Mike Maker

Record $80M Bet on '22 Kentucky Downs Meet

The FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs concluded Wednesday with record wagering topping $80 million for the seven-day run. Purses again set a record, reaching almost $18 million paid out to horse owners. With $12,896,355 bet on Wednesday's closing card, total wagering on the meet reached $80,175,928, clipping Kentucky Downs' previous record of $74,088,532 over six days last year for an increase of 8 percent. A record $21,065,982 was bet on Saturday Sept. 10. The average field size was 10.61 horses, the highest since 2019. The record wagering comes in spite...

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Maker Wins Seventh Kentucky Downs Training Title; Gaffalione Takes Riding Crown

Mike Maker, who has made it a habit of winning the training title at Kentucky Downs, did it again this meet, continuing his dominance with his record seventh training title at the seven-day boutique meet. Tyler Gaffalione held on to win the riding title. The 28-year-old jockey won his second championship at the track with nine wins from 66 starts. He also had 17 seconds (seven of them in the last two days of the meet) and three third-place finishes. Maker won 12 races, a meet record. The old record...

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Red Knight Upsets Kentucky Turf Cup

Red Knight blew up the tote at 15-1 in the GII Kentucky Turf Cup S. at Kentucky Downs Saturday, earning a spot in the gate for the GI Breeders' Cup Turf in November. Breaking sharply from his inside post, the chestnut settled back near the rear with just three of his 11 rivals beat through an opening half-mile in :49.72. Inching up a bit, but still biding his time through three-quarters in 1:14.52, Red Knight snuck up the outside to be within striking distance approaching the far turn. Four wide...

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Mendelssohn Gets First North American Winner at Ellis

Michael Hui homebred Fadethenoise (Mendelssohn), well-beaten, but troubled on Churchill dirt debut June 9, took beautifully to the turf course at Ellis Park Saturday, becoming the first North American winner for his freshman sire (by Scat Daddy) in graduating by a half-dozen lengths. Sent off at 6-1, the chestnut broke alertly and attended a sharp pace while about four off the inside to the turn. Going better than the rail-skimming Spanish Dubloon (Malibu Moon) as they raced on the bend, Fadethenoise pinched a break in upper stretch and pulled well...

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Lady Scarlet Pounces Late in Miss Preakness

Former claimer Lady Scarlet recorded a career-high victory Friday when coming from off the pace to take the GIII Miss Preakness S. at Pimlico. Allowed to survey the pace in third early as 4-5 favorite Happy Soul, prompted by Gimmick, led the way through opening fractions of :23.01 and :45.58, the dark bay was given the cue by Irad Ortiz, Jr. while swinging out wide turning for home. Slowly reeling in the battling leaders down the lane, she took over and powered clear to score by 3 3/4 lengths over...

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Dinner Party Goes Through Cox, Maker

Between them, trainers Brad Cox and Mike Maker have won the two most recent runnings of the GII Dinner Party (ex Dixie S.) on the Preakness S. undercard and the accomplished conditioners look to have Saturday's renewal surrounded as well. The reigning Eclipse Award winner Cox is represented by Juddmonte's Set Piece (GB) (Dansili {GB}), who was rerouted to this spot after scratching from a potential defense of his title in the May 5 Opening Verse S. at Churchill Downs. Winner of that track's GII Wise Dan S. last June,...

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Trainer Bonus Back for Preakness Weekend

For the sixth consecutive year, the Maryland Jockey Club will over bonus money totaling $100,000 to trainers who run at least five horses in the 15 Thoroughbred stakes that are to be carded for Preakness weekend May 20 and 21 at Pimlico Racecourse. A total of 16 stakes--10 at the graded level--with combined purse money of $3.8 million will be offered. The trainer who accumulates the most points will earn $50,000, with $25,000 for second, $12,000 for third, $7,000 for fourth, $4,000 for fifth and $2,000 for sixth. Hall of...

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Gufo Back To The Races in Pan American

The lone Grade I winner in a field of seven, Otter Bend Stables' Gufo (Declaration of War) looks to take his record over the Gulfstream turf course to a perfect four-from-four in Saturday's GII Pan American S. After being given too much to do when a near-miss second in the GI Man O'War S. and third in the GI Manhattan S. last spring, the athletic chestnut was equipped with blinkers and validated the decision with a one-length defeat of Tide of the Sea (English Channel) in the Grand Couturier S....

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Barese Tunes up For Wood

Peter Proscia's Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher's Barese (Laoban), unbeaten in three starts against fellow New York-breds, tuned up for a tilt at the Apr. 9 GII Wood Memorial with a six-furlong work in 1:16.42 at Belmont Park Saturday. "He has really been a nice horse. We're pointing for the Wood and are excited for the opportunity," Staudacher said. A debut winner at Belmont last May for trainer Mike Maker, Barese returned with a 2 3/4-length victory in the Jan. 9 Rego Park S. and added the one-mile Gander...

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'Colonel' Looks for Pegasus Turf Repeat

As is the case in the day's feature event on the main track, Gulfstream's GI Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational highlights a returning champion in the form of Robert and Lawana Low's Colonel Liam (Liam's Map). Following a neck win in the 2021 renewal of the nine-furlong test, the Todd Pletcher trainee added a win in the GII Muniz Memorial Classic at the Fair Grounds in March before finishing on even terms with Domestic Spending (GB) (Kingman {GB}) in the GI Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic at Churchill Downs in...

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Special Reserve Named HBPA Claiming Horse of the Year

Special Reserve (Midshipman) started last season being claimed for $40,000 and ended 2021 as the National HBPA Claiming Horse of the Year. In between, the 5-year-old gelding won two graded stakes and three stakes overall, finished second by a half-length in Saratoga's GI Alfred G. Vanderbilt H.and concluded the season with a fourth in the GI Breeders' Cup Sprint. "It's been such a great experience, and he's such a great horse," said David Staudacher, who co-owns the Mike Maker-trained Special Reserve with Peter Proscia's Paradise Farms Corp. "This award means...

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Lopez, Joseph Jr. Crowd Claiming Crown Winner's Circle

Trainer Mike Maker racked up his series-leading 19th career Claiming Crown victory, conditioner Saffie Joseph Jr. won three of the stakes conducted under starter-allowance conditions, and jockey Paco Lopez won five races overall on the Saturday card to kick off the championship meet at Gulfstream Park. The Claiming Crown began in 1999 as a blue-collar version of the Breeders' Cup to reward primarily older horses who compete in the types of races that form the backbone of day-to-day American racing. But oddly enough, it was a lightly-raced 3-year-old homebred who...

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