Horse Racing News: 1/7/2013

Goldencents wins again & Stevens returns to the saddle!

We are only two weeks away from the Eclipse Awards, which will honor the achievements of the top horse’s, trainers, jockeys, and organizations from 2012. With the turning of the calendar, the action at the track is sure to be heating up as we resume the Road to the Kentucky Derby. While DerbyDeals.com will mostly be featuring racing news from the Derby trail, we also will continue to bring you interesting tidbits from events from all around the thoroughbred world.

On January 19th at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Florida horse racing will stop to recognize the best of 2012 at the Eclipse Awards. The finalists for Horse of the Year have come down to Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another, who was undefeated in 2012, along with two horses that enjoyed Breeders’ Cup victories, Wise Dan, and Fort Larned. Familiar faces are in the running for the year’s top trainer with Bob Baffert, Dale Romans, and Todd Pletcher all in the finalists group. Pletcher and Baffert can boast seven Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Trainer among the two of them, while Romans is looking for his first win. In the two-year-old male category, most expect the undefeated Shanghai Bobby to take the hardware over Violence and Uncaptured.

Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens has resumed his career after a seven year absence from competitive racing. Stevens retired in 2005 due to knee troubles, but found that he still had the fire for racing at the highest level. Stevens rode Jebrica to a third place finish in a one mile claiming race at Santa Anita on January 5th. While Stevens is going to continue to work as a racing analyst for NBC and HRTV, he will also be riding in future races at Santa Anita throughout the season.

We have a new leader atop the early Road to the Kentucky Derby point standings. Doug O’Neill’s Goldencents took the Sham Stakes on Saturday with Kevin Krigger aboard. The win marked the second victory for the colt, who also took the Delta Downs Jackpot back in November. He now holds a four point lead over Shanghai Bobby in the point standings as we approach a flurry of Derby Prep Season races that will kick off at the end of the month, including the Smarty Jones Stakes, Holy Bull, and Withers Stakes.

Several 2012 Kentucky Derby hopefuls are getting their careers back on track after extended lay-offs. Take Charge Indy has finished 2nd and 3rd in his two races back after suffering a chipped ankle in the Kentucky Derby, and El Padrino came back to racing with a 2nd place finish in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park in mid-December. Both of these horses look to compete further as four-year-olds in 2013. The most amazing and welcomed comeback may be Bob Baffert’s Paynter. Paynter got a lot of love and attention from his training staff, ownership, and racing fans as he battled colitis and laminitis all summer. When many had given up hope, owner Ahmed Zayat stayed positive, often updating the colt’s condition on Twitter. Paynter recovered and has been sent to California to resume working out and it’s a good possibility he will be back on the track and racing in 2013.

2013 Sham Stakes!

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