Get out your money. Real money, not your fiver with your friend back at the barn and not your two dollars at evens at the chalkboard. It’s Fair Hill time – real betting, real money. This is not Fantasy League.
Memorial Day weekend. It’s a time for parades, cookouts, an extra day off for some and most importantly, a time to remember those who served our country with distinction and honor. It’s an important weekend in the racing world, too, even though it falls between the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.
Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud, home of Alternation, Broken Vow, Cowboy Cal and the late Sky Classic, gets the three-day holiday weekend off to a proper start.
While Pioneerof the Nile’s American Pharoah took another step toward ending the American Triple Crown drought, another grandson of classic winner Unbridled sired a pair of stakes winners last weekend at Pimlico Race Course.
Juddmonte Farm bred and raced both American Pharoah’s grandsire Empire Maker and his close relative First Defence. Empire Maker, by Unbridled out of the great Broodmare of the Year Toussaud, was a distance specialist and upset Funny Cide in the 2003 Belmont Stakes.
First Defence, on the other hand, was better up to a mile. That’s not entirely surprising since as he’s by Unbridled’s Song out of Toussaud’s Grade 1-winning sprinter Honest Lady, by Seattle Slew.
Triple Crown mania went into high gear as American Pharoah splashed his way through Baltimore in a powerful victory in the Preakness Stakes. A little more than two weeks and he’ll go for the sweep in the Belmont Stakes. How will he do it? Can he do it? Will he do it?
Everyone wants to know the answer to those questions and so many more. American Pharoah, and the 12 furlongs of the Belmont Stakes, hold the answers.
The clouds filled the sky in Arcadia, but it was far from a gloomy time at the Great Race Place.
The Santa Anita Preakness Challenge gave some of the best horseplayers across the country an opportunity to strut their stuff. A live-money tournament with a $3,000 bankroll, the contest added even more flavor to a sensational weekend of racing.
The signs were there the day before the 140th Preakness. You just needed to be there and interpret them the right way. It all happened rather quickly. In less than five minutes it became pretty clear who was the star of the show and the primary concern of his five-time Preakness-winning trainer.
It’s a deck. A wooden rectangle, providing a level platform on the side of a grass bank, maybe 10 feet by 20 feet. It could sit overtop an inlet or a pond, a couple of fishing poles, a cooler, a place to watch the sun set.
One of the significant questions American Pharoah faced heading into Saturday’s $1.5 million Xpressbet.com Preakness Stakes was how he’d fare coming back in two weeks after the toughest race of his young life. The Kentucky Derby winner seemed poised to handle that test, looking more than just formidable as he trained this week and a standout in the small Preakness field despite an less-than-preferred inside post-position draw.
Hall of Famers D. Wayne Lukas, Bob Baffert and Gary Stevens probably know better than most the significance of a horse going for a sweep of the Triple Crown. They know that the potential of a sweep gives racing a welcome bit of publicity, yet they also know there are equal if not greater factors at work when 3-year-olds contest our country’s classics every spring.
Didn’t get enough stakes action Friday at Pimlico Race Course? You’re in luck because there’s eight more at Old Hilltop Saturday, including the $1.5 million Xpressbet Preakness Stakes featuring the Kentucky Derby one-two-three finishers in American Pharoah, Firing Line and Dortmund.
Preakness Weekend means jump racing too and the steeplechasers head to Radnor in Pennsylvania Saturday. Sunday, Kentucky’s only steeplechase meet – High Hope – goes to the post at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.