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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.
Nancy Mazzoni’s She Be Wild, winner of the 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 an impressive roster 143 3-year-old fillies nominated to compete in Churchill Downs’’ 136th running of the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (GI).
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 looks very contentious, with no graded winners but a number of promising individuals among the entries, and provides a perfect opportunity to grab some graded earnings.
A stellar field of eight sophomore fillies has been entered in Saturday's $150,000 Davona Dale S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park, and the one-turn mile event will be the highly anticipated stakes debut for two of the runners. The connections of COMIC MARVEL (Distorted Humor) and CHRISTINE DAAE (Giant's Causeway) have been talking up their fillies for some time, and the pair will have to live up to all the hype if they hope to challenge against this group.
BACKTALK (Smarty Jones), one of the early-season juvenile leaders last year when scoring back-to-back wins in the Bashford Manor S. (G3) and Sanford S. (G2), will make his seasonal debut in Friday's $75,000 Sportsman's Paradise S. at Delta Downs.
The Triple Crown nominated colt, trained by Tom Amoss, enters off two unplaced efforts in the Hopeful S. (G1), where he rallied for fourth, and the Breeders' Futurity (G1), where he was a subpar eighth in his Polytrack and two-turn debut.