The Carnival commences on January 10 with a first post of 10:05 a.m. EST for a six-race program featuring the $250,000 Al Maktoum Challenge Round I (G2) over 1,600 meters (about one mile) on the all-weather track at Meydan Racecourse.
After more than seven years away from racing and a gig as an analyst on HRTV and NBC Sports, Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens confirmed in an interview with HRTV January 3 that he would indeed return to the saddle beginning Jan. 6 in a $50,000 claiming race on the turf at Santa Anita Park aboard R and R Warren's Jebrica, a 5-year-old Washington-bred gelding.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby is in full swing - victories by Overanalyze in the Remsen and Uncaptured in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs way back on Nov. 24 propelled the 2-year-olds into the numbers four and five positions, respectively, in the standings. The standings have fluctuated mightily since the Kentucky Jockey Club and some newly minted three year olds have emerged as contenders for the Run For the Roses in May.
Another weekend has passed - that can only mean one thing - the world of graded stakes thoroughbred action has some new victors, some repeat winners and some unexpected standout performances. This week there were five big stakes races around the country with three at Santa Anita Park, one at Gulfstream and one at Aqueduct. The highlight was the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita - a Kentucky Derby points race. Let's break down all the action starting with the Sham.
Santa Anita Park in beautiful Arcadia, California will be the scene of the Grade 2 Monrovia Stakes this Sunday, January 6. Fillies and mare four years old and upward will be featured as they go six and a half furlongs on Santa Anita's downhill turf course for a purse of $150,000.
The Grade 3 Sham Stakes is on tap for Santa Anita Park this Saturday, January 5 and it features three year olds hoping to start the year off right on their path toward the Kentucky Derby in May. The Derby hopefuls will go one mile on Santa Anita's main track in search of the winner's share of the $100,000 purse.
Santa Anita Park in lovely Arcadia, California will be the scene of the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes this Saturday, January 5. Horses four years old and upward will be after the winner's share of the $150,000 purse when they race one and one sixteenth miles on Santa Anita's main track. The San Pasqual is a key prep for the $750,000 Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, which is March 2.
The racing season begins for three year olds on the East Coast for Kentucky Derby hopefuls at Aqueduct this Saturday, January 5 when the Grade 2 Jerome Stakes will be contested. A nice purse of $200,000 will be on the line when the three year olds go one mile and seventy yards on Aqueduct's Inner Track.
The Grade 3 Marshua's River Stakes is on tap for this Saturday, January 5 from Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Florida. Fillies and mares four years old and upward will go one and one sixteenth miles on Gulfstream's turf track as they chase their share of the $100,000 purse.
Happy New Year everyone! While the rest of the world seemingly took a few days off over the holidays, the world of horse racing kept on truckin'! There were no less than six graded stakes races that were contested over the last week with most of the action taking place at Santa Anita where there were five stakes races run. Let's break down all the action and take a glimpse into the horses that ended 2012 in style.