(Edited press release)
“NTRA Racing to the Kentucky Derby,” the horse racing series on ABC and the ESPN networks, presents a pair of races from Turfway Park in Florence, Ky., March 24 from 5-6 p.m. (EST) on ESPN. The show will also feature an interview with Dr. Dean Richardson, head of surgery at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center.
Slated for live coverage is the $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II) and the $100,000 Rushaway Stakes. In addition to the races, an interview with Richardson conducted by Jeannine Edwards at the New Bolton Center will air. Richardson operated on 2006 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Barbaro and headed the hospital team that treated the ill-fated colt.
A full field of 12 three-year-olds is expected for the 1 1/8-mile Lane's End. The likely favorite is Hard Spun, winner of four of five career starts, who is coming off a fourth place finish in last month’s Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Catman Running enters off a win in the Battaglia Memorial Stakes on the same Turfway Park oval.
Three-time Eclipse Award winning trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle a pair of runners: Bullara and Twilight Meteor, the latter coming off a win in the Hallandale Beach Stakes on turf, while Pletcher’s mentor, D. Wayne Lukas, has Starbase ready for action. Other possible entries include Joe Got Even and Approval Rating, who were second and fourth, respectively, in the Battaglia; the Nick Zito-trained Forefathers; For You Reppo; Helios; Highest Degree; Sedgefield; and Sports Town.
Expected to start in the 1 1/16-mile Rushaway are Reata’s Rocket, who was fourth in the Hutcheson and Swale Stakes; Dubious Miss, Passport, Trust Your Luck, Meritocracy, Cityboy or Cowboy, Head to Toe, Dominican, Storm Breeze, and Lure My Daisy.
The show will be hosted by Randy Moss, who will be joined by analyst Jerry Bailey and reporter Edwards.