Joel Rosario

'Graveyard of Favorites' Strikes Again As Chi Town Lady Sweeps to Test Upset; Matareya 3rd

The 'Graveyard of Favorites' claimed another victim Saturday at Saratoga, as Joel Rosario guided Castleton Lyons' Chi Town Lady (Verrazano) to a last-to-first 17-1 upset of overwhelming favorite Matareya (Pioneerof the Nile) in the GI Longines Test S. at the Spa. Debuting with a three-length score last April at Keeneland, the chestnut went unseen for over four months, but returned with an impressive conquest of the Bolton Landing S. on turf. That had been her last trip to the winner's circle, however, as she concluded her juvenile campaign with a...

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War Like Goddess Defends Glens Falls Title; May Try Males in Sword Dancer

War Like Goddess, the $30,000 OBS June buy turned star turf marathoner, defended her title in Saratoga's GII Glens Falls S. with characteristic ease Saturday at the Spa, requiring little urging from Joel Rosario to pick up her eighth victory in 10 starts and sixth graded score in her last seven outings. Opening her career with a pair of triumphs going long on the Churchill turf in the fall of 2020, the Bill Mott trainee ran fifth making her stakes bow in the GIII The Very One S. last February...

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Epicenter Erupts Late in Jim Dandy

Epicenter (Not This Time), a too-good-to-be-second as the favorite in both the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S., stamped himself as the horse to beat in the 'Mid-Summer Derby' with a powerful, last-to-first victory in Saturday's GII Jim Dandy S. at Saratoga. Zandon (Upstart), making his first start since a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, was 1 1/2 lengths back in second after racing prominently. Tawny Port (Pioneerof the Nile), a last out winner of the GIII Ohio Derby, was another half-length back in third. The GI Preakness...

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Kimari Returns to Winning Ways in Honorable Miss

'TDN Rising Star' Kimari (Munnings) earned her first graded win of the season Wednesday when rallying to victory in Saratoga's GII Honorable Miss H. The 3-1 third choice in a four-horse field, the bay broke a hair slow from the outside post, though not as slow as second choice Frank's Rockette (Into Mischief) in the one-hole. Kimari sat off the fence in third with Frank's Rockette off her inside flank as favored Bella Sofia (Awesome Patriot) and 8-1 outsider Amadevil (Dominus) knocked heads on the front end. Amadevil cruised clear...

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TDN Top-to-Bottom Derby Rundown

This week's Triple Crown feature examines the trips of GI Kentucky Derby runners in detail from first to last: 1) Rich Strike (unranked also-eligible in TDN pre-race rankings) There are three components of a metaphorical "black swan" event: The happenstance is highly unlikely; it has outsized consequences that almost no one sees coming, and people try to force a rationalization given the benefit of hindsight. That definition sums up Rich Strike's 80-1 shocker in the Derby. This former $30,000 maiden-claiming son of Keen Ice dropped sharply inside shortly after an...

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War Like Goddess Goes Back-To-Back in Bewitch

Those who swallowed the 1-5 on the comebacking War Like Goddess (English Channel) in Friday's closing-day GIII Bewtich S. at Keeneland were made to sweat it out, but the gaps finally came with time ticking away and the George Krikorian colorbearer proved best following a trip that can best be described as adventurous. With Joel Rosario somewhat controversially taking over at the controls from Julien Leparoux aboard the 2021 Eclipse Award finalist, War Like Goddess settled in third position in a scratched-down field of just five turf marathoners, but the...

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Wednesday Insights: Tapit Half to Dual GISW Debuts at KEE

4th-KEE, $80K, Msw, 2yo, 4.5f, Post Time: 2:36 p.m. The prolific team of Winchell Thoroughbreds and Steve Asmussen present $460,000 Keeneland September buy MAGIC TAP (Tapit) at Keeneland Wednesday. Out of Grade II-placed American Story (Ghostzapper), the grey is a half-brother to dual Grade I winner American Gal (Concord Point). Subsequent to her racing career, the Kaleem Shah homebred realized $3-million at Fasig-Tipton in the fall of 2018. The juvenile colt will be accompanied by Joel Rosario for this unveiling. Likely to get much of the play at the windows...

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Franco, Velazquez Fined for Misjudging Oaklawn Finish

The riders of both the winner and the fourth-place horse in a $108,0000 allowance race on last Saturday's GI Arkansas Derby undercard both were fined for apparently forgetting that mile races at Oaklawn Park end at the sixteenth pole and not the traditional finish wire. Geovanni Franco and John Velazquez each were assessed $200 fines from the Oaklawn stewards on Thursday for "misjudging the wire and striking his horse after the finish of the fourth race at Oaklawn Park on April 2, 2022." Franco was on the lead for most...

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Gufo Returns Running In Pan American

Though he was the clear class of the seven horses signed on for Saturday's GII Pan American S. at Gulfstream Park, Otter Bend Stables' Gufo (Declaration of War) had a November layoff and some off form at the tail end of last season to overcome. But in the end, there was very little to worry about, as the fans on hand for the Curlin Florida Derby were treated to perhaps the most polished performance in the already-productive career of the 5-year-old, who took the 12-furlong test with a fair bit...

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Thursday Racing Insights: Mandy Pope Starts Pair At Oaklawn

Sponsored by Alex Nichols Agency 4th-OP, $90K, Msw, 3yo/up, f, 1 1/16m, 3:33 p.m. A pair of fillies represent Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm at Oaklawn Park Thursday, including DANCE IT (Tapit), a 3-year-old purchased for $500,000 from the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Out of the unraced Forestry mare Redwood Dancer, herself from the extended family of champion 2-year-old Flanders (Seeking the Gold) and MGIW Air Force Blue (War Front), Dance It is a half-sister to GIP and SW The Virginian (Aus), along with three other winners from as...

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Wednesday's Racing Insights: GISW Clairiere Returns At Fair Grounds

Sponsored by Alex Nichols Agency By Stefanie Grimm 7th-FG, $56K, Alw/Opt. Clm ($80k), 4yo/up, f/m, 1 1/16m, 5:05 p.m. ET After a last-out fourth in the GI Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff where she was defeated only three-quarters of a length by longshot Marche Lorraine (Jpn) (Orfevre {Jpn}), GISW & MGSP CLAIRIERE (Curlin) starts her 2022 season Wednesday at the site of some her greatest successes. Prior to her defeat in the Breeders' Cup, she took the GI Cotillion S. Sept. 25 at Parx and, earlier that season, captured the GII...

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Distaff's Big Stars Do Battle in Azeri

Saturday's GII Azeri S. at Oaklawn Park features several of the most prominent figures in the Distaff division each lining up to get their first graded stakes win of the 2022 season. The reigning champion sprinter and winner of the 2021 GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint Ce Ce (Elusive Quality) returns to the two-turn distance after spending much of her 2021 season at seven-furlongs. She's been plenty successful at this distance before, including a win the 2020 GI Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park and two third-place efforts in...

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