Rattle N Roll

Derby and Oaks Day, Oklahoma Style

Sunday's GIII Oklahoma Derby and GIII Remington Park Oaks give the sophomore set a late-season option at age-restricted competition, with some marquee names making the trek across to Oklahoma City. Brad Cox has sent out the winners of the last three runnings of the centerpiece of the local racing calendar--Owendale (Into Mischief, 2019); Shared Sense (Street Sense, 2020); and Warrant (Constitution, 2021) and can break the tie with Donnie K. Von Hemel should Gary and Mary West's Best Actor (Flatter) validate his morning-line favoritism. The $330,000 Keeneland September purchase has...

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Saturday Preview: Rubber Match in the Alabama

There is plenty to play for in Saturday's 142nd running of the $600,000 GI Alabama S. at Saratoga, where Nest (Curlin) and Secret Oath (Arrogate) face one another for the third time head-to-head--each with one victory to their credit--with divisional supremacy awaiting the winner. An 8 1/4-length tour-de-force tally in Keeneland's GI Central Bank Ashland S. accorded Nest the role of favoritism in the GI Longines Kentucky Oaks, but she was no match for the somewhat forgotten Secret Oath, dropping a two-length decision. A meritorious second to stablemate Mo Donegal...

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The Week in Review: McPeek is Different, And That's Why He's Successful

The book on training the modern racehorse goes something this: Give them at least six weeks off between races, start them no more than five times a year and never take a chance. It's a book that, apparently, Ken McPeek has never read. Among top-tier trainers, there is no one like him. He'll run fillies against the boys, run back in a week and he's not afraid to throw a 50-1 bomb into a race or, in the case of 2022 GI Belmont S. winner Sarava (Wild Again), a 70-1...

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Tawny Port Another Strike for Wente

He really does seem to have some kind of Midas touch right now. And a lot of people, hitting a formula that has paid off with such remarkable consistency, would be tempted to raise the stakes. But it's not just the fact that Tommy Wente is perfectly well acquainted with the other kind of luck, so routine in this business, that will stop him getting carried away. Because even if he believed that his model might be adapted to a higher level of the market, he would miss the sheer...

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Un Ojo Defection Allows Ethereal Road to Draw Into Derby

According to a tweet from Churchill Downs' Senior Director of Communications and Media Services Darren Rogers, Un Ojo (Laoban), who registered a 75-1 upset in the GII Rebel S. at Oaklawn Park Feb. 26, was not entered for Saturday's GI Kentucky Derby. The Wayne Lukas-trained Ethereal Road (Quality Road), who missed by a half-length in the Rebel and exits a fourth in the GIII Stonestreet Lexington S. at Keeneland Apr. 16, will take the 20th spot in the field when entries are drawn Monday afternoon. "It's a little bit unexpected,"...

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Rising Stars Square Off in the Blue Grass

'TDN Rising Stars' Smile Happy (Runhappy) and Emmanuel (More Than Ready) face off Saturday as they try to secure their spots in the GI Kentucky Derby starting gate at Keeneland in the GI Toyota Blue Grass S. Smile Happy rallied past rivals with ease to take his career bow in style going two turns at Keeneland Oct. 29 and followed suit with a decisive victory in the GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. Nov. 27. Splitting foes, the dark bay closed from well back to be second to next-out GII Louisiana...

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Simplification, Smile Happy Highlight Saturday Gulfstream Worktab

Tami Bobo's Simplification (Not This Time) returned to the Gulfstream Park worktab Saturday morning for the first time since scoring a dominant 3 1/2-length victory in the GII Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth S. Mar. 5 in Hallandale. The Antonio Sano trainee breezed five furlongs in 1:01.81 (15/28) under jockey Jose Ortiz before galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.85. "It was a very good work. The horse worked in hand. He went very easy," Sano said. "The gallop was good. The horse came back very good. That's what's important for me."...

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Fountain of Youth Has A Little Something For Everyone

If variety is the spice of life, Saturday's GII Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth S. at Gulfstream Park is certain to set your taste buds on fire, as a legitimate case can be made for as many as seven of the 11 horses left in the final local lead-up for the GI Curlin Florida Derby in four weeks' time. With the mid-week scratching of GII Remsen S. winner Mo Donegal (Uncle Mo), Fountain of Youth favoritism could fall to Simplification, one of three in the race by boom sire Not This...

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Smile Happy Possible for Florida Derby

Lucky Seven Stable's Smile Happy (Runhappy) is among possible candidates for Gulfstream's GI Curlin Florida Derby Apr. 2, according to trainer Ken McPeek. Lucky Seven Stable also owns McPeek-trained Rattle N Roll (Connect), who is scheduled to make his 2022 debut in the GII Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth S. Mar. 5 at Gulfstream. Smile Happy had been expected to make his second start of the year in either the GI Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland Apr. 9 or the GII Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds Mar. 26. "You may...

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TDN Derby Top 12 for Feb. 8

We're inside the three-month mark to the GI Kentucky Derby. The Top 12 portfolio has been re-balanced by culling highly rated contenders who have yet to post published workouts in 2022. So 'TDN Rising Stars' Corniche (Quality Road) and Jack Christopher (Munnings) are out, and new shooters who emerged from this past weekend's trio of stakes have rushed forward to fill the gap. Nature abhors a vacuum--and so do Derby lists. 1) SMILE HAPPY (c, Runhappy--Pleasant Smile, by Pleasant Tap) 'TDN Rising Star' O-Lucky Seven Stable. B-Moreau Bloodstock Int'l Inc....

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312 Early Triple Crown Nominations

A total of 312 sophomores were nominated for this year's Triple Crown series at the early nomination deadline of Jan. 29. The number of early nominations slipped 4.3%, or 14 horses, from last year's total of 326. The nominated group is led by Grade I winners Corniche (Quality Road), Jack Christopher (Munnings), Pinehurst (Twirling Candy) and Rattle N Roll (Connect). Echo Zulu (Gun Runner), winner of last year's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and likely 2-year-old champion female, is one of six fillies made eligible for the Triple Crown. Nominees...

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Half-Sister to Rattle N Roll Tops Keeneland October Digital Sale

Flaine (Outwork), a half-sister to recent GI Claiborne Breeders' Futurity winner Rattle N Roll (Connect), sold for $37,500 to St. Elias Stable, topping Tuesday's Keeneland October Digital Sale. The 3-year-old filly was consigned as a broodmare prospect by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent. Of the 24 horses catalogued, 23 went through the ring with six selling for a gross of $112,000.

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