstream Park, moving him up in trainer Todd Pletcher’s arsenal of Kentucky Derby (G1) candidates.
Al Khali is a Kentucky-bred colt by Medaglia d’Oro who was making his first U.S. start. He was originally sold to Dante Zanelli for $15,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sales. He had made his previous three starts under three separate trainers while racing in Peru, where he won his most recent two races after finishing second in his debut.
Barn Notes 2-6
Sky Diva Works Toward 3-year-old Debut at Gulfstream
A diva’s got to have her space. That’s the reason Puglisi Racing’s Grade 1-winning 3-year-old filly Sky Diva is warming up in South Florida and is not part of trainer Steve Klesaris’s main string in New Orleans this winter.
The daughter of Sky Mesa has been training steadily at Gulfstream Park, including a five-furlong breeze Friday morning in 1:01 1/5. She has been ramping up toward a 3-year-old debut following third-place finishes in the Demoiselle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct on Nov. 29 and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on Oct. 24 at Santa Anita.
NYRA NOW ON SIRIUS RADIO TO DEBUT SATURDAY, MARCH 7
NYRA Now, a half-hour Sirius Radio show dedicated exclusively to Thoroughbred racing at the New York Racing Association’s Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course, will debut Saturday, March 7 from 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. Eastern.
Hosted by Dave Johnson and Bill Finley, NYRA Now will air on Sirius Channel 122 and XM Channel 143 and will be available to 20 million Sirius XM subscribers. It will offer handicapping, interviews with owners, trainers and jockeys and feature segments.