Undefeated Violence breezed five furlongs in a co-bullet 1:00 1/5 over Palm Meadows Training Center's fast dirt on Sunday in preparation for a scheduled start in the Grade 2, $400,000 Fountain of Youth on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
"Outstanding. I'm very, very pleased with his work. He galloped out strongly, came back well. He's ready to go," trainer Todd Pletcher said.
Exercise rider Norman Bush was aboard Violence, who worked head and head in company with Palace Malice, who was also timed in 1:00 1/5, the co-fastest clocking of 40 recorded at the distance.
Dice Flavor burst between opponents in midstretch and drew off to a convincing 3 3/4-length victory in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields.
Recent allowance winner Orb will likely run in next Saturday's Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park, providing that he pleases trainer Shug McGaughey in a workout scheduled for Monday.
"I'm looking towards it. I'm going to work him on Monday and make up my mind," McGaughey said. "I'm leaning that way, because there's nowhere else to run him."
Bob Baffert has won six of the last nine graded events for three-year-olds at Oaklawn Park, including a sweep of the Grade 3 Southwest, Grade 2 Rebel and Grade 1 Arkansas Derby last year, and the Hall of Famer will be represented in Monday's $300,000 Southwest by Super Ninety Nine, who exits a sharp 3 1/4-length score over allowance/optional claiming rivals at Santa Anita. The colt's main opposition, Smarty Jones winner Will Take Charge, resides in the barn of another Hall of Fame trainer, D. Wayne Lukas.
Lee Lewis' three-year-old filly Live Lively was very impressive winning a seven-furlong allowance race at Gulfstream Park on New Year's Day by 11 1/4 lengths for trainer Mark Hennig and is on target to make her stakes debut and first start around two turns in the Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on February 23.
"It's a big test for her with the step up in class and first start going a distance," Hennig said Friday morning from Palm Meadows.
Joseph Witek's three-year-old Kentucky homebred colt Majestic Hussar has run well in two allowance starts sprinting at Gulfstream Park this winter for trainer Eddie Kenneally, and is set to face his biggest challenge yet when he tries two turns for the first time in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on February 23.
Speaking over the phone from South Florida Thursday morning, trainer Chad Brown confirmed that Normandy Invasion would be coming to New Orleans for the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds on February 23.
"We're planning on it," Brown said of the 1 1/16-mile Risen Star, Fair Grounds' designed prep for the 100th running of the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on March 30.
Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 San Vicente is not worth any points in the new Road to the Kentucky Derby scoring system, but the seven-furlong test at Santa Anita figures to yield contenders for major Derby preps down the road. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is responsible for half of the six-horse field -- Grade 3-placed Shakin It Up and hotshot maiden winners Belvin and War Academy.
South African champion Soft Falling Rain extended his unbeaten sequence to six in Thursday's Group 3, $250,000 U.A.E. Two Thousand Guineas at Meydan, while leading Godolphin hope Fortify could do no better than sixth.
The first pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager took place last weekend and the lowest individual-priced horse, Verrazano (11-1), was bet primarily on confidence given that the lightly-raced colt has yet to try two turns or face stakes rivals. The next three in the betting -- Flashback (12-1), Violence (13-1) and Itsmyluckyday (13-1) -- are graded stakes winners.
Four of the nine entrants in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields have been nominated to the Triple Crown series, and thus are hoping to add the 10 points the race provides to the winner toward their Kentucky Derby account under the new eligibility system of the Run for the Roses. The 1 1/8-mile race also features a rematch between the top-two finishers from the January 12 California Derby.
The 2013 version of Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”) is off to a rousing start after its opening pool generated near-record betting, concluded with the expected emergence of the popular “All Others” (#24) betting interest as its heavy favorite and featured a wild scramble among seven horses that determined the identity of the individual Thoroughbred that is, for now, a very narrow “people’s choice” to win the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum Brands (Grade I) on
Trainer Tom Proctor confirmed Saturday from his wintertime base of operations in Southern California that he plans on shipping Midnight Ballet to New Orleans to contest the Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra on February 23 as part of the Louisiana Derby Preview Day, and also that newly unretired Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens would be coming to Fair Grounds for the mount on the filly.
With only one day of betting remaining in the first of a trio of Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”) pools in 2013, fans continued to heavily favor “All Others” (#24) over a foursome of Derby hopefuls trained by Todd Pletcher as total wagering in the three-day pool pushed past the $300,000 mark.
Later on Saturday, in another points race for the Kentucky Oaks, Rutherford Group et al's Redressthebalance came with a powerful rally to capture the $53,550 California Oaks at Golden Gate Fields. With jockey Christian Santiago Reyes in the irons, the Doug O'Neill pupil earned her first win stateside when completing 1 1/16 miles on the synthetic Tapeta in 1:45 2/5.
Millennium Farms and Little Brother Farm's homebred Sister Ginger turned back the game effort of Rose to Gold for a 2 3/4-length victory in Saturday's $75,000 Martha Washington at Oaklawn Park. The Steve Asmussen trainee was seeking her first win since breaking her maiden by 5 1/2 lengths last October at Remington Park, and finished this one mile contest over the fast dirt in 1:39 2/5.
Liberty Girl was one of the most impressive winners from Oaklawn Park's January 11 opening day, when she drew off to take a first-level allowance by 4 1/4 lengths in her three-year-old debut. On Saturday, the A. P. Warrior filly takes another step forward as one of nine fillies entered in the $75,000 Martha Washington.
Godolphin's Lovely Pass became the first classic winner sired by Raven's Pass when grinding out a half-length success in Thursday's $250,000 U.A.E. One Thousand Guineas at Meydan. The Mahmood al Zarooni pupil topped a Godolphin trifecta, rounded out by Shuruq and Music Chart.
A pair of well-regarded maiden winners, Flashback and Revolutionary, passed their first stakes test last weekend in dramatically different styles, with Flashback leading all the way in the Robert B. Lewis and Revolutionary rallying from last to take the Withers, and while neither performance proved a whole lot in terms of the Kentucky Derby, it's still early in the process and both colts have a lot going for them.
Though not graded and only worth $50,000, Saturday's California Oaks at Golden Gate Fields will award the winner of the 1 1/16-mile contest with 10 points toward the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks starting gate.
Eleven sophomore fillies have thrown their hats in the ring, led by the Lloyd Mason trainee Lucky Moment (Marino Marini). The dark bay lass is currently riding a three-race win streak and has already beaten others in this field.