Miesque's Approval and Wait A While, both Eclipse Award winners in 2006, head a strong roster of 110 turf stars nominated to the $500,000-added Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs.
Live Oak Plantation’s Miesque’s Approval won the NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) and Firecracker Breeders’ Cup (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs to gain honors as America’s turf champion of 2006. Arindel Farm’s filly Wait A While captured the American Oaks (gr. IT) and Yellow Ribbon (gr. IT) to become the champion 3-year-old filly of 2006.
Other standouts nominated include James Scatuorchio’s English Channel, winner of the 2006 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic who will attempt to become the first two-time winner of the race; Lael Stable’s Showing Up, winner of the Secretariat (gr. IT) at Arlington Park and third to stablemate Barbaro in the 2006 Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I); Shadwell Stable’s Jazil, winner of the 2006 Belmont Stakes (gr. I); and Bushwood Stable’s Better Talk Now, winner of the 2005 John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) and runner-up to Red Rocks last year at Churchill Downs.
The 1 1/8-mile race on Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn Turf Course May 5 is run immediately prior to the Kentucky Derby. The race will be broadcast to an international television audience on ESPN.
Other major turf stars nominated to the 2007 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic include:
-- Mill House’s Brilliant, winner of the Jefferson Cup (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs;
-- Midnight Cry Stable’s Einstein, winner of the 2006 Gulfstream Park Breeders’ Cup (gr. IT);
-- Glencrest Farm’s Honey Ryder, winner of the Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT);
-- Peter Vegso’s Virginia Derby (gr. II) winner Go Between;
-- Brant Laue’s Gun Salute, winner of the 2005 Secretariat who is on the comeback trail;
-- Gary and Mary West’s High Limit, winner of the Strub (gr. II) and San Pasqual (gr. II);
-- Tom Baxter’s Fourty Niners Son, winner of the 2005 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (gr. IT);
-- Gary Tanaka’s San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) winner King’s Drama;
-- Mueller Thoroughbred Stable’s Rush Bay, winner of the Opening Verse at Churchill Downs and the Nijinsky Handicap (Can-II) at Woodbine;
-- Red Oak Stable’s Sweet Return, winner of the 2005 Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT).
The Woodford Reserve Turf Classic also attracted a pair of international nominees in Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor’s Dylan Thomas and Magnier, Tabor, and Derrick Smith’s Marcus Andronicus. Dylan Thomas is a multiple group I winner whose triumphs include the Baileys Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) and the Budweiser Irish Derby (Ire-I). Marcus Andronicus finished second to Aussie Rules in the 2006 French Two Thousand Guineas (Fr-I). Aidan O’Brien trains both colts.
Supplemental nominations will be accepted for the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic. Those nominations must be made at time of entry on May 2 and be accompanied by a fee of $25,000, which is 5% of the race’s added purse.