By Jenny Kellner
Highlighted by the inaugural Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, encompassing three days of world-class stakes racing including the 147th running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, Belmont Park opens on Wednesday, April 29 for its 59-day spring/summer meet with exciting thoroughbred action and a wide-ranging array of special events designed to enhance the guest experience.
The oldest and longest leg of racing’s elusive Triple Crown, the 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes this year will be supported by three days of outstanding racing, featuring 17 stakes races worth more than $10 million from Thursday, June 4 through Belmont Stakes Day, Saturday June 6. Read the rest of this entry >>
By Jim Charvat
Steve Coburn announced Monday afternoon that California Chrome will skip the prep race they had tentatively planned for their colt and train up to the Prince of Wales Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
California Chrome continues to train at the Rae Guest yard in Newmarket. He has yet to put in any published works and in an update released last week, Guest said he had not even begun training ‘Chrome’ to go clockwise on the track, opposite what they run here in the states. Trainer Alan Sherman, who is back at Los Alamitos, said running a different way will be one of the colt’s toughest adjustments to European racing.
Via their facebook page, the Coburns said their Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner… Read the rest of this entry >>
By Jim Charvat
Rider Sheldon Russell remained hospitalized Monday morning as he recovers from injuries he suffered in a spill at Pimlico on Saturday.
Jockey agent, Marty Leonard told Jim Dunleavy of DRF.com that Russell suffered fractured ribs and a punctured lung and doctors inserted a tube to drain fluid off Russell’s lung Monday morning.
Russell was riding Political Farce in the fifth race at Pimlico when his mount appeared to clip heels after horses to his inside bore out. No word on the condition of the horse, a 5-year old gelding but the horse who he clipped heels with, Who Dat Boy, came back lame and had to be vanned off the track.
Russell had just won the jockey’s title at Laurel Park and was currently fourth in the Pimlico standings.
How much time he will miss has not been determined. He was scheduled to be re-evaluated Monday afternoon.
By Jim Charvat
UAE Derby winner, Mubtaahij loaded onto a van at Arlington Park and went for a ride Monday…destination, Churchill Downs. The big strapping colt is expected to arrive in Louisville by late afternoon, around 5-or-6 local time.
Trained by Michael de Kock, Mubtaahij has been training at Arlington Park for the good part of a month since arriving from Dubai following his impressive 8-length victory. Some have questioned de Kock’s decision to train the horse on the polytrack at Arlington, given the race is run on dirt. But those who question de Kock’s training decisions should seriously think twice and beside, Mubtaahij won on the dirt surface in Dubai, so it shouldn’t be an issue. Also, he did much of his training on the small ‘dirt’… Read the rest of this entry >>
By Jim Charvat
American Pharoah has done nothing but impress people since he arrived at Churchill Downs two weeks ago, and for that matter, has done nothing but impress since returning to the races last month.
That continued Sunday with what is expected to be his final work before running in the Kentucky Derby Saturday. The probable Derby favorite went 5-furlongs in 58.2 under Martin Garcia. It was also American Pharoah’s only work since arriving in Louisville April 13th after his impressive victory in the G1 Arkansas Derby two days earlier.
Trainer Bob Baffert said afterward that they have the son of Pioneerof the Nile right where… Read the rest of this entry >>
Patience is a virtue. You’d get no argument from Tyler Baze on that account, as he bided his time and orchestrated a thrilling nose victory in Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 Wilshire Stakes aboard the Eric Kruljac-conditioned Blingismything who prevailed in a four-horse photo while covering a flat mile on turf in 1:37.16.
Next to last with a quarter mile to run in a compact field of six fillies and mares 3-and-up, Baze split horses two off the rail a sixteenth out and eked out the win over a fast closing Smoove It, who was caught wide with Mario Gutierrez up.
“I won pretty easy, I thought,” said Baze. “She’s just a nice filly. I broke her… Read the rest of this entry >>
By Najja Thompson
Heading into Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Excelsior Stakes, New York-Bred Effinex was considered an after-thought by many as a stable-mate to heavily favored Wicked Strong. However, following a winter freshening he’s returned a fresh horse and his connections were handsomely rewarded as he moved impressively to earn his first graded stakes victory at the Big A.
A 4-year-old son of Mineshaft, Effinex, making just his second start of the year, was given a break for the majority of the winter by trainer Jimmy Jerkens following a fourth-place finish in the Alex M. Robb Stakes on December 31. Initially making his return to the racetrack on March 27… Read the rest of this entry >>
Longshot Si Sage stalked pacesetter Joes Blazing Aaron to the top of the stretch and went on to a convincing 3 ¼ length win under Elvis Trujillo in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Last Tycoon Stakes as he covered 1 ¼ miles on turf in 2:02.08.
Trained by Darrell Vienna, who fitted French-bred Si Sage with blinkers for the first time, Si Sage had shown promise on occasion but entered the Last Tycoon winless in 10 stateside starts.
“I rode him the time before his last race and I told Darrell that I thought he needed blinkers,” said Trujillo. “He breezed with blinkers and he breezed… Read the rest of this entry >>
G. G. Ryder dealt stablemate Summer Hit his third consecutive tough defeat in the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile when he won the $100,000 turf stakes by a half-length Saturday at Golden Gate Fields.
Ridden by Ricardo Gonzalez, G. G. Ryder ran down front-running Summer Hit and jockey Russell Baze in the final yards to give trainer Jerry Hollendorfer the exacta in the top grass race of the spring meeting.
The SF Mile was contested on rain-dampened course rated “soft” and G. G. Ryder prevailed in 1:37.87. Summer Hit, who lost the 2013 SF Mile by a neck to Tigah and last year’s running by three-quarters of a length to Pepper Crown, took third by three-quarters of a length over Are You Kidding Me and jockey Brice Blanc. Read the rest of this entry >>