Horse Racing News by Jennifer Caldwell
Friday's Black-Eyed Susan undercard at Pimlico features a stellar edition of the Grade 3, $300,000 Pimlico Special Stakes as well as three sprint stakes in the lead-up to Saturday's 137th running of the Preakness Stakes.
Brereton Jones and trainer Larry Jones opted to bypass the Kentucky Derby with dual Grade 2-placed Mark Valeski and the move paid off as the Proud Citizen colt scored his first stakes win in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park.
William S. and Graydon Patterson's Juanita kept pace with 2-5 favorite Plum Pretty on the front end of Friday's La Troienne Stakes before putting that rival away and holding for the win as St. John's River came with a game late rally in the final strides.
When Saturday's $125,000 Miami Mile Handicap was moved from the rain-soaked turf at Calder to the sloppy, sealed dirt, it not only lost is Grade 3 status but six runners as well.
Hansen is the top draw among a field of 13 entered in Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, but the popular near-white colt faces strong competition as many in the field have something to prove.
Grace Hall was sent off the 4-5 choice to capture the Grade 2 Davona Dale in her seasonal bow on February 25, but an upset in the form of 64-1 longshot Yara just denied the Empire Maker filly from making a winning return.
Bob and Cathy Zollars' Daddy Nose Best stamped his ticket the May 5 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs with a nice win in Sunday's Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Derby under jockey Julien Leparoux.
Zvika Akin, Greg Avery, Bill Wilbur and trainer Art Sherman's Dynamic Host earned his first stakes victory on Saturday when gutting out a neck victory in the Grade 3, $100,000 Tokyo City Cup Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
Despite an initial early challenge in Saturday's Grade 3, $147,000 Cicada Stakes, Agave Kiss easily ran away with the six-furlong contest to move her career record to a perfect four-for-four under jockey Ryan Curatolo.
Zayat Stables' Nehro entered last year's Kentucky Derby without a stakes win but owning a pair of neck runner-up efforts in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby and Grade 2 Louisiana Derby.