October 2, 1999 |
His mentor, Charlie Whittingham, built part of a Racing Hall of Fame reputation by winning major races with horses coming back from long layoffs. So when trainer Neil Drysdale saddles Fiji today in the $500,000 Yellow Ribbon at Santa Anita, he'll be borrowing a page from Whittingham's book, trying to win a Grade I stake with a horse that hasn't run in almost a year. "She might need a race," Drysdale conceded. "She could be a bit rusty, but hopefully I'll have her just right."
December 28, 1998 |
Balloting for the 1998 Eclipse Award winners has begun, and voters ought to have little trouble making the right choice between Skip Away and Awesome Again for the horse of the year. Skip Away, of course, had a distinguished season, winning seven straight stakes races before fading at the end of the year and losing his last two starts. Awesome Again compiled a six-for-six record and finished the year with a victory in the $5.
December 19, 1998 |
Just in time, common sense set in and Eclipse award voters will get the information they deserve when the ballots arrive next week. For a while, it appeared that jockey Gary Stevens, trainer Bob Baffert and owners Bob and Beverly Lewis wouldn't be credited for the money their Silver Charm earned in the $4- million Dubai World Cup in March. The Daily Racing Form and the Equibase Co., which publish racing statistics, differed about whether the Dubai purse should count.
November 29, 1998 |
With Fiji staying in the barn because of a cough earlier in the week, Auntie Mame is the 2-1 favorite in the $700,000 Matriarch today at Hollywood Park. Trained by Angel Penna Jr. for the Lazy F Ranch, Auntie Mame has won three of six this year and could get some consideration for the Eclipse award as the nation's top female turf performer with an impressive victory. However, Fiji remains the clear front-runner.
November 27, 1998 |
During a career of almost 24 years, trainer Angel Penna Jr. has run only one horse at Hollywood Park. Lockton, ridden by Angel Cordero Jr., finished second behind Stately Don in a division of the 1987 Hollywood Derby. Penna, 50, is back in California this week and, 11 years later, he hopes to fare better with his second starter at Hollywood Park.
November 22, 1998 |
Even though a couple of important races are still to be run this year, nothing that happens the rest of 1998 should alter the Eclipse landscape. Here's one man's opinion on who should win the awards: 2-Year-Old: Answer Lively. The son of Lively One has to be the choice in this category based on his narrow escape in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, but Worldly Manner was the best in his age group.
November 9, 1998 |
Even if Fiji misses the $700,000 Matriarch on Nov. 29 at Hollywood Park, which is a possibility, the Eclipse award as the nation's top female turf performer should belong to her. Making her first start since an Aug. 1 defeat in the Ramona Handicap at Del Mar, the 4-year-old Rainbow Quest filly sealed her claim to the title with a two-length victory in the $500,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes on Sunday at Santa Anita.
January 9, 1998 |
The contentious horse-of-the-year battle was narrowed to two candidates Thursday with the Eclipse Awards announcement that Favorite Trick and Skip Away had won divisional championships. In the vernacular of the track, Favorite Trick was much the best in the voting for top 2-year-old male and Skip Away was all out to hold off Gentlemen for the older male title.
January 3, 1998 |
The Eclipse award voting for 1997 is so tricky that five of the seven winners on Breeders' Cup day could be shut out when the divisional champions are announced next Thursday. Favorite Trick and Countess Diana, who won the Breeders' Cup races for 2-year-olds at Hollywood Park, are shoo-ins for Eclipses, but the others may be caught in tight votes. Consider: * Skip Away, winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic, has been denigrated by some voters because he was beaten in seven of 11 starts.
November 30, 1997 |
Trainer James Toner has been in this position before. A year ago, the Eclipse award for the nation's top female turf horse was up for grabs before the $700,000 Matriarch and a win by his Memories Of Silver might have won her the title. But she ran third, behind Wandesta and Windsharp, and Wandesta wound up winning the Eclipse. Toner, 57, will be hoping for a reversal of fortune in today's Matriarch at Hollywood Park.