Channel Maker (outside) finishes in a dead-heat with Glorious Empire (inside) in the Bowling Green Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography Three straight defeats have befallen #8 Channel Maker since he won the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) in gate-to-wire fashion at Belmont Park last fall. But perhaps a return to Belmont for Saturday’s $700,000 Man o’ War Stakes (G1) will trigger a rebound. An honest pace could enhance Channel Maker’s chances in [...]
Zulu Alpha winning the Sycamore Stakes (G3) - Keeneland Photo Is it possible trainer Mike Maker could sweep the trifecta in Saturday’s $250,000 Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes (G2) going 1 1/2 miles at Keeneland? I don’t think it’s a far-fetched notion. Certainly a victory would come as no surprise. Maker’s former claimer #10 Zulu Alpha seems to have forgotten how to lose, with four wins from his last five starts, including graded stakes triumphs in the Sycamore Stakes (G3), [...]
Hidden Scroll winning his debut at Gulfstream Park - Photo by Leslie Martin/Adam Coglianese Photography The Saturday, March 2 card at Gulfstream Park includes a $750,000-guaranteed all-stakes Pick 4 covering the final four races of the day, including the much-anticipated Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II). The sequence looks a bit chalky, but I do like one live longshot in the finale, and if the sequence is indeed chalky than we should be able to hit it for [...]
Zulu Alpha winning the Sycamore Stakes (gr. III) - Keeneland Photo Sometimes, it seems like trainer Mike Maker is able to work miracles with little-known grass runners, turning them into graded stakes winners seemingly overnight. His strategy tends to be simple, at least to the casual observer. It goes something like this—find a nice, solid competitor, stretch him or her out in distance, and see what happens. That exactly what Maker will do with #9 Kulin Rock in [...]
Zulu Alpha winning the Sycamore Stakes (gr. III) - Keeneland Photo Just how many times has trainer Mike Maker claimed turf horses, stretched them out in distance, and turned them into graded stakes winners? The list goes on and on—I even wrote a whole article about it earlier this year—and the latest example is #3 Zulu Alpha, who runs in Saturday’s $200,000 Red Smith Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct. Prior to being claimed by Maker, Zulu Alpha was [...]
We're thrilled to welcome in trainer John Ortiz to talk about his first graded stakes win at Keeneland, the successful start of his training career, and his time growing up working for some of the top barns in America.
Synchrony winning the Fair Grounds Handicap (gr. III) - Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges, Jr. One of the best middle-distance turf races so far in 2018 is scheduled to be run on March 24th at Fair Grounds, that being the $300,000 Muniz Memorial Handicap (gr. II). Held over a distance of “about” nine furlongs, the Muniz Memorial has attracted eleven starters, ten of which have won or placed in graded stakes company. The field is led by Synchrony, a five-year-old son [...]