Different Hats Keep McDonald Ever Hopeful

Perhaps it is called the Hopeful Stakes because that's the most anyone can ever be with a Thoroughbred. But if nearly any purchaser at Keeneland over the next couple of weeks would like to be contesting that race, a year from now, then one consignor might give them not just hope but something closer to confidence. Okay, so a trifecta for Eaton Sales graduates in the Saratoga Grade I last year featured only the winner, Forte (Violence), from the 2021 Keeneland September Sale. Runner-up Gulfport (Uncle Mo) and third Blazing...

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The Week in Review: No Plan? No Problem for Castellano in Travers

After getting brushed and shuffled in the early stages of Saturday's GI Travers S. while losing momentum and position, Javier Castellano decided to wing his trip aboard 2.7-1 second choice Arcangelo (Arrogate). He would later explain with a laugh--in the way that only winning jockeys can find humor when their riding tactics go off-kilter--that "it seemed to me that everybody had a plan, except myself." Sometimes no plan ends up being the best plan, as demonstrated by Arcangelo's artful dissection of a "loaded" Midsummer Derby that brought together not only...

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Arcangelo in Fine Shape After Travers Victory

Arcangelo (Arrogate) was in fine shape Sunday following his victory in the GI Travers S. at Saratoga Saturday, but connections will take their time before picking out a next start for the sophomore. "He came back well and is full of himself today," said trainer Jena Antonucci. "Of course the Breeders' Cup is on the radar, but horses don't care about schedules or spreadsheets. We'll do what we've been doing and give him his space. We'll let him pave the way." Arcangelo added the Travers to his win in the...

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Stars Come Out To Play on Travers Day

It's a bit of Christmas in August Saturday at venerable Saratoga Race Course, which plays host to no fewer than five Grade I events for horses of all ages--on dirt and on turf--topped by the main event on the summer calendar, the $1.25-million GI Travers S. While the fields are short on numbers, they are long on quality, as three of the races have attracted reigning Eclipse Award winners, none of whom are anything close to a cinch in their respective heats. Champion and 'TDN Rising Star' Forte (Violence) has...

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In Historic Showdown, Stars Collide in Travers

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - With the three winners of the Triple Crown races gathered for just the fourth time in the GI Travers S. Saturday, will history repeat itself? Will a horse that did not run in the GI Kentucky Derby, GI Preakness S. or the GI Belmont S. deliver an upset in the 154th Travers? That is how it played out in 1918 with Sun Briar, again in 1982 with Runaway Groom and six years ago when West Coast won the 2017 running of Saratoga's oldest stakes race. If...

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The Week in Review: When Derby, Preakness, Belmont Winners Meet at Spa, History Says Someone Else Will Steal Travers

As Tuesday's entry time looms, the GI Travers S. is shaping up as a rare showdown of the three winners of this season's Triple Crown races. That's happened only five times since 1978, and on no occasion during the last 45 years when the winners of those spring Classics all graced the starting gate for Saratoga's "Midsummer Derby" has any one of them emerged victorious. That's a fairly daunting stat considering how the match-up of the GI Kentucky Derby, GI Preakness S. and GI Belmont S. winners is essentially what...

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Travers Candidates Breeze On Both Coasts

No fewer than four of the seven 3-year-olds expected for Saturday's GI Travers S. got their final tune-ups Saturday morning, three over the Saratoga main track and one at Del Mar. Mage (Good Magic), the GI Kentucky Derby hero who figures no worse than the second betting choice behind Forte (Violence) in the 10-furlong feature, breezed three-quarters of a mile in 1:15.56 for trainer Gustavo Delgago. In what was described as a maintenance move beneath exercise rider J.J. Delgado, the son of former 'TDN Rising Star' Puca (Big Brown) went...

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Mage Drills Six Furlongs For Travers

OGMA Investments, Ramiro Restrepo, Sterling Racing and CMNWLTH's GI Kentucky Derby hero Mage (Good Magic) turned in his penultimate breeze ahead of his anticipated appearance in the Aug. 26, GI Travers S., going six furlongs in 1:12.98 over the Saratoga main track Friday morning under exercise rider J. J. Delgado. According to Daily Racing Form, Mage galloped out seven furlongs in 1:26.31 and was up the mile in 1:40.66. It was a stiffer breeze than last week, when he covered five furlongs in 1:01.03 over a track with a high...

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Forte And Tapit Trice Breeze Together Towards Travers; Nest To Personal Ensign

Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable's Forte (Violence) and Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable's Tapit Trice (Tapit), both 'TDN Rising Stars', worked in company over the main track Thursday in preparation for the GI Travers S. August 26 at Saratoga. Forte, with regular pilot Irad Ortiz, Jr. up, worked without blinkers to the outside of Tapit Trice, who was guided through the half-mile breeze by exercise rider Fernando Rivera. Both workmates stopped the clock in :48.33. "I thought both horses worked extremely well--both were moving really well and good...

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HOF Rider Jerry Bailey Talks Jim Dandy And More On Writers' Room

It was a good week to have a Hall of Fame jockey on the TDN Writers' Room, presented by Keeneland, as the Green Group Guest of the Week and especially to have that jockey be Jerry Bailey, who knows a thing or two about analyzing a race for an audience. Bailey pulled no punches when asked about whether or not he felt Forte (Violence) should have been disqualified in the Jim Dandy Saturday at Saratoga. "I thought it was a bad call," said Bailey. "I thought he was the best...

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Jerry Bailey Joins TDN Writers' Room

Hall of Fame jockey and racing analyst Jerry Bailey joined this week's TDN Writers' Room podcast to break down the 2023 GII Jim Dandy S., where Forte survived an inquiry to get to the winner's circle.

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Is AI About to Steal My Job? Not So Fast

We've been told that artificial intelligence is going to take over the world while also taking over the jobs currently being done by humans. I would imagine that would include the press coverage of horse races. I might have 35-years experience on the job, but that doesn't mean I match up to computers or machines being able to simulate human intelligence to perform tasks or solve problems. They say that within our lifetimes, artificial intelligence (AI) will have altered our world more significantly and faster than any other technology since...

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