Horse Racing News
Champs Elysees was the horse of the year and Eugene Melnyk was the man of the hour as Canada's outstanding performers of 2009 were feted at the Sovereign Awards ceremony on Friday evening.
Cannonball failed to fire at Flemington on Saturday as the first American-trained horse to run in Australia finished ninth of 11 in the Group 1, $450,000 Lightning Stakes, a five-furlong sprint that was taken by the Royal Ascot-bound Nicconi.
Trainer David Fawkes had been considering several spots for Duke of Mischief's next start, but there was little doubt where the Grade 3 winner was headed after he drilled five furlongs in 58.46 seconds and galloped out.
The role of leader for the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 6 is up for grabs. Either the $200,000 Strub Stakes for 4-year-olds next Saturday or the $150,000 San Antonio Handicap next Sunday should help fill that role.
American Lion has become the forgotten 3-year-old in California. Staying away from the races for more than two months can do that for a colt's reputation in the instant gratification world of Kentucky Derby preps.
While the focus of attention here at Gulfstream Park on Sunday will be on the Grade 2 Forward Gal Stakes and the 2010 debut of Eclipse Award champion She Be Wild, the undercard is easily the best of the meet.