Alex Solis Returns to Ride Full Time on the West Coast

Alex Solis at Del Mar Race Course. 8.2.2005 Photo Credit: Horsephotos/NTRABy Hank Wesch

The Del Mar jockey colony will add a Hall of Fame rider this weekend when Alex Solis returns home to the West Coast after nearly five years being based in the east.

Solis, who became the 98th jockey inducted into the Hall of Fame earlier this month, has 4,992 career wins from 33,600 starts. His horses’ purse earnings are $235,699,608.

Solis, 50, is at  Del Mar but was still in the process of the coast-to-coast relocation Wednesday morning, his agent Brandon O’Bryan said. Solis was here Sunday for the Pacific Classic and was in the winner’s circle after Shared Belief – part-owned by his bloodstock agent son, Alex Jr., won the $1 million event.

O’Bryan said the connection with Solis was initiated by a phone call from East Coast super agent, Ron Anderson, who informed him that Solis desired to return to the West. Anderson… Read the rest of this entry >>

Moreno Looks to Wire ‘em in G1 Woodward Saturday at Saratoga

Moreno_2_Inside1By John Scheinman

What a difference a race makes.

Southern Equine Stable’s, Moreno, has long held a reputation as a fast and dangerous horse that fights hard all the way but gets caught at the end of the biggest graded stakes events. The 4-year-old Ghostzapper gelding changed that way of thinking in dramatic fashion August 2, winning the G1 Whitney, the richest race of the Saratoga meet, in front-running fashion over some of the top horses in training.

Now Moreno is one of the big kids on the block, and he will attempt to win the other major open Grade 1 route race of the meet when he runs Saturday in the $600,000 Woodward at 1 1/8 miles.

The Woodward, carded as… Read the rest of this entry >>

Wise Dan Faces Eight In Return Saturday at Saratoga

Wise_Dan_2_InsideBy Phil Janack

Seventeen weeks since his last race, and 106 days removed from emergency colic surgery, two-time Horse of the Year, Wise Dan, is set to make his return in Saturday’s G2 Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga Race Course.

The 7-year-old Morton Fink champion homebred is the 127-pound highweight in the 56th renewal of the 1 1/16-mile Baruch, for 3-year-olds and up on the inner turf course. It is one of four graded stakes on the program, along with the G1 Woodward, G1 Forego, and G2 Prioress.

Trained by Charles LoPresti, Wise Dan has won each of his two starts this year – the Grade 1… Read the rest of this entry >>

Shared Belief Heads Back Home to Northern California

Shared Belief#4By Hank Wesch

Shared Belief departed Del Mar on Wednesday morning on a van headed to the Golden Gate Fields headquarters of trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer. It was a 9 1/2 hour ride down to San Diego and should be the same heading back up to Oakland, with one difference. Shared Belief now has a grade 1 win against older horses under his belt.

Praise for the 3-year-old gelding’s Pacific Classic-winning performance continues to echo throughout the country. In New York, NBC Sports’ horse racing analyst, Randy Moss, moved the undefeated 3-year-old gelded son of Candy Ride to the No. 1 position in the latest “Randy’s Rankings” of the Top 10 Breeders’ Cup contenders for the… Read the rest of this entry >>

Road To the Kentucky Derby Schedule Released

road to derby

By Jim Charvat

Don’t look now but the road to the Kentucky Derby begins next weekend.

Churchill Downs released its schedule of races that will comprise the 2014-15 Road to the Kentucky Derby series beginning with the Iroquois at Churchill Downs September 6th.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby Schedule

The first part of the series, the Derby Prep Season, consists of 20 races and runs through February 16th. It includes such notable races as the Champagne at Belmont, the Frontrunner at Santa Anita, and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The series continues after the first of the year with such races as the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park, the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn, and the Withers, Robert B. Lewis and Southwest Stakes, among others.

The newest race added to… Read the rest of this entry >>

Social Inclusion Sidelined by Tendon Injury: Out Up to 60 Days

social inclusion#2By Jim Charvat

One of the favorites during the Triple Crown series this year will find himself on the sidelines for, at least, the next 60 days. Social Inclusion was diagnosed over the weekend with a tendon injury that new trainer, Chad Brown, hopes will heal with a few months of treatment and rest.

The colt burst on the national scene back in March when he upset then Derby favorite, Honor Code, in an open allowance race at Gulfstream Park, setting a track record for 1 1/16 mile. He disappointed as the favorite in the G1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct a month later and trainer, Manny Azpurua, decided to skip the Kentucky Derby and… Read the rest of this entry >>

Santa Anita’s Main Track Renovation Complete: Reopens For Training 9/2

Santa Anita#12Under the direction of Track Superintendent Dennis Moore, Santa Anita’s one mile main track has been totally renovated and its original sand and clay mix has been replaced by a single-source natural material known as El Segundo Sand. The track, which has been closed to training since July 11, will reopen for use on Sept 2, in advance of Santa Anita’s 2014 Autumn Meet, which begins Sept. 26.

A naturally occurring, indigenous soil, El Segundo Sand will help to ensure balanced drainage during periods of wet weather and a uniform, safe cushion year ‘round.

“It’s been my experience that the best surfaces around the country are all comprised… Read the rest of this entry >>

Itsmyluckyday to Wear Blinkers in G1 Woodward Saturday at Saratoga

ItsmyluckydayNew Jersey-based trainer, Eddie Plesa, said his multiple graded stakes-winning 4-year-old, Itsmyluckyday, will van up from Monmouth on Friday and is set to run the following afternoon at Saratoga in the Grade 1 Woodward, a 1 1/8-mile dirt fixture for 3-year-olds and up.

Itsmyluckyday, a son of Lawyer Ron, was a top 3-year-old last year, winning the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park before finishing second to Orb in the Grade 1 Florida Derby and to Oxbow in the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes. This year, he has come back strong, with three stakes victories. In his most recent start, he finished second to Moreno in the Grade 1 Whitney on August 2 at the Spa….  Read the rest of this entry >>

Fairgrounds, Woodbine to Make Improvements

Sunrise at the Fairgrounds in New Orleans

Sunrise at the Fairgrounds in New Orleans

By Jim Charvat

It is no secret that the trick to luring new fans to the race tracks, and keeping the regular customers coming back, is to constantly upgrade the facilities. With this in mind, the Fairgrounds, with a nudge from state regulators, has purchased two new video boards that will be installed in time for the start of the 2014-15 meet in November.

The video boards will be mounted on the tote board in the infield and in the paddock area. The infield monitor now in place hasn’t worked for years and was a bone of contention by fans and horsemen alike who complained to state regulators about the deterioration of the Fairgrounds. During the license renewal process with the owners, Churchill Downs Inc, last spring… Read the rest of this entry >>

Smith Named to Replace Stevens on Beholder

Beholder#7By Jim Charvat

Just when you thought Mike Smith’s life couldn’t get better, it has.

Fresh off his 4-win day Sunday at Del Mar, including two stakes races, including the G1 Pacific Classic, jockey Mike Smith has been named to replace, Gary Stevens, aboard Eclipse Award winner, Beholder.

The veteran jockey was aboard the champion mare this morning at Del Mar when she worked 7-furlongs in 1:24. She started the work five back of her workmate and was a length ahead at the finish. Afterward, trainer Richard Mandella, who lost his champion filly’s regular rider when… Read the rest of this entry >>