California Chrome: Works On Turf At Del Mar, Likely For Hollywood Derby

California Chrome breezes four furlongs in :52

California Chrome breezes four furlongs in :52

By Jim Charvat

Art Sherman hedged, just a little bit, saying he wants to put one more “breeze down the stretch” into California Chrome, but that he’s excited about running him in next Saturday’s Hollywood Derby and that he will go ahead and enter his colt in the Grade 1 race Wednesday.

Watch: California Chrome at Del Mar

With a few hundred spectators and his trainer, Art Sherman looking on, California Chrome stepped on the turf course at Del Mar like he was… Read the rest of this entry >>

A Winning Performance By Big Macher in Cary Grant Stakes at Del Mar

Big Macher and jockey Rafael Bejarano, hold off Rousing Sermon and Elvis Trujillo to win the Cary Grant Stakes Sunday at the Del Mar. ©BENOIT PHOTO

Big Macher and jockey Rafael Bejarano, hold off Rousing Sermon and Elvis Trujillo to win the Cary Grant Stakes Sunday at the Del Mar. ©BENOIT PHOTO

Displaying the gameness that he has become known for, Big Macher, the 7-5 favorite ridden by Rafael Bejarano, fought off the two-pronged attack of longshot Rousing Sermon and previously unbeaten Red Outlaw to win  the featured $100,000 Cary Grant Stakes Sunday at Del Mar.

Big Macher, victor in the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes last summer at Del Mar, dueled with 16-1 longshot Rousing Sermon from the start of the seven-furlong sprint, responded in the stretch when Red Outlaw joined the battle from the outside and then prevailed by a neck in the final yards over a tenacious Rousing Sermon.

Red Outlaw, the 3-2 second choice after winning six races in a row, faltered in the late… Read the rest of this entry >>

Calgary Cat Wins G2 Kennedy Road, Boosts Chances for Sovereign Award

Jockey Eurico Da Silva guides Calgary Cat to victory in the G2 Kennedy Road Stakes at Woodbine. Michael Burns photo

Jockey Eurico Da Silva guides Calgary Cat to victory in the G2 Kennedy Road Stakes at Woodbine. Michael Burns photo

Calgary Cat exploded down the lane to capture Sunday’s Grade 2 $207,200 Kennedy Road Stakes, at Woodbine and all but clinching this year’s Sovereign Award for top sprinter in Canada.

Trained by Kevin Attard, the victory marked a second graded win this season for the former claimer who may have secured champion sprinter honours with the performance. Claimed for $25,000 on November 15, 2013, Calgary Cat notched a three-length score in the Grade 3 Bold Venture Stakes on September 13.

Go Blue Or Go Home set splits of :21.90 and :44.15 in the Kennedy Road under pressure from Sparrowhawk with Black Hornet tracking their early foot from third position.  Calgary Cat, last of eight at… Read the rest of this entry >>

Ocho Ocho Ocho outduels Mr. Z for G3 Delta Jackpot Win

Ocho Ocho Ocho (inside) hangs on against Mr. Z in thrilling G3 Delta Jackpot.

Ocho Ocho Ocho (inside) hangs on against Mr. Z in thrilling G3 Delta Jackpot.

Under the strong urging of Hall of Fame Jockey Mike Smith, DP Racing’s 5-2 favorite Ocho Ocho Ocho defeated second choice Mr. Z by a nose in a thrilling stretch drive to win the $1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot (GIII) for 2-year-olds at Delta Downs Racetrack and Casino Saturday, and earned 10 points towards a starting position in the 2015 Road to the Kentucky Derby series.

The Jackpot was the centerpiece of another record-breaking Jackpot Day at Delta Downs as a new all-sources wagering mark of $5,203,535 on the 11-race was established.

Trained by Jim Cassidy, Ocho Ocho Ocho remained undefeated in three starts in his first attempt to race around two turns. A stewards’ inquiry and a claim of foul by jockey Corey Lanerie on third-place finisher Far Right, resulted in no change in the order… Read the rest of this entry >>

Take Charge Brandi Answers Critics With Big Win in G3 Delta Princess

Take Charge Brandi, with her ears pricked puts up a gallant victory in G3 Delta Princess

Take Charge Brandi, with her ears pricked, puts up a gallant fight in G3 Delta Princess

Take Charge Brandi puts all those doubters in their place with a stylish win in the G3 Delta Princess at Delta Downs. Many thought her win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly was a fluke, winning at 60-1. But she put in a strong performance Saturday, strengthening D.Wayne Lukas’ argument that she deserves the Eclipse Award for top 2-year old filly in 2014.

Lukas, who would be unlucky in the Delta Jackpot about a half hour later, now has the front runner for the champion 2-year-old filly Eclipse Award in Take Charge Brandi following her 1 ½ length victory in the $400,000 Delta Downs Princess (GIII) at one mile.  Owned by Willis Horton,  Take Charge Brandi, came into the Princess following her  upset win in the $2 million 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) on November 1 at Santa Anita Park.

Ridden by Paco Lopez, Take Charge Brandi pressed the early pace with Vivian Da Bling but shook loose at the top of the stretch and held off second place Skipalute. Take Charge Brandi ($6.40) improved her career record to three wins in seven starts and boosted her career earnings to $1,410,126. She completed the one mile in 1:39.60. Take Charge Brandi also earned 10 points on… Read the rest of this entry >>

Three Hearts Captures the G3 Red Carpet at Del Mar at 25-1

Team Valor's Three Hearts and jockey Joe Talamo win the Grade III $100,000 Red Carpet Handicap Saturday, November 22, 2014 at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar, CA.©BENOIT PHOTO

Team Valor’s Three Hearts and jockey Joe Talamo win the Grade 3 Red Carpet Handicap at Del Mar. ©BENOIT PHOTO

Three Hearts, winless since April of 2013, ended her losing streak in a big way Saturday with a surprise victory at odds of 29-1 in the featured $100,000 Red Carpet Handicap before 18,083 fans.

Ridden by Joe Talamo and trained by Hall of Famer Neil Drysdale, Three Hearts gamely withstood the prolonged challenge of Lady of Gold to win by a half-length in 2:15.54 for the mile and three-eighths over Del Mar’s infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course.

Lady Pimpernel was a fast-closing third, a neck behind the runner-up and a nose ahead of fourth-place Scooter Bird in the field of eleven older fillies and mares.

Three Hearts, a Kentucky-bred four-year-old daughter of Hat Trick, hadn’t won since an allowance success during Keeneland’s spring season of last year.

“Neil (trainer Neil Drysdale) just said : “Don’t mess it up.’ No, I’m kidding,” Talamo joked afterward. “All he said was to  just ride her.’ My trip couldn’t have been more perfect. She broke good from the outside and I was able to get her over and save ground. She’s such a classy filly to ride; she relaxed so nicely. When I asked her she fired and we still had a lot left in the tank.”

Three Hearts returned $61.40,… Read the rest of this entry >>

N.Y-Bred Lubash Ships-in to Win the G3 Tropical Turf at G-P West

Lubash proves too much for the others in the G3 Tropical Turf at Gulfstream Park West

Lubash proves too much for the others in the G3 Tropical Turf at G-P West

Lubash had completed yet another successful New York season in which he finished no worse than second in six races for state-bred turf runners when trainer Christophe Clement second-guessed a plan to give the ultra-consistent 7-year-old campaigner an immediate break.

“His last race was so good, I decided to come here for the stake before he is turned out,” said Clement Saturday at Gulfstream Park West.

Lubash certainly didn’t look like he was in need of a break while posting a thoroughly professional triumph by a half-length in the $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap (G3) under jockey Brice Blanc.

“He’s a fun horse because he really, really wants to win,” said Clement following his New York-bred warrior’s 12th career victory and 25th in-the-money finish in his 39th start. “He always runs a good race and makes me look good. I like that.”

Lubash, the 8-5 favorite in a field of nine, settled nicely in mid-pack as Canadian invader Reporting Star opened up a clear lead around the first turn and along the backstretch. Reporting Star continued to show the way around the far turn and into the top of the stretch while receiving a stiff challenge by Grand Tito. The pacesetter… Read the rest of this entry >>

Honor Code Returns With Stylish Win in Return at Aqueduct

Honor Code weaves through traffic and gets up to win his comeback race at Aqueduct

Honor Code (left, green cap) weaves through traffic and gets up to win his comeback race at Aqueduct

Honor Code made a very good impression in his return to the races, sitting way back, off some ten lengths in the turn, then picking his way through traffic in the lane and running down a tough-luck, Maleeh, to win his comeback race at Aqueduct.

Watch: Honor Code is brilliant in his return

Always a fan favorite, Honor Code returned to the races in spectacular fashion, taking the  6 ½-furlong optional claimer with a breathtaking run from off the pace. The winner of last year’s Remsen at Aqueduct and runner-up in the Champagne at Belmont Park had not… Read the rest of this entry >>

Daring Kathy Gets First Graded Stakes Win in G3 My Charmer

Daring Kathy and jockey Abdiel Jaen in the winner's circle after taking the G3 My Charmer

Daring Kathy and jockey Abdiel Jaen in the winner’s circle after taking the G3 My Charmer

There were some significant questions facing Daring Kathy prior to Saturday’s $100,000 My Charmer Handicap (G3) at Gulfstream Park West. Facing older horses for the first time, the 3-year-old filly would be traveling farther than she ever had in her third try at a graded stakes.

Halfway through the 1 1/8-mile turf race, trainer David Fawkes already had his answer. Given a perfect ride by jockey Abdiel Jaen, Daring Kathy coasted through comfortable early fractions and drove away late for a 1 ¼-length victory.

It was the sixth victory in nine starts this year for Daring Kathy and fifth in seven tries since being moved to the grass by Fawkes in March. All five of her turf wins have come in her native Florida, the last two during GPW’s Fall Turf Festival meet.

“It was easy for me,” said Jaen, aboard for four of Daring Kathy’s wins, all turf stakes. “I was the lone speed. I went for it and was able to control the race. The pace was great. The filly gave me the… Read the rest of this entry >>

Strike Charmer Powers Her Way to Win in G3 Cardinal at Churchill Downs

Strike Charmer wins the G3 Cardinal at Churchill Downs.

Strike Charmer wins the G3 Cardinal at Churchill Downs. Photo by Reed Palmer

By John Asher

A brief freshening and a perfect stalking trip was the winning formula for 4-year-old filly Strike Charmer, who easily beat 13 rivals in Saturday’s 41st running of the $119,700 Cardinal Handicap (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.

Strike Charmer, ridden by Chris Landeros, ran 1 1/8 miles over a Matt Winn Turf Course that was rated “good” in 1:49.97 to defeat Pappascatby two lengths. Anotnia Autumn was another 1 ¼ lengths back in third.

Campaigned by owner/breeder Don Adam’s Courtlandt Farms, Strike Charmer provided veteran trainer David Carroll with a much-needed graded stakes win – his first since Acoma won… Read the rest of this entry >>