Today’s Edition

The Week in Review: Who Says They Don’t Make Tough Horses?

A 27-year-old rookie trainer claims a horse for $10,000 at Mahoning Valley and, usually, the story goes nowhere. But not this one. There are better horses out there than Chella (Where's the Ring), but good luck finding one more consistent and durable. When she won a $50,000 starter stakes at Gulfstream Saturday it was not only the biggest win of her career purse-wise, but raised her career record to a remarkable 26 for 41. "She's not normal," said owner-trainer Elliot Sullivan, now 29 and based for most of the year...

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82 Years Young, Lukas After Another Derby

Trainer Wayne Lukas is in his eighties, hasn't had a winner of the GI Kentucky Derby since 1999, hasn't had a horse finish in the money since 2002 and hasn't had a starter since 2015. Despite a Hall of Fame career, he would seem an unlikely candidate to win this year's Derby, but there's one thing about Lukas: you can never count him out. Look who's back on the Kentucky Derby trail. Lukas won Saturday's GII Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds with Bravazo (Awesome Again). Ridden by Miguel...

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Mourinho Back in Arkansas For Salty Southwest

'TDN Rising Star' Mourinho (Super Saver) ships back into Arkansas from his Santa Anita home base to contest Monday's GIII Southwest S. and attempt to maintain trainer Bob Baffert's domination of the Oaklawn leg of the Triple Crown trail. The $625,000 OBS March acquisition was a debut winner at Santa Anita Sept. 30, but settled for second in both the Speakeasy S. Oct. 15 and GIII Bob Hope S. Nov. 11. He put it all together with a 3 1/4-length front-running romp in the local Smarty Jones S. Jan. 15...

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Brav(az)o! Lukas Upsets Risen Star with Awesome Again Colt

In 2013, Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas teamed up with Calumet Farm to score a 15-1 upset in the GI Preakness S. with Oxbow (Awesome Again). Those legendary connections joined forces with another son of Awesome Again for a big upset Saturday at the Fair Grounds, capturing the GII Risen Star S. with 21-1 shot Bravazo. Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, who piloted Oxbow to his Classic win, was scheduled to ride the homebred for what would have been true deja vu, but was unable to make the trip...

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Monomoy Girl Impressive in Come-From-Behind Rachel Alexandra Win

Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) is a neck short of having a perfect record, but returned to winning ways Saturday with a 2 1/2-length score in the GII Rachel Alexandra S. at the Fair Grounds, earning 50 points towards a start in the GI Kentucky Oaks. Breaking a step slow and to the right from the outside post in this eight-horse affair, the 4-5 chalk was a bit headstrong, running off the rail in last as Testing One Two (Star Guitar) and Classy Act (Into Mischief) battled through an opening quarter in :23.58....

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Promising Run Tough As Nails in Balanchine

Heavily favoured in the international markets, Godolphin's Promising Run (Hard Spun) looked beaten on multiple occasions in the stretch run of Saturday's G2 Balanchine S., but the homebred 5-year-old displayed considerable determination when push came to shove and stuck her lead over the line ahead of the classy Furia Crusada (Chi) (Newfoundland). The Mick Channon-conditioned Opal Tiara (Ire) (Thousand Words {GB}) enjoyed a perfect journey, but found no extra in the final eighth of a mile and settled for third in defence of her title. Last-out winner of her seasonal...

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‘Goggles as Whip’ Earns $76,000 Win–And a $200 Fine

Jockey David Cabrera was on the lead and under pressure aboard an 8-1 filly approaching the final furlong of the fourth race Feb. 10 when the whip slipped from his grip and skittered uselessly behind him in the Oaklawn Park slop. The 25-year-old rider didn't waste much time before instinct kicked in. He ripped down a pair of goggles from atop his helmet with his right hand and used them as a substitute crop to propel the 4-year-old La Key (J P's Gusto) forward, prevailing by three-quarters of a length...

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Vaccarezza’s Children Safe But Shaken

Two sons of Florida-based trainer Carlo Vaccarezza, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, were unharmed when a shooter stormed into the high school Wednesday and killed 17 people. However, Vaccarezza said it was a tough time for his children, particularly Nick, whose close friend Joaquin Olivier was among those murdered. Nick is a senior at the school and the other son, Mike, is a sophomore. The trainer said Olivier and some other shooting victims were at his house only a few days earlier. "Nick is having a tough time,"...

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Lecomte Top Three Rematch in Risen Star

The top three finishers from the Fair Grounds' GIII Lecomte S. Jan. 13 will face off once again in NOLA, as well as meet a host of intriguing new faces, as they take their next steps down the GI Kentucky Derby trail in Saturday's GII Risen Star S. Lecomte victor Instilled Regard (Arch) ships back in from California for Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer. Following his third-out graduation with a close third in the GI Los Alamitos Futurity Dec. 9, the $1.05 million OBSMAR buy powered clear to a decisive...

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Pletcher Unveils Plans for Top Sophomores

With a barn full of top horses, trainer Todd Pletcher is a force to be reckoned with on the Triple Crown trail year in and year out. The conditioner has already won the GI Kentucky Derby twice and boasts three wins in the GI Belmont S., including respective victories in those Classic contests last year with Always Dreaming (Bodemeister) and Tapwrit (Tapit), who are both returning for 2018 campaigns. Last seen finishing off the board in the GI Travers S. Aug. 26, GI Kentucky Derby hero Always Dreaming was given...

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