Hoppertunity, Constitution Get Long Awaited Showdown in G1 Clark Friday

Constitution (inside) returns to grade stakes company in the G1 Clark Friday. Photo by Lauren King

Constitution (inside), winning the Florida Derby, returns to grade stakes company in the G1 Clark Friday. Photo by Lauren King

By Darren Rogers

Constitution and Hoppertunity, two auspicious 3-year-olds that were denied starts in the Kentucky Derby because of ill-timed setbacks, look for redemption Friday at Churchill Downs against seven rivals in the 140th renewal of the $500,000-added G1 Clark Handicap.

The Clark Handicap, one of the country’s most prestigious races for 3-year-olds and up and the centerpiece of a special 12-race “Black Friday” program at the famed Louisville racetrack, will go as Race 11 at approximately 5:35 p.m. (all times Eastern). Friday’s first race is 12:40 p.m.

Pick of the Litter and Departing, separated by a neck in the $200,000 G2 Fayette at Keeneland on Oct. 25, will be the 121-pound starting co-high weights, but Florida Derby (GI) winner Constitution – the lone… Read the rest of this entry >>

Tom’s Tribute Back At Favorite Track in G2 Seabiscuit at Del Mar

Tom's Tribute and jockey Mike Smith won the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile last summer at Del Mar. © BENOIT PHOTO

Tom’s Tribute and jockey Mike Smith won the Grade 2 Del Mar Mile last summer at Del Mar. © BENOIT PHOTO

Tom’s Tribute, top older horse and grass competitor last summer at Del Mar, leads a field of ten older horses in Friday’s $250,000 G2 Seabiscuit Handicap.

Mike Smith has the mount on the 4-year-old son of Lionheart, the likely favorite in the 1 1/16 mile test over Del Mar’s Jimmy Durante Turf Course. Last time he was here, Tom’s Tribute won the Grade I Eddie Read Stakes and the Grade II Del Mar Mile.

He’ll line up against some pretty formidable foes Friday. Za Approval ships in from the East Coast where he won a stakes race his last time out at Belmont Park. Boozer is stepping up to graded stakes company… Read the rest of this entry >>

Princess Violet Looks to Assert Her Dominance in G3 Go For Wand Friday

Princess Violet was a five=length winner of the Empire Calssic last time out. Photo by Adam Coglianese

Princess Violet was a five=length winner of the Empire Calssic last time out. Photo by Adam Coglianese

By Sean Morris

An intriguing blend of up-and-coming fillies and hard-knocking mares is set to enter the starting gate on Friday at Aqueduct Racetrack for the Grade 3, $300,000 Go For Wand Handicap.

The one-mile Go For Wand, carded as the ninth race on a 10-race program, is the middle leg of the Thanksgiving Week stakes action at The Big A.

Leading the contingent of up-and-comers in the Go For Wand is the 3-year-old filly, Princess Violet. The Mike Hushion trainee was a 5 ½-length winner of the 1 1/16-mile Empire Distaff Handicap against older New York-breds, which earned her a Beyer Speed Figure of 93. Prior to the Empire Distaff, all of Princess Violet’s wins had come at sprint distances, though the daughter of Officer finished second to Breeders’Cup Distaff winner Untapable in the Grade 1, 1 1/16-mile Mother… Read the rest of this entry >>

Finnegans Wake Rolls in G2 Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar

Finnegans Wake and Victor Espinoza, overtake Patrioticandproud to win the G2 Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar. ©Benoit Photo

Finnegans Wake and Victor Espinoza, overtake Patrioticandproud to win the G2 Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar. ©Benoit Photo

Under deft handling by jockey Victor Espinoza, Finnegans Wake rallied between horses entering the stretch, then fought off longshot Patrioticandproud in the final sixteenth to score a neck triumph in the featured Grade II $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup before a Thanksgiving Day holiday crowd of 4,692.

Finnegans Wake, owned by Donegal Racing and Rockingham Ranch and trained by Peter Miller, came into the race off a tenth-place finish behind Main Sequence in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita November 1.

Sent postward at 7-2, Finnegans Wake, a five-year-old son of Powerscourt, accomplished the mile and one-half  on the grass in 2:27.35, establishing a course record since the race marked the first time the distance had been raced on turf in Del Mar history.

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Frivolous Holds On At 19-1 to Win G2 Falls City at Churchill Downs

Frivolous scores at 19-1 in the G2 Falls City at Churchill Downs.

Frivolous scores at 19-1 in the G2 Falls City at Churchill Downs. Photo by Reed Palmer

By Darren Rogers

Balloons under the spires at Churchill Downs as Frivolous holds off the two race favorites, Don’t Tell Sophia on one side and Molly Morgan on the other, to win the G2 Falls City at 19-1.

Frivolous grabbed the lead at the head of the stretch and turned back late challenges by 4-5 favorite Don’t Tell Sophia, Molly Morgan and Flashy American to spring the upset in the 99th running of the $222,600 Falls City Handicap – the traditional Thanksgiving Day feature at Churchill Downs.

Frivolous, trained by owner G. Watts Humphrey’s daughter Vicki Oliver, ran 1 1/8 miles on a “fast” main track in 1:51.24 under 117 pounds and jockey Jon Court, who turned 54 last Sunday. In doing so, the 4-year-old homebred… Read the rest of this entry >>

Salutos Amigos Carries Top Weight to Win in G3 Fall Highweight

Salutos Amigos sloshes home first in the G3 Fall Highweight at Aqueduct. Photo by Adam Coglianese

Salutos Amigos sloshes home first in the G3 Fall Highweight at Aqueduct. Photo by Adam Coglianese

By Jenny Kellner

Two cross-country trips this month hasn’t effected Salutos Amigos’ form as the 4-year old runs down the field and runs off with the G3 Fall Highweight at sloppy Aqueduct.

Watch: Salutos Amigos splish splash to victory

Favored Salutos Amigos relished the sloppy going at Aqueduct Racetrack on Thursday, rallying from far back to capture the 101st running of the Grade 3, $300,000 Fall Highweight Handicap, the Thanksgiving Day feature at the Big A.

Lugging high weight of 133 pounds, including jockey Cornelio Velasquez, Salutos Amigos was content to linger towards the back of the pack as Weekend Hideaway and La Verdad led through an opening quarter-mile in… Read the rest of this entry >>

California Chrome Daily Update: Gallop On Lawn Thursday Pleases Sherman

California Chrome on the turf at Del Mar Thursday. Photo by Teresa H. Bernhardt

Trainer Art Sherman watches California Chrome on the turf at Del Mar Thursday. Photo by Teresa H. Bernhardt

By Jim Charvat

It would appear that California Chrome has passed his last test on the turf and unless there’s some dramatic change between now and Saturday, he will run in the G1 Hollywood Derby.

Thursday morning ‘Chrome’ stepped on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course at Del Mar for the second time this week and galloped the length of the stretch, another test by trainer, Art Sherman, to make sure his Derby champ takes to the grass and is at his best when he faces Grade 1 company on Saturday. He passed with flying colors.

“They had a hard time pulling him up (on the backstretch), he was on the bit pretty good,” Sherman said as he turned to cross the track back to the… Read the rest of this entry >>

Happy Thanksgiving From sdhorserace.com: What We Are Thankful For

thanksgiving-pictures-with-horses-5It has been a great year at sdhorserace.com, for that we are very thankful. But there are other things we are grateful for on this Thanksgiving…

We are thankful for all the great race horses that performed for us this year. California Chrome, Bayern, Untapable, and Wise Dan, just to name a few.

We are thankful for this year’s Triple Crown, the exciting victories by California Chrome and the exhilarating, if not disappointing for some, outcome in the Belmont Stakes. Horse racing was alive again by the month of June… Read the rest of this entry >>

California Chrome, Lexie Lou Entered in the G1 Hollywood Derby

California Chrome is a go for Saturday's G1 Hollywood Derby

California Chrome has been entered in Saturday’s G1 Hollywood Derby

As expected, Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome was entered Wednesday morning for Saturday’s Grade I $300,000 Hollywood Derby  and will face five rivals in the 1 1/8-mile run over the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.

But what makes an already intriguing race more attractive is that this year’s Queen’s Plate winner, Lexie Lou, the 3-year old filly out of Mark Casse’s barn, was also entered in the Derby. If the two run on Saturday, it would be the first time since 2006 that the Derby and Queen’s Plate winners faced-off in the same race. The Queen’s Plate is Canada’s Kentucky Derby… Read the rest of this entry >>

Opening Day at Tampa Bay Downs Saturday

Tampa Bay Downs opens its 89 day meet on Saturday.

Tampa Bay Downs opens its 89 day meet on Saturday.

A 10-race card featuring full fields and three turf races welcomes horsemen, bettors and fans to Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday for the resumption of the track’s 89th anniversary season.

Post time for the first race is 12:22 p.m. EST. It’s the beginning of an 89-day meet that runs through the Kentucky Derby weekend. Live racing will be conducted on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday except in February, when the horses will run five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday.

Racing Secretary Allison De Luca’s list of overnight entries includes 111 horses for the 10 races, with overflows of 14 horses for both the… Read the rest of this entry >>