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Trainer Ken McPeek, who saddled KATHMANBLU (Bluegrass Cat) to win Fair Grounds' Rachel Alexandra S. (G3) February 19 and ROGUE ROMANCE (Smarty Jones) to run third in the Risen Star S. (G2) on the same day, indicated Sunday morning that both the filly and the colt would be returning to New Orleans to run back in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) and the Louisiana Derby (G2), respectively, on March 26.
"Everything is fine with both of them," McPeek said Sunday morning from South Florida, "and we're planning on coming back with both of them."
SOLDAT (War Front) was "happy and in great shape," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin reported Sunday, following his dominant two-length victory in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park. The three-year-old colt led virtually every step of the way Saturday as the 7-5 betting favorite to finish ahead of GOURMET DINNER (Trippi) and TO HONOR AND SERVE (Bernardini).
The Fountain of Youth was Soldat's first victory over a fast main track, an outcome that pleased McLaughlin but didn't surprise him in the least.
Hot favorites were ambushed in both of Saturday's "Derbies" in the Southwest. Mary C. and Robert L. Zollars' FUSA CODE (Fusaichi Pegasus) was twice beaten by Special Kid (Lemon Drop Kid) at home at Santa Anita, but turned the tables on that 3-2 favorite in the $100,000 Borderland Derby at Sunland Park.
Fresh Start Stable's J J'S LUCKY TRAIN (Silver Train) outdueled Bandbox (Tapit) by a neck after a rousing stretch drive in Saturday's $51,500 Miracle Wood S. at Laurel Park. Just as the pair dominated in the wagering, with Bandbox the 4-5 favorite and J J's Lucky Train the 6-5 second choice, so did they lord it over their rivals on the track, drawing 8 1/2 lengths clear of third-placer Wicked Thunder (Thunder Gulch). (Photo courtesy of Maryland Jockey Club/Jim McCue.)
Up-and-coming sophomores ARCH TRAVELER (Sky Mesa) and LEFT (Arch) cleared their entry-level allowance conditions on Saturday and likely punched their tickets to stakes company.
E Paul Robsham Stables LLC's homebred R HEAT LIGHTNING (Trippi) scooted through on the rail in Saturday's $250,000 Davona Dale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park and pulled away to be 7 1/4 lengths clear on the wire of the one-mile test. Sent off the 5-2 second choice in the nine-filly field, the Todd Pletcher trainee stopped the clock in 1:36 1/5 to return $7, $3.20 and $2.40 to her backers.
The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained SOLDAT (War Front) was second choice behind To Honor and Serve (Bernardini) for much of the wagering for Saturday's $400,000 Fountain of Youth S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park, but a late surge of support resulted in the dark bay closing as the 7-5 favorite in a field of eight three-year-olds. The pari-mutuel wave proved entirely justified as Soldat took command from the start, set a moderate pace, and held off challenges from To Honor and Serve and Gourmet Dinner to register a two-length win in the nine-furlong prep for the April 3 Florida Derby (G1).
Peachtree Stable's FLASHPOINT (Pomeroy) easily overtook 3-5 favorite Travelin Man (Trippi) and drew off to a stunning 7 1/4-length victory in Saturday's $150,000 Hutcheson S. (G2), remaining perfect in his second lifetime start.
KATHMANBLU (Bluegrass Cat) was the big story over the past two weeks, but a couple of new shooters have popped up and could offer that one a real challenge come Kentucky Oaks Day. They'll have to move forward, but anything can happen in the two months leading up to the big day.
FLORIDA / DANCINGINHERDREAMS LOOKS TO REBOUND IN DAVONA DALE – John C. Oxley’s Dancinginherdreams suffered her first career defeat in her 2011 racing debut, but that has not deterred admirers who are expected to make the nearly white filly 3-year-old favorite in Saturday’s $250,000 Davona Dale (Grade (GII) at Florida’s Gulfstream Park.