Danza Dominates in Arkansas Derby Shocker

Danza Dominates in Arkansas Derby Shocker

Danza Dominates in Arkansas Derby ShockerPhoto: Coady Photography
Danza and Joe Bravo upset the Arkansas Derby.

Danza sent shock waves through the big crowd at Oaklawn Park when he took command in upper stretch at odds of 41-1 and rolled to an open-lengths victory in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. I) April 12 (VIDEO).

Trainer Todd Pletcher sent the winning son of Street Boss   to victory from Florida in just the colt's fourth lifetime start for owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. The victory qualifies Danza for a slot in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 3 at Churchill Downs; he ranks sixth on the leaderboard with 100 points.

Jockey Joe Bravo had Danza prominently placed while saving ground throughout the 1 1/8-mile test, and the winner responded when asked to exploit an opening along the inside at the top of the lane. Danza drew clear through the long Oaklawn stretch drive, and neither of the favorites, 8-5 Bayern nor 2-1 Tapiture, could raise a challenge.

The previously unbeaten Bayern, who led most of the way before relinquishing the advantage to Danza, was tagged late for second byRide On Curlin. That likely means the well-regarded Bob Baffert trainee will not advance to the Kentucky Derby under the point system used by Churchill to determine the 20-horse starting field. Southwest Stakes (gr. III) winner Tapiture finished fourth in the field of eight sophomores.

Danza, who was timed in 1:49.68 over a fast track, paid a whopping $84.60 to win, and teamed with 7-1 shot Ride On Curlin for a $561.40 exacta. 

The winner, bred in Kentucky by Liberation Farm and Brandywine Farm out of the French Deputy mare Champagne Royale, was a close third in the Saratoga Special last summer at Saratoga Race Course. He was third in his only other start since that race, a first-level allowance/optional claiming event at seven furlongs March 1 atGulfstream Park.

Read more on BloodHorse.com:http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/84362/danza-dominates-in-arkansas-derby-shocker#ixzz2yimkTH89

Princess of Sylmar Gets Off to Winning Start

Princess of Sylmar Gets Off to Winning Start

Princess of Sylmar used the $100,000 Cat Cay Stakes as a good starting point for 2014 season at Aqueduct Racetrack April 6, gliding through an opening off the turn and cruising to victory.

The 3-5 favorite in the field of five older fillies and mares, Princess of Sylmar won under a hand ride from Javier Castellano for Ed Stanco's King of Prussia Stable and trainer Todd Pletcher. She completed the one-turn mile test in 1:34.79 on a fast main track while defeating second choice Wedding Toast by 3 1/2 lengths.

"It was ideal, what we were hoping for," Pletcher said. "Good to see her back."

A four-time grade I winner last year as a 3-year-old, she lost her chance at an Eclipse Award when she finished last of six after stumbling at the start of the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park.

Sunday's appearance was the first for the daughter of Majestic Warrior   since that debacle. Given some time off, she returned to training in February at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and was recently transferred to Belmont Park, where she had a couple of timed breezes over the training track.

"With the way she had been training she indicated she's as good as ever," Pletcher said. "We were expecting a good performance. I thought for this type of race it came up pretty tough. [Wedding Toast] is a very good filly. We feel like we had her ready to run well, but we tried not to overdo it. It's a long season, and there are bigger goals ahead."

According to Pletcher, Princess of Sylmar is using the overnight stakes as a prep for her first major objective of the season, the $1 million Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I) on Belmont Stakes day June 7. A rematch with BC Distaff winner and two-time champion Beholder is possible in the Phipps.

"We'll see after that, but I think races like the Delaware Handicap (gr. I) are a possibility, the Personal Ensign (gr. I), the Beldame (gr. I). Those are the type of races we're looking at right now," Pletcher said. "I think she runs well fresh. One thing with her we're always trying to be aware of is keeping her weight up. It's a long season, and, considering she runs as well as she does fresh, (there is) no need for a prep in between."

Princess of Sylmar was reserved early while slightly off the rail in the Cat Cay as Highestmaintenance, the longest shot in the compact field at 25-1, was sent out to lead Montana Native and Wedding Toast. Castellano was content to let the favorite track in fourth through solid quarter mile fractions of :22.97, :45.61, and 1:09.64. 

As the first three lined up to vie for the lead rounding the bend, Princess of Sylmar moved into gear, finding room between Montana Native and Wedding Toast while three wide coming into the stretch. Princess of Sylmar was quickly in command by 3 1/2 lengths at the furlong marker and continued to stride for the wire while handled steadily by Castellano.

"I liked the way she did it today," Castellano said. "Very professional, as always. The pace set up for her well. One thing she did well today was split horses through that narrow hole and went right by those horses very nicely. That was phenomenal. She was much the best."

Princess of Sylmar posted her ninth win from 12 lifetime starts, and her fourth in five tries at Aqueduct, where launched her successful campaign last year. She won both the Busanda and Busher stakes at the New York track in 2013 before finishing second to Close Hatches in the Gazelle Stakes (gr. II) exactly one year ago.

The chestnut filly went on to win four grade I races in successionthe Longines Kentucky Oaks, TVG Coaching Club American Oaks, Alabama Stakes, and Beldame Invitationalbefore shipping west for the Breeders' Cup. With her latest win, Princess of Sylmar has banked $1,667,220.

Wedding Toast, the 7-5 second favorite, was second by four lengths over Flash Forward, with Highestmaintenance and Montana Native trailing.

Princess of Sylmar was bred in Pennsylavania by Stanco out of the stakes-placed Catienus mare Storm Dixie.

"Today was beyond my expectations," Stanco said. "By giving her the time off, she got bigger, gained weight, 150 pounds, I think. Javier said she's right back in her form. This was what we were looking for. She didn't have to have a breakthrough performance today, just show us form and that you want it." 

Carrying 120 pounds, the same as Wedding Toast and Flash Forward, she paid $3.80, $2.10, and $2.10. Wedding Toast paid $2.10 and $2.10 and the exacta was worth $5.30. Flash Forward paid $2.50. Villettescratched.

Read more on BloodHorse.com:http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/84251/princess-of-sylmar-gets-off-to-winning-start#ixzz2y9H0j9lW

My Mis Sophia Romps in Gazelle
My Miss Sophia Romps in GazellePhoto: Coglianese Photos
My Miss Sophia runs away from the competition in the Gazelle Stakes.
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Mathis Stable's My Miss Sophia rolled to a decisive victory April 5 in the $300,000Gazelle Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct Racetrack (VIDEO), stamping her ticket to the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) atChurchill Downs.

The chestnut daughter of Unbridled's Song came off a 5 1/4-length maiden victory at second asking going a mile March 9 at Gulfstream Park to ace her stakes debut under Javier Castellano. She set an uncontested lead and easily carried on for an impressive 7 1/4-length score ast the 4-5 favorite in a field of six.

Off with ears pricked in the 3-year-old filly test at 1 1/8 miles, My Miss Sophia clicked through moderate fractions of :24.31, :48.23, and 1:12.39 while maintaining a one or two-length advantage over Vero Amore. That rival never quite came to My Miss Sophia as she cut the pace just off the inside in hand, and once the leader turned for home, she widened her advantage while shown the stick intermittently to the wire. Final time was 1:50.48 on a fast track.

"It went how we thought it might on paper," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "It looked like My Miss Sophia was the only speed, but you never know how a race is going to unfold. It certainly played out the way we thought it would. Vero Amore was kind of on her flank a little bit, but it didn't look like she was ever under any pressure. You have to have a horse that can do that. You can't take a horse out of their game."

Pletcher runners finished one-two as Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings and Philip Steinberg's Got Lucky closed four wide to secure the place in the final strides. The A.P. Indy filly who came off a second-place finish toUntapable in the Feb. 22 Rachel Alexandra Stakes (gr. III) going 1 1/16 miles at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, is also viewing the Oaks as a target.

"That's the plan," Pletcher said. "We felt like Got Lucky ran well also. While the pace scenario was good for My Miss Sophia, it worked against the other filly. But it hopefully set her up. And she got a little squeezed at the start."

"She broke well out of the gate," Castellano said of My Miss Sophia. "I was the only speed and I took advantage of it. She was able to relax. I was really impressed because she had only been shorter distances and today we stretched her out to a mile-and-an-eighth. I think she improved and I liked the way she did it and she was much the best in the race."

Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, who rode Got Lucky, echoed Pletcher's sentiments about the pace setup for his mount.

"Good trip; it was what we expected," he said. "She doesn't show much speed. I try to place her wherever she's comfortable. She ran as best as she could."

My Miss Sophia returned $3.60, $2.50, and $2.10, while Got Lucky paid $2.90 and $2.30. Grade I winner Sweet Reason brought $2.30  while finishing half a length farther back in third. ero Amore, Bird Maker, andWraith completed the order of finish. 

Bred in Kentucky by John D. Gunther out of the Langfuhr mare Wildwood Flower, My Miss Sophia was a $260,000 purchase from the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale when consigned by Glennwood Farm. She now has two wins and a second from three starts and earnings of $211,800, and earned 100 points on the road to the Kentucky Oaks. That ties her for fifth in the standings with stablemate In Tune to make the 14-horse starting gate for the female counterpart to the Derby. Got Lucky is 10th with 64 points on the list.

Read more on BloodHorse.com:http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/84235/my-miss-sophia-romps-in-gazelle#ixzz2y7GHCjND

Constitution Edges Wildcat Red in FL Derby

Constitution Edges Wildcat Red in FL Derby

Constitution Edges Wildcat Red in FL Derby Photo: Coglianese Photos
Constitution gets through on the inside to win the Florida Derby.
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If horseplayers had a question of which runner to bet in the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park March 29, the one Javier Castellano was named on seemed as sure a shot as any.

Seeking his first Florida Derby score but out to gain his fifth overall victory on the afternoon card at the South Florida track, Castellano delivered the kind of ride on the victorious Constitution that illustrates exactly why he's one of the best in the nation.

Jose Garoffalo, trainer of runner-up Wildcat Red, summed up exactly what happened.

"We lost the rail at one point and Castellano was smart enough to take the rail at the top of the stretch, and that was it. It was a hell of a race," he said. 

Third in the pocket trip early behind pacesetting Fountain of Youth (gr. II) winner Wildcat Red, the D'wildcat   colt who took the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. III) sprinting before stretching out in the Fountain of Youth, Castellano sent his mount off the final turn through a paint-scraping gap along the rail. The lightly raced Constitution responded with a surge to get up by a neck (VIDEO), acing his stakes debut and collecting 100 points on the road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

"I'm very, very proud of him," said trainer Todd Pletcher, who collected his fourth victory on the Florida Derby Day card with the undefeated Constitution. "It's a testament to the quality of horse he is—to go from a maiden to an allowance to a grade I and to show a different running style and get some dirt in his face and put in an effort like that against much more seasoned horses. It was a huge effort."

Wildcat Red fought back brilliantly in his first try at the 1 1/8-mile distance after setting measured fractions of :24.01, :48.19, and 1:12 under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez while leading General a Rod. But in the end, despite battling hard into the final furlong after a mile in 1:36.46, he could not withstand the craftily ridden son of Tapit  .

"I'm not disappointed, it was a hell of a race, he did a great job and he was himself like he usually is," Garaffolo said of the runner-up. "We just got beat. I think Castellano was very, very smart and took the rail, and that was the difference. That's why we lost the race. He never quit running...I think we're thinking seriously to go to Kentucky if the horse comes back in good shape."

Final time for the sophomore test of eight was 1:49.16 on a fast track.

Even-money favorite Cairo Prince, who had not raced since winning the Jan. 25 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II), finished a lackluster fourth behindGeneral a Rod, who was 1 1/4 lengths back of Wildcat Red in third. East HallMatadorSpot, and Allstar completed the order of finish.

"We're obviously disappointed," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said of Cairo Prince. "He flattened out late. He looked like he got there and in the clear, which is what he likes and he just flattened out. So, it's disappointing, but we'll look to carry on and go on to the Derby and hope that we regroup and he rebounds from this effort.

"Maybe the nine weeks (off) was telling on him, maybe the inside was better, it's hard to say, but we'll regroup and move on to May 3. (Jockey Luis Saez) just said that he got there and flattened out a little bit. He's fine, he just didn't fire like he did last time. If 24 (points) don't get us in, then we don't go to Kentucky. We feel like we'll get in and if we don't, we won't."

With the UAE Derby (UAE-I) and Louisiana Derby (gr. II) run the same day, there was a bit of shifting on the leaderboard for the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field. Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) winner Vicar's In Troublecame back to take the Louisiana Derby and now sits on top of the standings with 120 points. UAE Derby winner Toast of New York is second with 100 points, and Constitution ranks third.

Wildcat Red is fifth (90) behind Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) winner Intense Holiday, who was second in the Louisiana Derby. Cairo Prince is currently 16th on the list with 24 points, but could lose that spot with major preps like the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), Arkansas Derby (gr. I), and Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) still to come.

Off at odds of 3-1 in his stakes debut while making his third start for WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing, Constitution paid $8.60, $4.20, and $3.60. Wildcat Red brought $4.80 and $3.40 at 7-2, while 9-2 General a Rod paid $3.40.

"At the three-eighths pole I thought I'd have to go around the two pacemaker horses," said Castellano, the leading rider in the nation who broke his own single-season record for wins at Gulfstream earlier this month. "But one thing, it was kind of early and second, I was going to lose a lot of ground. I just took my shot and it worked out great.

"I didn't want to get to the hole and move too soon, a premature move. My mount is a young horse and stretching out to a mile and an eighth. You want to take consideration and save something for the end. I didn't want to check and lose the race like that. I had my spot and I kept it all the way to the top of the stretch."

"I was very confident with the horse. The first time I rode the horse, he really impressed me. He broke slow out of the gate and he kind of ran off on the backside and I hooked up with the pacemaker. We went in :22, :44 and the horse still had something in the tank at the top of the stretch. That impressed me very much. As soon as I jumped off the horse, I told Mr. Walden and Mr. Pletcher, 'That's a super horse.' I've never seen a horse like that, a first-time starter, do that the way he did it. It was impressive."

Bred in Kentucky by Grapestock and Fox Hill Farms out of the Distorted Humor   mare Baffled, 3-year-old Constitution was a $400,000 purchase by Twin Creeks Racing at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga select yearling from the Vinery Sales consignment. The winner's share of the Florida Derby purse, $600,000, bumped his earnings to $649,350.  

"I've ridden him twice, and the second time was very impressive," Castellano said. "We stretched him out, he broke better out of the gate, he ran two turns. I think he learned a lot the second time. He was able to relax beautifully in the race. I think the horse is learning little by little, and he has got a great future."

According to Pletcher, the Florida Derby effort was exactly what he needed to see from Constitution on the road to the Kentucky Derby.

"It gives you confidence moving forward, knowing he got some education and got some dirt in his face," he said.

Read more on BloodHorse.com:http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/84102/constitution-edges-wildcat-red-in-fl-derby#ixzz2xSB1NzFD

Palace Malice Runs Off With New Orleans H.

Palace Malice Runs Off With N.O. Handicap

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Palace Malice may have been the narrow second choice in the six-horse New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) March 29, but he proved best when drawing well clear of 11-10 favorite Normandy Invasion down the long Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots stretch (VIDEO).

Mike Smith was aboard Dogwood Stable's Palace Malice, who covered the nine furlongs in 1:48.93. Palace Malice carried high weight of 121 pounds in the $388,000 race, six more than Normandy Invasion. He dusted his rival by 4 3/4 lengths at odds of 6-5.

Breaking from the outside post, Palace Malice was in a clear stalking position as Bradester set the early pace, getting the opening quarter in :23.65 and half-mile in :47.85. Tracking was 23-1 shot Fordubai on the rail. 

Palace Malice made first move on the leader as the field rounded the far turn as six furlongs went in 1:11.91, getting to the front easily while floating a rallying Normandy Invasion wide into the stretch. Palace Malice opened up a two-length lead after a mile in 1:36.31 and cruised a final eight in :12.62 for the easy win. It was 6 3/4 lengths back to Louisiana-bred Sunbean in third. He was followed by Fordubai, Golden Soul, and Bradester.

"This horse holds a special place in my heart," said Smith. "I am just so happy that it worked out that I got to reunite with him and he didn't let us down. He might be better than he was last year.  He did that pretty handily today."

Prayer For Relief (6-1 on the morning line) and Mister Marti Gras (12-1) were scratched.

Making his second start of the yearhe kicked off his 4-year-old campaign with a score in the one-mile Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II)Palace Malice has now has a 5-4-1 slate from 14 starts and has earned $1,871,135. Last year Palace Malice won the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) following a pair of starts at Fair Grounds in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) and Louisiana Derby (gr. II). 

Cot Campbell, founder and president of Dogwood Stable, led his star to the winner's circle in New Orleans. Palace Malice is trained by Todd Pletcher, who later in the day won the Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I) with Constitution.

The winner paid $4.40, $2.40, and $2.10. Normandy Invasion paid $2.20 and $2.10. Sunbean paid $2.80. The $2 exacta (8-5) paid $8.20 and $1 trifecta (8-5-6) returned $14.90.

Fox Hill Farms' Normandy Invasion was also making his second start of the year and second start since finishing fourth in last year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The son of Tapit   won an allowance/optional claiming race Feb. 22 at Gulfstream Park.

Bred in Kentucky by William S. Farish, Palace Malice is a son of Curlin  out of the Royal Anthem mare Palace Rumor. A $25,000 Keeneland September yearling sale buy in 2011 by Colin Brennan from the Lane's End, agent, consignment, Dogwood purchased Palace Malice for $200,000 out of the following year's Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds from Niall Brennan Stables, agent.

Read more on BloodHorse.com:http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/84103/palace-malice-runs-off-with-no-handicap#ixzz2xSBczxQI

In Tune in Rhythm in Gulfstream Oaks Win

In Tune in Rhythm in Gulfstream Oaks Win

In Tune in Rhythm in Gulfstream Oaks WinPhoto: Coglianese Photos
In Tune outfights House Rules to win the Gulfstream Oaks. 
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In Tune proved up to the challenge of stepping into stakes company as she outlasted House Rules in the stretch to win the $300,000 Gulfstream Oaks (gr. II)March 29 at Gulfstream Park (VIDEO).

Alain and Gerard Wertheimer's homebred In Tune improved to three wins in three starts, all at Gulfstream. The daughter of Unbridled's Song held off House Rules and Alex Solis in a stretch-long battle to post a neck victory as the even-money choice in the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-old fillies. 

Under Javier Castellano, In Tune punched her ticket to the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) as she was awarded 100 points in the qualifying system for that Churchill Downs race. After Saturday's race winning trainer Todd Pletcher said In Tune has handled each step up in class and stretch out in distance and will be pointed to the Kentucky Oaks, assuming she comes out of the race in good order.

"It's rare that you have one come along this quickly, a short maiden to a long 'allowance-other than' to a graded stakes," Pletcher said. "She stepped up in class and distance each time and passed every test, so I'm very proud of her. She showed a lot of courage down the lane."

Pletcher has captured four of the past five Gulstream Oaks followingDreaming of Julia last year and winning back-to-back in 2010 with Devil May Care and in 2011 with R Heat Lightning.

Joseph Shields Jr.'s House Rules settled for second place to an undefeated filly trained by Pletcher for a second straight time. The daughter of Distorted Humor   was runner-up in the Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) to Onlyforyou, who suffered a fatal breakdown while training after that effort.

In Tune completed the Gulfstream Oaks in 1:50.19 on a fast track. It was 2 3/4 lengths back to third-place finisher America, a Bobby Flay homebred who secured her first stakes placing.

The winner returned $4, $2.80, $2.20. House Rules paid $4.20 to place and $2.80 to show, while America returned $3.60 to show.

In Tune is the third stakes winner for the Affirmed mare Wichitoz, who also has produced Affirmatif and Chitoz.

Read more on BloodHorse.com:http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/84091/in-tune-in-rhythm-in-gulfstream-oaks-win#ixzz2xSBsLJjw

Micromanage Returns to Winning in Skip Away

Micromanage Returns to Winning in Skip Away

Micromanage Returns to Winning in Skip AwayPhoto: Coglianese Photos
Micromanage and Javier Castellano take the Skip Away at Gulfstream.
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Repole Stable's Micromanage seemed to have forgotten the way to the winner's circle, but he found it again March 29 in South Florida when galloping clear in the $100,000 Skip Away Stakes (gr. III) atGulfstream Park (VIDEO).

Rebounding from a seventh-place finish in the Feb. 22 Mineshaft Handicap (gr. II) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the 4-year-old son of Medaglia d'Oro  made his first start at Gulfstream and crossed the wire in front for the first time in eight attempts since his Long Branch Stakes score at Monmouth Park last July.

The race set up beautifully for the Todd Pletcher trainee, with longshot pacesetters Nevada Kid and Sr. Quisqueyano pushing each other through an opening quarter in :24.06 and a half in :47.55 for the 1 3/16-mile event. Those two alternated the advantage while Micromanage, who sported blinkers and was easily maneuvered over from the outside post in a field of 10 older runners, tracked in third on the outside under Javier Castellano.

"He got a great trip from the outside, he was able to get over and save some ground on the first turn with a stalking position," Pletcher said. "I think the distance suits him well. I'm not sure (if the blinkers helped) because he did get a perfect trip today. We knew last time when Mike Smith rode him, he said, 'The horse didn't run that bad, he got stuck inside and he didn't like that.' So we wanted to keep him clear and maybe the blinkers gave him some confidence. He ran a good one." 

Sr. Quisqueyano struck the lead turning for home as Nevada Kid began to fade after three-quarters in 1:11.07. But Micromanage had the front-runner in his sights and put him away following a 1:36.24 mile en route to a 4 1/4-length victory. Norumbega closed well but was clearly second best; Sr. Quisqueyano gave way but managed to get third. Final time on the fast track was 1:55.36. 

"I had a beautiful trip," said Castellano, who rode his fourth winner on the card. "On the backside, my horse kept track of the two speed horses. We had a beautiful spot and at the half-mile pole I knew I had it. I felt it, that we would win the race."

Micromanage returned $10.40, $5.40, and $4 at odds of 4-1, while 9-2 Norumbega paid $6.20 and $4.20. Sr. Quisqueyano paid $14 at 37-1. Completing the order of finish was Nikki's Sandcastle, who was steadied hard early on, Nevada Kid, Macho Bull, 3-1 favorite War DancerCsabaJoshua's Comprise, and SalustioGrand Tito scratched to run in the Appleton Stakes (gr. IIIT) one race earlier on the card and finished fifth.

Bred in Kentucky by Fiona Craig and Dermot Cantillon out of the Flying Paster mare Catnip, Micromanage was a $170,000 purchase by J.J. Crupi, agent for Repole Stable, at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale when consigned by Woods Edge Farm. The Skip Away victory improved his record to 4-3-2 from 14 starts and earnings of $436,881.

"The race I really want to get him ready for is the Brooklyn (gr. I) on Belmont Day (June 7)," Pletcher said. "The mile-and-a-half will suit him well. We'll probably run him somewhere in between that, but I'm not sure where yet."

Read more on BloodHorse.com:http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/84098/micromanage-returns-to-winning-in-skip-away#ixzz2xSC8wJ9e

We Miss Artie Lands Spiral in Final Jump

We Miss Artie Lands Spiral in Final Jump

We Miss Artie Lands Spiral in Final JumpPhoto: John C. Engelhardt/Pat Lang Photography
We Miss Artie (left) comes on late to take the Spiral Stakes at Turfway.

Charging hard down the center of the track at Turfway Park, Ken and Sarah Ramsey's We Miss Artie had his sights set on dueling Coastline and Harry's Holidayin the $518,950 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Racing Spiral Stakes (gr. III)(VIDEO).

A jump past the wire and no one knew who got it, but the Ramseys were well-represented railside at the Florence oval, and when the "official" sign put up his number, the gang went wild.

"Oh, 'he's not going to get up there for it,' that's what I was thinking," remarked Jeff Ramsey, son of the Kentucky couple. "And actually, I didn't think we had it. It was very, very close. It was exciting."

We Miss Artie, the 2013 Dixiana Breeders' Futurity (gr.I) winner, returned to his beloved Polytrack. He gave the Ramseys at least one guaranteed starter in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) when edging his way to win the 1 1/8-mile Spiral by a nose; Coastline was third, just a head farther back.

The couple also has Vicar's in Trouble pointing to the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) March 29 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, and Bobby's Kitten likely for the April 12 Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.

"I'd like to have three in the Derby; then you only have to beat 17," Ramsey said when reached via phone in at his winter home in Florida. "We have three potentials and now this one is in, of course if the horse stays healthy. We won't need any more prep races for him; I think (trainer) Todd (Pletcher) wants to bring him back to Florida within the next couple days."

Slightly wide going into the first turn from post 11 in a field of 12 sophomores, the son of Artie Schiller   settled seventh in hand for Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. John Battaglia Memorial winnerSolitary Ranger went out for a quarter in :22.78, but Almost Famouscontested the pace to get a half in :47.21 before stopping. LongshotHarry's Holiday put in a prolonged drive to take over after three-quarters in 1:12.43, with Coastline drawing even for a ding-dong battle heading down the stretch through a mile in 1:38.59.

"I was a little wide going into the first turn, but I found a nice spot going down the backside," Velazquez said. "Right at the sixteenth pole I had to drift away from them so he didn't have to work so hard, then I was able to get up at the wire."

Flying on the outside under left-handed urging, We Miss Artie just got up in the final stride to give the Ramseys their second Spiral score; they won in 2010 with Dean's Kitten. The winning time was 1:52.26.

Under equal weights of 123 pounds, the winner returned $9.20, $5.80, and $4.20 as the second choice in the field of 12 sophomores. Harry's Holiday brought $13.40 and $8.60, with Coastline paying $7.40.Asserting BearBig BazingaAll Tied UpArctic Slope, 2-1 favorite Tamarando, Solitary Ranger, Poker PlayerAlmost Famous, andSmart Cover completed the order of finish.

Russell Baze, rider of Tamarando, said the California shipper never fired. He was last at the start and circled six wide but soon weakened.

"He didn’t get a lot of speed," Baze said. "When I asked him to go, he went for a bit at the eighth pole and then quit.”

We Miss Artie came off a dismal eighth in the Feb. 22 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (gr. II) on dirt at Gulfstream Park after running second by a head in the Jan. 19 Kitten's Joy Stakes going 1 1/16 miles on the Gulfstream lawn. He broke his maiden on turf at Saratoga Race Course last year before winning the Dixiana at Keeneland, then ran seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) in his first try on dirt atSanta Anita Park. The Spiral was his third win in eight starts; along with two seconds he has earned $609,000.

Bred in Ontario by Richard Lister out of the Fusaichi Pegasus   mare Athena's Gift, We Miss Artie was a $90,000 purchase from the Cara Bloodstock consignment at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale. Despite his lack of success on dirt, Pletcher said regarding a potential start in the Derby, "I don’t think that will be much of a discussion, (given that the owner is) Mr. Ramsey. We were hoping he could get us there and he did.”

"You know, the track at Churchill is different than Florida," Ramsey added. "Some horses like it, some don't. If he handles it, he handles it; if he can't, he can't. We won't worry about it. The whole game plan was to get enough points to get him in."

The winner earned 50 points on the road to the Kentucky Derby, placing him first on the leaderboard with 60 (including 10 points earned for his Breeders' Futurity win) over undefeated New York-bredSamraat.

"It's good to be on the way back to the Derby," Ramsey said. "One of these days I'm gonna win that thing."


Read more on BloodHorse.com:http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/83956/we-miss-artie-lands-spiral-in-final-jump#ixzz2wnaLjqxj

Onlyforyou Euthanized After Training Accident

Onlyforyou Euthanized After Training Accident

Onlyforyou Euthanized After Training AccidentPhoto: Coglianese Photos/Lauren King

Multiple grade II winner Onlyforyou was euthanized March 15 after breezing at Palm Meadows, owner John Greathouse of Glencrest Farm confirmed.

The brilliant 3-year-old Malibu Moon  filly sustained a displaced condylar fracture while galloping out. She was being prepared for a start in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (gr. II) March 29

"She had a complex condular fracture that was displaced and irreparable. She worked and a little bit more than an eighth of a mile into the gallop she took a bad step," trainer Todd Pletcher said.

Undefeated in four starts for Pletcher, Onlyforyou won the Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 22 at Gulfstream Park after taking the Forward Gal (gr. II) a month earlier in her stakes debut. She was favored each time she ran and always won in sparkling fashion. She had been considered a key contender for the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).

"She was on the gallop out after working this morning; I guess she made a bad step," Greathouse said. "I haven't seen the report yet so I can't say much. I don't know what leg it was, but it was multiple fractures; sesamoids weren't involved but there was so much of it that they just couldn't do much."

Onlyforyou was credited with a five-furlong move in 1:02 flat on the Palm Meadows tab, her second breeze since winning the Davona Dale.

"Obviously, it's a sad moment for everybody," Pletcher said. "The barn takes it hard when stuff like that happens, especially when it's a filly like that who was perfect her whole career. It looked like she had a big future ahead."

Bred in Kentucky by Elm Tree Farm and Popatop out of the Tactical Cat mare Erhu, the bay filly was a $115,000 purchase from the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale.

"We did have a lot of fun with her, but we were hoping to have a lot more," Greathouse said.


Read more on BloodHorse.com:http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/83852/onlyforyou-euthanized-after-training-accident#ixzz2w9UCNMEV

Golden Lad Pulls Away for Razorback Romp

Golden Lad Pulls Away for Razorback Romp

Golden Lad Pulls Away for Razorback RompPhoto: Coady Photography
Golden Lad comes home strong to win the Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn.

Gulfstream Park shipper Golden Ladstruck for a fourth consecutive win March 15 after taking charge at the quarter pole at Oaklawn Park and drawing off to an open-length victory in the $200,000 Razorback Handicap (gr. III)(VIDEO).

Jose Lezcano had Golden Lad perfectly positioned to the outside of pacesetterRight to Vote. They tracked from second, no more than 1 1/2 lengths back through fractions of :23.21 and :46.90 for a half-mile on a sealed wet-fast surface. On the far turn, Lezcano moved his mount to challenge Right to Vote after completing six furlongs in 1:11.53, wresting the lead and cruising to a powerful 6 3/4-length win.
With Right to Vote fading out, Majestic City and Taptowne battled for second well clear of the rest of the field, with Majestic City getting up by a head. Taptowne was 4 3/4 lengths clear of Right to Vote in fourth.
The 5-1 fourth choice in the seven-horse field, Golden Lad was timed in 1:43.72 for 1 1/16 miles, earning his first stakes victory for owner/breeder Robsham Stables and trainer Todd Pletcher.
Pletcher said he was a bit apprehensive about the track condition.
“He obviously handled it fine,” he said of Golden Lad. “He broke well and then got into a good stalking position. He ran a very powerful race. 
“It was definitely a step up from allowance company into a new level for him, but anytime you've won three straight races you certainly have talent. I felt like he deserved this opportunity and he proved he did. It is possible that we may he coming back for the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II)". 
The $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap at 1 1/8 miles is April 12.
Govenor Charlie, the 2-1 favorite, saved ground in the early running but had no rally when asked by Mike Smith and checked in fifth.
In his previous start, Golden Lad set a Gulfstream Park track record of 1:41.17 or 1 1/16 miles and earned two other victories going a mile in optional claiming races in November and December. The Razorback marked the stakes debut for the son of Darley's Central Kentucky sireMedaglia d'Oro   and he won with style, tallying a fifth win from eight career starts. 
Golden Lad returned mutuels of $12, $6 and $4.20 while Majestic City was worth $7.80 and $4.80. Taptowne paid $2.80.
Called to Serve and Street Spice finished sixth and seventh to complete the order of finish.
A Kentucky-bred out of the stakes winner Broadway Gold, by Seeking the Gold, Golden Lad is a half brother to multiple graded stakes winnerBroadway's Alibi and stakes winner R Gypsy Gold, who was grade I-placed. Broadway Gold is a half sister to 2011 Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Dialed In   from the family of 1992 champion 2-year-old fillyEliza.

Read more on BloodHorse.com:http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/83859/golden-lad-pulls-away-for-razorback-romp#ixzz2w9mqGnUB

Palm Beach Winner Could Land on Derby Trail

Palm Beach Winner Could Land on Derby Trail

Palm Beach Winner Could Land on Derby TrailPhoto: Coglianese Photos/Leslie Martin
Gala Award and John Velazquez take the Palm Beach Stakes.
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It isn't often that bettors find a Todd Pletcher-trained runner sent off at high odds, but on past performances alone, Gala Award didn't exactly figure to ace the $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park March 1 (VIDEO).

The 3-year-old Bernardini   runner had just two starts under his belt and only one in 2014, a three-quarter-length maiden special weight score as the even-money favorite going 1 1/16 miles on the Gulfstream turf Jan. 20. In his previous outing, he finished second at 10-1 when making his debut at the same distance on the same surface at the South Florida oval Dec. 7.

Then again, Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith went to a hefty $1,550,000 for the colt at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale. He was bred in Kentucky by Bill Currin out of the Carson City mare Wilshewed, and is a half brother to grade I winner and sireStormello. He is also a half to My Best Brother, who took the 2012 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT).

When no one told Gala Award he was taking a big step up into graded stakes conditions, he enjoyed the stretch-out to 1 1/8 miles and rewarded his connections—and those who backed him at 8-1—with his debut graded stakes win.

"It is a big jump and I think it says a lot about his quality," Pletcher said. "He's been improving. His dirt works have improved a lot. I'm not going to rule out something like the dirt or the Blue Grass (gr. I). I think with today's effort he put everything in play and we'll see where we go from here."

Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez kept Gala Award close to the pace set by 5-2 favorite Storming Inti, who led through fractions of :23.90, :48.25, and 1:11.42 before rolling into the stretch under Javier Castellano. Gala Award raced third in the three path and rallied to gain a slim lead inside the eighth pole after a mile in 1:34.57, then was all out to hold off the late charge of Mr Speaker. That rival, closing with a good run after being steadied in the early going, missed the victory by half a length. Storming Inti held a neck back for third.

"It was a perfect trip," Velazquez said. "He did everything that Todd said he would do. He said he'd place himself pretty forwardly and that I had to make sure to get after him a little bit early, because the horse that Javier was riding (Stormin Inti) was a fighter. When he gets there, he likes to hang a little bit, but he put in a good fight today."

"I'm very proud of this horse," Pletcher said. "It seems like he's been improving leaps and bounds over the winter. We felt like his maiden race was strong enough from a figure standpoint to take a shot and the mile and an eighth would suit him, and it worked out really well."

Gala Award paid $18, $8, and $4.60 while Mr Speaker brought $5.20 and $3.20. Storming Inti returned $2.80, while Pleuven,Can'thelpbelievingMy Storm TrooperCabo CatMorning CalmSo LonesomePatentSmart Cover, and Two Jacks Wild completed the order of finish. Ring Weekend, entered for the main track only, scratched.

Gala Award has earned $123,180 in his three starts.  

Read more on BloodHorse.com:http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/83606/palm-beach-winner-could-land-on-derby-trail#ixzz2uoYbJoFy

No Catching Teen Pauline in Top Flight

No Catching Teen Pauline in Top Flight

No Catching Teen Pauline in Top FlightPhoto: Coglianese Photos
Teen Pauline rolls to victory in the Top Flight Handicap. 
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Stonestreet Stables' homebred Teen Pauline put on another front-running show at Aqueduct Racetrack while rolling to a third straight win and first graded stakes victory in the $200,000 Top Flight Handicap (gr. II) March 1 (VIDEO). 

The 4-year-old filly cruised across the finish line 2 1/2 lengths in front ofCentring, who gallantly tried to complete a last-to-first rally but never got near the winner. That opponent won the photo for second, however, besting Flash Forward by a nose.
Teen Pauline became the fourth graded stakes winner this season for Gainesway's leading sire Tapit  , joining 3-year-old standouts Tapitureand Untapable, respective hopefuls for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
Starting a step slow in the 1 1/16-mile inner track test, Teen Pauline hauled Irad Ortiz to the clear soon after the start. Under a strong hold, she laid down slow fractions of :25.11, 49.45, and 1:13.90 through six furlongs, with Flores Island chasing from second, two lengths back.
Teen Pauline extended her advantage to three lengths entering the stretch and was well within herself for the easy win. 
"She broke a little slow today; she usually breaks in front," Ortiz said of Teen Pauline. "But she was keen and got the lead easy. I never sent her. I know she has speed and she was in front all the way easily. When I asked her, she took off."
The odds-on favorite under high weight of 123 pounds, Teen Pauline was timed in 1:45.04 on a fast track.
Entering the lane, Centring showed plenty of energy and outfinished the somewhat erratic Flash Forward, who bumped with Royal Lahainaat the three-sixteenths pole.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Teen Pauline entered off two front-running victories at Aqueduct this year. The dark bay filly scored by 4 3/4 lengths in the 1 1/16-mile Affectionately Stakes Jan. 1, then stretched for an impressive 10 3/4-length triumph in the 1 1/8-mile Ladies Handicap three weeks later.
Her resume improves to 5-1-3 from 11 lifetime starts and includes a :56.53 track record for five furlongs when breaking her maiden in her career debut at Saratoga Race Course last summer.
Kentucky-bred Teen Pauline is out of 2005 Debutante Stakes (gr. II) winner Effectual, by Carson City.
Teen Pauline, who has now banked $461,300, provided Ortiz a fourth win on the card that also included his victory aboard Strapping Groomin the Tom Fool  Handicap (gr. III).  
Teen Pauline's win was worth $2.60, $2.10, and $2.10, while Centring returned $3.60 and $2.60. Flash Forward paid $3.40. Royal Lahaina and Flores Island completed the order of finish. Last year's Top Flight winner, Summer Applause, was scratched.
Intense Holiday Charges to Risen Star Victory

Intense Holiday Charges to Risen Star Victory

Intense Holiday Charges to Risen Star VictoryPhoto: Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges, Jr.
Intense Holiday gets up late to win the Risen Star Stakes.
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Starlight Racing's Intense Holiday finally got his graded score, and did so with a thrilling late run by a nose Feb. 22 in theRisen Star Stakes (gr. II) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots (VIDEO).

After a third in the Miller Lite Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) following fourths in the Remsen (gr. II) and Nashua (gr. II) and a fifth in the Foxwoods Champagne Stakes (gr. I) last year, Intense Holiday made a sweeping move off the turn and ground down longtime pacesetter Albano in the final furlong to take the 1 1/16-mile Risen Star.

Victory in the $400,000 event was the first for the 3-year-old son ofHarlan's Holiday since his maiden win for trainer Todd Pletcher last August at Monmouth Park. He earned 50 points on the road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), that number sending him to the top of the leaderboard with 53.

"In the very beginning he kind of slipped leaving there; it kind of scared him and he got up into the bridle," Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith said. He went on to describe how he had to alternately steady and hustle the colt throughout the 1 1/16-mile event while weaving his way through the 14-horse field.

"There's a lot of room to improve and a lot of room to grow...we didn't get to the bottom of him," he said.

Keen from the start after being fractious in the paddock, 5-1 shot Intense Holiday raced midpack in seventh while Albano struck the lead with overeager Delta Jackpot (gr. III) winner Rise Up in rank pursuit. Albano galloped through easy fractions of :24.30 and :48.14, and appeared poised to carry on despite the pressure through three-quarters in 1:13 flat. Meanwhile, Smith was shifting his mount to the outside, and followed Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) winner Vicar's In Trouble around the far turn.

The Lecomte winner put in a good run while favored at 2-1, but could not get to his front-running rival. It looked as if Intense Holiday would have to settle for second as he passed Vicar's In Trouble through a mile in 1:37.42, but then the bay colt really got rolling. He needed every bit of the remaining ground; the race was decided in the final stride with Intense Holiday nosing out Albano just in time. 

"We had this long final run here, that's the difference," Starlight's Jack Wolf said of how Intense Holiday found his graded stakes win. "I was at a bad angle and I didn't think we had (won it), but I'm glad I'm wrong."

Intense Holiday paid $12, $6, and $4 while carrying 116 pounds, while 14-1 Albano brought $12.20 and $6.80. The runner-up earned 20 points for his effort under jockey Kerwin Clark and is now third on the Derby list with 24, behind Besilu Fountain of Youth (gr. II) winnerWildcat Red at 50.

"I thought I was home at the sixteenth pole," Clark said. "He was still running. I looked over inside the eighth pole and didn't see anyone coming. I can't believe that horse came and got us, to be honest, because my horse never stopped one bit. It was disappointing, but it's what I wanted to see from him—improvement that sets us up for the big one."

Completing the order of finish were Vicar's In Trouble ($3.40), who was co-highweight at 120 pounds with Rise Up, HoppertunityGold Hawk,Commanding Curve, Rise Up, Flat GoneSon of a PreacherVigorish,Emmett ParkInterchange, and Xtra LuckBond Holder scratched due to an injury suffered earlier in the week (full story here), and also-eligible Teniente Coronel did not draw in.

Bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall and Haymarket Farm out of theUnbridled's Song mare Intensify, Intense Holiday was a $380,000 purchase when selected by agent Frank Brothers at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale. His earnings now stand at $351,900 with a 2-0-1 record from seven outings.

"He was one of the best horses he wanted to buy (at that sale) and one of the last horses we bought, so blame it all on Frankie Brothers," Wolf said.

Read more on BloodHorse.com:http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/83488/intense-holiday-charges-to-risen-star-victory#ixzz2uHjW5xhU

Onlyforyou Remains Unbeaten in Davona Dale

Onlyforyou Remains Unbeaten in Davona Dale

Onlyforyou Remains Unbeaten in Davona Dale Photo: Coglianese Photos
Onlyforyou delivers victory in the Davona Dale.
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Onlyforyou remained unbeaten with a front-running tally in the $200,000Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 22 atGulfstream Park as jockey Javier Castellano and trainer Todd Pletcher teamed for their fourth win on the program (VIDEO).

Even-money choice Onlyforyou was a little anxious in the gate and sprinted to the front in the 1 1/16-mile main track test for 3-year-old fillies. Vying on the front end with Aurelia's Belle, the Malibu Moon   miss beat back a challenge fromHouse Rules rounding the final bend to win smartly by 2 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:43.71.

"She's got natural speed and we don't want to take that away from her," Pletcher said. "We let her break and see how she got to the first turn. She luckily broke well after misbehaving in the gate a little bit and was able to get to the position we wanted. (House Rules) ran a big race and put some pressure on her down the backside and she was able to keep finding a little more."

Castellano, comfortably on top of the Gulfstream meet jockey standings, won his fifth race on the card in the Davona Dale. 

The only disappointment for Pletcher, who won his fourth Davona Dale, was that 3-1 second choice Stopchargingmaria didn't run better in finishing fifth.

House Rules, ridden by Alex Solis, finished second in the eight-horse field by half a length over Aurelia's Belle and Joe Rocco Jr.

Onlyforyou set fractions of :24.12, :47.23, 1:11.27, and 1:36.64.

Onlyforyou was trying two turns for the first time in her career after taking three sprints effortlessly to begin her career. Owned by Glencrest Farm, she was coming off a 2 3/4-length victory in the seven-furlong Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II)) in her stakes debut Jan. 25 at Gulfstream.

Pletcher said Onlyforyou hinted she might even go longer, though he said he hadn't decided on a next target.

"After she got by the wire she kind of pricked her ears a little bit like there might still be something left," he noted.

Bred in Kentucky by Elm Tree Farm and Popatop out of the Tactical Cat mare Erhu, Onlyforyou was a $115,000 Keeneland September yearling buy in 2012.

Onlyforyou boosted her career earnings to $308,100 and returned $4.20 $2.80, and $2.40. House Rules, game in defeat in his first start against winners for trainer Allen Jerkens, returned $4.80 and $3.40. The exacta was worth $21.20. Aurelia's Belle paid $4.20.

"It was a great effort the way she did it," Castellano said. "She set strong fractions at the beginning of the race and she was under pressure the whole race. She handled it so well."

Penwith was fourth, followed by Stopchargingmaria, Luna SantaAbou, and Holiday Magic.

Of Stopchargingmaria's effort, Pletcher said, "She got a very wide trip into the first turn from post eight and coming off a layoff, I think that hurt her quite a bit."

Read more on BloodHorse.com:http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/83484/onlyforyou-remains-unbeaten-in-davona-dale#ixzz2uHjvktNt

Vinceremos Upsets Stablemate in Sam F. Davis S.

Vinceremos Upsets Stablemate in Sam F. Davis

Vinceremos Upsets Stablemate in Sam F. DavisPhoto: SV Photography
Vinceremos holds off Harpoon to win the Sam F. Davis Stakes.
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Todd Pletcher-trained Vinceremos dug in gamely in deep stretch to hold off a stiff challenge from his more highly-regarded stablemate Harpoon  to win the Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III) at Tampa Bay DownsFeb. 1 (VIDEO).

One of a record 42 early Triple Crown nominations for Pletcher announced earlier in the day Feb. 1, Vinceremos went off at 12-1 odds in the Davis as Harpoon was made the slight 9-5 second choice in the eight-horse field.

Jockey Edgar Prado settled  Vinceremos just off the lead taken byCousin Stephen out of the gate as Noble Cornerstone, the slight favorite, and jockey Kent Desormeaux broke poorly and race in last early. 

Cousin Stephen and Vinceremos were neck and neck through an opening quarter in :24.35 over a drying out track and got the half-mile in :48.77. As the field rounded the second turn, Vinceremos backed up to fourth before coming on again on the rail and held a short lead at the furlong marker. 

Meanwhile, Harpoon and Luis Saez, sixth after three-quarters of a mile, rallied while four wide entering the stretch and moved farther out to unleash a stirring stretch drive that just came up short.

Vinceremos completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:47.34, well off the track record of 1:42.83, and paid $26.80, $7.40, and $4.80. Harpoon was a nose back and paid $4.60 and $3.40, with Cousin Stephen three-quarters of a length back in third, returning $3.40. The order was completed by MatadoorAsserting BearSchool On a Hill, Noble Cornerstone, and Imaginethaymom.

"He was relaxed and I was confident that he would be there for me when I asked," Prado said of the ride. "The pace picked up getting into the turn but I didn't want to use what we had that soon so I let them get away from us. Entering the stretch there was still room on the inside and he responded when I set him down. He was still going strong to the finish, but I knew it would be close."
"That was really amazing. It looked like he was dropping back and was done for the day, and all of a sudden there he was," said assistant trainer Ginny DePasquale. "Then (Pletcher's other trainee, Harpoon) came running on the outside. A dead heat would have been perfect. You never know when they are going to step up to the plate and (Vinceremos) obviously did at the right time."

A 3-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile  Kettles Sister (by More Than Ready  ), Vinceremos was bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall and races for WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables. Consigned by Dapple Stud to the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale, the colt was purchased by Oregon Bloodstock for $140,000. Pinhooked into the 2013 Keeneland April 2-year-olds in training sale, the Davis winner was acquired by Twin Creeks for $340,000.

Randy Gullatt, racing manager for co-owner Twin Creeks Racing Stables, said: "Edgar didn't want to make the lead too quick with him because he wants to wait on other horses. If he has a target, Edgar says he digs in, and you just have to be patient and not make the lead too quick. He said he could have gotten away from him on the turn, but he had to wait on those other horses to get by so he had a target. It was a great job on Edgar's part. We're learning about him every time. I would think the Tampa Bay Derby is the next logical race and if he is doing well, that would be Todd (Pletcher's) choice."

By earning $120,000 of the $200,000 purse (there was an additional $50,000 for which Florida-breds qualified), Vinceremos improved his bankroll to $153,600, with two wins and a second in three lifetime starts. The colt finished second at Gulfstream Park in his career debut and broke his maiden going a mile as the 3-2 favorite at Gulfstream Jan. 4.

With the victory, Vinceremos qualifies for the "Tampa Bay Downs Million Dollar Bonus" in which $1 million will be awarded the owner of any horse winning the Davis, the March 8 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II), and the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The Davis last year was part of newly created "Road to the Kentucky Derby" points system, with Falling Sky being awarded 10 points. The Davis was dropped from the Derby points scheme this year, with the Tampa Bay Derby worth 50 points.

In the race previous to the Davis, Niall Racing's Please Explain took charge turning for home to draw off for a six-length triumph in the Suncoast Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. The Kentucky-bred daughter ofCurlin   ridden by Julien Leparoux for trainer Tom Proctor, sat just off the pace and saved ground to get into contention down the backside before making her winning move as the 3-2 favorite in the eight-horse field.

Final time for 1-mile-and-40-yards over a drying out Tampa Bay track was 1:44.94. Finishing second was Nesso, with Light Bringer third.

The victory improved Please Explain's record to 2-2-1 from five starts, with earnings of $78,200.

Read more on BloodHorse.com:http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/83157/vinceremos-upsets-stablemate-in-sam-f-davis#ixzz2s7lZjyNG

Onlyforyou Takes Command in Forward Gal S.

Onlyforyou Takes Command in Forward Gal

Onlyforyou Takes Command in Forward GalPhoto: Coglianese Photos/Kenny Martin
Onlyforyou dominates the Forward Gal Stakes at Gulfstream. 
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Glencrest Farm's Onlyforyou was away alertly at the start and took command of the $200,000 Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II)Jan. 25 at Gulfstream Park, going wire-to-wire as the 3-10 pick over five 3-year-old fillies to preserve her undefeated record (VIDEO). 

Permitted to go immediately to the lead by jockey Javier Castellano, the bay daughter of Malibu Moon   secured a good rail spot and clipped through early fractions of :22.65 and :45.33 while prompted by Aurelia's Belle, the only runner who seemed poised to provide a challenge about half a length back as the field turned for home.

Aurelia's Belle ranged up on the outside coming off the turn while failing to switch leads, but Onlyforyou hit another gear and skipped away down the stretch through three-quarters in 1:09.77. She won by 2 3/4 lengths under a confident hand ride from Castellano, finishing the seven-furlong test on a fast track in 1:22.50.

"I didn't expect her to be on the lead, but she was so sharp today," Castellano said. "She did it so easy and broke on top. The way she did it was impressive. When the other horse (Aurelia's Belle) came to her, she took off again. I like the way she did it today."

Onlyforyou, from the barn of trainer Todd Pletcher, returned $2.60, $2.20, and $2.10 while Aurelia's Belle brought $3.40 and $2.40 at 6-1.Resistivity was third, bringing $2.40, while My Dear Regina nosed outFlash Encounter for fourth. Stately Defence completed the order of finish.

Bred in Kentucky by Elm Tree Farm and Popatop out of the Tactical Cat mare Erhu, Onlyforyou tallied a maiden victory at Aqueduct RacetrackNov. 10, an allowance score at Gulfstream Dec. 15, and her first graded stakes score in the Forward Gal, all good for earnings of $188,100. She was a $115,000 purchase from the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale on a ticket signed by Phase II Thoroughbreds when consigned by Elm Tree Farm.

"It kind of speaks for itself," Pletcher said. "Any time you have one win three in a row to start their career, it's not very many of them that do that. She's a filly that has always impressed us in her training. She's a beautiful filly, big, scopy, good-looking filly that has tactical speed. It's been a pretty straightforward introduction so far.

"She's trained like she'll run further, and she was able to relax a little bit in her first two starts so she's not one-dimensional even though she won on the lead today. That's pretty much it on the calendar here for sprints, so if we're going to run back at Gulfstream we're going to have to stretch out.

"I guess the Davona Dale is on Feb. 22. We'll have to see how we feel about that."

Read more on BloodHorse.com:http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/83032/onlyforyou-takes-command-in-forward-gal#ixzz2rVo3Cayl

Record Sixth Eclipse for Pletcher

Record Sixth Eclipse for Pletcher

Record Sixth Eclipse for PletcherPhoto: Anne M. Eberhardt
Todd Pletcher
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Todd Pletcher's deep bench of top quality runners sometimes make it difficult to gauge his accomplishments when compared to those of other trainers. But in 2013, he was in a league of his own, and voters awarded him with his record sixth Eclipse Award.

The 46-year-old Dallas native bettered a pair of Hall of Fame conditioners, Bob Baffert and Bill Mott, to earn the honor for the first time since 2010.

With his sixth selection, Pletcher broke a tie with the late Bobby Frankel (1993, 2000-03), who earned five Eclipses since the award was created in 1971. Pletcher also won four consecutive Eclipse Awards from 2004-07 in addition to 2010.

Pletcher was the runaway winner in total purse earnings during 2013 with $25.2 million, the third time in his career he topped the $25 million mark. Baffert was second, nearly $10 million behind Pletcher, who led that category for the eighth time.

He also led in graded stakes wins with 48 (Baffert was second with 28) and was tops in grade I triumphs with 13. Pletcher won with 224 of his 946 starters, a 24% strike rate, and his runners finished in the money 57% of the time.

Though blanked in the Breeders' Cup World Championships, Pletcher's 3-year-old filly Princess of Sylmar had a championship-caliber season with grade I victories in the Beldame, Alabama, Coaching Club American Oaks, and Kentucky Oaks.

His other major wins during 2013 came with Eclipse finalist Palace Malice, who captured the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), Verrazano   (Haskell, Wood Memorial), Cross Traffic (Whitney Handicap), Graydar  , (Donn Handicap), and Havana (Champagne), another Eclipse finalist. Pletcher also coaxed grade I wins out of Capo Bastone in the King's Bishop,Overanalyze   in the Arkansas Derby, and We Miss Artie in the Breeders' Futurity.

The votes below represent only first-place votes from members of the consolidated voting entities, NTRA, Daily Racing Form, and National Turf Writers And Broadcasters:

Todd Pletcher, 183; D. Wayne Lukas, 21; Jerry Hollendorfer, 9; Bill Mott, 7; Charles LoPresti, 6; Shug McGaughey, 6; Bob Baffert, 5; Steve Asmussen, 3; Chad Brown, 2; Kathy Ritvo, 2; Ollie Figgins, 1;  David Jacobson, 1; King Leatherbury, 1; Dale Romans, 1. Voter Abstention, 1.

Read more on BloodHorse.com:http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/82878/record-sixth-eclipse-for-pletcher#ixzz2qrIs028G

Caixa Eletronica Dies in Training Collision

Caixa Eletronica Dies in Training Collision

Caixa Eletronica Dies in Training CollisionPhoto: Coglianese Photos
Caixa Eletronica
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Caixa Eletronica, a popular four-time graded stakes winner, died as the result of injuries he suffered in a training accident Jan. 4 that also claimed the life of loose horse Six Drivers at Belmont Park.

The collision occurred at approximately 8 a.m. as Caixa Eletronica was galloping on the training track. The 9-year-oldArromanches collided with Six Drivers, who was running loose after unseating his rider behind the starting gate. Caixa Eletronica suffered a skull fracture in the incident, and Six Drivers suffered a neck fracture. Both horses died immediately as a result of their injuries, according to Dr. Anthony Verderosa, chief examining veterinarian for New York Racing Association.

Caixa Eletronica hit his best stride after he was claimed by trainer Todd Pletcher for $62,500 on behalf of owner Mike Repole in 2011. With Repole and Pletcher, Caixa Eletronica won seven stakes, including the 2011 Westchester Stakes (gr. III), and the 2012 Charles Town Classic Stakes (gr. II), True North Handicap (gr. II), and Fall Highweight Handicap (gr. III). 

"It's a terrible day for racing," said Repole. "For any horse, it's horrible. When you hear it's Caixa Eletronica, it's magnified."

"Like I've said time and time again, to me (Caixa Eletronica) was everything that was good about the game," Pletcher said. "You take a horse from a modest beginning and literally get to the pinnacle of racing. He showed up every time. It's just heartbreaking."

Overall, Caixa Eletronica was 23-9-11 in 69 starts, with more than $1.8 million in earnings. In his final start, he finished fourth in the 2013 Fall Highweight Nov. 28 at Aqueduct Racetrack. In 2013, he won the four of nine starts including the Duck Dance Stakes at Belmont.

"He was such an iron horse," said Repole. "For him to pass away like this makes no sense. I told Todd, 'If this horse ever gets a pimple on his rear, I'll retire him.' Todd said, 'I wish my 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds were super sound like this horse.'"

Caixa Eletronica's exercise rider, Carlos Castro, was taken to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. for evaluation. Six Drivers' rider, Julio Pezua, suffered no apparent injuries. 

Jeffrey Tucker's Six Drivers had not won in four career starts. The 4-year-old Sunriver gelding closed out his 3-year-old season with a runner-up finish in a Dec. 27 maiden claiming race at Aqueduct.

Fierce Boots Stamps Busanda Stakes Upset
Fierce Boots Stamps Busanda Stakes UpsetPhoto: Coglianese Photos
Fierce Boots cannot be caught in the Busanda Stakes.
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Fierce Boots took the lead coming out of the gate and was never headed as she rolled to a two-length upset of favoredFlipcup in the $100,000 Busanda Stakesfor 3-year-old fillies Jan. 4 at Aqueduct Racetrack (VIDEO).

Ridden by Jose Ortiz, Fierce Boots towed the field of eight through moderate fractions of :24.44 for the opening quarter-mile, :48.93 for the half, and 1:14.87 for three-quarters. She straightened for home ahead by two and went on to complete the one mile, 70 yards over the inner track in 1:46.62.

"She broke well, so I put her on the lead," said Ortiz. "She went very relaxed and just kept trying."

It was the first stakes victory for Fierce Boots, who is owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay and trained by Todd Pletcher. The bay daughter of Tiznow  , who fetched $200,000 at the Keeneland sales in September 2012, came from off the pace to break her maiden in August at Parx Racing in her second start. She was most recently finished fourth in a first-level allowance/optional claimer Dec. 5 at Aqueduct.

"She hadn't gone to the front in the past, but she'd been more rank lately and we thought it would be a good idea to let her settle in where she wants to be," said Pletcher's assistant, Byron Hughes. "Todd thought two turns would suit her."

Fierce Boots was bred in Kentucky by Jamm Ltd. She is out of the Wild Again mare Shop Again.

Sent off at 8-1, Fierce Boots returned $19, $7.20, and $4.40 and earned $60,000 to nearly triple her bankroll to $94,036. Overall, she is 2-0-0 from five starts. With the victory, she received 10 points towards a possible berth in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) May 3 at Churchill Downs, a race won last year by Busanda victress Princess of Sylmar.

Runner-up Flipcup ($3.60, $2.60), who took the East View Stakes for New York-breds last time out, was another two lengths ahead of Fleet of Gold ($4.20). Following her in fourth was Ketel Twist, with Alpaca FinaCamille ClaudelSpanish Gold, and Derek's Girl completing the order of finish.

Read more on BloodHorse.com:http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/82668/fierce-boots-stamps-busanda-stakes-upset#ixzz2pX1cLwaB

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