In the Money

Horse racing insight that's loose on the lead

Frac Daddy being pointed to allowance race

May 25th, 2013
Frac Daddy

Frac Daddy


Frac Daddy. 16th in the Kentucky Derby in his last start, is being pointed to an allowance race, trainer Kenny McPeek said in Saturday’s Churchill Downs press notes.

The son of Scat Daddy breezed a half-mile in :47.20 Saturday morning at Churchill, the fastest work of 59 at the distance.

Frac Daddy is 1 for 7 for his career and was runner-up in the Arkansas Derby.


Flat Out, Discreet Dancer headline Met Mile entries

May 24th, 2013
Handsome Mike

Handsome Mike


Entries for the Grade 1 $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap at one mile at Belmont Park for 3-year-olds and up Monday.

1. Cross Traffic (J. Velazquez/T. Pletcher)

2. Discreet Dancer (J. Castellano/T. Pletcher)

3. Mark Valeski (R. Napravnik/L. Jones)

4. Fort Loudon (J. Lezcano/Ni. Zito)

5. Swagger Jack (I. Ortiz/M. Wolfson)

6. Flat Out (J. Alvarado/B. Mott)

7. Sahara Sky (J. Rosario/J. Hollendorfer)

8. Handsome Mike (M. Gutierrez/Doug O’Neill)

9. Fed Biz (M. Smith/B. Baffert)


Kauai Katie, Midnight Lucky headline Acorn Stakes entries

May 24th, 2013


Midnight Lucky

Midnight Lucky



The Grade 1, $300,000 Acorn Stakes for 3-year-old fillies going a mile Monday at Belmont.

1. Kauai Katie (J. Velazquez/T. Pletcher)

2. Momentary Magic (L. Saez/H.J. Bond)

3. Let Me Entertain U (J. Ortiz/T. Albertrani)

4. Cue the Moon (J. Castellano/H.J. Bond)

5. Midnight Lucky (R. Napravnik/B. Baffert)

6. Close Hatches (J. Rosario/B. Mott)



Man on track frightens horse at Maywood

May 24th, 2013

An unidentified man ran onto the track during a harness race Thursday night at Maywood Park in Chicago, Illinois.

According to video footage, Primrose Path and Summer Party were dueling in the turn when a man running across the track interferes with the race. The man appeared to avoid any contact with the horses and drivers.

The incident spooked Summer Party, causing her to go off stride. She was declared a non-starter.

Video via Maywood Park’s web site:


Joao Moreira, Singapore’s top jockey, could be riding at Churchill Downs this weekend

May 22nd, 2013

Joao Moreira, Singapore’s top jockey and a two-time Eclipse Award winner in his native Brazil, is slated to ride at Churchill Downs this weekend. derby test

Moreira was selected to ride Judy the Beauty in the Winning Colors on Monday for trainer Wesley Ward. Moreira was named to ride other Ward trainees, including 2-year-old She’s Coal Fired on Thursday, but visa issues could cause a delay in his arrival.

Here’s more on the current status of Moreira’s visit from the Singapore Turf Club:


Beholder to take a rest

May 22nd, 2013



Beholder, runner-up in the Kentucky Oaks and last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies champion, will take a break according to Hollywood Park press notes.

Trainer Richard Mandella said Beholder will take some time off at Julie Adair’s farm. Mandella indicated everything is fine with the daughter of Henny Hughes, she just needs a rest.


Verrazano headed to Monmouth Park

May 20th, 2013



Verrazano, undefeated before his 14th place finish in the Kentucky Derby, will next race at Monmouth Park according to owner Let’s Go Stables.

LGS Racing reported that Verrazano will target the Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes at 1 1/16-miles on dirt on June 16. The son of More Than Ready, trained by Todd Pletcher, is slated to breeze this weekend.

Verrazano stamped himself as one of the top 3-year-olds after winning the Tampa Bay Derby and the Wood Memorial.


Lukas dispatches notion of rivalry with Baffert

May 19th, 2013

In the heyday of horse racing in the 1990’s, there existed a perception that top trainers Bob Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas were embattled “rivals.”

Lukas threw water on that notion Sunday when being interviewed by Baltimore press at Pimlico about his win in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes with Oxbow.



“Over the years a lot of people thought that Baffert and I had a rivalry, when actually we come from pretty similar backgrounds and we’re pretty good friends,” Lukas said. “It was really significant yesterday when he came down and congratulated me right after the race. A mutual friend of ours said that when his horse didn’t look like he was getting it done at the half-mile pole, Bob and a friend were jumping up and down and saying: ‘Go get ‘em, Lukey.’”

Lukas said he was one who convinced Baffert came to Pimlico for the weekend. Although Baffert didn’t win the Preakness with Govenor Charlie, he had a successful run at the Baltimore track with wins in the Black-Eyed Susan on Friday with Fiftyshadesofhay and the Chick Lang Stakes on Saturday with promising Zee Bros.

“I called him this week at home,” Lukas said. “He was on the fence maybe he’d even run here. I said, ‘Bob, get on an airplane and come back. You need to be here. We’ll have some fun.'”


This Preakness belongs to Gary Stevens

May 19th, 2013

Jockey’s astute ride proved the answer for Oxbow

By J.J. Hysell

Amidst the despondency of Orb’s loss and the feel good tale of two teamed-up veterans with Oxbow, there existed an even more intriguing aspect of Saturday’s Preakness.

Sure, the fact that jockey Gary Stevens has come back at age 50 to win a Triple Crown race is quite impressive. It’s inspirational and also rare. Stevens wouldn’t have returned to the track if he didn’t feel he could give an optimal performance. He’s feeling better physically and, with time on his side, makes even better judgment calls now than he did as an evolving youngster.

Stevens, Lukas and Oxbow

Stevens, Lukas and Oxbow

Maybe that’s the reason why Stevens proved the holder of aces Saturday at Pimlico. Oxbow is a speedy, talented colt who often gives an admirable effort, but trainer D. Wayne Lukas has been open about his faults. Oxbow is like a toddler who wants to run full bore every day – but racehorses can’t do that. They have to maintain their energy on a balanced level. So Lukas, who usually doesn’t use jockeys to work horses – “it’s like giving them a Ferrari and telling them to go on the interstate, but don’t go over 40” he says – let Stevens and Oxbow, who were fifth in the Arkansas Derby in their first race together, continue to get acquainted during Kentucky Derby week. Stevens learned to harness Oxbow’s eagerness in the mornings and developed a chemistry with the colt.

That showed in the Kentucky Derby. Stevens noted the torrid pace and tried to keep Oxbow close, but it was too fast to grab the lead. Considering the swift early fractions, Oxbow’s sixth-place finish was rather admirable over the sloppy track.

The Preakness was a flip of the table. The main threat, Derby winner Orb, is a mid-pack to late closer who drew the rail. Speed appeared abundant in the form of Goldencents and Govenor Charlie.

Certainly Stevens studied his charge. Oxbow’s two previous wins were wire-to-wire romps. The record shows he prefers to be on the lead – but unlike many of his peers, he can carry his speed for quite a distance.

“I do know I’ll be up close if not on the lead,” Stevens announced when asked about strategy in a national teleconference on May 9.

Other challengers threatened pacesetter status, but it didn’t materialize. Stevens hustled Oxbow from the gate and got the jump on Goldencents for the quick lead.

That decision won the race.

Oxbow continued to cruise, unchallenged, through moderate fractions. They followed the son of Awesome Again around the circuit all the way to the finish line, changing order amongst each other but never threatening the freewheeling leader.

Orb, who struggled on the inside, started to pass horses in late stretch, but it was futile. Oxbow was gone.

“They gave me a free three-quarters of a mile today,” Stevens said. “I was smiling pretty good midway down the backside. I actually thought about Wayne up in the grandstand. I knew he would be looking at those fractions and be pleased with what he was seeing.

“When I saw Oxbow’s ears fluttering back and forth at the three-eighths pole, the thought of the 1988 Kentucky Derby (which Stevens won aboard Winning Colors) came back to me. I said kick from here, try to get some separation from the field.”

Lukas was likely pleased – and maybe not so surprised. On Friday, the Hall of Fame trainer expounded on the pre-race strategy of seasoning.

“The experience thing is huge in these races,” he said. “It really shows up in these big ones – pressure. These young guys they say, ‘Aw, it doesn’t bother me,’ but it bothers them. This may be more of a jockey’s race than the other two. I think they better have their heads screwed on here.”


D. Wayne Lukas: Preakness will be more of a jockey’s race

May 17th, 2013

In today’s Preakness notes, trainer D. Wayne Lukas – who has three contenders for the race in Oxbow, Will Take Charge and Titletown Five



– discussed his selection of veteran jockeys for his entries. Gary Stevens, who has made a comeback at age 50, will be aboard Oxbow. Lukas switched out Jon Court, who rode Will Take Charge in the Kentucky Derby, for Mike Smith. He named Julien Leparoux for Titletown Five.

Lukas noted how this particular race, with a nine-horse field and Orb on the inside, could me more strategically inclined.

“The experience thing is huge in these races,” he said. “It really shows up in these big ones – pressure. These young guys they say, ‘Aw, it doesn’t bother me,’ but it bothers them. And this may be more of a jockey’s race than the other two. I think they better have their heads screwed on here.”