Thursday, December 11 2008
RESEARCHER BRINGS STRONG ACT TO NEW YORK
Aqueduct’s inner track brings out some pretty tough customers, many of whom rack up big victories at other tracks where they go relatively unnoticed at other times of the year.
Saturday afternoon, however, it will be hard to overlook Rutledge Farm’s Researcher, who brings a three-race winning streak to the Big A for the 103rd running of the Grade 3, $100,000-added Queens County Handicap for three-year-olds and up at a mile and three-sixteenths on the inner dirt track.
Researcher is a 4-year-old, Virginia-bred gelded son of Two Smart who has fashioned a record of 7-3-2 from 13 starts. He has never been as sharp as he is now, however, coming off a two-month freshening to post victories in an off-the-turf mile race at Laurel, at nine furlongs at his home base at Charles Town and in Mountaineer Park’s Mountaineer Mile on a good track.
“I think there are several reasons why he is doing so good,” said trainer Jeff Runco. “We had tried him on the turf before, and he did just okay. He had some other issues, so we gave him time off. I think the rest and the return to the dirt have made a real change in him.”
The real noticeable change in Researcher has been in his Beyer Speed numbers. In his last two starts, he has fired off respective figures of 101 and 104.
“He’s a little older now and he is getting smarter, too,” Runco said. “In his last race at Mountaineer, he sat right off the lone speed (Ravalo), who wound up finishing second. It’s like he knows what he has to do.”
Researcher not only handles different tracks and different track conditions, but he also has worked well with different jockeys.
“We have been racing all over, so he gets a new jockey at every track,” Runco said.
The 49-year-old Runco, a former jockey himself, will turn over the riding duties on Saturday to an old friend, Mike Luzzi. A native of Omaha, Neb., who cut his teeth at the old Ak-Sar-Ben Racetrack, Runco rode on the Mid-Atlantic circuit from 1979-’84.
In fact, Luzzi’s brother, John, who entered Thursday eight wins shy of 1,000 for his riding career, worked Researcher a half-mile on the fast track at Charles Town on December 3 in 49.20, breezing.
It took several months, but Carol Nyren’s Dry Martini finally became a graded stakes winner in New York when he won the Grade 3 Stuyvesant Handicap in the mud here on November 15.
A son of Slew Gin Fizz, he also seemed to wake up after two average tries on turf. He made up a lot of ground in the Stuyvesant, but trainer Billy Turner seemed pleased that the horse appeared to be going easy at the end.
Third in the Stuyvesant, Temporary Saint figures to head to the lead in the Queens County under jockey Eddie Castro. The 5-year-old Awesome Again gelding sports a 4-2-3 record from 10 starts this year.
Grade 2 winner Sir Whimsey debuts for trainer Steve Asmussen. The 4-year-old Jump Start colt has only one victory in six tries on Aqueduct’s inner track, but has hit the board in all but one of those tries.
Winless in three starts this year, Brilliant Son makes his inner track debut here for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The 5-year-old Stormin Fever horse may have value, as he came off a layoff to run third by a neck on the turf at Keeneland, and then “bounced” in his return to dirt in the muddy Stuyvesant, where he ran fifth.
Brilliant Son will be equipped with blinkers for the Queens County Handicap.
Read more articles in the Aqueduct
HP Stable Notes: Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008
LARAGH ARRIVES FOR $429,500 HOLLYWOOD STARLET
Trainer John Terranova and Laragh, entered in the $429,500 Hollywood Starlet on Saturday, were making themselves comfortable in the Bob Baffert stable here Thursday, just as Baffert and his horses do when they ship to New York and reside in the Terranova barn at Belmont Park.
“She just walked this morning,” said Terranova. “She flew in last night. It was an uneventful trip. She was on a Fed Ex flight from Newark to LAX with Silver Stetson Man (a Baffert trainee).”
Green coasts to victory
On a night kindly sponsored by Shadwell Farms, featuring two AED110,000 handicaps, Doug Watson’s seasonal debutant Green Coast was the appropriate winner of the featured 1400m handicap.
The race, named after His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s 2007 Dubai World Cup winner Invasor, Green Coast was ridden to a convincing victory by Fernando Jara – who was in the saddle when Invasor won the Dubai World Cup.
Read more articles in the Meydan
Wednesday, December 10 2008
Woodbine Thoroughbred Betting Remains Steady in 2008
Toronto, December 10 - Woodbine Entertainment Group announced today that betting on Woodbine's 2008 live Thoroughbred meet, which concluded December 7, remained steady over last year.
Handle per race (1,553 races in total) was $217,472 in 2008, compared to $215,489 (1,592 races in total) in 2007, a rise of 0.91 per cent.
Read more articles in the Woodbine
GARY CAPUANO BARN WHITE HOT AS WEATHER TURNS COLD
LAUREL, MD. 12-10-08---On November 14, trainer Gary Capuano celebrated his 45th birthday with a two-win afternoon at Laurel Park igniting a streak not seen in Maryland since his older brother Dale saddled seven consecutive winners at the central Maryland track in March 2003.
When the younger Capuano reached the winners’ circle with Musician’s Pride ($3.80) in today’s third race it was the fifth consecutive victory for the barn. Though Capuano failed to win with either Quiet Trip (seventh) or Rock On Justin (eighth), he has won nine of his last 12 starts at his home track. The winning ways have helped Capuano pass his brother and move into a fifth place tie in the trainer standings during the current fall meeting.
Read more articles in the Laurel
DELTA STORM CONTINUES TO PAY DIVIDENDS FOR HOUSE
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (Dec. 10, 2008) — Favorite Delta Storm, a $40,000 claim in May at Churchill Downs, won for the third time in seven starts for owner Michael House, posting a one-length triumph under jockey Aaron Gryder in Wednesday’s $48,000 allowance/claiming feature at Hollywood Park.
Third in the Grade III Hollywood Turf Express one start earlier, Delta Storm stalked pacesetter Hewitts before taking command in mid-stretch while covering six furlongs on the Lakeside Turf Course in 1:08.12. He was the lone horse entered for the $100,000 claiming tag, but there were no takers.
PAMONA BALL SEEKS THIRD STRAIGHT VICTORY IN HOLLYWOOD STARLET
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (Dec. 10, 2008) — Darley Stable’s Pamona Ball will take a big step up in class as she aims for her third consecutive victory and her first graded stakes win in Saturday’s $429,500 Hollywood Starlet at Hollywood Park.
Pamona Ball, trained by Eoin Harty, followed up a maiden win in October by rallying to score a one-length victory over Toro Bonito in the Sharp Cat Stakes here in November. Both were run at the Starlet distance of 1 1/16 miles.
HP Stable Notes: Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008
"PAMONA BALL ARRIVES FOR $421,500 HOLLYWOOD STARLET
Pamona Ball, winner of the Sharp Cat Stakes here in her last start Nov. 1, jogged Wednesday at Hollywood Park for Saturday’s $421,500, Grade I Hollywood Starlet after being shipped across town Tuesday from Santa Anita by trainer Eoin Harty. She was scheduled to school in the paddock this afternoon, according to assistant Brian Ange.
Pamona Ball relegated two Bob Baffert-trained starters to runner-up status in the Sharp Cat, and Harty hopes for similar results when Pamona Ball lines up against two starters for his former boss in addition to four other formidable foes in the Starlet.
2009 Hawthorne Stakes Schedule
Stickney, IL--The Illinois Racing Board has released the 2009 stakes schedule. The staple of the spring meet, the Grade 2, $500,000 Illinois Derby will run on April 4. The last seven winners of the Illinois Derby have run in the Kentucky Derby, starting with War Emblem, who won both events in 2002.
The Sixty Sails Handicap, a Grade 3 stake for fillies and mares will be contested on April 18, and Illinois Champions Day, complete with six $100,000 stakes races, will be held on April 25.
Read more articles in the Hawthorne
HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE FEATURES FREE $50,000 HANDICAPPING CHALLENGE ON DECEMBER 13 AND 14
Stickney, Ill.—This weekend Hawthorne Race Course, 3501 S. Laramie, will host a $50,000 Handicapping Challenge, an unprecedented opportunity for players to win a $25,000 grand prize without paying an entry fee. The free contest, which has never been offered at the race course before, will take place on December 13 and 14 during live racing which begins at 1:35PM each day.
The $50,000 Handicapping Challenge is a “real money” event wherein players wager their own dollars, keep their own earnings, and win bonus cash and prizes simply for playing the ponies. The contest simply rewards the players who earn the most money with their starting bankroll—$250 on Saturday and $250 on Sunday.
Read more articles in the Hawthorne
LONGTIME RACING OFFICIAL CHARLIE PALMER PASSES
Charlie Palmer, who spent more than 60 years working in the California horse racing industry, died of an aneurism at his home in Railroad Flats (Calaveras County) last Sunday. Palmer was 80.
Palmer began his career parking cars and cleaning stalls at Bay Area racetracks. He moved up through the ranks on the Northern California fair circuit to assistant operations manager, stable superintendent, patrol judge and racing secretary.
TAMPA BAY DOWNS OPENING DAY STAKE GARNERS 49 NOMINATIONS
OLDSMAR, Fla. (December 9, 2008) The $65,000 Lightning City Stakes, a five furlong turf test for fillies and mares which headlines Opening Day of the 2008-2009 Tampa Bay Downs racing meet, has drawn nominations from 49 fillies and mares. Among the nominees is Mike Hennig’s trainee Jazzy (ARG), a graded stakes winner who has earned $245,261 for owners Team Valor International, Robert Muir and Des Scott. While Jazzy has never attempted the five-eighths of a mile turf condition, the mare has achieved a stakes win and a second-place finish on the lawn at 5 1/5 furlongs.