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Mrs. Susan Roy and Vinery Stables' AWESOME ACT (Awesome Again) had never raced on dirt before, but the English invader took to the surface like a natural with a convincing victory in Saturday's $250,000 Gotham S. (G3) at Aqueduct. In a fine training performance by Jeremy Noseda, the royally-bred chestnut was plenty fit for his sophomore debut, despite enduring the vagaries of a frigid winter in Newmarket.
'All Others' A Strong Favorite Over Lookin At Lucky, Eskendereya After Opening Session of Second Derby Futures Pool
Uncertainty surrounding the prospects of contenders for the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) was evident during the opening hours of betting in second pool of Churchill Downs’ 2010 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”) as the mutuel field, or “all others”, was the strong fans’ choice over favored individual horses Lookin At Lucky and Eskendereya.
Las Virgenes (Grade I) winner Blind Luck, a heavy favorite to score the fourth Grade I victory of her career in Saturday’s Santa Anita Oaks, was the clear people’s choice on Friday’s opening day of betting in Churchill Downs’ 2010 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (KOFW).
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.