The sport of horse racing got a much needed media boost in May with the emergence of Southern California colt I’ll Have Another. His winning streak of four which now includes the Kentucky Derby and Preakness is in the National spotlight as he put himself in a position to snap the 34 year drought without a triple crown winner. The Belmont Stakes is on June 9 at Belmont Park.
He wasn’t the only horse in the U.S. to notch two graded wins last month. Two other horses were able to accomplish this impressive feat.
Shackleford won the Churchill Downs Stakes (G2) and the Metropolitan Handicap (G2), also known as the Met Mile at Belmont Park. It was his first wins since capturing the Preakness Stakes last May. It was a dramatic finish that saw him hang on to defeat hard charging Caleb’s Posse by a nose.
Bob Baffert’s colt Bodemeister received more press for his two runner-up efforts against I’ll Have Another, but it was his three year old filly Contested who did the winning for the barn. She took the Eight Belles (G3) at Churchill Downs the day before the Derby, then the TVG Acorn Stakes (G1) at Belmont Stakes. After losing her debut last September at Del Mar, she has strung together a four race winning streak.
Believe You Can only had the one graded win, but that one was the Kentucky Oaks. This win puts theProud Citizen filly on the map as one of the top fillies in the country. Larry Jones sure knows how to train the females. Does he have another future Horse of the Year candidate (Havre de Grace – 2011)? She has won 6 of 9 career races. This was her third graded win, Second of 2012. She won the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) back in March.
Silver Max may not get the media attention that his other there year old counterparts are receiving, but he is making noise on the turf side of the tracks. After attempting dirt earlier in the year in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3), he made the switch back to turf. That move has paid off and then some for trainer Dale Romans. He’s won four in a row including the Transylvania Stakes (G3) at Keeneland in April, then American Turf Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs and Arlington Classic Stakes at Arlington Park in May.
First Career Graded Wins
Mark Valeski bypassed the Kentucky Derby, in favor of running in the Peter Pan Stakes (G2). A smart move that resulted in the win instead of tackling the likes of I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister. Another win for Larry Jones.
Hudson Steele won the $300,000 Dixie Stakes (G2) for trainer Todd Pletcher on Preakness day. She now has back to back wins after missing nearly a year to injury. She has won 6 of 10 career races, but this was just her first graded victory.
Better Lucky defeated Regalo Mia by a nose at the wire in the Sands Point Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park. Heavy favorite Somali Lemonade finished 4th. This was her first stakes win overall.
Bobina won the Senorita Stakes (G3) at BetFair Hollywood Park, putting this A.C. Avila trained filly 3 for 3 lifetime.
Awesomemundo won the Allaire duPont Distaff Stakes (G3) at Pimlico on Preakness day. This Bob Baffert trained filly filled the void from Bodemeister’s hard fought loss.
Roman Threat won yet another graded race for Bob Baffert. His win in the Los Angeles Handicap (G3) at BetFair Hollywood Park gives him two wins in three career races. The other was a 2nd in the Potrero Grande Stakes (G3).
Ruthenia took the Violet Stakes at Monmouth Park at odds of 10-1. She upset favorites Romacaca and Unbridled Humor in the process.
Via Villaggio won the Railbird Stakes (G3) at BetFair Hollywood Park.
TOP TRAINERS IN MAY
Bob Baffert: 5 graded wins
Featured Win Grade 1 TVG Acorn Stakes with Contested
Dale Romans: 4 wins
Featured Wins Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic with Little Mike and Grade 1 Met Mile with Shackleford
Doug O’Neill: 2 wins
Featured Wins Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) with I’ll Have Another
Larry Jones: 2 Wins
Featured Win Kentucky Oaks (G1) with Believe You Can
Todd Pletcher: 2 wins
Featured Win Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) with In Lingerie
TOP 5 TRAINERS OVERALL (as of May 31, 2012)
Todd Pletcher: 18 graded wins
Bob Baffert: 16 wins
Chad Brown: 7 wins
Dale Romans: 7 wins
Doug O’Neill: 5 wins
TOP JOCKEYS IN MAY
Javier Castellano: 3 graded wins
Featured Win Grade 1 TVG Acorn Stakes on Contested
Eddie Castro: 3 wins
Featured Win Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap on It’s Tricky
Mario Gutierrez: 2 wins
Featured Wins Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) on I’ll Have Another
Rosie Napravnik: 2 Wins
Featured Win Kentucky Oaks (G1) on Believe You Can
Joel Rosario: 2 wins
Featured Win The Gamely Stakes (G1) on Belle Royale (IRE)
Ramon Dominguez: 2 wins
Featured Win La Troienne Stakes (G2) on Juanita
Joe Talamo: 2 wins
Featured Win Marjorie L. Everett Handicap (G2) on Include Me Out
John Velasquez: 2 wins
Featured Win Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) on In Lingerie
Martin Pedroza: 2 wins
Featured Win American Handicap (G2) on Wilkinson
Martin Garcia: 2 wins
Featured Win Lazaro S. Barrera Memorial Stakes (G3) on Drill
TOP 5 JOCKEYS OVERALL (as of May 31, 2012)
Javier Castellano: 18 graded wins
John Velasquez: 15 wins
Julien Leaproux: 9 wins
Joel Rosario: 8 wins
Rafael Bejarano: 7 wins
First Graded Win of 2012
Shaun Bridgmohan on Silver Max in American Turf (G2) at Churchill Downs
Aaron Gryder on Awesome Gem in Berkeley Handicap (G3) at Golden Gate Fields
Florent Geroux on Havelock in Hanshin Cup (G3) at Arlington Park
Gabriel Saez on Simmard in Louisville Handicap (G3) at Churchill Downs
Kendrick Carmouche on Ruthenia in Violet Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park
To constantly stay up to date with all the 2012 graded stakes winners, click here and bookmark the page.