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IEAH Stables and Whizway Farms' AMEN HALLELUJAH (Montbrook) has already made a name for herself on the West Coast, but on Saturday faced her toughest task to date when making her dirt bow in the $150,000 Davona Dale S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park. The Richard Dutrow trainee tracked the pacesetting Bickersons (Silver Deputy) along the inside, took command at the quarter-pole and easily drew off for the 6 1/4-length victory under jockey Julien Leparoux.
Donegal Racing's VOW TO WAGER (Broken Vow) turned in a second consecutive upset victory at Turfway Park in Saturday's $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial S., but needed a little help from the stewards to do so. The judges disqualified first-place finisher Codoy (Bernstein) and placed him second after he drifted out into Vow to Wager turning for home, instead awarding the race to the 23-1 longest shot on the board ridden by John McKee. The final time for 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack was a pokey 1:48 4/5.
English Group 2 winner RADIOHEAD (GB) (Johannesburg), who was scratched from last Saturday's Hutcheson S. (G2), made his debut for Richard Dutrow exactly one week later in Saturday's 3RD race at Gulfstream Park. The classy sophomore proved to be worth the wait in his first try on dirt. After forcing the pace beneath Edgar Prado, Radiohead stretched 3 1/4 lengths clear while rattling off the fast-track mile in 1:35 4/5. The 8-5 favorite returned $5.20, $3.20 and $2.60.
Santa Anita officials announced that live racing for Saturday has been cancelled due to heavy overnight and early morning rain, which was expected to continue throughout the afternoon. The announcement was made at 9:45 a.m. (PST).
Saturday's nine-race program was to be highlighted by the $150,000 Sham S. (G3) for three-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles. The field for the Sham will be redrawn and run next Saturday, March 6. The Sham is an important steppingstone to the Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 3.
At Tampa Bay Downs on Friday, two prime contenders for the March 13 Tampa Bay Derby (G3) recorded works.
Sam F. Davis S. (G3) runner-up SCHOOLYARD DREAMS (Stephen Got Even) drilled five furlongs in a bullet :59 4/5, best of 19 works at the distance on the fast track.
Pasco S. romper UPTOWNCHARLYBROWN (Limehouse), third in the Sam F. Davis in his two-turn debut, tied for the second fastest time when zipping in 1:00. The chestnut was posting his first move in blinkers, which trainer Alan Seewald prescribed for the colt after his green performance last time.
Castleton Lyons Farm’s versatile Gio Ponti, who earned Eclipse Awards in 2009 that honored him as America’s champion older horse on both turf and dirt, heads a roster of 81 older grass stars nominated to run in the 24th running of the $500,000-added Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (Grade I) on Kentucky Derby Day, Saturday, May 1, at Churchill Downs.
WEST / SHAM COULD REVEAL NEW WEST COAST HOPES – “Hope” is the key word in Saturday’s $150,000 Sham Stakes (Grade III) at Santa Anita as only one of the 10-year-olds entered in the 1 1/8-mile race over the synthetic Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita has stakes experience.
Two colts from the barns of Hall of Fame trainers loom as the likely favorites and THEY could emerge as fresh-faced contenders on the road to Churchill Downs and the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) on Saturday, May 1.
CHAMPION SHE BE WILD, BLIND LUCK TOP 143 KENTUCKY OAKS NOMINEES – Nancy Mazzoni’s She Be Wild, winner of the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade I) and the champion 2-year-old filly of 2009, and Mark DeDomenico LLC, John Carver and Jerry Hollendorfer’s three-time Grade I winner Blind Luck head a dazzling group of 143 3-year-old fillies nominated to compete in Churchill Downs’’ 136th running of the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (GI) on Friday, April 30.
Kentucky Jockey Club S. (G2) romper SUPER SAVER (Maria's Mon) will not have jockey Calvin Borel aboard for his sophomore debut in the March 13 Rebel S. (G2) at Oaklawn Park.
"We have a little conflict," Borel's agent Jerry Hissam said. "We'll be in New Orleans that day for Rachel," alluding to Horse of the Year RACHEL ALEXANDRA's (Medaglia d'Oro) making her seasonal debut on March 13 in the New Orleans Ladies S. at Fair Grounds. Borel, of course, is her regular rider.
The top five finishers in last month’s WEBN S. return to Turfway Park Saturday for the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial S., the last local prep for the Lane’s End S. (G2) on March 27. Eight three-year-olds are entered for the Battaglia Memorial, run at 1 1/16 miles over the Polytrack.