Sunday, March 15 2009
MUSKET MAN BARRELS THROUGH FOR TAMPA BAY DERBY WIN
OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 14, 2009) A crowd of 10,420 gathered at the Oldsmar oval today to witness Musket Man capture the 29th running of the Grade III $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby, defeating the remaining field of nine to record his first graded stakes win. Musket Man is a Kentucky-bred son of Yonaguska who is conditioned by Derek Ryan for owner Eric Fein’s unprecedented second Tampa Bay Derby win.
Musket Man stalked the pace set by eventual second-place finisher Join in the Dance throughout the opening quarters, moving to the lead in final strides to win by a neck. Supplemental entry Justdontcallmejeri rounded out the trifecta, which yielded $10,232.20.
Smooth Air Up in Time to Capture Gulfstream Park Handicap
Mount Joy Stables’ 4-year-old Florida homebred Smooth Air wore down the leaders in the deep stretch of the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) Saturday at Gulfstream Park to score a 1¼-length decision over Rolbea Throughbred Racing’s 5-year-old Finallymadeit.
Ridden by Paco Lopez, Smooth Air was making his second start this year after finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita in late October for trainer Bennie Stutts Jr. The son of Smooth Jazz relaxed off the pace down the backstretch of the one-mile test as Finallymadeit dueled for the lead with Robert Clay’s Formidable before Smooth Air rallied down the outside in the field of six older horses. Formidable held third, three-quarters of a length behind the runner-up.
El Crespo Back on Turf for Palm Beach Victory
G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s 3-year-old Kentucky homebred El Crespo beat one horse last out in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 31 trying dirt for the first time, but he was back on turf Saturday to win the $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes (G3) by a length over Dogwood Stable’s Lime Rickey, the 9-5 favorite.
Jockey Javier Castellano was aboard El Crespo, who had broken his maiden on turf over the Gulfstream course on Jan. 10 after two starts in Kentucky last year for trainer Rusty Arnold. The homebred son of A.P. Indy paid $10 to win and was timed in 1:47:71 for the 1 1/8 miles on firm turf. Darley Stable’s Stormalory finished third in the field of six 3-year-olds, a head behind the runner-up.
Winning Jockey Quotes
“Definitely a great trip and a great horse. We broke well and the slow pace really helped us. I knew the five (Duke of Homberg) and three (Casey’s On Call) were the speed (horses) coming in, so the plan was to settle in and take a shot whenever we could. We were behind the five on the backstretch but when I asked him he responded nicely. Unfortunately, I was hurt last time (and didn’t ride him in the Holy Bull) but he seems to like the grass and me, I guess. This is a really special horse and I think the best is yet to come.”
(Note: Alan Garcia rode El Crespo in Castellano’s absence.)
Winning Trainer Quote
“He’s a 3-year-old by A.P. Indy, so we thought we had to try him on dirt in the Holy Bull (as a potential Derby candidate), and obviously that didn’t work, so we brought him back here on grass. He ran a big race. It was basically his ‘a other than’ and to do it in a graded stakes was a big step for him. He’s a half-brother to a good turf horse in Rey de Café and I think his future will be on turf, although we might try him on Polytrack again. He didn’t do well in his first start at Keeneland, but that was sprinting.”
(Note: Arnold reported from Tampa Bay Downs where Humphrey’s Commodities finished unplaced in the Hillsborough Stakes.)
Barn Notes 3-14
Dunkirk Steps Up Pressure in Florida Derby Workout
Undefeated Dunkirk, the 2-for-2 contender for the Coolmore partnership of Susan Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor, posted his latest workout Saturday morning at Palm Meadows Training Center as trainer Todd Pletcher prepares him for his first career stakes attempt in the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) on Sat., Mar. 28 at Gulfstream Park.
The 3-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song breezed five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 under exercise rider Patti Barry. Pletcher caught the colt’s last quarter-mile in 23 4/5.
PIONEEROF THE NILE ROMPS IN GR. II SAN FELIPE,
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Trainer Bob Baffert likes the way Pioneerof the Nile is growing up.
"He's becoming very professional. He was a May foal, so he's not even three yet. I like what I saw today," Baffert said after the smooth-striding colt romped to victory in Saturday's $200,000 San Felipe Stakes.
HEART ASHLEY MAKES A CHANGE AND WIRES CICADA
On paper, Zayat Stable’s Heart Ashley looked as though she would stalk the pace in Saturday’s 17th running of the Grade 3, $107,300 Cicada at Aqueduct Racetrack.
But when the gates opened, the Lion Heart filly got the jump on five other three-year-old fillies, including favored Dream Play. And that was ideal for her jockey, C.C. Lopez, who is known as an ideal fit for a speed horse.
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JUSTWHISTEDIXIE, STARDOM BOUND, RACHEL ALEXANDRA REMAIN TOP CHOICES HEADING INTO OAKS FUTURE FINALE
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 14, 2009) – The streaking Justwhistledixie, an impressive winner in the Davona Dale (Grade II) at Gulfstream Park in her most recent race, continued to be a surprising favorite over the high-powered duo of reigning 2-year-old filly champion Stardom Bound and Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) winner Rachel Alexandra as Churchill Downs’ 2009 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”) headed into the last day of its four-day run.
West Point Thoroughbreds, Lakland Farm and Dee Hubbard’s Justwhistledixie, a daughter of Dixie Union who has won four consecutive races, remained a solid 2-1 favorite after Saturday’s betting and has been the fan’s choice throughout Pool 2. She remained atop the KOFW betting roster over Stardom Bound, winner of five straight Grade I races, and Rachel Alexandra, who rolled to an impressive victory on Saturday in the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (GII). Both of those fillies were 7-2 shots at the end of Saturday’s betting, with Stardom Bound ending up as the actual second betting choice.
‘ALL OTHERS’ REMAINS NARROW CHOICE HEADING INTO FINAL DAY OF POOL 2 OF KENTUCKY DERBY FUTURES
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 14, 2009) – On a day marked by a pair of strong efforts by major Kentucky Derby contenders alongside two major upset, fans of Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”) continued to turn to the “all others” option in their search for a betting option and that wagering interest is a narrow favorite as Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future bet headed into its final day.
The mutuel field, which represents all 3-year-olds other than the 22 individual horses on the Pool 2 betting roster, remained the narrow bettor’s choice at 5-1 after an exciting day of four significant Kentucky Derby preps headlined by the upset by 56-1 shot Win Willy over previously unbeaten Old Fashioned the Rebel (GIII) at Oaklawn Park and the Louisiana Derby (GII) at Fair Grounds, which was the scene of an overwhelming 7 ¼-length victory by favored Friesan Fire. The day’s other preps saw highly regarded Pioneerof the Nile win the San Felipe (GII) over the Cushion Track surface at Santa Anita and Musket Man score a last-gasp victory in the Tampa Bay Derby (GIII). Neither Win Willy nor Musket Man is among the individual horses in KDFW Pool 2, and therefore are members of the “all others” betting interest.
FANCY DIAMOND SHINES IN CONNIVER STAKES
LAUREL, MD. 03-14-09---Kildare Stable’s Fancy Diamond stole off to an easy lead and dug in gamely at the finish to win the $50,000 Conniver Stakes for Maryland-bred fillies and mares, today’s feature at Laurel Park.
Harry Vega guided the 5-year-old mare to a surprising victory over six other distaffers in the seven furlong test. She won by neck over a hard closing and determined All Giving, the defending champion. Post time favorite Puskita chased the leader but gave way and finished third.
Read more articles in the Laurel
LADY RAILRIDER PROVES TOO TOUGH IN WORK THE CROWD STAKES
ALBANY -- Lady Railrider, the 3-to-5 favorite ridden by Frank Alvarado, took command from pacesetter You Lift Me Up at the top of the stretch and scored an easy three-length victory in the $75,000 Work The Crowd Stakes at Golden Gate Fields Saturday.
Earning her second Golden Gate Fields stakes win in less than four months, Lady Railrider captured the 1 1/16-mile feature for California-bred fillies and mares in 1:44.17 on the synthetic Tapeta racing surface.
Saturday, March 14 2009
JUSTWHISTEDIXIE REMAINS SURPRISING SOLID FAVORITE AT MIDPOINT OF 2009 KENTUCKY OAKS FUTURE WAGER
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 13, 2009) – Justwhistledixie, a romping winner in the Davona Dale (Grade II) at Gulfstream Park last time out, remained the surprising favorite over the high-powered duo of champion Stardom Bound and streaking Rachel Alexandra on Friday as Churchill Downs’ 2009 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”) reached the midway point of its four-day run.
West Point Thoroughbreds, Lakland Farm and Dee Hubbard’s daughter of Dixie Union remained the 9-5 favorite after two days of betting in the four-day pool. The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained filly notched her fourth consecutive victory with her 3 ¾- length victory in the Davona Dale and had entered the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager as a 12-1 risk in Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia’s morning line odds.
‘All Others’, Unbeaten Dunkirk Narrowly Favored at Midpoint of Kentucky Derby Futures Pool 2
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 13, 2009) – Racing fans continue to have a difficult time deciding who should be the favorite in Pool 2 of Churchill Downs’ 2009 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”) as “all others” edged unbeaten and untested Dunkirk as the narrow choice among 23 betting interests as the pool reached the midpoint of four days of betting on Friday.
The mutuel field, which represents all 3-year-olds other than the 22 individual horses on the Pool 2 betting roster, and Dunkirk, who is unbeaten in two career starts, each stood at 5-1 at the end of Friday’s betting. But slightly more money had been wagered on the mutuel field ($7,866) than Dunkirk ($7,222) to give “all others” the status of actual betting favorite. The “all others” wagering interest was the 9-5 favorite in February’s first of three pools of the 2009 Derby Future Bet.