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Ben's Cat, 11, succumbs to colic complications

Barbara D. Livingston
Ben's Cat wins one of his five Jim McKay Turf Sprints.

Ben’s Cat, a popular runner in the Mid-Atlantic region and four-time Grade 3 winner, was euthanized Tuesday afternoon due to post-operative complications following colic surgery.

The 11-year-old gelding underwent surgery on July 6 at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Ky., to repair an epiploic foramen entrapment – the displacement of a segment of small intestine through a small hole.

Saratoga jockey race tough to handicap

Barbara D. Livingston
Jose Ortiz will try to win the Saratoga jockey title for a second straight year.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – For 31 summers, from 1976 through 2006, only seven individuals wore the crown as Saratoga’s leading jockey. Over the last 10 years, seven different riders have won the Saratoga riding title.

The winners of the last three Saratoga riding titles – Jose Ortiz, Irad Ortiz Jr., and Javier Castellano – are the leading candidates to win the title at this year’s meet, which begins Friday. But at least one jockey’s agent thinks it could be even more wide open than that.

Fonner Park legend Leaping Plum dies at 26

Coady Photography
Leaping Plum's career included 29 wins in 66 career starts for earnings of $371,584.

Leaping Plum, an eight-time winner of the Grasmick Handicap at Fonner Park, died Sunday night in his pasture in Grand Island, Neb. He was 26.

The gelded son of Lightning Leap was bred in Kentucky by Marty Takacs, and sold to owner Clyde Woods for $11,000 at the 1992 Keeneland September yearling sale. He was co-owned by Woods and Paul Miskimins, and trained by Joseph Moss for all of his 66 career starts from ages 2 to 13.

Charles Town bars 11-year-old layoff horse

An 11-year-old horse who has not started in 6 1/2 years was barred by officials at Charles Town Races in West Virginia from working at the track on Saturday, and the owner of the horse now says he has no plans to run the horse in the immediate future.

Awesome Actor, who had been stabled at the track for six weeks and recorded two official workouts in June, had been earlier ordered out of the backstretch area by the racing secretary and was not granted permission to return for the Saturday workout, according to Erich Zimny, the vice president of racing operations at Charles Town.

Vacation over, Arrogate gets ready to punch in again

Barbara D. Livingston
The San Diego Handicap on Saturday will be Arrogate's first start since the Dubai World Cup in March.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Summer vacation is well under way, but for Arrogate, vacation time is about to end. The world’s best racehorse has had nearly four months off since his victory in the Dubai World Cup, the world’s second-richest horse race, and now has his sights set on a repeat victory in the world’s third-richest horse race to cap a 2017 campaign that began with him winning the world’s richest horse race.

Mandella, Baffert strong in juvenile department

Barbara D. Livingston
Varanasi, trained by Bob Baffert, makes her racing debut Wednesday.

DEL MAR, Calif. – A precocious group of talented 2-year-olds already has been unveiled in Southern California this year, but the action ramps up considerably with the opening of Del Mar on Wednesday, and the meet’s first maiden race for 2-year-olds could be a preview of coming attractions, with promising fillies trained by Bob Baffert and Richard Mandella among the entrants.

Gaudet to primarily work for NYRA as racing analyst

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Racing analyst Gabby Gaudet

Gabby Gaudet, who has spent the bulk of her time as a racing analyst working for The Stronach Group, will flip the script starting this summer and now spend the majority of her time working for the New York Racing Association.

For the second straight summer, Gaudet will work for NYRA at the Saratoga meet, which begins Friday. However, she will continue to work at NYRA though Dec. 2 – Cigar Mile Day at Aqueduct. Gaudet will work the entire Belmont Park fall meet.

In 2018, Gaudet will work at NYRA from Wood Memorial Day in early April through November.

D'Amato hoping for a steady diet of stakes

Benoit & Associates
Trainer Phil D'Amato is pointing Bellamentary to Friday's Osunitas Stakes.

Phil D’Amato does not expect to win the training title at the Del Mar summer meeting that begins Wednesday. Last year, D’Amato finished first with 23 wins, two more than Peter Miller, who he thinks will be too tough this year.

“I’m not looking in that direction,” D’Amato said on Sunday. “I do not have the kind of horses in all the categories like Pete does in the claiming ranks from $10,000 to $20,000.

“I think he’ll run a ton of horses. I’d put him as the favorite to win the training title.”

Classic Empire to skip Haskell, point to Travers

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Mark Casse said Sunday morning that Classic Empire will not run in the $1 million Haskell and will be pointed instead to the Grade 1 Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 26.

Overflow fields for Oceanside Stakes, 5 other races, on opening day

DEL MAR, Calif. - Six of the 10 races on Del Mar's opening-day card Wednesday have overflow fields that include also-eligibles, including the featured Oceanside Stakes.

The Oceanside drew 14 runners plus two also-eligibles when entries were taken and posts drawn Saturday.

The Oceanside, for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf, is headed by Bowies Hero, who won the Del Mar Juvenile Turf here last summer and earlier this year won the Singletary at Santa Anita in his first start of the year. He most recently was fourth of seven in the Pennine Ridge at Belmont Park.

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