Tag: Express Train

Santa Anita Handicap winner Express Train rides into Saturday's Grade 2 Californian Stakes at Santa Anita Park with a three-race winning streak. (Image: Benoit Photo)

Big ‘Cap Winner Express Train Roars Into Next Stop: The Californian

The rolling freight train that is Express Train makes another stop Saturday in Santa Anita Park’s Grade 2 Californian Stakes. That’s one of the featured events of the California track’s return to racing after a week’s planned hiatus between its Winter and Spring meets. The last time we saw Express […]

Express Train captured the Santa Anita Handicap for his first Grade 1 victory. The even-money favorite gave trainer John Shirreffs his first Big 'Cap title. (Image: Benoit Photo)

Express Train Takes Shirreffs to Long Awaited Big ‘Cap Title

John Shirreffs is on this year’s short list for induction into the National Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame this year. But Saturday brought the 76-year-old trainer an early, long-sought honor, one that eluded him for years. A Santa Anita Handicap trip to the winner’s circle. Express Train crossed that off Shirreffs’ […]

Express Train is the 8/5 favorite to win his first Grade 1 in Saturday's Santa Anita Handicap. (Image: Benoit Photo)

Santa Anita Handicap Awaits its Next History-Making Winner

Win the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap and you immediately enter the discussion of the country’s best older horses. Win the 1 ¼-mile “Big ‘Cap” and you join a club featuring the likes of Seabiscuit, Hill Rise, Ack Ack, Affirmed, Spectacular Bid, John Henry (twice), Alysheba, Best Pal, Tiznow, Game […]

Express Train and Victor Espinoza could be the first tandem to win the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes in more than 50 years. The San Pasqual is a strong prep for the Santa Anita Handicap. (Image; Benoit Photo)

Express Train Aiming for History in San Pasqual

Express Train is attempting to do something in Saturday’s Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes that illustrates how deep the field of this race typically is. California Chrome didn’t do it. Neither did Accelerate. Nor Silver Charm, Alphabet Soup, Flying Paster, or Native Diver. All of the above won this sturdy […]

Knicks Go used this Lukas Classic victory as a tune-up for the Breeders' Cup Classic, where his speed figures top his competitors on two scales. (Image: Coady Photography)

Breeders’ Cup Speed Figures: Classic Questions, Possibilities Abound

Hot Rod Charlie, Art Collector, Medina Spirit and Stilleto Boy all come into the Breeders’ Cup Classic off career-best speed figures on all three barometers. Essential Quality and Max Player enter the fray off career-best marks on two tables. So what to make of this year’s 10-horse field in what […]

Tripoli has two victories and a second in his last three races. This includes this win in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic. He carries value-laden 3/1 odds into the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita. (Image: Benoit Photo)

Awesome Again Pits ‘Youngster’ Medina Spirit Against His Elders

Medina Spirit is considered one of the “kids” in the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes, a change in status from what his consideration would have been, had he run in last week’s Pennsylvania Derby. From one of the fellow 3-year-olds in that race, to one of the kids in Saturday’s […]

Tripoli and Tiago Pereira put on a vintage performance in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic. Del Mar's flagship race fueled a record day in betting handle at the San Diego-area track. (Image: Benoit Photo)

Del Mar Breaks Previous Daily Handle Record With $36 Million Windfall

Fueled by an eight-figure Jackpot Pick 6 pool, Del Mar set a single-day handle record Saturday, drawing $36,005,613 in wagers. The windfall washed down on Del Mar’s 11-race Pacific Classic card. In doing so, it destroyed the previous record of $25,870,431 set on Pacific Classic day in 2018. Much of […]

Express Train and Juan Hernandez captured the San Diego Handicap, considered a prep for Saturday's Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar. Express Train is the 3/1 morning-line favorite in a deep, competitive field. (Image: Ernie Belmonte)

Pacific Classic Comes In With a Tide of Legitimate Contenders

There isn’t a lot of star power in this year’s Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar. What there is, however, is one of Jon White’s more challenging morning-line puzzles. Del Mar’s morning-line author, White found himself staring at one of the most competitive fields he’s faced this summer. Yes, […]

Royal Ship brings the best last-out Beyer Speed Figure, a 108, from this Grade 2 Californian victory. He is the 5/2 co-second favorite in Monday's Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup at Santa Anita Park. (Image: Benoit Photo)

Hollywood Gold Cup Shines Light On Would-Be Older Stars

The Hollywood Gold Cup inaugural winner was Seabiscuit. Its last winner was Improbable. And in between, one of the West Coast’s signature races turned loose winners such as three-time champs Lava Man and Native Diver, two-time winner Game on Dude and Triple Crown owners Citation and Affirmed. August company, to […]

Maxfield makes his first trip west of the Mississippi for Saturday's Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap. He's the 8/5 morning-line favorite in the 1 1/4-mile "Big 'Cap." (Image: Ernie Belmonte)

Maxfield Puts Maximum Attention on Santa Anita Handicap

The Santa Anita Handicap was the race that put Seabiscuit into the Depression-era public conscience. It was the first race offering a $100,000 purse, earning it the nickname “The Hundred Grander,” back when that was real money. Now, Maxfield is putting the Santa Anita Handicap back on the racing map. […]

Highly Motivated makes his anticipated 2021 debut in Saturday's Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. (Image: Coglianese Photos)

Weekend Stakes: History at Santa Anita, Derby Preps on Both Coasts

This weekend’s stakes lineup features one of the most iconic races in American horse racing, the Santa Anita Handicap. But even that event, technically Santa Anita Park’s Saturday headliner, may get overshadowed on its own card by a Grade 2 Kentucky Derby prep, the San Felipe Stakes. Featuring two of […]

Smooth Like Strait was the only favorite to win the five graded stakes races on Santa Anita Park's opening-day card. He nipped Storm the Court in the Grade 2 Mathis Brothers Mile. (Image: Benoit Photography)

No Crowds? No Problem as Santa Anita Park Enjoys Record Handle

With Charlatan winning Bob Baffert’s 17th Grade 1 race of 2020 headlining an 11-race, six-stakes card, Santa Anita Park set an all-time opening day handle record of $23,003,159 Saturday. That surpassed the previous record: 2018’s 11-race opening-day handle, by more than $2.51 million. And it did so without the traditional […]