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Preakness Stakes

American Pharoah Mops Up Preakness Stakes 140

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American Pharoah Mops Up Preakness Stakes 140

Sent off the 9-10 favorite to follow up on his hard-fought defeat of Firing Line (Line of David) and Dortmund (Big Brown) in the GI Kentucky Derby May 2, Zayat Stables' American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) came through for his backers with a much easier success in the GI Xpressbet.com Preakness Stakes before a record 131,680 ultimately rain-soaked fans at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course.

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OXBOW WINS PREAKNESS STAKES 138

Oxbow - Preakness Stakes
Oxbow - Preakness Stakes

Watch Oxbow winning the Preakness Stakes (G1)

(Image : Herald Sun - Footage : CNBC)

PREAKNESS STAKES (Grade 1)

Pimlico, Dirt, 9.5 Furlongs

18 May 2013

A Triple Crown will have to wait yet another year after Calumet Farm’s Oxbow (Awesome Again) gave Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas - age 77 - a sixth win and fellow Hall of Famer Gary Stevens - age 50 and a handful of months removed from a seven year retirement - a third victory in Saturday’s Grade 1 Preakness Stakes at Old Hilltop in Baltimore. Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) looked a danger in deep stretch before settling for second, while Mylute (Midnight Lute) came from the back of the pack to be third.

GI Kentucky Derby hero Orb (Malibu Moon) was sent off at prohibitive odds of 3-5 to take this middle jewel, but raced in a bit of traffic and closer to the pace than is his custom on the back stretch and only a belated rally carried him into fourth.

In the capable hands of Gary Stevens, whose two previous Preakness wins came for Bob Baffert (Silver Charm, 1997 and Point Given, 2001), Oxbow was given rein and edged past Goldencents (Into Mischief) to lead with a circuit to travel, while Itsmyluckyday and Titletown Five (Tiznow) were the next-closest pursuers. Orb and GIII Illinois Derby hero Departing (War Front) raced as a team further back, while Govenor Charlie (Midnight Lute), Will Take Charge and Mylute comprised the latter third of the field into the clubhouse turn.

Oxbow traveled sweetly turning up the backstretch and there were no real deltas until Joel Rosario guided Orb off the inside and into the two path to launch a middle move between Titletown Five and Itsmyluckyday that carried him to within two lengths of the pacesetter nearing the half-mile pole. But Titletown Five countered up the fence and Departing ranged up to his outside, and all at once, Orb was relegated to sixth and was sending out distress signals as he was niggled along by Rosario. Back at the head of affairs, Stevens was a mere passenger as Oxbow took them around the final turn after breezing the opening six furlongs in 1:13.26, and, surprisingly, his host of pursuers did not include the Derby winner.

Itsmyluckyday, three or four wide the whole journey, took aim from the outside and Departing appeared dangerous for a stride or two in upper stretch, but Oxbow had managed to conserve enough energy for that crucial final furlong and stayed on well for the win. Itsmyluckyday was a gallant second ahead of Mylute, who validated his fifth in the Derby with another creditable effort.

Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News

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PREAKNESS STAKES 138 : POST DRAW

Orb - Pimlico
Orb - Pimlico

Orb at Pimlico Race Course

(Photo : Washington Post)

PREAKNESS STAKES (Grade 1)

Pimlico, Dirt, 9.5 Furlongs

18 May 2013

In the moments leading up to Wednesday’s Preakness post position draw at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Shug McGaughey - the trainer of Orb (Malibu Moon) - admitted to HRTV’s Zoe Cadman that, in an ideal world, he would get the eight hole for his GI Kentucky Derby hero.

The racing Gods, however, had other plans for Saturday’s likely favorite and the thriving bay was granted post one instead. On the morning line, the colt was installed the even-money choice in the nine-horse field. “There is nothing we can do about it,” said McGaughey. “It wasn’t the one I would have picked out, but it’s just a nine-horse field and it all evens itself out. Jockey Joel Rosario will know what to do.” he added. “He won the GII Fountain of Youth Stakes from the 1. His first race wasfrom the ‘1’ and he finished third in a very good race at Saratoga August 18.”

While McGaughey was, for the most part, accepting of drawing the rail, Orb’s regular exercise rider, Jenn Patterson, appeared much more concerned. “We’ll get her calmed down, she’ll be fine,” said McGaughey with a smile. “They always told me therail was the shortest way around, so maybe that’s what we’ll do.”

Listed as the third choice on the morning line at 6-1 is Departing (War Front), who drew post position four. The Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider home-bred won the April 20 GIII Illinois Derby in his latest start. “Everything’s fine,” said trainer Al Stall. “There are only nine horses, so the position isn’t that important. Orb isn’t going to go on with it, so he’s going to have to go around. Out of the nine numbers, the 1 is probably the one you want the least.”

PREAKNESS STAKES 138

Final Field

Draw

Horse

Sire

Trainer

Jockey

Odds

1

ORB

Malibu Moon

Claude McGaughey

Joey Rasario

Even

2

GOLDENCENTS

Into Mischief

Doug O’Neill

Kevin Krigger

8-1

3

TITLETOWN FIVE

Tiznow

D Wayne Lukas

Julien Leparoux

30-1

4

DEPARTING

War Front

Al Stall

Brian Hernandez

6-1

5

MYLUTE

Midnight Lute

Thomas Amoss

Rosie Napravnik

5-1

6

OXBOW

Awesome Again

D Wayne Lukas

Gary Stevens

15-1

7

WILL TAKE CHARGE

Unbridled’s Song

D Wayne Lukas

Mike Smith

12-1

8

GOVENOR CHARLIE

Midnight Lute

Bob Baffert

Martin Garcia

12-1

9

ITSMYLUCKYDAY

Lawyer Ron

Eddie Plesa

John Velazquez

10-1

Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News

www.preakness.com

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I'LL HAVE ANOTHER WINS PREAKNESS THRILLER

I'll Have Another wins Preakness Stakes
I'll Have Another wins Preakness Stakes

Click above to watch I’ll Have Another winning the 137th Preakness Stakes…

(Image : Daily Mail - Footage : M Pearson)

PREAKNESS STAKES (Grade 1)

Pimlico, Dirt, 1900m

19 May 2012

Maybe it wasn’t Sunday Silence and Easy Goer coming down to settle the GI Preakness Stakes Saturday at Old Hilltop, but J. Paul Reddam’sI’ll Have Another (Flower Alley) and Bodemeister (Empire Maker) put on an outstanding show in their own right, duplicating their 1-2 finish from the GI Kentucky Derby two weeks ago and creating the first Triple Crown bid since Big Brown (Boundary) went for the sweep back in 2008.

Bodemeister, favored in the rematch at 17-10, won the break and made the lead passing the stands for the first time, while - somewhat surprisingly - Creative Cause emerged as the nearest pace presence. I’ll Have Another jumped fairly and was handy enough while racing in about the three path, but was nudged out a bit wider by Went The Day Well (Proud Citizen) approaching the clubhouse turn. The Team Valor runner backed off a bit, and that allowed Mario Gutierrez to tuck into a three-wide spot around the turn and into the backstretch. Back on the front end, Bodemeister and Mike Smith were coasting along through an opening half-mile in :47.68, not taxing on paper, but perhaps an above-par pace over a dull strip. Creative Cause was in good striking position from second, while I’ll Have Another was three wide, but covered up behind his grey fellow Californian.

Bodemeister was still going smartly on the engine at the three eighths marker, and Gutierrez seemed to have a few seconds of hesitation as he tried to decide whether to go inside or outside of Creative Cause. He remained off that one’s heels to the quarter pole, was switched out thereafter and was a bit clumsy in switching his leads. It looked for a few strides as if I’ll Have Another might have work to do to catch the free-wheeling Bodemeister, but he continued to plug away with dour determination, took aim on the Bob Baffert runner entering the final half-furlong and pegged him back in the final two strides. Creative Cause finished third, though nearly nine lengths off the top two. The winning rider admitted to expecting a dogfight in the waning stages. “I knew it was going to be a little bit of a tough race,” he said. “But I’ll Have Another had a tremendous kick in the end. So I could feel my horse racing ground and everything was definitely the way. So it’s a great feeling when you’re riding a horse that’s giving you a hundred percent. He’s an amazing horse.”

For every trainer who has not excelled under the Triple Crown spotlight, there is a Doug O’Neill. His leadup to Saturday’s Preakness included throwing out the first pitch prior to the Orioles-Yankees game at nearby Camden Yards and various public appearances. In fact, O’Neill took time out on national television in the winner’s enclosure, to call out the first names of at least a dozen people, most likely young people, whose acquaintance he had made during his time in the city.

Much maligned, O’Neill is clearly cut from a different mold and has flourished in the aftermath of the Kentucky Derby. He was very much at ease after finally making his way to the post-Preakness press gathering.

Q: Your wife is known for being allergic to horses. Is she allergic to I’ll Have Another?

A: It’s amazing. The large checks seem to keep her from itching and coughing.

Q: And what about the next three weeks?

A: Certainly the intensity and pressure will be on the rise.

Q: Are you looking forward to it?

A: I am. I’m excited. I’m surrounded by so many fun people. Just having fun with them. That is kind of doing our thing around the barn. We work hard and take good care of the horses. When injuries come up, we just regroup, take care of them, and we just have a really good atmosphere in the barn. That helps us have time to keep everything very loose for me and the horses and the staff.

So look out NYC. Team O’Neill is on their way.

Extract from Thorougbred Daily News

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136TH PREAKNESS STAKES : BITTER SWEET

Forestry Stallion
Forestry Stallion

Forestry - Sire of Shackleford

(Photo : Taylor Made Farm)

EMPERORS PALACE READY TO RUN SALE

6 November 2011

Mick Goss Summerhill Stud CEO
Mick Goss Summerhill Stud CEO

Mick Goss

Summerhill CEOThe outcome of America’s Triple Crown second leg did not quite go to the script. Team Valor’s Animal Kingdom was supposed to keep his crown ambitions alive by winning the Preakness too, but was unable to shut down the front running Shackleford in the space of 9 furlongs, failing in a quick diminishing half length.

The Americans have a strange structure to their triple, the Kentucky Derby at 10 furlongs, then the Preakness at nine, and the Belmont at twelve, all in the space of five weeks. This writer backed Shackleford to win the first, only to be proven wrong (even in the face of Barry Irwin’s strong predication he had the winner in Animal Kingdom), as the former was unable to carry his speed for the full ten furlongs at Churchill Downs. Which suggests that unless they have another as-yet-unrevealed three-year-old of greater talent, Animal Kingdom looks the proverbial shoe-in for the Belmont. So much for the bitter.

The “sweet” lies in the redemption by Shackleford of his sire, Forestry, who once commanded a stud fee of $100,000 at Taylor Made Farm. Over coffee with Frank Taylor a fortnight ago, he hoped (against hope, I suspect) for the very outcome Shackleford delivered on Saturday, and it’s a fair bet we’ve seen the last of Forestry (sire of the world’s best miler of 2008, Discreet Cat, among others) at $12,500.

Even sweeter, Summerhill has a quite magnificent, spectacularly related filly by Forestry in its Ready to Run draft for November. As we said last week, in life, timing is everything.

summerhill stud, south africa
summerhill stud, south africa

For more information please visit :

www.summerhill.co.za

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SHACKLEFORD WINS PREAKNESS 136

Shckleford win the 136th Preakness Stakes
Shckleford win the 136th Preakness Stakes

Click above to watch Shackleford winning the Preakness Stakes (G1)

(Image : Lehighvalleylive - Footage : CNBC)

PREAKNESS STAKES

21 May 2011

Shackleford (Forestry) got caught in the final jump of the GI Florida Derby and was in front a lot longer than many expected before running fourth in the GI Kentucky Derby, but he held on all the way to take Saturday’s GI Preakness Stakes at Pimlico by a half-length.

GI Kentucky Derby hero Animal Kingdom (Leroidesanimaux) closed ground in the stretch to be second, but the weary yet determined Shackleford fought on gamely to give his connections their first Classic success.

Shackleford, 17-1 in his career opener at Keeneland last October, ran to his odds, finishing ninth after showing brief speed on the Polytrack. The flashy chestnut was 25-1 when unveiled on the Churchill main track the following month, but the result was much different, as he battled to a 3/4- length victory. He opened 2011 with a decisive two-turn allowance score at Gulfstream Park February 5, earning himself a ticket to the GII Fountain of Youth Stakes 23 days later, but his first foray into the graded ranks did not go well. Finding himself off the pace, the homebred showed little down the lane and finished a distant fifth.

The handicappers had little faith in the colt after that performance, and Shackleford was 68-1 in the April 3 GI Florida Derby, but he outran his odds by a mile. In front through a half in :46 1/5 and six furlongs in 1:10 3/5, he had two lengths on the field at the eighth pole, but just couldn’t quite hold off Dialed In (Mineshaft), losing by a head.

The fractions were decidedly softer in the May 7 GI Kentucky Derby; the 3-year-old got away with a half in :48 3/5 and six panels in 1:13 2/5, and it looked like he might go all the way. But that last  furlong proved his undoing, and Shackleford faded to fourth on the first Saturday in May.

It was a different story two weeks later. Off at 12-1 - his lowest odds since his allowance score at 9-2 - Shackleford broke sharply, but allowed Flashpoint (Pomeroy) to take a narrow lead into the first turn. The two ripped off an opening quarter in :22.69, but slowed it down after that, going the second quarter in :24.18 and the third in :25.14. Flashpoint gave in before they’d completed a mile in 1:37.22, and it was Shackleford in front as they hit the lane. Astrology (A.P. Indy) tried to make a run at him from the rail, but could only get to his heels. The effort was taking its toll, and Shackleford was labouring as Animal Kingdom came at him, shifting back to his left lead as they approached the wire. But he found one last gasp of energy to hold off the Kentucky Derby winner at the wire.

“I’ve won some big races, but none as exciting as that one,” trainer Dale Romans said. “He was a little hot, but he wasn’t acting that bad, and it’s a hot day. It didn’t take much out of him. I was more concerned if he was going to hang on. The pace was fast, but he kind of pulled everyone else out of the race. He has a high cruising speed. We weren’t worried about slowing it down as much as getting him into a good rhythmic pace and let him keep on going.”Also enjoying his first taste of Classic champagne, jockey Jesus Castanon added, “I felt somebody coming at the sixteenth pole. I knew that Animal Kingdom was the only horse who was able to come get me.” Shackleford will be pointed for the June 11 GI Belmont Stakes.

PREAKNESS STAKES 136

Final Results

#

Horse

Sire

Jockey

Trainer

1

SHACKLEFORD

Forestry

Jesus Castanon

Dale Romans

2

ANIMAL KINGDOM

Leroidesanimaux (Brz)

John Velazquez

Graham Motion

3

ASTROLOGY

A.P. Indy

Mike Smith

Steve Asmussen

4

DIALED IN

Mineshaft

Julien Leparoux

Nick Zito

5

DANCE CITY

City Zip

Ramon Dominguez

Todd Pletcher

6

MUCHO MACHO MAN

Macho Uno

Rajiv Maragh

Kathy Ritvo

7

KING CONGIE

Badge Of Silver

Robby Albarado

Tom Albertrani

8

MR. COMMONS

Artie Schiller

Victor Espinoza

John Shirreffs

9

ISN’T HE PERFECT

Pleasantly Perfect

Edgar Prado

Doodnauth Shivmangal

10

CONCEALED IDENTITY

Smarty Jones

Sheldon Russell

Eddie Gaudet

11

NORMAN ASBJORNSON

Real Quiet

Julian Pimentel

Christopher Grove

12

SWAY AWAY

Afleet Alex

Garrett Gomez

Jeff Bonde

13

MIDNIGHT INTERLUDE

War Chant

Martin Garcia

Bob Baffert

14

FLASHPOINT

Pomeroy

Cornelio Velasquez

Wesley Ward

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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ONLY ONE HORSE CAN WIN THE US TRIPLE CROWN

Animal Kingdom at Fair Hill Training Center Preakness 136
Animal Kingdom at Fair Hill Training Center Preakness 136
Animal Kingdom owner Barry Irwin Preakness 136 Interview
Animal Kingdom owner Barry Irwin Preakness 136 Interview

Click above to watch Animal Kingdom at Fair Hill Training Center and

Barry Irwin at the Preakness 136 post position draw.

(Footage : Thoroughbred Times)

PREAKNESS STAKES (Grade 1)

Pimlico, 21 May 2010

Having won the first leg, the Kentucky Derby, only Team Valor’s Animal Kingdom can win America’s Triple Crown, an achievement which has eluded everyone since Affirmed beat Alydar in all three legs in 1978.

The Derby hero has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite for Saturday’s G1 Preakness Stakes. The chestnut drew the 11 hole as he continues his Triple Crown quest. “Considering what was left - the one or the 14 – I’m very happy,” said trainer Graham Motion. “I would rather be on the outside than stuck down on the inside.” Motion added that the colt was in fine fettle. “I’d like to say he’s doing even better (than before the Derby),” the Englishman commented. “I’m not trying to be cute, but he hasn’t missed a meal since. I couldn’t be happier.” Motion confirmed that the 3-year-old will van over to Pimlico from Fair Hill Training Center Saturday morning. “I’ve got seven or eight others running that day, and they’re all shipping in in the morning. I’d rather leave him in his stall until he has to leave.”

Steve Sherack writes in the Thoroughbred Daily News that with the majority of G1 Preakness Stakes starters slated to arrive at Pimlico late on Wednesday, the place to be yesterday morning was Fair Hill Training Center, current digs of G1 Kentucky Derby hero Animal Kingdom. Located on a breathtaking piece of property in Cecil County, Maryland, the facility - a scenic 15 minute drive off I-95 and about 60 miles from Pimlico - is spread out over 350 stunning acres, with an additional 5,600 acres of state land adjoining.

On a damp, overcast morning with temperatures in the 60s following another night of rain, media packed the wooden-framed clocker’s stand as Animal Kingdom departed Graham Motion’s barn shortly before 9am. Team Valor principal and former Turf writer Barry Irwin fit right in among the crowd of approximately 30 as the sun tried to peak through the threatening dark clouds while Motion walked with a set of trainees, keeping a close eye on the big horse.

With the Fair Hill main track left saturated, Animal Kingdom, accompanied by a stable pony, made his way through the underground tunnel to the all-weather Tapeta inner track. The chestnut, sporting a white Preakness saddle cloth, was curious to see what all the fuss was about when jogging by the clocker’s stand for the first time, but was all business throughout his strong 1 3/4-mile gallop. Irwin, rocking his regular shades and a flashy yellow striped cap, was the first to exit the stand once the G3 Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes winner’s work was complete. Motion patiently awaited Animal Kingdom’s return from the track, then led the cavalry charge on foot back through the adjacent woods to his shedrow just before 9:30 am.

Irwin held court outside of the barn as Animal Kingdom cooled out under the watchful eye of his trainer. How has the homebred handled all of the attention since winning the Run for the Roses? Apparently, quite well. He wouldn’t go back to the barn after grazing in front of a crowd on Tuesday until a pony came out to get him, per Irwin. “He thinks he’s running the show, and he probably is,” Irwin deadpanned.

PREAKNESS 136

Final Field

Post

Horse

Sire

Trainer

Jockey

ML Odds

1

ASTROLOGY

A.P. Indy

Steve Asmussen

Mike Smith

15/1

2

NORMAN ASBJORNSON

Real Quiet

Christopher Grove

Julian Pimentel

30/1

3

KING CONGIE

Badge Of Silver

Tom Albertrani

Robby Albarado

20/1

4

FLASHPOINT

Pomeroy

Wesley Ward

Cornelio Velasquez

20/1

5

SHACKLEFORD

Forestry

Dale Romans

Jesus Castanon

12/1

6

SWAY AWAY

Afleet Alex

Jeff Bonde

Garrett Gomez

15/1

7

MIDNIGHT INTERLUDE

War Chant

Bob Baffert

Martin Garcia

15/1

8

DANCE CITY

City Zip

Todd Pletcher

Ramon Dominguez

12/1

9

MUCHO MACHO MAN

Macho Uno

Kathy Ritvo

Rajiv Maragh

6/1

10

DIALED IN

Mineshaft

Nick Zito

Julien Leparoux

9/2

11

ANIMAL KINGDOM

Leroidesanimaux (BRZ)

Graham Motion

John Velazquez

2/1

12

ISN’T HE PERFECT

Pleasantly Perfect

Doodnauth Shivmangal

Edgar Prado

30/1

13

CONCEALED IDENTITY

Smarty Jones

Eddie Gaudet

Sheldon Russell

30/1

14

MR. COMMONS

Artie Schiller

John Shirreffs

Victor Espinoza

20/1

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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LOOKIN AT LUCKY LANDS 135TH PREAKNESS STAKES

lookin at lucky preakness stakes 2010 video
lookin at lucky preakness stakes 2010 video

Click above to watch the 135th Preakness Stakes

(Photo : The Rail - Footage : NBC Sports)

WHAT’S LUCK GOT TO DO WITH IT?

Lookin At Lucky (Smart Strike) endured difficult trips this season when third in the GI Santa Anita Derby and sixth last time out in the GI Kentucky Derby. His athleticism and raw talent allowed him to overcome trouble to win the GII Rebel Stakes in his seasonal debut back in March. In trying to change his luck, trainer Bob Baffert, already a four-time winner of the GI Preakness Stakes, made the audacious decision to sack champion jockey Garrett Gomez in favor of the upstart Martin Garcia. Instructed to keep his mount clear of any possible trouble, the 25 year-old rider settled Lookin At Lucky in centerfield and three wide, rallied four wide into the stretch and outgamed First Dude (Stephen Got Even) for a well deserved victory.

All eyes were on WinStar Farms’ Super Saver (Maria’s Mon), who was looking to become the eighth horse since 1997 to head to New York with a Triple Crown shot. He was sent off the public’s 19-10 favorite to do so, while Lookin At Lucky, who endured a nightmarish opening quarter mile in Louisville a fortnight ago and did exceedingly well to finish sixth, was the clear second choice to rebound at $2.40-1. First Dude, coming off a third in the GI Toyota Blue Grass Stakes April 10, made a favorable impression during his morning trackwork at Pimlico, and won the break to set a strong pace with Super Saver, reverting to pace-pressing tactics, close up in second.

Jackson Bend (Hear No Evil) wasn’t far away in third, while California raider Caracortado (Cat Dreams) raced in fourth through the early exchanges, just ahead of Lookin At Lucky. “I was trying to save as much ground as I could into the first turn,” Martin Garcia explained. “After that, [trainer] Bob [Baffert] told me to do what I wanted.” Further back in the field were GII Illinois Derby runner-up Yawanna Twist (Yonaguska), Kentucky Derby third Paddy O’Prado (El Prado) and Schoolyard Dreams (Stephen Got Even), runner-up earlier this year in the GIII Tampa Bay Derby.

First Dude got his opening quarter mile in a testing 0:22.91 and was nary allowed to take a deep breath, with the Derby winner hounding him through a half-mile in a strong 0:46.47. Midway up the backstretch, Garcia had eased Lookin At Lucky into about the three path and clear of any potential disaster, then asked his colt to go at the half-mile pole. He shifted out into the four path for the run around the far turn and set his sights on First Dude, who was still plugging away and looking dangerous on the front end. With Garcia busy at work, imploring his mount with a right handed stick to the colt’s right shoulder, Lookin At Lucky edged past a stubborn First Dude just north of the eighth pole and outslugged his rival to the wire. Jackson Bend just missed the place spot, while Yawanna Twist was a clear fourth.

Bob Baffert got to know Pimlico’s infield winner’s circle very well, winning the Preakness four times in the span of six years, but yesterday’s score was his first since War Emblem (Our Emblem) wore the Black-Eyed Susans in 2002. Winning never loses its luster, the silver-haired conditioner admits. “It’s just as exciting,” he offered. “I know it’s been a few years. I mean, this was a different kind of win - this was more of a redemption win. This horse is such a warrior. He wants to win; he tries so hard. So I wanted to win it for the horse, you know, ‘cause he tries so hard every time. I mean, the Derby, he had that rough trip. Santa Anita Derby, rough trip. But, you know, every time he had those rough trips, he came back. He’s got a great mind. He’s a cool horse He’s just a really great athlete. I mean, he’s one of the best horses I’ve ever had.”

“It’s amazing. He’s still a baby. He’s so immature. He’s not even three years old yet. His birthday is May 27th. He’s just starting to grow right now.” Baffert indicated that a decision on a run in the GI Belmont Stakes June 5 would come over the next several days.

Calvin Borel predicted a Triple Crown winner in the afterglow of Super Saver’s Derby win, but, for the 33rd straight year, there will be no series sweep. In the end, it was too much, too soon. “It was an honest pace with First Dude hanging in there,” trainer Todd Pletcher commented. “Coming off a huge effort in the Derby, the two weeks was too short. When they went to the far turn, you could see that Calvin was squeezing and asking him to go get that horse, and he just couldn’t do it. He hung in there. He kept fighting. He tried hard. It was back a little quick for him. Now we’ve got time to come back for a big summer.”

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

Classic double for the Becks at GAINESWAY FARM

Birdstone
(Photo : Stallion Register)

Just on twenty years ago, I was privy to a glimpse at an intimate connection at the Breeders’ Cup meeting of 1990 between local “el padrino”, Graham Beck, and the then founder not only of Gainesway Farm, but also of the Breeders’ Cup, John Gaines. Earlier that day, Buddy Bishop, renowned solicitor operating in Lexington, Kentucky, and legal counsel to what was then the principal opposition to Gainesway, the Hancock family’s famous Claiborne Farm, confided in me that a South African was rumoured to have purchased Gainesway. I was astonished, and dismissed it as conjecture. After all, this was the farm that housed the likes of Lyphard, Blushing Groom, Riverman, Vaguely Noble, Irish River, Cozzene, Afleet etc, and it was almost inconceivable that it should be a South African that had put up his hand for this iconic property, when all the world was there to compete for it.

It turned out that Buddy Bishop’s “intelligence” was spot-on, and that the enterprise of Graham Beck, the stuff of legend in South Africa, had indeed laid claim to one of the greatest titles in thoroughbred racing. I wrote about this property two weeks ago as a place of solace to me on the passing of my late mother, and today we can celebrate the fact that one of its resident stallions, Birdstone (who spoilt the party for Funny Cide in his quest for the American Triple Crown, by snatching the laurels in the final leg of the Belmont Stakes (Gr.1), has produced from his very first crop, two winners of separate legs of the Triple Crown.

The first and arguably the most famous leg, the Kentucky Derby (Gr.1) was taken in spectacular fashion by a 50-1 chance in the form of Mine That Bird (by Birdstone), who came from a shotgun position at the back of the field to land a storied victory by six, and who was the sole pursuer of the filly Rachel Alexandra, in the Preakness Stakes (Gr.1) a fortnight later.

In the absence of the filly, Mine That Bird was made a certainty by the bettors for Saturday, and he looked home and hosed shortly after they turned into Belmont’s fabled straight, only to be swamped by two foes, one of whom was his paternal half-brother, Summer Bird, who came home to proclaim his sire, if not yet quite in the same league as Medaglia D’Oro as a commercial stallion, certainly every bit as serious a property in reality.

Birdstone is the son of a Kentucky Derby winner himself, the rather unattractive and poor legged Grindstone, he in turn by Unbridled and tracing back, (no alarms), to Mr. Prospector, whose stamp on the American classics is as indelible as any stallion in history. As for Birdstone, he’s not a big fellow (I would say he stands 15’3 at the most) and he’s what one might describe as a “plain brown job”. However, and particularly considering his ancestral belongings, he’s a clean legged horse, well balanced and displays the touch of class that separates the serious from the ordinary.

   

Watch the 2009 Belmont Stakes and Kentucky Derby