Saturday, April 04 2009
QUALITY ROAD FAVORED AT MIDPOINT OF FINAL KENTUCKY DERBY FUTURE POOL
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 3, 2009) – Edward P. Evans’ Quality Road, winner of the Florida Derby (Grade I) for his third victory in four career races, remained a solid favorite to win the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) on May 2 as the third and final pool of Churchill Downs’ 2009 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”) reached its midway point on Friday evening.
Trainer Jimmy Jerkens’ homebred son of Elusive Quality remained the 5-1 choice among 24 wagering interests in KDFW Pool 2. Vinery LLC and Fox Hill Farm’s Friesan Fire, whose three-race winning streak includes a victory in the Louisiana Derby (GII) at Fair Grounds, was the 9-1 second choice at the end of Friday’s betting. The mutuel field, which respresents all 3-year-old Thoroughbreds other than the pool’s 23 individual horses, also stood at 9-1, but slightly more money had been wagered on Friesan Fire. “All others” was favored in both of this year’s previous KDFW pools.
Friday, April 03 2009
AGGIE ENGINEER, SOLIS RUN OFF WITH FRIDAY FEATURE AT 7-1 ODDS
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 3, 2009) – Running around two turns for the first time in his sixth career start, 7-1 longshot Aggie Engineer and jockey Alex Solis ran off with Friday’s $56,800 optional claiming allowance feature to defeat Aitcho by 1 ¼ lengths while negotiating one mile over Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride surface in 1:36.44
Solis sent the gelded 4-year-old son of E Dubai to the front soon after the break, settled him into a cruising posture through moderate early fractions, and they comfortably resisted the late bid by third-choice Aitcho, who rallied from last in the field of seven.
STABLE NOTES, FRIDAY, APRIL 3RD, 2009
HORSEMEN FANCY ‘BIG THREE’ IN SANTA ANITA DERBY
The Pamplemousse, Pioneerof the Nile and Chocolate Candy—the three morning line choices—dominated selections made by local horsemen in an informal backstretch poll on Saturday’s Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby, which drew a field of 10 going a mile and an eighth.
Retired Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, now an analyst for HRTV and NBC-TV, who won the Santa Anita Derby a record nine times: “It’s a good race. Some people think The Pamplemousse has a bad post (No. 10). I think he’s got a great draw on the outside. With the speed horse, Z Day, on the inside (No. 2), The Pamplemousse can sit off him. If Z Day goes crazy, The Pamplemousse can kind of control the race. I think he’s ratable.
AQUEDUCT NOTES; Friday, April 3, 2009
A reminder that Aqueduct Racetrack will be closed on Palm Sunday, April 5, for both live racing and simulcasting.
The Big A will be open for simulcasting only on Monday and Tuesday, April 6-7. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. There is no admission or parking charge.
Live racing resumes at Aqueduct on Wednesday, April 8, with first race post at 1 p.m.
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Barn notes 4-3-2209
Rick Pitino Takes Time for Horse Hobby at Gulfstream
With the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s college basketball fans stirred into a frenzy after the elimination of top-seeded University of Louisville from the NCAA men’s tournament and the hiring of a new coach at the University of Kentucky, Louisville’s coach Rick Pitino escaped the storm for a few hours indulging his passion for horse racing Thursday at Gulfstream Park.
The 56-year-old coach is one of the principle partners in Ol Memorial Stable. He was at the track to see his 3-year-old filly In Debt Joanne go for her second career win in a 5 ½-furlong claiming race.
Stormalory Rallies From Last To Win Central Bank Transylvania
Lexington, Ky. (April 3, 2009)—Stormalory rallied from next to last with a quarter mile remaining to score a narrow victory in the $150,000, Grade 3 Central Bank Transylvania Stakes as Keeneland began its 15-day spring meeting Friday.
The son of Storm Cat caught Florentino (JPN) inside the sixteenth pole and then held off Smart Bid to win the 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-olds. He gave trainer Bill Mott his 30th career stakes victory at Keeneland.
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Keeneland Barn Notes—Friday, April 3, 2009
DUTROW OPTIMISTIC ABOUT STARDOM BOUND’S ASHLAND CHANCES
Trainer Rick Dutrow was quietly confident Friday morning about Stardom Bound’s chances in Saturday’s 72nd running of the $400,000 Ashland Stakes (G1).
“I know that she likes it here and is doing good,” Dutrow said. “She has already beaten most of the horses in there, so I feel very good about our chances.”
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IRISH-BRED FERNELEY POSTS SMART WIN ON GGF TURF
ALBANY -- Irish-bred Ferneley, displaying a powerful stretch kick, posted an impressive victory in the $40,704 turf feature at Golden Gate Fields Friday.
The one-mile allowance race, a prep for the Grade 2 $300,000 San Francisco Mile on April 25, featured a solid field of six that was headed by multiple stakes-winners Bold Chieftain and El Gato Malo.
Ferneley, a 5-year-old horse trained by Ben Cecil, earned his first U.S. stakes victory when he blew by pacesetter Yacht Spotter in midstretch and scored by 3 1/4 lengths. Yacht Spotter took second by 1 1/4 lengths over Bold Chieftain, the even-money favorite.
TROMBETTA LOOKING TO REWRITE HISTORY IN ILLINOIS DERBY
LAUREL, MD. 04-03-09---Trainer Mike Trombetta burst onto the national scene three years ago when Sweetnorthernsaint won the Illinois Derby to become a major player during the 2006 Triple Crown scene as the betting favorite in the Grade I Kentucky Derby and runner-up in the Grade I Preakness Stakes. This year, the Baltimore native will saddle Perfect Song in the Grade II event.
“I am looking forward to going back and giving it another try,” Trombetta said. “It was a lot of fun the last time. We think he is a nice horse and based on numbers and performance he has a reasonable chance.”
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Churchill Downs to be Reviewed by NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance Inspection Team Next Week
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., will be the first U.S. racetrack reviewed by an inspection team as part of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance accreditation process. The inspection visit will begin Monday, April 6.
In preparation for the accreditation visit, Churchill Downs completed a 48-page written application that serves as the first step in the accreditation process. The track also hosted several meetings with Alliance officials and met with the Alliance’s independent monitor, former Wisconsin Governor and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, Tommy Thompson. The on-site visit will include inspections of all facets of the racing facility, and interviews with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards, regulators and customers.
KATHLEEN O’CONNELL NAMED COURTSIDE GRILLE II TRAINER OF THE MONTH
OLDSMAR, Fla. (April 3, 2009) April’s Courtside Grille II Trainer of the Month is Kathleen O’Connell, who in the week of March 24 – March 29 has saddled 7 winners, 1 second and 2 third-place finishers from 19 starters. Additionally, O’Connell is as of April 1st the fifth leading trainer for the current Tampa meet with 24 wins.
Kathleen O’Connell is the daughter of a retired Detroit policeman. She rode show horses as a youth but had no racetrack experience when she took a howalker's job in 1970 at age 19 at the now-defunct Detroit Racecourse. A National Honor Society member in high school, O'Connell began working at the track "until I decided what I wanted to do with my life," she said. After having been turned down for veterinary school, O'Connell began her training career in her native Michigan, but has been competing in Florida since 1985. She established herself as one of the hardest working conditioners on the backstretch, and won the training title here in the 1998-1999 season.
Turfway sees double-digit declines
FLORENCE, KY . . . April 3, 2009 . . . Turfway Park ended its 2009 Winter/Spring Meet with double-digit declines in handle and purses paid and a significant drop in field size compared to the same period in 2008. The 2009 meet began January 1 and ended April 2.
On-track wagering on Turfway races fell 11.2 percent to $7,020,016 for the meet. All-sources wagering on Turfway races dropped 24.6 percent to $113,649,793, driven by a 26.1 percent decline in wagering by out-of-state players.
Average daily purses dropped from $145,614 to $125,017.
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