• The week’s significant milestones, facts and figures
7 Sir Dragonet
Australia: Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet was never a factor on his return to action on Saturday’s [Feb 6] over an inadequate 7f trip in the CF Orr Stakes at Caulfield.
The five-year-old, formerly trained by Aidan O’Brien, was seventh of nine behind Streets Of Avalon and jockey Glen Boss said: “We’ve learned a valuable lesson today as he’s obviously going to be better on soft but I’m not going to blame the track at all.
“The track is in great condition and his action was fine. We just found that he hasn’t got the speed to win over seven.”
Streets Of Avalon, a six-year-old trained by Shane Nichols, beat Imaging by a half-length to provide 24-year-old jockey Zac Spain with his first G1 win.
2,000 Antonio Gallardo
USA: Antonio Gallardo, five times leading jockey at Tampa Bay Downs, recorded the 2,000th winner of his US career when five-year-old mare Do What It Takes took the fourth race on Wednesday’s [Feb 3] card.
The Spanish rider, who hails from Jerez de la Frontera near Cadiz, has won 837 races at the Florida venue, where he has recorded six five-timers. “Tampa is home for me,” said Gallardo, 33, whose US career started with just seven winners in 2009.
77 Robert Armstrong
GB: Robert Armstrong, the former leading Newmarket trainer best known for star sprinters Moorestyle and Never So Bold, died on Friday [Feb 5] after a short illness. He was 77.
Armstrong, who was Lester Piggott’s brother-in-law, held a licence for 27 years after taking over from his father Sam at St Gatien Stables in 1973. In 1980, he trained Moorestyle to become European champion via victories in the July Cup, Haydock Sprint Cup, Prix de la Foret and Prix de l’Abbaye.
Never So Bold was Europe’s top-rated sprinter five years later when he landed G1 wins in the King’s Stand Stakes, July Cup and William Hill Sprint Championship (Nunthorpe). Other leading performers trained by Armstrong, who retired in 2000, included Sparkler, Be My Native, Shady Heights and Maroof, who won the QEII at Ascot at 66-1 in 1994.
326 Triple Crown
USA: Published last week was a list of 326 three-year-olds nominated at a cost of $600 to this year’s Triple Crown, which returns to its traditional slot for 2021 beginning on Saturday, May 1, with the Kentucky Derby.
Among trainers Todd Pletcher has the most entries with 45 horses, while Godolphin leads the way among owners with 11, headed by Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Essential Quality and Charlie Appleby’s UAE Derby contender Rebel’s Romance.
Horses not nominated during this first phase can be added to the series for $6,000 before March 29.
83 Julio Canani
USA: Three-time Breeders’ Cup-winning trainer Julio Canani died on Friday [Feb 5] in hospital in Pasadena at the age of 83.
Based in southern California after emigrating from his native Peru in 1954, Canani took out his first licence in 1968 and went on to train the winners of 1,139 races for career earnings in excess of $49m. They included two Breeders’ Cup Mile winners (Silic 1999, Val Royal 2001) and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Sweet Catomine 2004), plus Martial Law, who won the Santa Anita Handicap at 51-1 in 1989.
Renowned as one of US racing’s most colourful characters, Canani also saddled Bill Shoemaker’s final mount, fourth-placed Patchy Groundfog, at Santa Anita on February 3, 1990.
250 Pat Dobbs
UAE: Canvassed, who won the opening 6f dirt handicap on Thursday’s [Feb 4] Dubai Carnival card at Meydan, was jockey Pat Dobbs’s 250th winner in the UAE. Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby hit the hundred when Man Of Promise won the last at the same meeting.