Beholder vs Warren’s Veneda: The Rematch at Del Mar Saturday

Beholder handled Warren's Veneda in the G3 Adoration last time out

Beholder handled Warren’s Veneda in the G3 Adoration last time out

By Hank Wesch

Two-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder is scheduled to make her first Del Mar  appearance in nearly two years in Saturday’s  $300,000 Grade I Clement L Hirsch Stakes.

Trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella and ridden by Gary Stevens, Beholder was voted Eclipse Awards as top 2-year-old filly of 2012 and 3-year-old filly of 2013, clinching them with triumphs in the Breeders’ Cup  Juvenile Fillies and Breeders’ Cup Distaff in the respective years. But last year she was hurt and missed the Summer Meet and then got sick and missed Del Mar’s inaugural Fall Meet.

The 5-year-old daughter of Henny Hughes is  two-for-two in 2015 with wins in the Santa Lucia and Adoration Stakes at Santa Anita in April and… Read the rest of this entry >>

Madefromlucky, War Story Head Stacked G2 West Virginia Derby Saturday

Madefromlucky earned a shot in the Belmont Stakes with his win in the G2 Peter Pan

Madefromlucky earned a shot in the Belmont Stakes with his win in the G2 Peter Pan

By Bill Mooney

A field of 11 has been entered for the 46th running of the Grade 2, $750,000 West Virginia Derby. The 1 1/8-mile event highlights a nine-race card, comprised entirely of open stakes, to be run this Saturday at Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort. Post time for the first race will be 2 p.m.

Todd A. Pletcher, a seven-time Eclipse Award winner as North America’s outstanding trainer, has entered three horses in this year’s West Virginia Derby. The trio includes Madefromlucky, who won the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park; Stanford, who was second in a photo in the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds; and Tommy Macho, who finished third in Belmont’s Grade 2 Dwyer Stakes.

Also in the field are Tale of Verve, who finished second to Triple Crown winner American… Read the rest of this entry >>

The Big Beast Returns to the Spa in G1 Vanderbilt Saturday

The Big Beast has only run twice since last year's success at Saratoga

The Big Beast has only run twice since last year’s success at Saratoga. Photo by Adam Coglianese

Last summer, The Big Beast lived up to his name both in size and performance. Standing more than 17 hands tall, he romped to a front-running allowance score in his first try against winners before taking the Grade 1 King’s Bishop by a neck in his stakes debut.

A towering bay son of multiple graded stakes-winning sprinter Yes It’s True, The Big Beast makes his return to Saratoga Race Course on Saturday in the Grade 1, $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt for sprinters 3 and up on the main track.

The 31st running of the Vanderbilt drew a salty field of seven horses that have combined to win 15 graded stakes and more than $5 million in purse earnings. It is carded eighth on an 11-race program that also includes the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy for 3-year-olds; Grade 2, $250,000 Bowling Green for older turf horses; and the Grade 2, $200,000 Amsterdam for sophomore sprinters.

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Lady Eli Making Progress in Her Fight Against Laminitis

Lady Eli is making significant progress in her fight against laminitis according to trainer Chad Brown

Lady Eli is making significant progress in her fight against laminitis according to trainer Chad Brown

Trainer Chad Brown gave an update on his undefeated filly, Lady Eli, Thursday, saying she is making progress in her fight against a case of laminitis. Brown says the filly is doing very well considering what she’s gone through and as well as she possibly can at this point.

Lady Eli is stabled at Brown’s barn at Belmont Park. He says she gets out to graze 30-minutes daily in the courtyard in front of the barn. He is quite pleased at the growth of the hoof and says she is moving comfortably.

Brown traces the problems back to the day she won the Belmont Oaks Invitational. On her walk back to the barn she stepped on a nail. Days later she started showing signs of laminitis which is an inflamation of the tissue within the hoof and is very painful for the horse and often can be fatal because the animal… Read the rest of this entry >>

Desormeaux Allowed to Resume Riding: Failed Breathalyzer Test

Kent Desormeaux#2The Del Mar stewards announced Thursday morning that jockey Kent Desormeaux would be allowed to resume riding but that they were turning the matter over to the California Horse Racing Board. The stewards said Desormeaux failed a breathalyzer test on Wednesday and that was the reason for his removal from the races.

The CHRB investigation could take a week to ten days. In the meantime, Desormeaux will have to take a breathalyzer test everyday before he rides.

Ed Zieralski of the San Diego Union says Desormeaux told him it was ice carbonated water that blew up the breathalyzer test he took Wednesday.

Desormeaux was removed from the last two mounts at Del Mar Wednesday after what the stewards called an incident “earlier in the day.” He had ridden his first mount, Prodigious, to a fifth place finish in the first race, his second mount, Chromium to another 5th place finish in the second race, Clever Royal to a third place finish in the third race and Tequila Mary to a fifth place finish in race #4. The stewards removed Desormeaux from the 5th and 6th races.

Desormeaux’s agent had told the Union-Tribune that the jockey was complaining of migraine headaches.     Read the rest of this entry >>

American Pharoah Watch: Draws Post #4 in Sunday’s Haskell


American Pharoah will leave from the middle when they pop the gates for the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park Sunday afternoon.

The Triple Crown winner drew post #4 in a field of eight at Thursday morning’s post position draw. The Haskell is a 1 1/8 restricted for 3-year old colts. It will be race #12, post time will be 5:52Pm EDT and it will be broadcast on NBC.

Here is the field for the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park

  1. Upstart                                Rick Violette Jr           Joe Bravo                      6-1
  2. Competitive Edge               Todd Pletcher             Mike Smith                     8-1
  3. Noona’s Boy                       Todd Pletcher             TBD                               30-1
  4. American Pharoah              Bob Baffert                  Victor Espinoza            1-5
  5. Mr. Jordan                           Ed Plesa Jr.                 Paco Lopez                 15-1
  6. Keen Ice                              Dale Romans               Kent Desormeaux       12-1
  7. Top Clearance                    Wayne Catalano          Abel Castellano            30-1
  8. Don’t Bet With Bruno          Todd Pletcher              TBD                               30-1

Doug O’Neill Sets Del Mar Record With Five Wins Wednesday

A High Five for Doug O'Neill at Del Mar

A High Five for Doug O’Neill at Del Mar

Doug O’Neill, four times the leading trainer at Del Mar in his highly successful career, set an all-time Del Mar record for most wins in a day by a Thoroughbred conditioner Wednesday when he saddled five winners on the eight-race program

The 47-year-old native of Dearborn, Michigan eclipsed the mark of four wins on a single program first established by the legendary Red McDaniel onSeptember 4, l954 and equaled by him two days later September 6. Matching the standard in subsequent years were Farrell W. Jones, who won eleven training titles at Del Mar and accomplished the feat August 13, l963, followed by two Hall of Famers, Ron McAnally (August 20, l989) and Jack Van Berg (August 3, l995. Most recently, John Sadler had a… Read the rest of this entry >>

Wild Wednesday at Del Mar: Desormeaux Taken Off Mounts

Kent Desormeaux was taken off his mounts in races 5 and 6 over an issue the steward say will be addressed in the morning.

Kent Desormeaux was taken off his mounts in races 5 and 6 over an issue the stewards say will be addressed in the morning.

The news coming out of Del Mar was fast and furious for a time Wednesday afternoon.

Of course the day started with the departure of American Pharoah who had his connections up before the crack of dawn preparing the Triple Crown winner for his journey across country to New Jersey. He left via van for Ontario Int’l Airport, about an hour plus drive north from Del Mar.

Then came the afternoon and moments before the start of race #3 and the start of the pick 6, the pool jumped over $3 million, aided by a double carryover of $562,765.

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G1 Haskell Invitiational Purse Increased to $1.75 Million

American Pharoah will be running for a lot more money on Sunday

American Pharoah will be running for a lot more money on Sunday

Shortly after the arrival of Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah Wednesday, Monmouth Park announced a whopping $750,000 purse increase to the William Hill Haskell Invitational, which is to be renewed for the 48th time this Sunday, Aug. 2.

“The Haskell has been called the fourth jewel of the Triple Crown,” said Bob Kulina, president of Darby Development LLC, operators of Monmouth Park Racetrack.  “With the Derby purse at $2 million and the Preakness and Belmont going to $1.5 million, it’s only fitting that we join in that mix for our race, which has proven itself the next logical step for 3-year-olds following the Triple Crown.”

The $750,000 addition to the purse makes this year’s Haskell, with a total purse of $1,750,000, the richest non-Breeders’ Cup horse race ever run in New Jersey and recognizes the prestige of a Triple Crown winner running at Monmouth Park.

“We’ve all waited a long time to see a Triple Crown-winning horse and we’re thankful to the Zayat family and trainer Bob Baffert for choosing to showcase their champion at Monmouth Park,” Kulina said.  “It will be a historic day for horse racing, Monmouth Park… Read the rest of this entry >>

Frosted to Battle Texas Red in G2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga Saturday

Frosted is expected to go off the favorite in a very contentious G2 Jim Dandy

Frosted is expected to go off the favorite in a very contentious G2 Jim Dandy

A field of seven 3-year-olds will hope to use Saturday’s Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy as a springboard to the centerpiece of the Saratoga Race Course meet, the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers on August 29.

The 1 1/8-mile Jim Dandy, named for the upset winner of the 1930 edition of the Travers, has delivered four colts in the past five years to “Midsummer Derby” glory, most recently Will Take Charge in 2013, who finished second in that year’s Jim Dandy before taking the Travers.

Leading the field for the 52nd edition of the Jim Dandy is Grade 1 Wood Memorial winner Frosted, from the barn of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and Godolphin Racing.

A gray son of Tapit, Frosted finished second in his debut at the Spa before going on to… Read the rest of this entry >>