Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC's homebred Untapable continued to put on a show at Fair Grounds Saturday when romping home a 7 3/4-length winner of the Grade 2, $384,000 Fair Grounds Oaks under jockey Rosie Napravnik. The duo were sent off the heavy 1-2 favorite and paid $3 for finishing 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.
California Chrome and Candy Boy, the two favorites for next Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Derby, had their final major drills Saturday morning for their highly anticipated meeting, California Chrome working four furlongs at his Los Alamitos headquarters in :46 2/5 under regular rider Victor Espinoza, and Candy Boy going six furlongs at Santa Anita in 1:11 4/5 under regular rider Gary Stevens.
U.S. Triple Crown nominee Toast of New York proved that he's much more than a Wolverhampton wonder when running out a commanding winner of Saturday's Group 2, $2 million U.A.E. Derby. Justifying trainer Jamie Osborne's lofty opinion of him, Michael Buckley's colorbearer tracked the pace before storming 2 1/2 lengths clear in his stakes debut, and earned 100 points toward a possible tilt at the Kentucky Derby.
Wertheimer and Frere's homebred In Tune captured her stakes debut in Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Gulfstream Oaks after a stretch-long duel with Davona Dale runner-up House Rules. The pair duked it out through the lane, with In Tune just getting her neck in front on the line to move her career record to an unbeaten three-for-three.
Social Inclusion is set to van north to Aqueduct for next Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Wood Memorial after breezing four furlongs in :46 4/5 seconds on Saturday over Gulfstream Park's fast dirt. The move was the second-quickest of 51 at the distance.
Trainer Art Sherman knows the comparisons are unavoidable.
His brilliant colt California Chrome, early favorite for the Grade 1, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 5, is California-bred, chestnut in color, and, most importantly, can run like the wind.
Schoolofhardrocks worked six furlongs over Santa Anita's fast main track Friday morning in 1:12 4/5 as the son of Rock Hard Ten prepares for the Grade 1, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 5.
Trainer Gary Contessa seemed pleased with what he saw physically and mentally on Friday morning after $1 million Wood Memorial hopeful Uncle Sigh had an easy gallop around Belmont Park's training track, his second day back after a six-furlong work in 1:15 on Tuesday.
Javier Castellano has had a pretty good winter. He captured his first Eclipse Award as champion jockey, set a North American record for single-season purse earnings, and broke his own record in becoming just the second rider to claim three consecutive Champions meet titles at Gulfstream Park.
When Wildcat Red takes his place in the starting gate Saturday for the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, he will carry the hopes of a pair of small-scale operations on the road to the Triple Crown.
Among the chief contenders in Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks is House Rules, who will be making her fifth start of the Champions Meet for owner Joseph V. Shields Jr. and trainer Allen Jerkens.
California Chrome's Kentucky Derby Express continued to gain steam when the California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit was listed as the 5-1 morning-line favorite in Churchill Downs' fourth and final Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) pool that opened at 9 a.m. Thursday and runs until 3 p.m. (PDT) on Saturday.
Who would have thought the Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year's Day would prove to be such a formful race?
That's exactly what has happened, though, as the top three from that contest -- General a Rod, Wildcat Red and East Hall -- line back up on Saturday in the 63rd running of the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.
The final round of major preps, a three-week window consisting of seven races worth a total of 170 points apiece (100-40-20-10 scale), begins this Saturday and it's important to note that winning isn't everything -- six of the last 13 Kentucky Derby victors dropped their last start.
Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Gulfstream Oaks lost its favorite when Davona Dale and Forward Gal winner Onlyforyou fatally broke down in a recent workout. Trainer Todd Pletcher will instead send out the promising but untested In Tune in the 1 1/8-mile test.
Saturday's Grade 2, $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks drew only a field of five but there is plenty of excitement surrounding the 1 1/16-mile event due to the presence of Untapable and Unbridled Forever, who will meet for the first time.
Cairo Prince romped in his January 25 sophomore debut in the Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park, sweeping around horses on the turn and drawing off to an easy 5 3/4-length victory. While demonstrating an abundant amount of class, talent and professionalism, the gray son of Pioneerof the Nile left Gulfstream fans wanting to see more.
The field for the Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby looks very much like the one that contested last month's Risen Star, the main prep for Saturday's 1 1/8-mile signature event of the Fair Grounds meet.
Saturday's Group 2, $2 million U.A.E. Derby offers 100 points to the winner toward the Kentucky Derby, and Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien has dispatched Triple Crown nominees Giovanni Boldini and Sir John Hawkins to Dubai in pursuit of his third straight win in this race.