Handicap Division – Road to the BC Classic – Dirt Routes for older males
LAVA MAN followed up his victory in the million dollar Sunshine Millions Classic (restricted) in January by winning the million dollar Santa Anita Handicap (G1) at Santa Anita and earned the highest Beyer Figure of the year to date.
HARLINGTON won the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) at Gulfstream and PURIM won Razorback Breeder’s Cup Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn Park.
At Nad Al Sheba racecourse in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, UTOPIA (JPN) won the Godolphin Mile and ELECTROCUTIONIST won the Dubai World Cup.
Originally scheduled for the turf, the Golden Gate Fields Handicap was won by COSMONAUT on the dirt at a mile and one eighth, but the surface change forfeited the graded status.
Handicap Division – Road to the BC Distaff – Dirt Routes for older females
HEALTHY ADDICTION won the Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap (G1) at Santa Anita leading from gate to wire.
OONAGH MACCOOL (IRE) won the Rampart Handicap (G2) at Gulfstream Park, ROUND POND won the Azeri Breeder’s Cup Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park and FLEET INDIAN won the Next Move Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct.
Handicap Division – Road to the BC Sprint – Dirt Sprints for older males
MISTER FOTIS won the Richter Scale BC Sprint Championship (G2) at Gulfstream and KAZOO won the Tobaggan Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct.
PROUD TOWER TWO won the Dubai Golden Shaheen at Nad Al Sheba racecourse in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The General George Handicap (G2) at Laurel was cancelled when travel restrictions were implemented due to the equine herpesvirus situation in the state.
Handicap Division – Road to the BC Sprint – Dirt Sprints for older females
SMOKEY GLACKEN won her third graded stakes in as many months with a victory in the Distaff Breeder’s Cup Handicap (G2) at Aqueduct.
SPLENDID BLENDED won the Shirley Jones Handicap (G2) at Gulfstream.
The Barbara Fritchie Handicap (G2) at Laurel was cancelled when travel restrictions were implemented due to the equine herpesvirus situation in the state.
Handicap Division – Road to the BC Mile/Turf – Turf Routes for older males
At Santa Anita, MILK IT MICK (GB) won the Frank Kilroe Mile Handicap (G1) and KING’S DRAMA (IRE) won the San Luis Rey Handicap (G2).
At Nad Al Sheba racecourse in Dubai, HEART’S CRY (JPN) won the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) and DAVID JUNIOR won the Dubai Duty Free (G1).
Handicap Division – Road to the BC Mile/F&M Turf – Turf Routes for older females
SILVER CUP (IRE) won the Santa Ana Handicap (G2) at Santa Anita. It was the third graded stakes victory of the year for SILVER CUP (IRE).
At Gulfstream Park, WEND won the Honey Fox Handicap (G3) and DYNAMITE LASS won the The Very One Handicap (G3). READY’S GAL won the Hillsborough Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.
The Golden Gate Fields Handicap was taken off the turf.
Three-year-olds – Road to the Kentucky Derby
Three-year-olds fillies – Road to the Kentucky Oaks
BALANCE followed up her victory in last month’s Grade 1 Las Virgines Stakes by winning another Grade 1 – the Santa Anita Oaks at Santa Anita.
At Gulfstream Park, TEAMMATE won the Bonnie Miss Stakes (G2) and MIRACULOUS MISS won the Stonerside Forward Gal Stakes (G2). At Aqueduct, WILD GAMS won the Cicada Stakes (G3) and, at Turfway Park, TOP NOTCH LADY won the Bourbonette Breeder’s Cup Stakes (G3).
On the turf, AUNT HENNY won the Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream.
Five trainers won multiple graded stakes races in March: Todd Pletcher (4), Bill Mott (3), Kiaran McLaughlin (2), Saeed bin Suroor (2), Kojiro Hashiguchi (2).
Eight jockeys won multiple graded stakes races in March: Raphael Bejarano (3), Edgar Prado (3), John Velazquez (2), Javier Castellano (2), Robby Albarado (2), Jon Court (2), Victor Espinoza (2), Frankie Dettori (2).
— Thoroughbred Report Graded Stakes Awards – March 2006 —
HORSE OF THE MONTH: LAVA MAN
TRAINER OF THE MONTH: Todd Pletcher
JOCKEY OF THE MONTH: Rafael Bejarano
Good news, bad news and bombs. March was a month of mixed fortunes for horses on the Kentucky Derby trail.
Good News: FIRST SAMURAI, BROTHER DEREK and LAWYER RON all took another step forward with nice wins. (OK, FIRST SAMURAI was beaten to the wire by CORINTHIAN and only beat FLASHY BULL by a neck, but the DQ of CORINTHIAN was legitimate and FIRST SAMURAI did show a lot of heart coming on again after being passed and bothered by CORINTHIAN).
Bad News: ACHILLES OF TROY, KEYED ENTRY and BLUEGRASS CAT all failed to follow up their February victories with a win. (OK, KEYED ENTRY came home very gamely and only lost by a neck to LIKE NOW, who was able to set an easy pace on the lead).
The Bombs: Some of the upsets this month yielded big payoffs. LIKE NOW won the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct at 36.25-1, WITH A CITY won the Lane’s End Stakes at Turfway at 48.8-1 and OUR PEAK won the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel at 73.9-1.
FIRST SAMURAI’s victory was in the mile and one eighth Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park. Also on that card, SHARP HUMOR won the 7 furlong Swale Stakes (G2).
BROTHER DEREK’s win was at Santa Anita in the mile and one sixteenth Santa Catalina Stakes (G2). Also on that card, FIRST PARADE won the six and one half furlong Baldwin Stakes, which was moved off the turf and therefore does not count as a Grade 3 win.
LAWYER RON was the winner of the mile and one sixteenth Rebel Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn.
LIKE NOW’s gate to wire win in the mile and one sixteenth Gotham Stakes (G3) was over the well regarded runners KEYED ENTRY, SWEETNORTHERNSAINT and ACHILLES OF TROY.
At Santa Anita, A. P. WARRIOR won the mile and one sixteenth San Felipe Stakes (G3).
DEPUTY GLITTERS avenged his loss in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs and scored a decisive victory over BLUEGRASS CAT in the mile and one sixteenth Tampa Bay Derby (G3).
WITH A CITY’s big score was in the mile and one eighth Lane’s End Stakes (G2) at Turfway Park. Also at Turfway that day, SKELETON CREW won the six furlong Hansel Stakes and HIGH COTTON returned to the derby trail with a win in the mile and one sixteenth Rushaway Stakes.
In non-graded action, AH DAY won the six furlong Horatius Stakes and OUR PEAK scored in the one mile Private Terms Stakes (both at Laurel Park), LAITY won the mile and one sixteenth John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park and CAUSE TO BELIEVE won the mile and one sixteenth California Stakes at Golden Gate Fields.
On the turf in March, GO BETWEEN won the mile and one eighth Palm Beach Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park and TO SENDER (GB) won the one mile Pasadena Stakes at Santa Anita.
An interesting development this month was the the victory by DISCREET CAT in the $2,000,000 U.A.E. Derby (G2) in Dubai. Purchased by Goldolphin after breaking his maiden at Saratoga, DISCREET CAT’s victory in the mile and one eighth (about) race was very impressive considering he had only run twice before. Although Godolphin will give consideration to the Kentucky Derby, it would be a stretch run such a lightly-raced horse a mile and one quarter on the first Saturday in May.
The thinning of the herd continued this month with PEACE CHANT, BARBICAN, CATCOMINATCHA, LATENT HEAT, YOUR TENT OR MINE and CORINTHIAN all suffering injuries that will keep them from running in the Kentucky Derby. Also leaving the Triple Crown Trail is HENNY HUGHES, runner-up in the 2005 Breeder’s Cup Juvenile (G1) at Belmont Park.
Only one trainer was able to win more that one three-year-old stakes race this month – Frank Brothers won the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream with FIRST SAMURAI and the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes with LAITY at Turfway Park.
Edgar Prado and Alex Solis both won two stakes races for three-year-olds in March.
— Thoroughbred Report Triple Crown Trail Awards – March 2006 —
HORSE OF THE MONTH: BROTHER DEREK
TRAINER OF THE MONTH: Frank Brothers
JOCKEY OF THE MONTH: Edgar Prado