Trainer Bob Baffert may have expected too much too soon from Midnight Lute. Four weeks after winning the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Midnight Lute was upset by Daaher in the $300,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Saturday. Midnight Lute, who staged an explosive rally to win the BC Sprint at Monmouth Park, appeared in perfect position to take on Daaher as the two turned for home.
A.P. Arrow won the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on Friday, taking the lead for good at the 16th pole and holding off Brass Hat by three-quarters of a length in the $500,000 race A.P. Arrow, ridden by Ramon Dominguez, was never far back while racing between horses three and four wide under light restraint.
Mini Sermon wore down a determined Lady Marlboro to win the $150,000 Top Flight Handicap for fillies and mares by a nose Friday at Aqueduct. Mini Sermon was never far off the pace as the front-running Lady Marlboro fended off an early bid from Pool Land. Eibar Coa angled Mini Sermon three wide into the stretch and the 3-year-old prevailed in the final strides of the two-horse battle to the wire.
A jockey whose horse had to be euthanized following a spill at Churchill Downs on Thanksgiving Day broke his collarbone. Jockey Rafael Mojica Jr. spent Thursday night in the hospital and will be sidelined for about six weeks, agent Julio Espinoza said Friday in a release from Churchill Downs. Espinoza said Mojica was thrown clear of his mount, Midway Station, when the horse fell after clipping heels…
The Fair Grounds Race Course kicked off its 81-day thoroughbred meet Thursday with an added attraction: 245 slot machines the track hopes will boost purses and help it compete against other winter racing ovals. After delays caused by the track’s sale to Churchill Downs Inc. in 2004 and a season wiped out after Hurricane Katrina, the Fair Grounds has converted the first floor of its off-track…
Sales improved 8.6 percent at this year’s Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale over 2006 figures, officials said after the last session on Monday. Last year’s total of $313,843,800 was for 14 days, though, while this year the sale lasted 15 days and produced $340,877,200 in sales. The average price of $100,821 was also up, 1.1 percent over $99,728 in 2006.
Good Night Shirt raced to his third Grade I victory in National Steeplechase Association competition and may have wrapped up the Eclipse Award on Sunday in the $150,000 Carolina First Colonial Cup Steeplechase. The 6-year-old Harold Via-owned gelding, ridden by William Dowling, edged Three Carat by 2 lengths, running 2 3/4 miles in 5:19.
Hambletonian winner and previously undefeated Donato Hanover was upset Saturday night in an elimination race at the Meadowlands for the $4.7 million Breeders Crown Championships. Donato Hanover, who had won 19 straight races and captured trotting’s triple crown, was outdueled in the stretch by Arch Madness in one of $610,000 3-year-old colt trot eliminations.
Two horses died and a jockey dislocated his shoulder in a connected series of tragedies during races at Cheltenham on Saturday. Ruby Walsh dislocated his shoulder in a heavy fall on favorite Willyanwoody in the Club 16-24 Novices Chase. Willyanwoody was badly injured and died within minutes of the fall, and Walsh’s injury meant he wouldn’t be able to ride the heavily backed Granit Jack in the Paddy…
Fast Deal beat Splendid in Spring by 1 1/2 lengths Friday in the $55,000 feature race for fillies and mares at Churchill Downs. Fast Deal, the 4-year-old daughter of Grand Slam ridden by Miguel Mena, ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.68 and paid $10.40, $3.80 and $2.60. Splendid in Spring returned $3.40 and $2.80, and Girls Pearls paid $2.40 to show.
Patrick Valenzuela is set to ride again in Southern California for the first time in nearly a year Saturday at Hollywood Park. The 45-year-old jockey completed the paperwork for a conditional license Wednesday with the track’s board of stewards. “He got his conditional license; everything has been completed,” steward Darrel McHargue said.
Michael Dickinson won’t take out a thoroughbred training license in 2008 so he can focus on a synthetic racing surface that he developed. Dickinson created the Tapeta surface that was installed at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., the former home of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro. Dickinson also used the surface at his Tapeta Farm in North East, Md.