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Around The Backstretch: Friday News And Notes

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The entries for Monday's Grade 1 Met Mile will be drawn later on this afternoon, along with all the top graded stakes action for Memorial Day. I'll have an overview of this weekend's holiday stakes action a little later on. Until then, here's a tour of the items making news around the world of thoroughbred horse racing - from Belmont to California to Illinois and across the pond to Germany, Ireland and the U.K.

Belmont Stakes

Belmont field continues to shift as I'll Have Another prepares - Thoroughbred Times
I'll Have Another continued to prepare for his bid for racing history Thursday as the field for the Belmont Stakes (G1) continued to shift.

Peter Pan Preps Mark Valeski for Future |
Connections were rewarded for their patience when Mark Valeski, making only the sixth start of his career, produced a decisive victory in the Peter Pan Stakes.

Ragozin Insider: I'll Have Another takes another step forward - Thoroughbred Times
Apparently I'll Have Another is getting closer and better, too. Now standing just one more victory shy of a Triple Crown sweep, I'll Have Another will head into the Belmont Stakes (G1) June 9 on the heels of a victorious effort in the Preakness Stakes (G1) that produced a career-best Ragozin figure.

Ravelo's Boy joins list of Belmont Stakes possibles - Thoroughbred Times
Ravelo's Boy, last seen finishing fifth in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) in March, is now under consideration for the Belmont Stakes (G1).

Industry News

NJ Acts on Racetrack, Casino Sports Betting |
New Jersey will defy a federal ban and let people bet on the outcomes of football, basketball, and other games this fall, Republican Gov. Chris Christie said May 24.

Dynaformer's final foal born Thursday -
A filly out of the More Than Ready mare Morlana born Thursday is the last foal sired by Dynaformer to be born. She is owned in partnership by Be...

Court hears trainer's appeal - ESPN
Trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. urged a court May 22 to reject his 10-year ban from the sport, arguing that a top New York racing official appeared biased as a member of the industry organization that first suggested revoking his license.

Cuomo announces reorganization - ESPN
The New York Racing Association board of directors will be dominated by a new panel of members selected by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders under a deal announced May 22.

Sad saga of Michael Baze dragged through Judge Judy's courtroom -
A little more than a year after the death of jockey Michael Baze from an overdose of drugs, his mother and widow, who between them received $1 m...

Illinois approves slots at racetracks - Thoroughbred Times
The Illinois House has approved an expansion of gaming in the state that would allow slot machines at racetracks, put a casino in Chicago and four other cities, and add positions at riverboats, the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday.

Pimlico posts gains in attendance, handle - Thoroughbred Times
The Maryland Jockey Club reported gains in wagering and attendance for its spring meet at Pimlico Race Course, which concluded on Saturday, May 19.

Global Simulcast Marketplace to debut at annual symposium - Thoroughbred Times
The University of Arizona's Race Track Industry program announced that it will debut the Global Simulcast Marketplace at the 2012 Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming.

Handicapping Insights - Handicappers' Edge
I guess when you miss the $32.60 mutuel in the Kentucky Derby and the $8.40 in the Preakness Stakes, there's no sense taking a low price on I'll Have Another when he goes for the Triple Crown in two weeks. I have underestimated this horse all year and have been wrong all year.

Mr. Commons tops American - Handicappers' Edge
After producing convincing wins this winter in the Grade 2 Arcadia and Grade 2 Sir Beaufort, Mr. Commons was upset at odds-on in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile on March 3, finishing second by a neck. The John Shirreffs-trained colt will look to rebound when he squares off against 10 rivals in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 American Handicap at Hollywood Park.

International News

O'Brien: Camelot's 'always been a very special horse' - Handicappers' Edge
Aidan O'Brien wasn't on hand for Thursday's Breakfast with the Stars at Epsom, but Ireland's champion trainer was interviewed over the phone by Clare Balding.

Homecoming Queen out for more Guineas glory - Horse Racing News | Racing Post
HOMECOMING QUEEN will have the opportunity to prove that her Newmarket 1,000 Guineas success was no fluke when she attempts to complete a Classic double in the Etihad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Sunday.

GERMANY Red Duke set for German 2 000 Guineas - Horse Racing News | Racing Post
RED DUKE, who finished down the field in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas, will try his hand at the German equivalent at Cologne on Monday with connections hopeful of a good performance in ideal conditions.

Joseph O'Brien to ride Camelot in the Derby - Horse Racing News | Racing Post
AIDAN O'BRIEN on Thursday confirmed that his son Joseph would partner Camelot in the Investec Derby a week on Saturday.

Fabulous Frankel earns career best figure - The BHA handicappers - UK Horse Racing Blogs | Racing Post
IT'S quite a responsibility assessing a performance that might be the best seen on a racetrack anywhere in the world for 25 years, confesses Dominic Gardiner-Hill . ...

Royal Ascot refuses to move Frankel race from its curtain-raising slot on the first day of the meeting - Telegraph
One might have imagined that two important announcements regarding Frankel might have had a bearing on the order of the race programme at Royal Ascot next month. But officials at the Queen’s racecourse remain adamant – there will be no changes.

Frankel not among Irish Champion entries - Horse Racing News | Racing Post
LEOPARDSTOWN chief executive Pat Keogh described it as "regrettable" that superstar Frankel was missing from the 50 entries for the track's Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes in September.