Week of January 17, 2011
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder

Did you miss us? We missed you and we’re happy to be back for what we hope will be another year of great racing! We certainly have some plans to enhance the site in the coming months but we’ll let you know about those as we get closer to rolling them out. In the meantime, our free Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks newsletter, the Derby Prep Alert, will be launching this coming Friday the 21st. So, if you’re interested in an easy way to learn about the 2011 Kentucky Derby hopefuls, sign up and we’ll do all the work!

Speaking of Derby preps, the Steve Asmussen trained Tapizar kicked off the official Derby prep season with a front running win the in Grade 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita while California Nectar also scored a fast, front running win in the Santa Ynez on the Kentucky Oaks trail.

In fact, it was a record setting weekend between the return of Square Eddie after an 11 month layoff and continued domination of Breeders’ Cup Sprint winning and 2010 Champion Sprinter Big Drama. Square Eddie set a new mark for 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita while Big Drama broke the record for 6 furlongs at Gulfstream Park. Also of note, mega trainers Todd Pletcher and Bob Baffert both scored stakes race exactas this weekend with Pletcher trainees running one, two in the Evening Attire at Aqueduct and Baffert trainees running one, two in the San Fernando at Santa Anita.

2010 3-year-old Champion Filly Blind Luck made her 4-year-old debut in the El Encino at Santa Anita but could not catch a lightening fast Always a Princess, who sat right off Champagne D’oro. While it’s currently not known what’s next for Blind Luck, her trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer, hinted that her next start might come at a track other than the speed favoring Santa Anita.

Freshman sire Pomeroy had a good weekend with two winners who seem destined for the Derby trail. Positive Response won the California Derby at Golden Gate Fields and Flashpoint won his debut at Aqueduct. Both won in convincing fashion and both are Florida breds, as is Mr. Prospector winner Big Drama.

Here at the site, we take a look at How the Eclipse Awards Came to Be in honor of tonight’s ceremony. It should not come as surprise that there’s a long history of divergent opinion! Later in the week we’ll take a look at the reasons one might want to pay attention to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks prep seasons. Next week we’ll kick off another season of Ten Things You Should Know.

Keep up with all the news and commentary about the Eclipse Awards, Horse of the Year, and the Kentucky Derby preps along with all the other topics that pop up along the way at Raceday 360 Wire!

Last Week’s Races

Square Eddie Returns Replay
Coming of an 11 month layoff that included retirement, 2008 Kentucky Derby hopeful Square Eddie made his return to the races a triumphant one by sitting right off the pace and easily taking over in the stretch.

Flashpoint Maiden Breaker Replay

The 3-year-old Richard Dutrow trainee won his initial outing by about 6 lengths. His next stop might be in Florida.

2011 Mr. Prospector Stakes Replay

2010 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner and 2010 Champion Sprinter Big Drama didn’t waste anytime establishing himself as this year’s sprinter to beat.

2011 Sham Stakes Replay
Steve Asmussen trainee Tapizar made a strong impression wiring the Sham field and kicking off the 2011 Kentucky Derby prep season in style

2011 Dania Beach Stakes Replay

An exciting blanket finish was matched by exciting payouts when three long shots, Adirondack Summer, Brilliant Speed and Master Dunker hit the board in this stakes race for 3-year-olds on the turf.

Upcoming Graded Stakes Races

Check probable starters at Horse Racing Nation’s Stakes Tracker

See you at the track!

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Elsewhere of Interest

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