John Velazquez

Fierceness Back on Top with Resounding Florida Derby Victory

Now that's much more like it. Last year's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner and champion 2-year-old colt 'TDN Rising Star' Fierceness (City of Light), a head-scratching third after getting pinballed at the start in the GIII Holy Bull S. Feb. 3, put on an absolute show to win by daylight in Saturday's GI Curlin Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. It was a record-extending eighth Florida Derby win for Todd Pletcher and sixth for John Velazquez. "That was a pretty awesome performance," Pletcher said. "That's what we see in the mornings...

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Lauren Robson Saddles First Winner Thursday at Gulfstream

Trainer Lauren Robson saddled her first career winner Thursday, bringing a rather extensive resume with her into the Gulfstream Park winner's circle. "I came over from England in 2004. I worked for various, really good trainers. I was an assistant for Jonathan Sheppard, Wesley Ward and Jerry Hollendorfer," Robson said. "I galloped for Todd Pletcher. I rode many good horses for him. There were other good trainers I worked for also, like Richard Mandella." Robson saddled Jabran to a 3 1/2-length victory under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez in...

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Oisin Murphy Joins TDN Writers' Room Podcast

Oisin Murphy, the British Champion Jockey in 2019, 2020 and 2021, decided to spend part of his winter riding at Gulfstream Park. He didn't come just for the sunshine. Murphy felt that experiencing something different, riding on the dirt and competing against one of the best riding colonies in the world, would further his career. How has he done? Has the experience made him a better rider? Those were questions we asked Murphy when he joined this week's TDN Writers' Room podcast sponsored by Keeneland. Murphy was the Green Group...

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Champion Fierceness Breezes for Holy Bull

Repole Stable's 'TDN Rising Star' Fierceness (City of Light), newly honored as 2023 champion 2-year-old, breezed at Palm Beach Downs Saturday morning in advance of next Saturday's GIII Holy Bull S. at Gulfstream Park. Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, he was timed in :49.55 (20/29) for a half-mile. "I was very pleased. He had a serious work last week--fifty-nine-and-change [for five furlongs]. We were just looking for a maintenance work today," Pletcher said. Fierceness is coming off a 6 1/4-length romp in the Nov. 3 GI Breeders' Cup...

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Sire Of Sires, WinStar Farm's Champion Speightstown Euthanized

Speightstown (Gone West--Silken Cat, by Storm Cat), Eclipse Champion Sprinter in 2004 and among the leading sires of the past 15 years, had to be euthanized Friday, Dec. 8, due to foot issues from old age, WinStar Farm announced in a press release Friday. Speightstown, a Taylor Made/WinStar stallion, was 25 years old. "Speightstown was a foundational sire for WinStar and helped stamp our legacy as a sire-making farm," said Elliott Walden, president, CEO, and racing manager of WinStar Farm. "I want to thank Larry McGinnis and his team for...

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Hoist The Gold Tops Mineshaft 1-2 In the Cigar Mile

It may not have been a Grade I race this year, but the GII Cigar Mile H. came down to a horse with top-level class as Hoist the Gold (Mineshaft) sped gate-to-wire to hoist the trophy ahead of a talented, full field. One of a pair of horses in the field coming back from last month's GI Breeders' Cup Sprint, Hoist the Gold took the GII Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix S. two starts back with a career-best 101 Beyer Speed Figure Oct. 6. Consistently raced throughout his career, the 4-year-old...

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City of Light's Fierceness Leads Home a 'Rising Star' Sweep in the Juvenile

ARCADIA, CA - The comparisons to the brilliant Uncle Mo began for 'TDN Rising Star' Fierceness (City of Light) following a spectacular, double-digit debut win a day before the GI Travers S. at Saratoga-Uncle Mo's, of course, took place on the undercard--but came to an abrupt halt following a dismal seventh at .55 cents on the dollar in a sloppy renewal of the GI Champagne S. They can safely return now. Just like Uncle Mo did for Repole Stable and Todd Pletcher at third asking beneath John Velazquez at the...

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Gun Runner's Vahva Best in Raven Run

Closing out her sixth year in the training ranks, Cherie DeVaux added yet another notch on her belt, collecting her first Keeneland stakes victory in Saturday's feature, the GII Lexus Raven Run S. Helping her achieve that goal, DeVaux was represented by GIII Charles Town Oaks winner Vahva (Gun Runner), who was accompanied by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, also aboard in her last-out score in West Virginia. "I don't know if there are words to really describe that," said a visibly moved DeVaux following the win. "Our team...

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Uncle Mo's Royal Slipper Fits As A New 'TDN Rising Star' At Keeneland

No matter whether it is April or October, if it's Keeneland, then you know a Wesley Ward 2-year-old who sets sail for a maiden voyage has a chance to sparkle. Royal Slipper (Uncle Mo) certainly did that on opening day Friday afternoon when the juvenile filly won impressively as a newly-minted 'TDN Rising Star'. Breaking along the fence, Royal Slipper shot to the lead and quickly opened up a distinct advantage up the backstretch. As fellow firster Loveland (Munnings) gave chase into the far turn, the Ward trainee continued to...

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Breeders' Cup Launches 40 Days Of Giving

Breeders' Cup has launched its 40 Days of Giving, a fundraising program that puts key Thoroughbred industry charities in the spotlight as the countdown continues to the 40th running of the Breeders' Cup World Championships Nov. 3-4 at Santa Anita Park, the organization said in a release Thursday. Designed to raise funds for a variety of important causes within the Thoroughbred industry, Breeders' Cup Charities' 40 Days of Giving campaign highlights the vital work of nonprofits in the following areas: aftercare, jockey health and wellness, backstretch and industry workers, equine...

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Pletchers Honored With Marylou Whitney Award For Commitment To The Backstretch Community

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher, along with his wife Tracy, received the Marylou Whitney Award from the New York Race Track Chaplaincy for their continuing devotion and support of the backstretch community at the organization's 16th annual fundraising brunch at the Saratoga National Golf Club, the organization said in a release Wednesday. "I can't say enough about what the New York Race Track Chaplaincy organization does for the backstretch community," Pletcher said. "It provides so much more than spiritual help. I look at it like the mayor's office where...

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No Fractures or Serious Injury for John Velazquez Following Spill at Saratoga

Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez--dismounted from first-time starter Love Thyself (Solomini), who ducked in sharply shortly after the start in Wednesday's third race over the Mellon Turf Course at Saratoga--escaped the incident without serious injury. "Per agent Ron Anderson, John Velazquez was evaluated by Dr. Richard Alfred at the Bone and Joint Center of the Capital Region following the incident at the start of race three today," according to a statement released by the New York Racing Association. "X-rays revealed no fractures or serious injury to Velazquez's left wrist....

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