Na na, na-na na! QUALITY ROAD is on a roll on his way to the Kentucky Derby. He zooms to the top of the DERBY TOP TEN on Thoroughblog.
Photo after the Florida Derby shot by AMBER CHALFIN, courtesy www.-horse-races.net.
WOODBINE - WEDNESDAY IS THE FIRST DAY FOR ENTRIES
The LA VOYAGEUSE STAKES heads Saturday's opening card at Woodbine and there are 16 nominations for the race.
Entries for the first of 167 racing cards at Woodbine in 2009 will be taken on Wednesday.
Racing will be held this weekend and then 3 days a week for a month, followed by four days a week for a month and then a 5-day schedule begins.
If her workout on Friday morning
was any indication, Empress Stables'
KOONUNGA HILL (photo at right from www.horse-races.net) looks ready to go should she be entered in the La Voyageuse.
Under EMMA-JAYNE WILSON, Koonunga Hill, winner of the Ice Water Stakes last year, worked a solid and steady 5 furlongs from the gate over a super-fast Polytrack surface on Friday in 1:03 while not being asked.
The Wonneberg filly will be travelling 5 furlongs in the La Voyageuse.
The next stakes race at Woodbine will be the April 11 Achievement Stakes which has just 10 nominations.
MORE WOODBINE STUFF
VERNE'S BABY, track record setter and stakes winner who has not raced since June 2007, is now trained by Vito Armata and had a workout Saturday morning.
Working on his own, the Whiskey Wisdom 7-year-old went in 1:00 flat breezing on a very fast Polytrack.
MAIN EXECUTIVE looked razor sharp on SATURDAY. He worked from the gate in 46. 60 and tow-roped a workmate.
JUST RUSHING, stakes winner for Tucci Stable, had a quick 3 furlong work yesterday at Woodbine in 35 flat on on the Polytrack. He is 8-years-old now.
(Photo at right) VLADiMIR CERIN, a top trainer from California, is setting up shop at Woodbine reports DAILY RACING FORM - see yesterday's post on Thoroughblog. He is one of several new trainers at Woodbine this season.
Trainer LES FROST won a race at Mountaineer Park yesterday with Ontario bred PORTERS COURT who honoured his even-money backing to win the $5,000 claiming event by 2 3/4 lengths.
Albert Sanges is the owner of Porters Court, a son of Graeme Hall.
PATENA, who was well beaten in his first start for trainer Rick Dutrow Jr in the Louisiana Derby in the slop, is regrouping and had a workout at Keeneland on Saturday in 51.80. The Seeking the Gold colt, co-owned by a group of Canadians, is scheduled to race in the BLUE GRASS STAKES.
QUALITY GROUP FOR KENTUCKY DERBY
and still more to come Saturday!
There are a litany of really good American 3-year-olds currently on the trail to the Kentucky Derby but at this point QUALITY ROAD stands out far in front.
He already has a 113 Beyer Figure and he predictably regressed a bit in the Florida Derby but his effort was strong nonetheless and this Elusive Quality colt could explode again in 5 weeks.
(Photo of the Florida Derby
romp by Quality Road shot
by Amber Chalfin)
On Saturday, THE PAMPLEMOUSSE and PIONEER OF THE NILE are in the Santa Anita Derby (on synthetic dirt however) and others waiting in the wings are FRIESAN FIRE, I WANT REVENGE etc.
DUNKIRK, the expensive yearling who was a solid 2nd in the Florida Derby, showed a nice dimension in his running style as he came from well back to make a bid on the turn before Quality Road took off.
Trainer TODD PLETCHER told ESPN he was not happy with the condition of the track, which did appear to be speed favouring to some extent:
"They obviously sped the racetrack up today. It's been speed-favoring all day... I told Bill Murphy [Gulfstream prez/GM] if I'd have known the track was going to be like this I would went to Aqueduct. It's frustrating that the surface has been so good, fair, safe the whole meet that they want to change it..."
FROM LOUISVILLE-COURIER JOURNAL
Offer made on Quality Road
By Jennie Rees • firstname.lastname@example.org • March 28, 2009
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Owner Edward P. Evans said he was offered $2.5 million by a bloodstock agent for Quality Road after the colt won a 6-1/2-furlong maiden race at Aqueduct Nov. 29.
"They said the buyer wanted to win the Derby," Evans recalled after his homebred colt captured today's $750,000 Florida Derby by 1 3/4 lengths over favored Dunkirk. "I thought about it and said, 'The owner would like to win the Derby, too.'"
Evans - who has never had a starter in a Triple Crown race but is the son of the late Thomas Evans, whose Pleasant Colony won the 1981 Derby - took an important step toward that goal as Quality Road set a Gulfstream Park record by powering the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.72.
GINGER BREW THIRD
Making just her 2nd start on traditional dirt, GINGER BREW finished third beeaten 8 1/2 lengths at Gulfstream yesterday in the Grade 2 Rampart Stakes.
The Milwaukee Brew 4yo Ontario bred, Canada's champion 3yo filly of 2008, has had some bad luck kicking off her American campaign with two thirds and a fifth place finish in her last 3 starts.
The winner of the Rampart was the undefeated monster filly ONE CAROLINE, at 17 hands high. The Unbridled's Song gal is 5 for 5 in her career.
Another Canadian champion MINE THAT BIRD, the 2yo colt/gelding champ last year, WAS 4TH BEATEN 3 LENGTHS and a neck in the Sunland Derby last night at Sunland Park.
The maiden score by HARD KISSES on Saturday at Santa Anita puts the Canadian-bred filly on the path to the Woodbine Oaks - although the filly is also a Queen's Plate eligible.
A Toccet filly out of Hutning Jade, Hard kisses won her 2nd career start on Saturday for trainer Bob Baffert.
She earned a 75 Beyer Speed Figure.
HARD KISSES, bred by the Everatt family of Shanondoe Farm in Ontario, has been a well traveled miss in her 3 years. She has been entered in and/or gone through SEVEN auctions.
She was initially entered in the Keeneland November Breeding sale as a weanling in 2006 but was withdrawm. She was sold the next January at Keeneland for $50,000 to RLH Thoroughbreds by Taylor Made Sales Agency.
In September at Keeneland, the filly sold for $100,000 to MSTS.
Hard Kisses was then entered in 2yo sales at Barretts in 2008 and Keeneland before she found her way to Florida and was sold for $210,000 to Hal Earnhardt at the April Ocala sale.
She had been withdrawn from a sale at Barretts in May to go through the Ocala sale.
HARD KISSES' 3rd dam is Midlemarch, the dam of top class Woodbine stakes winner PENNYHILL PARK.