Horse Racing News by Mike Welsch
The New York Racing Association has eliminated several traditional stakes and reduced the purses of many others at its fall Belmont and Aqueduct meets.
Tim Ice did pretty well with his only starter during the 2009 Saratoga meet, winning the prestigious Travers with Summer Bird.
Vineyard Haven served notice he should be a force to reckon with in the sprint division and perhaps beyond during the second half of the season after splashing to an easy 1 3/4-length victory over Half Metal Jacket.
Several weeks ago, when trainer Rick Dutrow first confirmed he was sending D' Funnybone to Calder for Saturday's $200,000 Carry Back Stakes, he asked what the race looked like.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will attempt to defend his title in Calder Race Course's only Grade 1 race, the Princess Rooney Handicap, when he sends Hour Glass out in a full field of fillies and mares in the main event on Saturday's Summit of Speed program.
For a Grade 2 sprint stakes and a designated Win and You're In race for the Breeders' Cup Sprint, Saturday's $350,000 Smile Sprint Handicap is missing just one important element -- speed!
When Mambo Meister worked three furlongs in 34.01 seconds here Monday morning, the same day his name appeared on the nomination sheet for the $350,000 Smile Sprint Handicap.
Trainer Phil Gleaves is still not certain whether Mambo Meister is better on turf or dirt. But one thing he is sure of: Mambo Meister is at his best over Calder's main track, where the gelding will shoot for his second graded stakes victory of the meet.
All 20 Kentucky Derby starters were on the grounds Thursday and being fine-tuned for what their connections hope will prove to be a winning run Saturday.
Rachel Alexandra was the undisputed star of the 2009 Kentucky Oaks. On Friday, the reigning Horse of the Year may overshadow even the tradition-rich Oaks itself.