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Zenyatta Team Deliver Healthy Pulpit Colt

                                                            ©Kyle Acebo

Leave it to Zenyatta USA (Street Cry USA) to deliver a magnificent colt at the 11th hour on her own birthday, April Fool's Day, April 1.  

The colt, whose temporary name is 13Z, was nursing within the hour and proved he has his dam and brother's camera charisma when posing for his first photos at Lane's End Farm.

Zenyatta becomes more beautiful with age and is an enraptured mother.

©Racing International

Godolphin Team Head To York

Godolphin's 6yo heroine of the G1 Dubai Duty Free, Sajjhaa (King'sBest USA), and breezy winner of the Dubai Gold Cup, Cavalryman (Halling USA), both head the Godolphin contingent to York.  

Sajjhaa is in the G2 Middleton Stakes, 10.5f, on May 16 before transferring to North America.  Connections are considering the E P Taylor or Flower Bowl for her.

Cavalryman joinsOpinion Poll in the G3 14f Yorkshire Cup on May 17.

Secret Number, who blew his chance in the UAE Derby settling for third, tackles the G2 Dante Stakes, 10f, on May 16.

Mental and Soul race in the Duke of York Stakes May 15.

Encke vs Camelot (Again) In Lochinge

The horse who spoiled Camelot's chances to win the 3yo's Triple Crown, Godolphin's Encke USA (Kingmambo USA), will challenge Aidan O'Brien's 2012 Guineas/Derby winner, Camelot IRE (Galileo IRE) and his Most Improved IRE (Lawman FR) in the G1 JLT Lochinge Stakes, 1m, at Newbury Racecourse on May 18th.

The Lochinge is one of Britain's earliest Group 1 races of the season for older horses.  

It was won in 2012 by the world's highest-rated Flat horse, Frankel(Galileo IRE), who is now retired to stud at Juddmonte Farms.

Dreaming Of Julia - Rachel Redux?

Stonestreet Stables may have another female superstar - one worthy to follow in its Rachel Alexandra* hoof prints.

Three-year old Dreaming Of Julia USA (A.P. Indy USA) decimated the Gulfstream Park Florida Oaks field by 21½ lengths on Dirt. 
She was faster by 1.9 seconds than the $1 million Florida Derby males led by Orb USA (Malibu Moon USA) on the same card.

Both horses were ridden by John R Velazquez who won five races on the day.

Dreaming Of Julia earned herself a 114 Beyer Speed and a Racing Post Rating of 122 - higher than any three-year old male or female in the world.

She also earned 100 points towards a place in Churchill Downs' Kentucky Oaks May 3 for which she is favourite.

Her trainer Todd Pletcher is disappointed that the new Derby/Oaks rules do not allow her 100 points to be used to enter her in the Kentucky Derby (which allows females).

There still are a few points' races left for her to compete and qualify to take on the boys in the Derby.  

Let's see if Pletcher will opt for the hard option.

Watch the Wunderkind on

*Rachel Alexandra has returned to Stonestreet to recover from surgery and is doing well.

More Very Impressive Fillies For Oaks

Juddmonte homebred Emollient USA (Empire MakerUSA) joined her stablemate Close Hatches USA (FirstDefence USA) as prime candidates for the Kentucky Oaks after winning the Grade 1 $500,000 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland by the fourth-largest margin in race history - 9 lengths in the 1-1/16m race.

Emollient ignored any disadvantage of the outside post by crossing to the front under Mike Smith and leading all the way.  They were almost contemptuous of the other horses when she sped up at the last turn and just put more and more distance between her and TuffipaesiKitten's Pointand Wave Theory without effort.

It was an amazing turnaround from her 30-length defeat in the Gulfstream Park Oaks the week before.  Her trainer William Mott decided to ignore that race and give her another chance to earn the 100 points needed for the Kentucky Oaks.  

It is her third win of six starts and her first stakes win.

One of my favourites from the 2012 Breeders' Cup was Beholder USA (Henny Hughes USA) who won the BC Juvenile Fillies race, 1 1/8m (9f).  

She was also the Eclipse Champion Two-Year-Old Filly.

She is also, without question, one of the prettiest fillies and she never hesitates to take the lead in a race under her jockey Garrett Gomez.

She did just that in the Grade 1 $300,250 Santa Anita Oaks, 1 1/16m, winning by 2¾ lengths in 1:43.16 over Iotapa and Fiftyshadesofhay by a neck.

Gomez, who has ridden her in all eight of her races, said "One of her weapons is speed.  She left there like a shot." 

This is her third Grade 1 victory in eight races and she is unbeatable around two turns.

Trained by Richard Mandella, she has earned her points to be one of the 14 fillies competing in the 1 1/8m Kentucky Oaks May 3.

Mandella thinks Dreaming Of Julia is awesome and the winner of the Sunland Park Oaks, Midnight Lucky, is very good.

His Beholder seems to have retained her old magic and must be one of the Oaks' favourites.

©April 7, 2013

Derby Trials Target Kentucky Derby

Despite the Florida Oaks providing one of the most exciting prospects for US racing in Dreaming Of Julia since Rachel Alexandra, three Derbys on Saturday earned enough points for worthy colts to qualify for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs May 4.  

The horse who may be the best will not be in the Derby as an Oaks' winner (all filly race) cannot use her points for the Derby.

Aidan O'Brien's Lines Of Battle USA (War Front USA) won the Group 2 UAE Derby, 1m1f on Tapeta, by 1½ lengths over Ellaval IRE and Godolphin's fast-closing Secret Number (Raven's Pass USA) by another ½ length at Meydan.

The winner's form was not overly impressive given the second and third threw away their race and LOB is quoted at only 25/1 for the Derby.  Dirt should not be a problem for him with his US breeding. 

Revolutionary USA (War Pass USA) earned himself $600,000 and 100 points for the Kentucky Derby in winning the Grade 2 $1 million Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds under Javier Castellano.  

Despite chaos in the paddock, Revolutionary was calm and showed the same temperment when making up lost ground at the end of his 1-1/8m race beating a determinedMylute by a neck in fast time of 1:50.28. 

He is trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by WinStar Farm.

Orb USA (Malibu Moon USA) put away several Kentucky Derby prospects in the $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, 1-1/8m.

He had 50 points towards the Kentucky Derby in winning the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and has earned another 100 in this Derby - not only qualifying him for the Kentucky race, but making him one of its favourites.

He provided Hall of Fame trainer Shug Mcaughey with his first victories in the two Gulfstream races and banished his worries that the track might not favour a late-running horse like Orb.

Jockey John Velazquez, who won five races on the card, putOrb closer to the action than usual and was not afraid to run him wide when closing down on Itsmyluckydaywinning by 2¾ lengths.

Merit Man finished third 2¼ lengths behindItsmyluckyday, followed by NarvaezShanghai Bobby,Pick Of The LitterFrac DaddyAre You Kidding Me,Indy's Illusion and Pontiff

Itsmyluckyday lost emphatically to Orb, but has enough points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby.

Shanghai Bobby, 2012 Eclipse Two-Year-Old Champion, will not compete in the Kentucky Derby after his fifth place in the race.

His trainer Todd Pletcher will give him time off to regain his high energy level.  Growth spurts and stops do not always occur when there are big races to race.  He should come back later in late Summer or early Fall.

His connections will be represented in the Kentucky Derby by Lines Of Battle and on of favourites, Verrazano, who races in the Wood Memorial April 6 at Aqueduct. 

runs in th Santa Anita Derby to earn his Kentucky Derby points and the fillies race in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland for Oaks' points - both races are on April 6.

 USA (Into Mischief USA) has taken up I'll Have Another's trail from last year for trainer Doug O'Neill.

The colt earned his 100 points to enter the Kentucky Derby by winning the Grade 1 $750,750 Santa Anita Derby, 1-1/8m.

He defeated two other Derby prospects: the greyFlashback USA (Tapit USA) by 1¼ lengths and race leaderSuper Ninety Nine USA (Pulpit USA) by 8½ lengths.

Not a good day for Bob Baffert who trained the place horses.  He has since learned that Flashback suffered a bone chip which leaves him out of the Kentucky Derby.

Both Flashback and Goldencents had been defeated in March by Hear The Ghost USA (Ghostzapper USA) in his first and only race - the San Felipe Stakes.  

Unfortunately Hear The Ghost injured his knee and was scratched from the Santa Anita Derby and is not likely to compete in the Kentucky Derby.

Verrazano USA (More Than Ready USA) has been the consistent market leader for the Kentucky Derby and remains unbeaten after a not-too convincing performance in the Grade 1 $1 million Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.

He expended a lot of effort against another unbeaten Derby contender, Vyjack USA (Into Mischief USA), for the lead and was nearly picked off at the end by Chad Brown's improving Normandy Invasion USA (Tapit USA) who only lost by a neck.

Vyjack was third another 3¾ lengths back suffering his first loss of four career races.

Verrazano's rather pedestrian performance left questions about his ability to get the 1¼m (10 furlongs) distance.

His jockey, John Velaquez who was injured this weekend, is hedging his bets on Verrazano and Orb for the Derby.

It also leaves questions for the Ballydoyle/Coolmore owners who bought into Shanghai Bobby, who will miss the Derby, and Verrazano expecting to own a Derby winner with their Lines Of Battle USA (War Front USA) a bonus. 

Lines Of Battle is not in the same league as the other two and no UAE Derby winner has won the Kentucky Derby.

The Racing Post's official handicapper, Sam Walker, sees Orb as the best prospect.  Then a little speed closer like Normandy Invasion could wreck everyone's plans.

©April 7, 2013

Black Caviar And Brother To Royal Ascot

Following her 24th straight career victory, connections of 7yo Black Caviar AUS (Bel EspritAUS) announced plans for her to return to Royal Ascot for the 5f King's Stand Stakes opening day June 18.

She will then travel to Frankel at Juddmonte Farms where they shall breed - a world champion no doubt.

Her half brother, 4yo All Too Hard AUS (Casino Prince AUS), may face 5yo Animal Kingdom in the 1m Queen Anne Stakes.

He has won two 7f races at Caufield this February and may be ready for a mile (8f).

Two More Dubai Winners To Royal Ascot

South Africa's Shea Shea (National Emblem SAF), winner of the G1 Al Quoz Sprint, will face Black CaviarAUS (Bel Esprit AUS) in the 5f King's Stand at Royal Ascot.

Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum's brilliant Soft Falling Rain SAF (National AssemblySAF), winner of the G2 Godolphin Mile, will race in the Queen Anne possibly against Animal Kingdom.  

Gentildonna To Arc de Triomphe

Sei Ishizaka, trainer of Japan's Triple Crown 3yo filly Gentildonna, is undaunted by her 2¼-length second to St Nicholas Abbey IRE (Montjeu IRE) in the Dubai Sheema Classic, 1m4f.

He intends to bring her to Europe in the Fall to compete in the Arc de Triomphe October 6.

In the paddock before the DWC, Gentildonnawas dripping sweat, on her toes and thrashing her tail.  Even visors did not calm her.

The Sheema was her first race in 2013 after defeating Orfevre JPN (Stay Gold JPN) by a controversial nose in the Japan Cup November 25. 

Technically, she should have lost the race for interference, but the two horses are owned by the Sunday Racing Co Ltd and the Rules were not enforced.

Her jockey, Yasunari Iwata, let St Nick get ahead of her in the Sheema Classic.  She looked bewildered and had no final kick to close him down.

She returned very tired.

Gentildonna will fly the colours of her great sire,Deep Impact JPN, in the Arc which is run at the same distance as the Sheema Classic - 1m4f (1½m, 2400m).

Deep Impact should never have lost his Arc.

Let us hope his daughter has better luck and jockeyship when she faces Orfevre again in their attemt to give Japan its first victory in the Arc.

DWC Winner Animal Kingdom To Royal Ascot

Team Valor and co-owners of AnimalKingdom USA, Arrowfield Stud of Australia, are very tempted to run their $10 million Dubai World Cup champion in either the Prince of Wales's Stakes or the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot this June.

His British-born trainer Graham Motion prefers the 1m opening race of the Meet on June 19, the Queen Anne Stakes, won by Frankel in 2012.

The POW is 1m3f on Day 2, June 20, and was won by So You Think NZ in 2012.

Both races are run on Turf, the Dubai World Cup on Tapeta (AW) and the Kentucky Derby on Dirt.

Animal Kingdom is a 1m to 1m2f (1¼m) specialist and is versatile enough to have won races on all three surfaces:  Turf, AW and Dirt.  

He is the first horse sinceSilver Charm to win both the Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup.  

AK is also the first American horse to win the DWC since WellArmed in 2009.

Silver Charm won the KD in 1997 and the DWC in 1998 when both races were run on Dirt. 

Animal Kingdom had his career first run on Dirt in the 2011 Kentucky Derby surging explosively ahead in the Classic for three-year olds.

He was so impressive and always looked capable of becoming a Triple Crown winner except for jockey interference in the Preakness and an injury in the Belmont which threatened to end his career at three.

Motion, who has trained in the USA for 30 years, never gave up on "the best horse I have trained".

He was second in the Breeders' Cup Mile toWise Dan when he was boxed in, but his class overcame an impossible position and he might have won with an earlier run.  His jockey R Bejarano shared blame and has been replaced by Joel Rosario.

Animal Kingdom has been one of the unluckiest great horses who should have been.

His dam Dalicia GER is bred from two powerful European lines.  Her sire was Acatenango GER and her dam by Juddmonte's legendaryDancing Brave USA (Lyphard USA).

He is the son of Lesroidesanimaux USA, who is a half brother to Invasor ARG - winner of Uruguay's Triple Crown, two Dubai World Cups and the Breeders' Cup Classic.  

 was raced by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum and resides at his Shadwell Farm, KY.

They are both brilliant sons of Candy StripesUSA who at 31 is retired.

Not only is AnimalKingdom a strikingly handsome chestnut with a kind temperment, but his versatility and exceptional breeding make him an exciting stallion prospect.  

Lucky Australia!*

*Lucky America:  Darley America bought a 29% share in Animal Kingdom and he will take up Northern Hemisphere duties at its Jonabell Farm in Lexington, KY, and will stand in the Southern Hemisphere at John Messara's Arrowfield Stud.