Stabled at Los Alamitos, a hotbed of Quarter Horse-style speed for decades, the three-year-old California Chrome demonstrated his own Thoroughbred twist on early flash with an electric score in the Grade 2, $300,500 San Felipe at Santa Anita on Saturday.
Euphrosyne finished second in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Honeybee at Oaklawn Park, but was presented with the win following the disqualification of Sugar Shock by the stewards. Sent off the 8-1 fourth choice, the bay daughter of Harlan's Holiday paid $19.20 with jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. in the irons.
Cairo Prince, likely favorite for the $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 29, took another step toward the race with a half-mile work on Saturday.
Top Billing, one of the most celebrated prospects for the $1 million Florida Derby and Triple Crown, sustained an injury during a workout at Payson Park Saturday morning that has knocked the Shug McGaughey-trained colt off the Triple Crown Trail.
Remsen hero Honor Code, who had been mentioned as a candidate for the March 15 Rebel at Oaklawn Park, will instead make his reappearance in Wednesday's 8TH race at Gulfstream Park. The Kentucky Derby hopeful will meet only four foes in the 1 1/16-mile allowance race, including flashy debut maiden winner Social Inclusion.
Sweet Reason, a dominating winner of the Spinaway at Saratoga last summer, made a successful sophomore debut at Aqueduct Friday, taking a $67,620 nonwinners-of-three allowance for three-year-old fillies by a half-length.
Gulfstream Park Derby winner General a Rod will make his next start in the $1 million Florida Derby on March 29, trainer Mike Maker confirmed Friday morning.
Undefeated morning-line favorite Bayern has been withdrawn from Saturday's Grade 2 San Felipe because of a bruised hoof, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert confirmed Thursday afternoon.
"Bayern out of San Felipe," Baffert tweeted. "Bruised inside quarter. Was looking forward to seeing him run Saturday. Be OK soon."
The 90th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass has attracted an all-star list of 191 nominees, Keeneland announced Thursday. Scheduled for April 12, the 1 1/8-mile Blue Grass is one of the country's premier three-year-old preps, offering 100 points to the winner on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
The first of five Grade 1 stakes held during Keeneland's Spring Meet is the $500,000 Ashland, and a total of 133 sophomore fillies have been nominated to the April 5 feature. Contested at 1 1/16 miles, the Ashland historically showcases classic-bound fillies, with the winner earning 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks.
As long as there are no bumps along the way, highly regarded Honor Code's road to Louisville for the first Saturday in May is coming through Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Vinceremos' bid for a $1 million bonus continues on Saturday when he faces nine rivals in the Grade 2, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby over 1 1/16 miles.
A runaway winner in both career starts, Bayern will step up to make his stakes debut in Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 San Felipe at Santa Anita. The 1 1/16-mile test is part of the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" scoring series and offers points on a 50-20-10-5 scale to the top four finishers.
Please Explain and Taris will face off Saturday as part of an 11-filly field entered in the Grade 3, $150,000 Honeybee at Oaklawn Park. The 1 1/16-mile contest is the final steppingstone to the Grade 3, $400,000 Fantasy on April 5, and is also worth 50 points to the winner toward a berth in the Kentucky Oaks starting gate on May 2 at Churchill Downs.
The Gotham featured an exciting three-horse stretch duel on the inner track at Aqueduct and Samraat posted an outstanding victory.
After traveling wide on both turns, Samraat surged to the lead in upper stretch and gamely repulsed stubborn foes Uncle Sigh and In Trouble to the wire. The 1 1/16-mile Gotham didn't answer any questions surrounding his effectiveness at 1 1/4 miles two months from now, but Samraat continues to distinguish himself.
For the fifth time in as many starts, Wildcat Red will have a new rider when he returns in the $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 29.
By Gary West, special to KentuckyDerby.com
For now, he’s just the King of Queens, but don’t underestimate him. In May, with his place in the Churchill Downs starting gate virtually reserved, he could attempt to extend his dominion to Kentucky.
In a Facebook posting Monday morning, trainer Doug O'Neill announced that Bond Holder would not contest Saturday's $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby as originally planned.
California Chrome had his final major workout for Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 San Felipe Stakes, going five furlongs Sunday morning at Los Alamitos in 1:00 2/5.
Undefeated Samraat was on his way to Florida Sunday afternoon, one day after running his winning streak to five and landing atop the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with his gritty victory over Uncle Sigh and In Trouble in the Grade 3, $500,000 Gotham at Aqueduct Racetrack.