Wicked Strong, Honor Code Return in Gulfstream Park Handicap Saturday

Wicked Strong schools in the paddock Wednesday in preparation for his return to the races and 2015 debut Saturday

Wicked Strong schools in the paddock Wednesday in preparation for his return to the races and 2015 debut Saturday at Gulfstream Park

Grade 1 winner Wicked Strong and Grade 2 winner Honor Code, will each be making their 4-year-old debuts in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) Saturday. It’s the 71st running of the one-mile race for older dirt horses and up.

First in the Wood Memorial (G1) and Jim Dandy (G2) and second by a nose to stablemate V. E. Day in the Travers (G1), Wicked Strong has not raced since clipping heels and losing rider Rajiv Maragh in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) on September 27 at Belmont Park. Wicked Strong spent part of his Wednesday afternoon schooling in Gulfstream’s walking ring.

“We wanted to bring him over and try to keep him from getting too nervous when he runs,” James Jerkens said. “I didn’t really want to wait much longer than this to get him started. It probably isn’t ideal, a… Read the rest of this entry >>

Shared Belief Arrives in So. Cal: Favored to Win Big Cap Saturday

Shared Belief arrives at Santa Anita after a nine hour van ride down from NorCal.

Shared Belief arrives at Santa Anita after a nine hour van ride down from NorCal.

America’s top rated older horse, once-beaten Shared Belief, towers over a field of 13 older horses set to compete in the 78th running of the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino at a mile and quarter this Saturday.

With his only defeat coming as the result of a controversial start in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 1, Shared Belief comes off a facile win over reigning Horse of the Year California Chrome in the Grade 2 San Antonio Invitational on Feb. 7, his ninth win from 10 career starts.

A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Candy Ride, Shared Belief has tactical speed, tremendous heart and has proven himself at 1 ¼ miles, as he… Read the rest of this entry >>

Wise Dan: Retire Him, Already

Wise Dan is 8-years old and has done all there is to do by a racehorse

Wise Dan is 8-years old and has done all there is to do by a racehorse

By Jim Charvat

All this talk about Wise Dan returning in the Woodford Reserve at Churchill Downs on Derby Day, the 8-year old gelding tack-walking on the farm, how the connections will not bring him back unless the x-rays are 100-percent…STOP!!!

Just retire him, already.

Here is a horse that has nothing left to prove. He’s a two time Horse of the Year, he’s won Breeders’ Cup races and every other big grass race out there. What is the point of bringing him back from a leg injury and risking something bad happening.

Before I continue I want to make it perfectly clear that this is certainly not a criticism or… Read the rest of this entry >>

Kentucky Derby Point Standings: Week of 3-2-15

derby rosesThere were no Kentucky Derby prep races last week so there is no change in the Derby Point Standings this week, but that is all about to change come Saturday.

There are three big Derby preps this weekend, which will certainly re-shape the entire standings as we know them.

The G3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct will feature El Kabeir, currently 4th on the leaderboard. Then there’s the G3 Tampa Bay Derby and the 2015 debut of Carpe Diem, ranked #8 in the standings.

Finally, we get the showdown of undefeated’s, Dortmund (#7) and Ocho Ocho Ocho (#13) in… Read the rest of this entry >>

Take Charge Brandi To Take On Colts in G2 Rebel at Oaklawn Mar. 14

Take Charge Brandi will test the waters and run against the colts in her next race

Take Charge Brandi will test the waters and run against the colts in her next race

By Jim Charvat

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has announced that Take Charge Brandi will test the boys in her next race, the G2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, March 14th.

Lukas told DRF.com that owner Willis Horton wants to run against the colts and for the larger purse. They had been considering the G3 Honeybee this Saturday, a race for 3-year old fillies and a prep for the G1 Fantasy which is a prep for the Kentucky Oaks.

She put in a nice work on Monday, going 5-furlongs in 1:01.8 in company and that was good enough for the connections to make the change in plans and enter her in the Rebel.

Read the rest of this entry >>

Texas Suspends Chapa for Five Years For Carrying Buzzer in Race

The Coady Photo that has led to Roman Chapa's suspension

The Coady Photo that led to Roman Chapa’s suspension

By Jim Charvat

Jockey Roman Chapa has been suspended from racing for the next five years by the Texas Racing Commission for carrying an electric device in a race at Sam Houston Park.

Vote: Let us know how you feel. Visit “At the Post” in the right column

Chapa has denied all of the charges, at one point claiming someone is trying to frame… Read the rest of this entry >>

American Pharoah, Dortmund Top Entries in 3rd Ky Derby Future Wager

American Pharoah getting a little rest before he continues down the Derby Trail

American Pharoah getting a little rest before he continues down the Derby Trail

By John Asher

Three days of brisk wagering in the third of four pools in Churchill Down’s Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KOFW”) drew to a close Sunday evening with the Mutuel Field (#24), or “All Others”, as a 4-1 favorite.

But three-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert’s duo of American Pharoah (#1) and Dortmund (#6) were close behind, reflecting solid fan support for a wide-ranging group of contenders for the upcoming 141st “Run for the Roses.”

Wagering on KDFW Pool 3, which opened at noon Eastern time on Thursday, Feb. 27 and concluded Sunday, March 1 at 6 p.m., totaled $422,331 and pushed combined betting on this year’s first three Kentucky Derby Future pools to $1,105,503.  The Pool 3… Read the rest of this entry >>

Espinoza, Nakatani Among Hall of Fame Finalists Announced Monday

Four jockeys, two trainers and four horses are one step closer to getting in the Hall in Saratoga, N.Y

Four jockeys, two trainers and four horses are one step closer to getting in the Hall in Saratoga, N.Y

Four jockeys, four Thoroughbreds and two trainers comprise the 10 finalists on the National Museum of Racing’s 2015 Hall of Fame ballot, as selected by the Museum’s Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. The finalists are: jockeys Chris Antley, Victor Espinoza, Corey Nakatani and Craig Perret; Thoroughbreds Black Tie Affair, Kona Gold, Lava Man and Xtra Heat; and trainers King Leatherbury and David Whiteley.

Espinoza, Nakatani, Black Tie Affair, Lava Man, Leatherbury and Whiteley are first-time finalists. Hall of Fame voters may select as many candidates as they believe are worthy of induction to the Hall of Fame. The four candidates with the highest vote totals will be elected.

Espinoza, 42, began his career in 1993 and has won 3,188 races through Feb. 24. He… Read the rest of this entry >>

Shared Belief Assigned 125-Pounds, Top Weight for Saturday’s Big Cap

Shared Belief was assigned high weight for next Saturday's Big Cap

There are some who consider Shared Belief is the best horse in the country and that includes racing secretary at Santa Anita

Shared Belief, “the best horse in the country,” will carry his greatest impost ever, top weight of 125 pounds, in Saturday’s Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Handicap.

“I don’t think Jerry had any complaints,” said Jerry Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward of the 125 assigned to Shared Belief, the once-beaten male 2-year-old champion of 2013 who defeated 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome in the San Antonio Invitational on Feb. 7.

“The racing secretary told us Shared Belief is the best horse in the country,” Ward said, adding that the disparity in weights from high… Read the rest of this entry >>

I’m a Chatterbox Tops Take Charge Brandi in Ky Oaks Future Wager

Rachel Alexandra winner, I'm A Chatterbox topped the indvidiual entries in the KOFW

Rachel Alexandra winner, I’m A Chatterbox topped the indvidiual entries in the KOFW

Racing fans had some difficulty in separating the major contenders for this year’s running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) during Churchill Downs’ 2015 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”), so they settled on the “Mutuel Field” (#24), or “All Others”, as a mild favorite over individual stars I’m A Chatterbox (#4), champion Take Charge Brandi (#22) and Condo Commando (#4) at Sunday evening’s conclusion of three days of betting.

The “All Others” bet was installed as the 5-2 favorite in Churchill Downs Handicapper Mike Battaglia’s morning line odds for the Kentucky Oaks Future Bet. But support was strong for a trio of individual stars and the… Read the rest of this entry >>