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Horse Racing

Horse Racing

Horse Racing

The Gilmer Free Press

►  American Pharoah poised for more racing history in Haskell

From a beauty salon in Beverly Hills to an intersection in Zurich people are talking about American Pharoah.

Derek Jeter. Carrie Underwood. Drew Brees. Even Cheech and Chong. All have chatted up either the owner, trainer or jockey of American Pharoah in the weeks after the horse became the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years with a sweep of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

“He’s captured the imagination of the nation,“ says Ahmed Zayat, the effusive Egyptian owner who travels the world on business and resides in Teaneck, New Jersey. “More than just a nation, if I dare say.“

On Sunday, American Pharoah returns to the races in the $1.75 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, the Jersey Shore track a few furlongs from the home of rocker Bruce Springsteen, whose classic “Born to Run” has become the Haskell pre-race anthem.

On this day, though, Pharoah will be The Boss.

“We have a legend here with American Pharoah,“ says Dennis Drazen, a management consultant to the track. “People are going to be talking about being there the day American Pharoah ran at Monmouth Park in the Haskell.“

Thrilled to have American Pharoah, track officials this week boosted the total purse of the race by $750,000 to a record $1.75 million. The winner’s share is $1.1 million. A record crowd approaching 60,000 is expected. A three-day “Pharoah Phan Phestival” began Friday, with giveaways, contests, and a chance for fans to watch American Pharoah on his morning gallops.

The Triple Crown winner is the overwhelming 1-5 favorite in an eight-horse field going 1 1/8 miles.

“He has so many fans,“ says trainer Bob Baffert, who said his wife, Jill, told him that a little TV was tuned in to the Belmont at the beauty salon she goes to in Beverly Hills, California. “There’s people in front of his barn in the mornings, and people watching him gallop and cheering for him every time. It’s fun to really share him with the fans.“

From the moment American Pharoah won the Belmont, Zayat hasn’t wavered in his desire to keep racing his prized horse - even though he’s sold the breeding rights for what could be as much as $30 million, with a stud fee that could be in the $100,000 range.

“You wait a lifetime for a horse like this,“ says Zayat, who has spent tens of millions of dollars in building Zayat Stables. “We want to enjoy this. There is nothing for us to prove other than continue to help the game and for people to enjoy this.“

After the Belmont, Zayat flew off to Europe on business. He said as he was crossing a street in Zurich one day, a driver rolled down his window and called out, “Go Pharoah, go!“ In London, he said he was recognized by a salesperson in Harrod’s who told him, “I know you from the TV. You ... you won the three things. American Pharoah, right?“

At the ESPY’s, where Victor Espinoza won for best jockey, the Pharoah contingent was approached by retired Yankees’ star Jeter, who wanted to pose for a picture. Same with Yankees’ slugger Alex Rodriguez.

“They are asking for a picture with us?“ says Zayat. “Really?“

With social media and a 24/7 news cycle these days, American Pharoah may actually be more popular than Secretariat, the 1973 Triple Crown winner many consider the greatest racehorse of all.

American Pharoah appears in the August issue of Vogue magazine. He was paraded at Churchill Downs and Santa Anita Park before tens of thousands of fans. Zayat was featured on “Secret Lives of the Super Rich.“ Espinoza signed on with Steiner Sports Marketing. A Pharoah website is a recent addition to the Twitter accounts of Zayat and his son and racing manager, Justin.

“People know what he’s doing every step, and everybody knows where he is,“ says the white-haired Baffert. “I might as well put a GPS on him. But he enjoys it and so it’s fun to really share him with the fans.“

The goal is a final race in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky on October 31. Then, it’s off to the breeding shed down the road at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud. Plans have not been set for a next race after the Haskell, but several are under consideration.

The Haskell shapes up more as a public workout on national TV than a competitive race. The second betting choice in the field is Upstart, who finished 18th in the Derby in his last race but finished second in the Florida Derby.

Also entered are Competitive Edge, Keen Ice, Mr Jordan, Nonna’s Boy, Top Clearance and Dontbetwithbruno.

Baffert fares pretty well in the Haskell. The Hall of Famer has won it a record seven times, including four of the last five years.

At times, Team Pharoah has been criticized for running where it can make the most money before retirement, but Baffert and Zayat insist that’s not the case.

Baffert said he was on a flight with the comedy duo Cheech and Chong recently. Cheech Marin asked Baffert why American Pharoah was running again.

“The horse loves to run, he loves to train, he enjoys it,“ Baffert told him. “That’s why we run him.“

Horse Racing

The Gilmer Free Press

►  American Pharoah 1-5 favorite for Haskell in 8-horse field

OCEANPORT, NJ — Triple Crown winner American Pharoah is the overwhelming 1-5 favorite in a field of eight 3-year-olds for Sunday’s $1.75 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

This will be American Pharoah’s first race since he swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes and became the 12th Triple Crown winner and first in 37 years.

American Pharoah will leave from the No. 4 post following Thursday’s draw and be ridden by Victor Espinoza. He is owned by Ahmed Zayat of Teaneck, New Jersey, and trained by Bob Baffert.

A winner in seven of eight career starts with more than $4 million in earnings, American Pharoah is not taking on the most formidable field. Upstart, who ran 18th in the Kentucky Derby in his last start, is the second choice at 6-1, and will be ridden by Monmouth favorite Joe Bravo.

Competitive Edge is the third choice at 8-1, followed by Keen Ice (12-1), Mr Jordan (15-1) and Nonna’s Boy, Top Clearance and Dontbetwithbruno, all 30-1.

If American Pharoah is sent off at 1-5, it would match the record for biggest favorite in a Haskell. The others sent off at those odds were Holy Bull in 1994 and Big Brown in 2008. Both won.

Baffert has won the Haskell a record seven times, including four of the last five. In American Pharoah, Baffert is confident racing’s brightest star is set for another big effort.

“He looked great and he’s moving beautiful, and he’s holding his form really well,“ Baffert said this week following American Pharoah’s final workout before the race. “It’s amazing what he’s been through (and) is still right there just holding his form. ... Hopefully we get some racing luck, and Pharoah will show up.

“I feel confident that he’s going to run a big race, and that’s all — as a trainer — we can do is just have them ready and whatever happen, happens.“

Trainer Todd Pletcher, with three Haskell wins, entered three horses — Competitive Edge, Nona’s Boy and Dontbetwithbruno.

American Pharoah arrived at the Jersey Shore track Wednesday from Del Mar in California. He had a police escort from Atlantic City, and spent the night in trainer Kelly Breen’s barn. He got his first look at the track Thursday morning, jogging a mile.

“He had a very high energy level this morning,“ Baffert assistant Jimmy Barnes said. “We couldn’t be happier. The first day, we usually do something very light and we gave him a good look at the place.“

On the day American Pharoah arrived, track officials announced a purse increase of $750,000, making this the richest Haskell.

“We feel very positive about this race,“ Baffert said.

Mr Jordan is the top local runner, having won his debut here last summer and Monmouth’s Pegasus Stakes last month.

“He’s coming into the race 100%,“ trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. said. “We’re just pleased to be part of this. Needless to say, there is no pressure on us.“

Wayne Catalano was another trainer happy with long shot Top Clearance, who will make his stakes debut. He was not insulted by his colt’s 30-1 morning line.

“We’re taking a shot,“ Catalano said. “I thought we’d be 50-1. They’ve got me at 30-1, so I’m jumping 20 points already. One thing I know about horse racing, they got to run the race. We line them up, they load them in the gate and after that tells the tale.“

The field from the rail out: Upstart (Joe Bravo, 6-1), Competitive Edge (Mike Smith, 8-1), Nona’s Boy (TBA, 30-1), American Pharoah (Victor Espinoza, 1-5), Mr Jordan (Paco Lopez, 15-1), Keen Ice (Kent Desormeaux, 12-1), Top Clearance (Abel Castellano Jr., 30-1), and Dontbetwithbruno (TBA, 30-1).

Horse Racing

The Gilmer Free Press

►  3 jockeys accused of fixing races at Evangeline Downs

OPELOUSAS, LA — Three jockeys are accused in a race-fixing scheme that involved holding back a horse picked as a favorite to win and using an agent to place bets on the race at Evangeline Downs, state police said Thursday.

The investigation began after the state Racing Commission received a complaint about a June 19 race at the track in Opelousas in southwest Louisiana, according to a news release.

State police said the jockeys were each charged with “willful pulling of the reins and cheating and swindling.“

Arrested were Joseph Patin Jr., 46, and Billy Patin, 51, both of Opelousas, and LeSean Conyers, 24, of Lafayette.

In addition, the Patins face charges involving different races. They are accused of possessing electronic shocking devices — allegedly during races on July 04 — that are sometimes illegally used to try to speed horses up.

The three have been released on bond from the St. Landry Parish jail. There was no answer at the phone number of an attorney listed as representing the Patins. Information on whether Conyers had an attorney was not available.

“Any deviations from honest and truly competitive horse racing cannot be condoned and the commission remains vigilant in its efforts to assure the highest standards possible,“ Louisiana Racing Commission Chairman Bob Wright said in the state police news release.

Horse Racing

The Gilmer Free Press

►  American Pharoah puts in another Del Mar workout

Del Mar, CA - Triple Crown winner American Pharoah rolled through another workout at Del Mar Thursday morning 10 days before his return in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on August 2.

Trained by Bob Baffert for Zayat Stables, American Pharoah worked six furlongs in 1:11 with jockey Martin Garcia in the saddle. The champion colt galloped out seven furlongs in 1:24 and a mile in 1:38.40. Friday’s workout was originally planned for five furlongs.

“I’m going with a five-day schedule with him now,“ Baffert said. “I’ve done that with other horses before. First time with a Triple Crown winner, though.

“We’ll work him a half before we leave. An easy half; next Tuesday. He needed to get back to the track. That last one (work), he came out of it blowing a bit. Not today, though. He looked like he did it easy.

“If I wait too long with him, he starts to get antsy. He’ll work too fast when I put him back out there. I waited 14 days after Arkansas (Derby) and he went real quick. He needs to get out there.

“The track here is a little demanding. But he just doesn’t make it look that way. He’s right on course (for the Haskell). No excuses. He’ll be ready to go there.“

The probable field of competitors looking to take on American Pharoah includes Pegasus Stakes winner Mr. Jordan, Pat Day Mile winner Competitive Edge, Long Branch Stakes winner Stanford, Pegasus runner-up Tekton, Risen Star runner-up War Story, Keen Ice, Iowa Derby winner Bent on Bourbon and Good Pick Nick.


►  Injury sends Carpe Diem into retirement

Lexington, KY - Blue Grass Stakes winner Carpe Diem has been retired to WinStar Farm with an injury.

Carpe Diem, owned by Stonestreet Stables and WinStar Farm, suffered a knee chip and will stand stud in 2016 at WinStar Farm in Kentucky.

“Carpe Diem was a standout physical at the 2-year-olds-in-training sales, and quickly demonstrated his precocious speed, breaking his maiden at first asking as a juvenile at Saratoga,“ said Barbara Banke, owner of Stonestreet Farm. “His multiple Grade 1-winning performances at two and three were truly impressive. Carpe Diem offers breeders a great opportunity with conformation, speed, and stamina all packaged within an outstanding pedigree. We have enjoyed running the colt with the Troutt family, and look forward to standing him at their WinStar Farm where we will support him with some of our best mares.“

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Carpe Diem won the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 4 after capturing the Tampa Bay Derby on March 7. The colt finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby on May 2 but did not race again.

“In the Kentucky Derby, we were in perfect position, but when he switched leads going into the far turn I felt something wasn’t right,“ said Elliott Walden, WinStar President & CEO. “After missing the Belmont, we brought him home to evaluate him and try to get him back for the Haskell. However, a chip finally revealed itself in the lower joint of his right knee, and that can be problematic. I believe his raw ability puts him among the top of this talented group of 3-year-olds, which is probably the best group of runners we’ve had in years. It’s unfortunate, but given where we’re at in the season and what would be in front of him, Mrs. Banke, John Moynihan, and I just felt like retirement was the best option.“

Last year, Carpe Diem won his debut at Saratoga in September before capturing the $500,000 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland by 6 1/4 lengths in his second start. He suffered his only loss as the 9-5 favorite in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to Texas Red.

The chestnut colt has four wins from six starts for $1,519,800.


►  Sheer Drama to follow Del ‘Cap with Personal Ensign

Hallandale Beach, FL - Sheer Drama, trained by David Fawkes, came out of her Delaware Handicap win last week in fine order and is now being readied for her next start.

“She came out of the race super. It looks like she may have even put more weight on. She’s eating good. The van ride home - no problem. She came out the race perfect,“ Fawkes said about the Del ‘Cap victory. “One of the things we didn’t think she’d do well was ship and run, but she’s proved us wrong on that. She’s given us 110% every time.“

Owned by Harold Queen, Sheer Drama and jockey Joe Bravo pressed pacesetter Frivolous in last Saturday’s 1 1/4-mile Del ‘Cap before taking over the lead at the top of the stretch and going on to post a two-length win over Frivolous.

The 5-year-old chestnut mare, second four times this year, has a career bankroll of $918,840 with five wins in 18 starts.

Sheer Drama finished second in the Fleur de Lis prior to the Del ‘Cap as well as Churchill Down’s La Troienne Stakes on May 1. On March 21 she won the Royal Delta at Gulfstream Park.

“Since she came back the early part of this year, she’s been a more mature horse, really easy to deal with around the barn,“ Fawkes said. “We’ve learned a lot about her. If you don’t fight with her, she won’t fight you. She’ll do whatever you want, as long as it’s with a tender touch.“

Fawkes is pointing Sheer Drama toward the $750,000 Personal Ensign at Saratoga on August 29 as a possible next start.

“I haven’t talked to the owner yet, but I plan to soon,“ said Fawkes. “I’d like to go to Saratoga with her. We’ll see.“


►  Schedule for American Pharoah’s Monmouth arrival released

Oceanport, NJ - The travel itinerary for Triple Crown winner American Pharoah’s trip to Monmouth Park has been released.

The champion colt, owned by Zayat Stables and trained by Bob Baffert, will be sent to Monmouth Park for the $1 million Haskell Invitational on Sunday, August 2.

American Pharoah will arrive at Atlantic City International Airport at 1:30 PM ET Wednesday, July 29 and will be escorted by police from the airport to the Monmouth Park stable area, where he will bedded down in trainer Kelly Breen’s barn.

The 3-year-old will gallop over the track on Thursday, Friday and Saturday between 7:30- 7:50 AM ET. Monmouth’s Clubhouse will be open to the public on Friday and Saturday from 7-8 AM to watch American Pharoah gallop.


►  Eight 3-year-old fillies to do battle in Coaching Club American Oaks

Saratoga Springs. NY - A highly competitive field of eight 3-year-old fillies has been entered for Sunday’s $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga Race Course.

Mother Goose Stakes winner Include Betty will start from post 5 with jockey Drayden Van Dyke again riding in the 1 1/8-mile stakes. The pair teamed up four weeks ago in the Mother Goose at Belmont Park and previously got second in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico on May 15.

Trained by Tom Proctor for Brereton Jones and Timothy Thornton, Include Betty has earned $543,030 with four wins in 10 career starts.

Keen Pauline will be making her first start since claiming the Black-Eyed Susan more than two months ago. The filly, trained by Dale Romans for Stonestreet Stables, will break from post 6 with Javier Castellano in the saddle. She has won two of six career starts and $180,932.

“The Black-Eyed Susan had been our plan for a while,“ said Romans. “We used the sprint to set her up for the Black-Eyed Susan. She ran hard to win it, so we gave her time off to get her feet back underneath her.“

Curalina, winner of the Acorn Stakes, will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez from post 3 for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and trainer Todd Pletcher. The chestnut filly won the Acorn in just her fourth career start on the Belmont Stakes card and has earned $486,800 with three wins.

“We’re very excited about the way she’s been training,“ said Pletcher. “Her works up here have been especially good. Our concern in the Acorn was backing up to a mile. Then, she got sandwiched at the start and pinched back to last. The way she overcame that adversity to win was quite impressive. Stretching back out to two turns going 1 1/8 miles should suit her very well.“

Fair Grounds Oaks champ I’m a Chatterbox has drawn the far outside post for trainer Larry Jones and will again have Florent Geroux riding. Owned by Fletcher Gray, the chestnut filly was third last time out in the Kentucky Oaks.

Previously, she won the Silverbulletday and Rachel Alexandra along with the Fair Grounds Oaks. I’m a Chatterbox has won four of seven lifetime starts for $560,614.

Here is the field for the Coaching Club American Oaks in post position order: Danette, Junior Alvarado; Chide, Joel Rosario; Curalina, John Velazquez; Conquest Eclipse, Shaun Bridgmohan; Include Betty, Drayden Van Dyke; Keen Pauline, Javier Castellano; Wonder Gal, Irad Ortiz Jr. and I’m a Chatterbox, Florent Geroux.


►  First female steward named at Saratoga

Saratoga Springs, NY - History will be made Monday afternoon when Erinn Higgins becomes the first female steward at historic Saratoga Race Course.

The 27-year-old Higgins will serve as an alternate state steward for the New York State Gaming Commission under Steve Lewandowski.

“I’m excited; Saratoga is my hometown,“ said Higgins. “It will be a different experience as far as the types of horses and races I’m accustomed to, and I’ll be exposed to different things that come up. I’m looking forward to it.“

Higgins has been a steward at Finger Lakes and has previously served as steward at Belmont Park, becoming the first female steward to serve in a NYRA stand.

“I’ve always known I wanted to work in horse racing but I wasn’t sure in what capacity,“ said Higgins. “I knew I didn’t want to train or work as a vet, so I wanted to explore things I wasn’t as familiar with. An opening came up for an assistant steward at Finger Lakes, so I took a shot and applied. I fell in love with the job.“

Higgins plans to return to Finger Lakes at the conclusion of the Saratoga meet. She has been a steward since 2013, but has extensive racetrack experience. Higgins’ mother is an exercise rider and her father a trainer. They met in Saratoga and Higgins grew up on the backstretch. Higgins has worked for the late Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens and served as assistant to her father, as well as worked for a veterinary practice for several summers.

Higgins received her accreditation by completing the Racing Officials Accreditation Program at the University of Louisville and last fall was asked to temporarily fill in at Belmont.

Horse Racing

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Rebel Stakes gets significant purse boost

Hot Springs, AR - American Pharoah won Oaklawn Park’s Rebel Stakes this year on his way to becoming the first Triple Crown champion since 1978. The 1 1/16-mile Rebel has been rewarded with a purse increase for 2016.

Oaklawn Park announced Thursday that the Rebel Sakes will be worth $900,000 next year up from $750,000 in 2015. The Rebel will be run on March 19 four weeks prior to the $1 million Arkansas Derby which was also won this year by American Pharoah.

“The Rebel’s purse was $125,000 in 2003 and is now the richest prep in March,“ Director of Racing David Longinotti said. “Thanks to the success of our overall business plan, we’ve been able to deliver on the promises we made to our racing fans several years ago. Our goal has always been to bring the highest quality of racing to Arkansas. This is a testament to that commitment.“

Oaklawn also increased the purse of the February 15 Southwest Stakes from $300,000 to $500,000. The track’s stakes series for Kentucky Derby hopefuls begins with the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes on Presidents Day, Jan 18.

Other stakes receiving increases are the Oaklawn Handicap which was increased from $600,000 to $750,000 for 2016 and the March 19 Razorback Handicap, the last local prep for the Oaklawn Handicap on Arkansas Derby Day, was increased $50,000 to $300,000.

“It’s going to be tough to duplicate this year’s Rebel Day when we had two champions making their seasonal debut with American Pharoah and Untapable in the Azeri, but we are definitely excited about the possibilities for 2016,“ said Longinotti. “Multiple stakes days have proven successful all over the country and we feel confident we have created two of the best days of racing in North America.“

Oaklawn’s 2016 meeting begins Friday, January 15 and continues through Saturday, April 16.

Horse Racing

The Gilmer Free Press

►  American Pharoah gets first Del Mar workout

Del Mar, CA - Triple Crown winner American Pharoah is currently residing at Del Mar but preparing for his next start at Monmouth Park on August 2.

Trained by Bob Baffert for Zayat Stables, American Pharoah had his first workout Saturday since being relocated from Santa Anita to Del Mar on schedule to run in the $1 million Haskell Invitational in New Jersey.

With Martin Garcia riding, American Pharoah worked six furlongs in 1:11.40 and galloped out to a mile in 1:38.20.

“I think the bit of rain we got this morning might have been good for the track. Tightened it up a bit,“ said Baffert. “He went good. It was a good work for him. He needed it.“

The champion colt was originally scheduled to have his first workout at Del Mar on Sunday.

“We just go step by step with this horse. Every work, every race we just go day by day,“ Baffert added.

A thunderstorm with lightning came through at 6:30 AM PT. One strike set a palm tree on fire beyond the track property with smoke and flames visible from the grandstand.


►  ‘Chrome’ sets up residence at Taylor Made

Lexington, KY - Horse of the Year California Chrome has made his way to his new residence at Taylor Made, the colt’s new co-owner.

The thoroughbred operation posted the announcement on its Facebook page.

“On behalf of the Taylor Made team, we would like to thank you for your support of California Chrome and his move to Taylor Made. Our goal is to provide a serene environment for Chrome so he has some rest after many months in training; at this time he will not be accepting any visitors. We plan to host a Fan Day after Chrome settles and adjusts to life in the Bluegrass. We will alert the media on a date which will most likely be 60-75 days from now. We are thrilled to be a part of the journey! Thank you and God Bless.“

Taylor Made bought out the minority share in California Chrome from Steve and Carolyn Coburn on Friday. Perry and Denise Martin remain majority owners of last year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness champ.

The 4-year-old colt will be monitored during his stay at Taylor Made with the hope he will return to racing in 2016.


►  Sheer Drama tops Frivolous for Del ‘Cap

Stanton, DE - Sheer Drama, ridden by Joe Bravo, put away rival Frivolous at the top of the stretch on her way to capturing Saturday’s 78th running of the $750,000 Delaware Handicap (Del ‘Cap) at Delaware Park.

Sheer Drama, the 5-2 second choice, was meeting Frivolous, the 9-2 third pick, for the first time since finishing second to her in the 1 1/8-mile Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs on June 13.

Trained by David Fawkes for owner Harold Queen, Sheer Drama pressed Frivolous in Saturday’s 1 1/4-mile Del ‘Cap while 9-5 favorite Rosalind trailed the leaders.

Frivolous, ridden by Jon Court, continued on the lead entering the far turn as Sheer Drama gained ground and drew even nearing the stretch. Sheer Drama took over the lead at the top of the stretch and went on to post a two-length win over Frivolous.

“It is a Grade I and a really big deal,“ said Fawkes. “It played out a lot like the Fleur de Lis, just like the announcer described today, but I knew that would really help us. She came into this race great and I loved her sitting second. Joe and I had talked about it the race before and I did not think she was going to make the lead. It could not have worked out better. Everything played out perfect. Nobody was closing and I knew our filly had the other one at the head of the lane. But I got to give Frivolous credit, because she battled all the way to the wire and made us run.“

Finishing third was America followed by Flashy American, Rosalind, Joint Return and Fortune Pearl.

The time for the Del ‘Cap was 2:01.58 on a fast track.

Sheer Drama garnered her second win of the season from six starts and earned $450,000 to nearly double her lifetime earnings. The 5-year-old chestnut mare, second four times this year, has a career bankroll of $918,840 with five wins in 18 starts.

Sheer Drama has been competing against some of the best older females in the country, but finished second her last two starts. Prior to her runner-up result in the Fleur de Lis she finished second on May 01 as the 2-1 favorite in Churchill’s La Troienne Stakes to Molly Morgan. On March 21, she won the Royal Delta at Gulfstream Park.

Sheer Drama returned $7.00, $3.80 and $3.00. Frivolous paid $5.60 and $3.80, and America paid $4.60 to show.


►  Gabriel Charles rolls to victory in Eddie Read Stakes

Del Mar, CA - Gabriel Charles, making just his third start since 2013, came from off the pace to win Saturday’s 42nd running of the $400,000 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar.

Trained by Jeff Mullins and ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, Gabriel Charles went off as the 9-2 third pick in the seven-horse field for the 1 1/8- mile turf stakes. The 6-5 favorite was Midnight Storm, runner-up in the Shoemaker Mile, with Finnegans Wake at 2-1 after getting second on dirt three weeks ago in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita.

Big Cazanova, Finnegans Wake’s stablemate, set the pace while Gabriel Charles raced sixth. The field began to bunch up on the final turn as Gabriel Charles and Finnegans Wake rallied.

Gabriel Charles, unraced in 2014, surged through the stretch and went on to register a 3 3/4-length victory over 11-1 longshot Twentytwentyvision. It was the second straight win in the race for Mike Smith who rode Tom’s Tribute to victory last year.

“The early fractions were well enough that I thought we were OK. He (Mike Smith) was perched up on him like they were going a two-minute mile and when he swung him into the clear I could see he had plenty of horse,“ Mullins said.

Getting up for third was Finnegans Wake followed by Power Ped, Midnight Storm, Big Cazanova and Maltes.

The time for the Eddie Read was 1:48.13 on a turf course listed as good.

Owned by Sam Britt and Michael House, Gabriel Charles won for the first time at Del Mar since taking the 2013 Del Mar Derby. Saturday’s win was worth $240,000 for the 5-year-old. He has won four of 11 lifetime starts for $584,400.

“How many horses bow a tendon and come back and win a Group I? We took our time with him and that was the key,“ Mullins noted. “We knew he had this caliber of talent, it was a matter of keeping him healthy. We were worried about the turf course after the rain but Mike (Smith) said the course was great.“

Since returning to the races this year, Gabriel Charles was second at Santa Anita in an optional claiming grass race on April 16 and on May 9 at Santa Anita he was third in the American Handicap on the turf.

Gabriel Charles paid $11.40, $6.00 and $3.40. Twentytwentyvision returned $8.20 and $4.20, and Finnegans Wake paid $3.00 to show.

Horse Racing

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Mr. Z and Divining Rod headline Indiana Derby

Shelbyville, IN - Mr. Z and Divining Rod, facing each other again for a third straight race, have been installed as the top two favorites for Saturday’s $500,000 Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.

Mr. Z and Divining Rod are the 2-1 and 5-2 favorites, respectively, for the 1 1/16-mile Indiana Derby versus six other 3-year-olds. The two colts will leave the starting gate from the two inside posts in continuing their rivalry.

Both colts are coming out of the Ohio Derby which Mr. Z won while Divining Rod finished third as the 2-1 favorite. Two races back they ran in the Preakness Stakes with Divining Rod getting third behind American Pharoah with Mr. Z fifth.

Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Mr. Z will be ridden by Joe Bravo from the rail for owner Calumet Farm. Divining Rod, trained by Arnaud Delacour, will have Alex Cintron riding for Lael Stables.

At 3-1, Island Town is the third choice in the program and will break from post 6 with Julien Leparoux riding for owner Six Column Stables and trainer Ian Wilkes, The chestnut gelding won Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn Stakes on June 13.

Here is the field for the Indiana Derby in post position order: Mr. Z, Joe Bravo, 2-1; Divining Rod, Alex Cintron, 5-2; Tiz Shea D, Jose Lezcano, 6-1; Alabaster, Julio Felix, 15-1; Bold Conquest, Ricardo Santana Jr., 12-1; Island Town, Julien Leparoux, 3-1; Far Right, Corey Lanerie, 12-1 and Deliverance Day, Albin Jimenez, 20-1.

The Indiana Derby has an approximate post time of 9:41 PM ET.


►  Wise Dan has first workout at Keeneland

Lexington, KY - Two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan put in his first workout of the year Friday morning at Keeneland.

Owned by Morton Fink and trained by Charlie LoPresti, Wise Dan worked four furlongs over Keeneland’s turf course in 48.20 seconds and galloped out in 1:01.60 with exercise rider Jenn Patterson aboard.


►  Coburns sell interest in California Chrome

Lexington, KY - Steve and Carolyn Coburn have sold their ownership interest in 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome to Taylor Made.

Taylor Made joins majority owners Perry and Denise Martin in racing California Chrome, winner of last year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

“We are thrilled to be part owners of such a historic racehorse as California Chrome, and are most grateful to Steve & Carolyn Coburn and Perry & Denise Martin for giving us this exceptional opportunity and entrusting him with our care,“ said Duncan Taylor, President & CEO of Taylor Made. “California Chrome is simply the all-time leading earner from the A.P. Indy sire line, and he’s a tremendously good-looking, athletic, and well-balanced horse who possesses great speed. Remarkably, he became the fifth Kentucky Derby winner from his deep female family, and he embodies the incredible toughness and soundness of the throwbacks from his family. You won’t find many horses of his quality that made 18 starts in 23 months. He’s just now getting his first break from training.“

Steve Coburn gained notoriety from his outspoken remarks during the Triple Crown. He was especially critical of horses that ran in the Belmont Stakes without running in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

California Chrome is trained by Art Sherman and is currently in Kentucky recovering from an injury that will keep him out of the races for the remainder of 2015. The 4-year-old colt had two starts this year, finishing second in both the San Antonio at Santa Anita and the Dubai World Cup.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, California Chrome won the first two legs of last year’s Triple Crown after capturing the Santa Anita Derby. He finished in a dead heat for fourth in the Belmont Stakes and did not race again until a sixth-place finish in the Pennsylvania Derby.

California Chrome posted an impressive third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic behind PA Derby winner Bayern and won the Hollywood Derby on turf to conclude his 3-year-old season.

The champion colt has nine wins, three seconds, and a third from 18 lifetime starts and earnings of $6,322,650.


►  American Pharoah may face less than stellar field in Haskell

OCEANPORT, NJ — Triple Crown winner American Pharoah may have an easy time of it in the $1 million Haskell Invitational in two weeks, with a less than stellar field starting to take shape.

A list of probable challengers was released by Monmouth Park on Friday, and they don’t appear to be too imposing. Among them is either Competitive Edge or Stanford, both trained by Todd Pletcher, War Story, Mr. Jordan and Tekton.

Listed as possible for the 1 1/8-mile Haskell are Keen Ice, who finished third behind American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes on June 6, Bent on Bourbon and Good Pick Nick.

Stanford would come into the race off a victory in the Long Branch Stakes, the local prep for the Haskell.

American Pharoah will be making his first start since becoming the 12th Triple Crown winner after sweeping the Derby, Preakness and Belmont — the first horse to accomplish the feat since Affirmed in 1978.

The 3-year-old colt trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert currently is training at Del Mar in California.

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►  Sheer Drama favored over Frivolous in Del ‘Cap

Stanton, DE - The first two mares under the wire in last month’s Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs have been made the top choices for Saturday’s 78th running of the $750,000 Delaware Handicap (Del ‘Cap) at Delaware Park.

In the 1 1/8-mile Fleur de Lis it was 32-1 longshot Frivolous defeating 17-10 favorite Sheer Drama by 1 1/2 lengths. But for Saturday, Sheer Drama has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite over 3-1 second pick Frivolous.

Trained by David Fawkes for owner Harold Queen, Sheer Drama will start the 1 1/4-mile Del ‘Cap from post 5 in the seven-horse field of fillies and mares. Jockey Joe Bravo will again be in the saddle as he has for all of the 5-year- old’s 2015 starts.

“The Delaware Handicap has been a target race for us,“ said Fawkes. “We have been wanting to run this filly a little further and she has a high cruising speed, so Mr. Queen (Harold) and I have had this race in mind for some time now. But this has been a primary target as part of her 2015 campaign.“

Sheer Drama has been competing against some of the best older females in the country, but finished second her last two starts. Prior to her runner-up result in the Fleur de Lis the chestnut mare finished second as the 2-1 favorite in Churchill’s La Troienne Stakes to Molly Morgan.On March 21, she won the Royal Delta at Gulfstream Park.

Sheer Drama has a career record of four wins, eight seconds and a third from 17 starts with earnings of $468,840.

“She has not always been the easiest horse to work with in terms of shipping and working around the barn, but for some reason, she has gotten really comfortable doing those things this year,“ said Fawkes. “I really cannot explain it. Now, she will do whatever you ask her to do. She has matured and her training has improved. She has been one of the more consistent fillies I have trained. I wish she would have more wins than seconds, but it is what is. She is very consistent and she always gives you what she can.“

Frivolous, trained by Victoria Oliver for G. Watts Humphrey Jr., will break from the inside post with Jon Court again in the saddle. The 5-year-old mare surprised in the Fleur de Lis after finishing last in the La Troienne Stakes on May 1. The mare has earnings of $456,818 with four wins, three seconds and three thirds from 20 lifetime starts.

Here is the field for the Del ‘Cap from the rail out: Frivolous, Jon Court, 3-1; America, Junior Alvarado, 8-1; Fortune Pearl, Trevor McCarthy, 10-1; Flashy American, Edgar Prado, 4-1; Sheer Drama, Joe Bravo, 2-1; Rosalind, Joel Rosario, 6-1 and Joint Return, Kendrick Carmouche, 8-1.


►  American Pharoah arrives at Del Mar for training

DEL MAR — American Pharoah arrived at Del Mar Race Track on Tuesday to begin training for next month’s Haskell Invitational in New Jersey.

The first Triple Crown winner in 37 years even accomplished another rarity on his journey down from Santa Anita — avoiding summer traffic on the Los Angeles-area freeways.

“Well we did leave at 4 AM,“ said Jimmy Barnes, trainer Bob Baffert’s chief assistant.

American Pharaoh made the roughly 100-mile journey early in the morning, settled in and then jogged around the track in a morning workout that drew a large media contingent.

“It’s like having a rock star here,“ said Joe Harper, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club CEO. “Otherwise we wouldn’t have 14 cameras here.“

American Pharoah isn’t expected to race at Del Mar, with its summer season starting on Thursday. Instead, the 3-year-old colt will train at the seaside oval in preparation for the Haskell on August 2 at Monmouth Park. He’ll return to Del Mar after the Haskell.

Del Mar hopes Baffert, who arrives on Thursday, will add the track’s $1 million Pacific Classic on August 30 to the itinerary of the first horse in 37 years to win the Triple Crown.

“Those are all Bob’s decisions,“ Barnes said. “But I wouldn’t think so.“

It’s not expected that American Pharaoh will compete against older horses until October’s Breeder’s Cup.

But like the estimated 2,000 other horses boarded at Del Mar, American Pharoah is enjoying the beach life.

“The hoses love it down here,“ Barnes said, as he distributed peeled baby carrots to American Pharoah. “It’s a little cooler.“

American Pharoah is familiar with Del Mar, after winning its Grade I Del Mar Futurity for 2-year-olds last year.

“I remember saying to Bob, ‘That is a really good looking horse,‘“ Harper said. ‘Bob said, “It could be the one.‘ It was the one all right.“

Fans can watch American Pharoah train each morning, with three of the sessions being timed workouts.

“It’s terrific that he is here and it really is special,“ Harper said.

While there are no guarantees American Pharoah will race at Del Mar, his presence rivaled the excitement of 1996 when Cigar attempted to break Citation’s mark of 16 straight wins. But Dare And Go upset Cigar in the Pacific Classic, before a record crowd of 44,181.

“To have a Triple Crown winner is really a positive,“ Harper said. “It sheds a positive light on our sport. A lot of smart people in our game speculated there would never be another one and American Pharoah proved them wrong.“

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►  ‘Pharoah Phan Phestival’ planned for Monmouth Park

Oceanport, NJ - Three days of events and activities, being called “Pharoah Phan Phestival,“ culminating with Monmouth Park’s signature event the Haskell Invitational on Sunday, August 2 will surround the arrival of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah for the race.

“This will be one of the biggest sporting events New Jersey has ever seen,“ said Bob Kulina, president of Darby Development LLC, operators of Monmouth Park. “We are doing everything we can to make sure fans get to enjoy the experience while at the same time paying tribute to American Pharoah, who has taken the entire racing industry along for a great ride.“

The Pharoah Phan Phestival starts on Friday, July 31, with an American Pharoah commemorative button giveaway, presented by the Daily Racing Form. The day will include a “Phriday” happy hour at the track’s Lady’s Secret Cafe, Daily Racing Form American Pharoah commemorative magazine giveaway and the Joes vs. Jocks Mini-Golf “Phestival,“ which will take place at Blue Grass Mini Golf on the racetrack grounds following the last race. Monmouth’s top jockeys will face off against racing fans with the proceeds from the golf outing benefiting the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

On Saturday, Monmouth will celebrate Ladies’ Day, sponsored by Lilly Pulitzer Shops at Riverside, with a Bob Baffert commemorative jersey giveaway, which showcases the Hall of Fame trainer’s record-setting seven wins in the Haskell. Ladies’ Day will feature a Lilly Pulitzer fashion show as well as a ladies hat contest and drink specials.

Sunday is Haskell Day, featuring American Pharoah’s run in the 1 1/8-mile, $1 million race.

“Everything we planned thus far is just the beginning,“ Kulina said. “We have much more in the works and will continue to build on the Pharoah Phan Phestival as the event draws near.

“On a separate note, I want to personally thank the Zayat family, trainer Bob Baffert and everyone involved with this amazing athlete. This will no doubt be a great weekend for the racing industry, for Monmouth Park and of course for the people of New Jersey.“

Gates will open on Haskell Day at 9 AM ET, one hour earlier than originally planned. First post has been moved to 11:30 AM, with the Haskell going as race 12 on a 14-race card. Monmouth has announced a change in parking prices, with all parking $20, except valet which will be $40.

“The reality is there’s one main ingress and egress to Monmouth, and that’s Route 36,“ Kulina said. “We have deliberately raised these prices in an effort to push fans to car pooling and to mass transit. While we have additional off- site parking, we want to do everything we can to assist with the flow of traffic.

“We want as many people as possible to come out and witness this historic day. The move in price on parking is strictly to assist in the extreme volume of expected traffic and to ease the burden on local municipalities and get fans into the facility as quickly and easily as possible.“

New Jersey Transit will add additional stops at Monmouth Park with trains running along the coast from New York City to Bay Head, New Jersey.

Grandstand admission on Haskell Day is $6, Clubhouse $9. Monmouth Park will not cap attendance for the Haskell, with an estimated crowd of 60,000. The record attendance for any horse race in New Jersey is 53,638, which was set in 2003 when Peace Rules defeated Funny Cide in the Haskell.


►  Calamity Kate wreaks havoc in Delaware Oaks

Stanton, DE - Calamity Kate, the longest shot on the board, set the entire pace and went on to upset the field in Saturday’s $300,000 Delaware Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at Delaware Park.

Kentucky Oaks winner Lovely Maria went off as the 1-5 favorite in the eight- horse field for the 1 1/16-mile Oaks. Calamity Kate, trained by Kelly Breen, was 54-1 with Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado getting his first ride aboard the filly.

Calamity Kate jumped out to the lead at the start and proceeded to set the pace as Lovely Maria and jockey Kerwin Clark languished off the pace. Owned by George and Lori Hall, Calamity Kate continued on the lead with Lovely Maria gaining from the outside.

The favorite reached contention on the final turn but was unable to advance entering the stretch. Calamity Kate kept the lead at the top of the stretch and drove to a 1 3/4-length win over 8-1 third choice Love and Peace.

“The horse has been training good and in her last start she got a bad break,“ said the winning trainer. “So the last race was probably a throw out and she has been training great for this race. We had a couple of horses nominated and I guess we picked the right one to come here with. I told Edgar (Prado) just to ride his race. That she is sharp. It was just a matter of being in right spot at that right time.“

Finishing third was Hip Hop N Jazz followed by Bar of Gold, Lovely Maria, Danzatrice, White Clover and Milaya.

“They went out there and won,“ said Lovely Maria’s trainer Larry Jones. “I even had a horse out there pushing them. We thought we were in the right spot and we were not going to let anybody go out and steal it. The winner can run and when Kelly Breen comes in with a horse, he is tough. He always scares me and he is tough. But it is okay. We just got beat.“

The time for the Delaware Oaks was 1:41.79, the fastest time for the race since the distance was changed to 1 1/16 miles in 1997.

Calamity Kate notched her third career victory but first in a stakes. Winning the Oaks was worth $180,000 and brings Calamity Kate’s lifetime earnings to $345,868 in eight starts.

The filly was coming off an eighth-place finish in last month’s Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park. She previously won an optional claiming race at Monmouth Park on May 17.

Calamity Kate paid $110.80, $20.80 and $79.40. Peace and War returned $8.00 and $29.40, and Hip Hop N Jazz paid $59.40 to show.


►  Stanford orchestrates victory in Long Branch Stakes

Oceanport, NJ - Odds-on favorite Stanford shook loose at the top of stretch to go on and capture Saturday’s $100,000 Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Stanford, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Joe Bravo, was sent off as the 1-2 favorite in the local prep for the $1 million Haskell Invitational.

The favorite settled into second behind pacesetter and 3-1 second pick Souper Colossal in the 1 1/16-mile stakes with seven 3-year-olds. Stanford, going for his first win since February, moved wide around the final turn and surged to the lead coming into the stretch.

Stanford held off Souper Colossal down the stretch to post a 1 1/4-length win.

“He is a really classy horse,“ said the winning jockey. “They were going an honest pace up front. I asked him to go a little bit before the quarter pole to just get him going and he answered really nicely. If he comes back for the Haskell, the good thing is that we know he likes the course.“

Finishing third was Total Joint with Battle Midway fourth followed by Fortuitous Path and Gorgeous Bird. Iamahandsome Man was pulled up and vanned off.

The time for the Long Branch was 1:44.31 on a fast track.

Stanford, owned by Stonestreet Stables, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, took home $60,000 for his first career stakes victory. The colt has earned $289,400 with three wins from seven lifetime starts.

Stanford was on the road to the Kentucky Derby this spring and was, in fact, entered in the Run for the Roses. However, he was scratched from the 1 1/4- mile classic two days before the race.

After winning his initial race of the year on February 8, Stanford finished second as the 13-10 favorite to stablemate Materiality in Gulfstream Park’s Islamorada Stakes. However, Stanford was disqualified for interference and placed sixth.

Stanford then got second in the Louisiana Derby behind International Star, who was also scratched from the Kentucky Derby. He came back on the Belmont Stakes card with a second to Japan in the Easy Goer Stakes.

Stanford returned $3.00, $2.20 and $2.10. Souper Colossal paid $3.00 and $2.60, and Total Joint paid $4.00 to show.

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The Gilmer Free Press

►  Stanford tries to shake seconditis in Long Branch Stakes

Oceanport, NJ—Second-place finishes have become all too common for trainer Todd Pletcher’s Stanford, but the 3-year-old colt is the 7-5 morning line favorite for Saturday’s $100,000 Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Coming into Saturday after crossing the wire second three straight times, Stanford will start the 1 1/16-mile prep for the Haskell from post 3 in the seven-horse field of 3-year-olds with local jockey Joe Bravo reunited with the colt. Bravo was aboard for the first two starts of Stanford’s career.

Stanford, owned by Stonestreet Stables, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, was on the road to the Kentucky Derby this spring and was, in fact, entered in the Run for the Roses. However, he was scratched from the 1 1/4-mile classic two days before the race.

“We entered the horse in the race to see what sort of post he might draw,“ Pletcher said. “We were on the fence as to whether or not to run him, but we thought we’d take a look. But after seeing the draw and talking to the owners, we decided it might be best to take him out and consider other options.

After winning his initial race of the year, Stanford finished second as the 13-10 favorite to stablemate Materiality in Gulfstream Park’s Islamorada Stakes. However, Stanford was disqualified for interference and placed sixth.

Stanford then got second in the Louisiana Derby behind International Star, who was also scratched from the Kentucky Derby. He came back on the Belmont Stakes card with a second to Japan in the Easy Goer Stakes.

With two wins and two seconds, Stanford has banked $229,400 in six lifetime starts.

Here is the field for the Long Branch from the rail out: Battle Midway, Orlando Bocachica, 30-1; Total Joint, Gabriel Saez, 20-1; Stanford, Joe Bravo, 7-5; Fortuitous Path, Abel Castellano Jr., 5-1; Gorgeous Bird, Angel Serpa, 9-2; Souper Colossal, Paco Lopez, 8-5 and Iamahandsome Man, Daniel Centeno, 15-1.

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