Mike Smith

Bob Baffert: 'Country Grammer Will Get Saudi Cup Job Done If Taiba Doesn't'

Bob Baffert has issued an upbeat bulletin on his Saudi Cup contenders and said that, if for whatever reason his short-priced favourite Taiba (Gun Runner) does not get the job done, then stablemate and last year's runner-up Country Grammer (Tonalist) should be there to pick up the pieces in the world's richest race on Saturday.  The Saudi Cup is one of the only big dirt races that has eluded Baffert and, along with Country Grammer, the American handler has sent out Charlatan to fill the runner-up spot to Mishriff (Ire)...

[ Read More ]
Sutherland Enters Jockey Challenge In Saudi

The Saudi Cup International Jockeys Challenge, led by defending champion Caitlin Jones, plus a mix of international female and male riders like Victoria Alonso, Joanna Mason, Frankie Dettori, Luis Saez, Joao Moreia, and Chantal Sutherland, is set for King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Saudi Arabia on Friday. The jockeys will compete to receive 15% of prize-money for each of the four $400,000 races in they win with a further $100,000 going to the overall champion. "It is my first time in Saudi Arabia and I'm actually blown away by the hospitality...

[ Read More ]
Brad Cox Joins TDN Writers' Room Podcast

He just won the GII Risen Star S., has a strong pair entered in Saturday's GII Rebel S. and accounts for 10 horses being offered in the latest round of the Derby Future Wager. When it comes to 3-year-old talent, Brad Cox's lineup has tremendous quality and tremendous quantity. In the spotlight virtually every Saturday that includes a prep race for the GI Kentucky Derby, Cox found the time to join the team for this week's Thoroughbred Daily News Writers' Room podcast presented by Keeneland to discuss his Derby prospects....

[ Read More ]
Santa Anita Jockeys Renew Rivalry With Holy Angels Middle School

After a two-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Santa Anita's 53rd annual Charity Basketball Game versus Holy Angels Middle School will return to La Salle High School in Pasadena Thursday, Feb. 16. A distinguished group of Hall of Fame Jockeys will be on-hand beginning at 6:30 p.m. to sign posters and other memorabilia in the La Salle gym. Retired legends Laffit Pincay, Jr. and Gary Stevens will be available, as well as active Hall of Famers Kent Desormeaux, Victor Espinoza, Mike Smith and John Velazquez. Admission to the game...

[ Read More ]
Jockey Avery Whisman Passes Away at 23

Jockey Avery Whisman, who rode in the Mid-Atlantic region after beginning his career in 2018, passed away Wednesday at the age of 23 after what his family described as a "prolonged illness." He was at his parents' home in Versailles, Kentucky at the time of his passing. Whisman had not ridden since accepting mounts Aug. 23 at Presque Isle Downs. Though Whisman had been ill, his mother, Salli, described his passing as "a sudden an unexcepted event." "He absolutely loved the sport," Salli Whisman said. "He was an incredible horseman....

[ Read More ]
Week In Review: Racing On Christmas A Thing of the Past, But Legend Lives On

The annual Dec. 26 start of the Santa Anita season has a natural, anticipatory, turn-the-page vibe to it. But this mark-your-calendar Opening Day mainstay hasn't always been a post-holiday tradition. Although Santa Anita has kicked off its winter/spring meet on the day after Christmas every year since 1977, the track originally opened in 1934 on Christmas Day itself, and did so for the first four years of its existence. "Filmdom entirely forgot its world of make-believe to migrate to the Santa Anita track yesterday for the renewal of horse racing...

[ Read More ]
Hard Spun Colt Earns 'Rising Star' Laurels at Del Mar

Edge Racing and Muir Hut Stables' Spun Intended (c, 2, Hard Spun--Flora Dora, by First Dude) ran too good to lose his Oct. 30 debut at Santa Anita, just failing to overcome a brutal trip when dropping a half-length decision to the well-meant Fort Warren (Curlin). The latter earned the 'TDN Rising Star' nod for the win and Saturday afternoon, Spun Intended followed suit with a 'Rising Star'-worthy performance of his own where the surf meets the turf. Spun Intended was off slowly in that Oct. 30 bow and was...

[ Read More ]
'Improving' Taiba Races Away In Pennsylvania Derby

If the GI Kentucky Derby all came a bit too soon for 'TDN Rising Star' Taiba (c, 3, Gun Runner--Needmore Flattery, by Flatter), Saturday's GI betPARX Pennsylvania Derby showed that he is close to--or is already--the finished project, enjoying the run of the race in before shooting clear in the stretch to defeat Kentucky Derby third Zandon (Upstart) by three solid lengths. Cyberknife (Gun Runner), who got the better trip and the better of a final-furlong tussle with Taiba in the GI TVG.com Haskell S. earlier this summer, outfinished Simplification...

[ Read More ]
Creative Cause Colt 'Wahlop'-s Rivals in DMR Juvenile Turf

Sent off right at his morning line of 8-1, Packs a Wahlop (Creative Cause) worked out a nice trip beneath Hall of Famer Mike Smith and exploded away from his rivals in the final eighth of a mile to capture Sunday's GIII Del Mar Juvenile Turf at the seaside oval and become a leading U.S. candidate for the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile the first weekend of November. Away alertly from the nine hole, the $27,000 Keeneland September yearling turned $270,000 OBS April (:10 flat) acquisition showed good speed and rolled...

[ Read More ]
Honor Code's Home Cooking Sizzles in Del Mar Rising Star Romp

Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman's Home Cooking (Honor Code), beaten at 1-2 debuting three weeks earlier at Del Mar, proved that money right and then some with a dominant off-the-pace romp to earn 'TDN Rising Star' honors Sunday at the seaside oval. Coming into her debut off a best-of-124 half-mile move in :46 flat July 24, the $11,000 Fasig-Tipton October buy turned $260,000 OBS March purchase (:9 4/5 breeze) was pressed through a swift :21.44 quarter and won the battle, but lost the war, fading late to finish...

[ Read More ]
This Side Up: Oasis or Mirage?

In this instance, you really can't say that the grass is any greener on the other side of the fence. Take your dystopian pick: the floods of Kentucky, or the desiccation of Europe, where I've just returned from a vacation that seamlessly united the city parks of England and Italy in the same wasteland, with just a few bleached spikes still protruding from the baked, ashen earth. However illusory, then, it's a relief to find enough recognizable vegetation salvaged Stateside at least to host all three of Saturday's Grade I...

[ Read More ]
Leparoux Wins Venezia Award

Jockey Julien Leparoux as the winner of the 2022 Mike Venezia Memorial Award, NYRA announced Friday. He was chosen by a committee comprised of members of the Venezia family, representatives of The Jockeys' Guild and retired Eclipse Award-winning jockey Richard Migliore. Leparoux will be recognized in a winner's circle ceremony at Saratoga Aug. 12. The Mike Venezia Memorial Award is presented annually to a jockey who displays the extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship that personified Venezia, who died as the result of injuries suffered in a spill in 1988. Venezia, a...

[ Read More ]

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.