Mike Maker

Solid Field of Nine Set for Twilight Derby

A field of nine, topped by 5-2 morning-line favorite Smooth Like Strait (Midnight Lute), will line up for Sunday's GII Twilight Derby at Santa Anita. Smooth Like Strait, winner of Del Mar's GIII Cecil B. DeMille S. last December and GIII La Jolla H. in August, raced three deep on a hot pace and understandably tired to fourth as the favorite in the GII American Turf S. at Churchill Downs last time Sept. 5. The Cannon Thoroughbreds homebred worked five furlongs in 1:00 (5/37) for trainer Michael McCarthy at Santa...

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Maker Wins Preakness Weekend Trainer Bonus

Mike Maker edged defending champion Brad Cox and two-time winner Steve Asmussen to claim the top prize in the Maryland Jockey Club's $100,000 Sentient Jet Trainer Bonus offered to horsemen for their participation in stakes races over Preakness weekend, Oct. 1-3, at Pimlico Race Course. Maker led the way with 43 points, three more than Cox and Asmussen, to earn a $50,000 bonus. Maker registered wins with 2-year-old colt Catman (Kitten's Joy) in the Laurel Futurity S. and 3-year-old filly Evil Lyn (Wicked Strong) in the S. He also ran...

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Runhappy Meet at Kentucky Downs Generates Record Handle

The Runhappy meet at Kentucky Downs, which concluded Wednesday, Sept. 16, saw record betting handle across the six days of live racing that totaled $59,828,44 for a total of 62 races (average per race $964,975), including $9,487,705 on the final day. The previous record of $41,239,699 (average $824,794) was set in 2019. Even with a modest reduction in prize money owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and a two-month absence of revenue from historical racing machines, a record total of $12,337,000 was paid out over the course of the meet, bettering...

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Lookin At Lucky’s Fancy Liquor Makes the Grade in American Turf

Fancy Liquor--who had employed a front-running or pressing style in each of his five prior starts--benefitted from a heady ride by red-hot Florent Geroux to pick up the pieces after a hot pace materialized. Unhurried early from his outside draw, the dark bay sat fifth in the early going as a trio of rivals zipped away to duel through hot splits of :23.04, :46.48 and 1:11.23. Favored Smooth Like Strait (Midnight Lute) shook free of his pace foes heading for home, but he was softened up for the stretch drive,...

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Declaration of War Colt Graduates in Rained-Off With Anticipation

Three Diamonds Farm's Fire At Will (Declaration of War) came from off the pace to win his main track debut in an off-turf renewal of the GIII With Anticipation S. at Saratoga Wednesday. Sent off the 3-1 second choice behind the Wesley Ward-trained Blame the Booze (Blame), Fire At Will was allowed to ease back to last of four, well behind the favorite, who carved out opening splits of :22.60 and :45.61 on the sloppy and sealed track. Kicking into another gear passing the five-sixteenths marker, the colt gained the...

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Maker Holds Strong Hand in Sword Dancer

When it comes to Grade Is on the turf in New York, it is typically Chad Brown who has three or four strong entries. However, in Saturday's GI Sword Dancer S. at Saratoga--a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the GI Breeders' Cup Turf--Brown is surprisingly absent and it is Mike Maker saddling a strong trio. Cross Border (English Channel) appeared to come up up a neck short of likely race favorite Sadler's Joy (Kitten's Joy), who won the 2017 renewal of this race, in this venue's GII Bowling Green...

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This Side Up: Whitmore Seeks Fresh Honors For Class of 2013

The seven-year itch, in the current racing herd, represents the best kind of mid-life crisis: reinventing yourself as a champion. An Eclipse Award would certainly be a credible aspiration for Whitmore (Pleasantly Perfect) should he derail the Volatile (Violence) express in the GI Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. at Saratoga Saturday. Next weekend, another flourishing 7-year-old, Tom's d'Etat (Smart Strike), will seek to consolidate his ascent to the top of his own division in the GI Whitney S. Over the past two weeks, meanwhile, their contemporaries Zulu Alpha (Street Cry {Ire})...

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Another Maker Claim Makes the Grade in UN

Mike Maker's incredible success with turning claimers into graded winners on the turf is well documented, but that didn't stop Aquaphobia from getting lost on the board and upending Saturday's GI United Nations S. at 10-1 off a 9-2 morning line. Taken for $62,500 out of a fourth-place run at Gulfstream Jan. 26 for Drawing Away Stable and Robert Falcone, Jr., the bay immediately began repaying his new connections' investment when he bested future stablemate and fellow UN competitor Muggsamatic (Any Given Saturday) in a Gulfstream starter stakes race Feb....

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Plenty of Ways to Go in UN

A mostly well-matched group of nine turfers line up in Saturday's GI United Nations S. at Monmouth Park. With a somewhat surprising lack of even one Chad Brown trainee signed on, conditioner Mike Maker owns the lone chance to complete an exacta. The 2017 UN winner sends out reformed claimers Aquaphobia (Giant's Causeway) and Muggsamatic (Any Given Saturday). The former was scooped up for $62,500 in January and promptly took a Gulfstream starter stake over Muggsamatic--then trained by Jason Servis--in February. He was fourth in the GIII Mervin Muniz Memorial...

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Pricey Vintage Print Back at Keeneland for Transylvania

OXO Equine's $1.8-million Keeneland September yearling Vintage Print (Curlin) returns to Lexington for Sunday's GIII Kentucky Utilities Transylvania S. The Chad Brown trainee didn't show much in a pair of main-track efforts in New York last fall, but looked like a different horse when trying turf to graduate at Gulfstream Feb. 22. The son of GISW Molly Morgan (Ghostzapper) ran down speedy Mike Maker pupil Fancy Liquor (Lookin At Lucky) to clear his first-level allowance condition at Churchill June 11. Another Transylvania pair who made up a Churchill exacta last...

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Ramseys Win 500th Churchill Race

Ken and Sarah Ramsey extended their record number of Churchill Downs wins with their milestone 500th victory at the Louisville oval Sunday. The Ramseys, the all-time leading owners at Churchill Downs ahead of Overbrook Farm in a distant second with 206 victories, won Sunday's third race with Spanned (Arch). The Nicholasville, Ky. couple have won a record 32 owners' titles at Churchill: 13 Spring Meet championships, 15 Fall Meet championships and four September Meet championships. "We've won a lot of races for the Ramseys over the years," trainer Mike Maker...

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Former Navarro, Servis Horses Entered at Gulfstream

The next chapter in the saga of Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis will begin Thursday at Gulfstream Park when the first of more than 100 horses that had been under the care of the two trainers before they were indicted will start for their new barns. Now trained by Mike Maker, Admiral Lynch (Super Saver) has been entered in Thursday's ninth race. The 4-year-old had been trained by Servis. On Thursday, Todd Pletcher will send out two horses that had previously been trained by Navarro. Three days after Navarro and...

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