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CALIFORNIA / TWO NEW NAMES IN SATURDAY’S RESHAPED SHAM – The weather-delayed $150,000-added Sham Stakes (Grade (III) at Santa Anita picked up two new names when entries were dropped for a second time for the 1 1/8-mile prep for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) that is now set for Saturday, March 6.
But the overall makeup of the race looks very familiar as 10 3-year-olds are set to enter the starting gate and only one is a stakes winner. The race was postponed for a week because of continued drainage problems in Santa Anita’s synthetic Pro-Ride course.
CALIFORNIA / BLIND LUCK FAVORED IN SANTA ANITA OAKS – Blind Luck, the favored individual filly in this week’s Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, figures to be a strong fans’ choice when she faces seven rivals in Saturday’s $250,000 Santa Anita Oaks (Grade I).
The royal blue silks of Godolphin were carried to an impressive victory in Thursday's $250,000 Al Bastakiya at Meydan, but not by Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Vale of York (Ire) (Invincible Spirit), who ran evenly in fifth. Instead, it was the lightly-raced MENDIP (Harlan's Holiday), a nominee to the American Triple Crown, who stormed to a 6 1/4-length triumph in his stakes debut. The Saeed bin Suroor colt extended his record to a perfect three-for-three, and in the process, stamped himself as a major player for the March 27 U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2).
Though a month remains in the inner track meet at Aqueduct, a sign that spring is fast approaching is that graded stakes action will return to the Big A on Saturday. An 11-race program is highlighted by the $250,000 Gotham S. (G3) at 1 1/16 miles, where a field of 10 three-year-olds will line up in the leading prep for the April 3 Wood Memorial S. (G1).
One race following the Sham S. (G3) on the Santa Anita H. (G1) undercard Saturday, BLIND LUCK (Pollard's Vision) will seek her fourth Grade 1 victory when she lines up against seven rivals in the $250,000 Santa Anita Oaks (G1). The Jerry Hollendorfer-trained filly rallied gamely to record a nose score when making her three-year-old bow in the February 13 Las Virgenes S. (G1).
Ten runners will look to enhance their Kentucky Derby (G1) credentials when they line up in Saturday's $150,000 Sham S. (G3) at Santa Anita. The 1 1/8-mile event was rescheduled from last Saturday's card, which was lost when the Pro-Ride failed to drain properly after heavy rain, and eight of the 10 original entrants have returned. There are no graded winners but a number of promising individuals in the contentious field.
Eskendereya, Lookin At Lucky Favored Individuals, But ‘All Others' The Choice In Derby Futures Pool 2
A dominating victory in the Fountain of Youth (Grade II) stakes has made Eskendereya the co-morning line favorite with champion Lookin At Lucky among individual wagering interests for Pool 2 of Churchill Downs’ 2010 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”), but it’s the mutuel field, or “all others,” that will be favored again when the three-day pool opens its March 5-7 run on Friday.
Blind Luck, Amen Hallelujah Should Be Popular, 'All Others' Is Morning Line Choice In Oaks Future Wager
Three-time Grade I stakes winner Blind Luck and rising star Amen Hallelujah are the favored individual fillies in Churchill Downs’ 2010 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”), but oddsmaker Mike Battaglia is betting that the mutuel field, or “all others,” will be the favored betting interest when the three-day pool wraps up early on Sunday evening.
Chefs Anthony Lamas of Seviche and Aaron Stordeur of The Oakroom at the Seelbach Hilton Hotel have been chosen by a panel of judges to represent Churchill Downs and the city of Louisville at the inaugural Taste of Derby™ presented by Yum! Brands on Thursday, April 29.
Churchill Downs’ inaugural Taste of Derby will kick-start Kentucky Derby weekend for local culinary enthusiasts and out-of-town visitors with an evening of entertainment and some of the finest cuisine prepared by nationally known chefs and restaurants from popular horse racing destinations around the country.
AWESOME ACT (Awesome Again) is scheduled to arrive in New York early Wednesday morning for his engagement in Saturday's $250,000 Gotham S. (G3). The well-regarded colt left trainer Jeremy Noseda's grounds in Newmarket, England, on Tuesday, embarking on what his connections hope will be the first step toward a berth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 1.
"Awesome Act's performance in the Gotham is the key to how we move forward," Noseda explained.