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Willis D. Horton's Take Charge Brandi's (Giant's Causeway) lackadaisical run in the stretch of Saturday's $100,000 Martha Washington S. nearly cost her the race as Sarah Sis (Sharp Humor) offered a game late bid along the inside.
Champions American Pharoah, Take Charge Brandi, 34 Pletcher Hopes Among 429 Early Triple Crown Nominees
Zayat Stables LLC’s American Pharoah, the Eclipse Award winner for champion 2-year-old colt of 2014, and Willis D. Horton’s Take Charge Brandi, who mounted a year-end charge to earn the honor of America’s 2014 juvenile filly champion, head an accomplished roster of 429 3-year-old Thoroughbreds made eligible to compete in the 2015 Triple Crown during the early nomination phase for the series of three classic races that includes the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), the $1.5 million-guaranteed Preakness (GI) and the $1.5 million-guaranteed Belmont Stakes (GI).
Gulfstream Park played host to last week’s lone scoring race, the $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G2) on January 24, and Upstart proved to be a smashing winner, romping home to a 5 ½-length decision in the 1 1/16-mile contest.
Ralph M. Evans' Upstart zoomed up on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard Saturday, thanks to a 5 1/2-length conquest of the Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream.
Forum Racing's Birdatthewire was facing a big class test off a maiden win last out, but the Dale Romans trainee passed with flying colors in Saturday's $200,000 Forward Gal (G2) at Gulfstream.
In the races prior to Saturday's Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park, a couple of up-and-comers stamped themselves as three-year-olds to follow.
The Kentucky Derby is limited to 20 three-year-old Thoroughbreds and a points system determines eligibility, with a series of 35 select races awarding points on a sliding scale to the top four finishers. The point values increase as we get closer to the first Saturday in May.
Upstart (Flatter), the New York-bred ridgling who held his own against some of the leading juveniles in the country last fall, might go off a slight favorite when he returns to the track Saturday for the $400,000 Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
Eleven three-year-old fillies will travel seven furlongs in the $200,000 Forward Gal (G2) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, a prelude for the Davona Dale (G2) and Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2).
In an eventful running of the $150,000 Smarty Jones at Oaklawn on Monday, Far Right (Notional) flew up the inside to seize victory in the one-mile race for three-year-olds when even-money favorite Mr. Z (Malibu Moon) blew a commanding lead by veering out badly in the stretch.