Evan Hammonds

Foaling Dates of Derby Contenders

Foaling Dates of Derby Contenders

Poet T.S. Eliot labeled April "cruelest month," but it is not a bad month on stud farms for foaling winners of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). In fact, over the last eight years, April foals have won three runnings of the Derby. February, the month that gives us both Groundhog Day and Presidents Day despite being the shortest month of the year, has been responsible for five winners.

Morning Line: Super Tuesday

Trainer Nick Zito is holding court with a ring of media members outside his barn. The two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer has two starters for Saturday's running: Cool Coal Man and Anak Naktal. Zito is talking about the subject of the year: synthetic surfaces. We have a feeling he's not a big fan.

Adriano Drills 5Fs in 1:00 4/5

Adriano Drills 5Fs in 1:00 4/5

Adriano worked five furlongs at Churchill Downs Sunday morning in preparation for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The striking chestnut son of A.P. Indy got the distance in 1:00 4/5 under exercise rider Xavier Aizpuru.

Sunday Morning Line: Twice on Sunday

Sunday Morning Line: Twice on Sunday

Mike Barnes is a big LSU fan. He can't help but hide it. The exercise rider's helmet has the distinctive "LSU" logo that adorns the Tiger's football helmets. "I bleed purple and gold," the Louisiana native says. "I've been a fan since birth."

The Morning Line Returns for Derby 134

The Morning Line Returns for Derby 134

It's baaaack. Starting Sunday, April 27, and running daily through Kentucky Derby day, May 3, The Morning Line returns to bloodhorse.com. The feature, first unveiled during the 2006 run up to the Kentucky Derby, offers a behind-the-scenes look at the participants and players of Thoroughbred racing during racing's major events.

Breeders' Cup Morning Line Begins Monday

Starting Monday, Oct. 22 and running through Saturday, Oct. 27, The Morning Line returns to bloodhorse.com. The feature, now in its second year, offers a colorful, behind-the-scenes look at the participants and players of the Thoroughbred industry during racing's major events.

Commentary: The Hearty Boys

By Evan I. Hammonds - The Triple Crown races of the spring are in the books, and the summer races at Saratoga and Monmouth have been run. The true test of sophomore runners comes in the fall, when they take on older horses for the first time.

Commentary: Surfers and Sellers

Commentary: Surfers and Sellers

By Evan I. Hammonds - One thing we should already know about next year's round of yearling sales is that there will be changes to the conditions of sale. The Sales Integrity Task Force has until the end of the year to come up with recommendations to the Kentucky legislature to address several issues involving the sale of horses in the Bluegrass State.

Commentary: Battle Lines

Commentary:  Battle Lines

By Evan I. Hammonds - Advance deposit wagering, which most sources agree accounts for about 10% of handle on Thoroughbred racing, is the sport's latest battleground.

For Gainesway, It's One for the Home Team

Watching the Aug. 18 Alabama (gr. I) on the jumbo monitor on the first floor of the clubhouse at Saratoga, Michael Hernon pumped his fist in the air as Bentley L. Smith's homebred Lady Joanne crossed the wire first in the 1 1/4-mile race for 3-year-old fillies.

Street Sense to Pass Belmont, Focus on Travers

The streets of New York will be a little less crowded next weekend because Street Sense will not be running in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) but instead will be pointed toward the Travers (gr. I) at Saratoga and a fall campaign. The announcement was made by trainer Carl Nafzger at a press conference Thursday morning.

Secretariat Film In the Works

A movie about the life and times of Secretariat, with the backing of Walt Disney Studios, is in the works. Filming for the major motion picture could begin as soon as the end of the year according to principles tied to the project.

May Day! Storm in May to Pick First Post Position

The connections of Storm in May will have first choice when post positions are selected later this evening thanks to pulling the No. 1 pill during the pill pull at the racing office. In all 22 horses were entered. Reporting for Duty and Delightful Kiss did not draw into the body of the field due to lack of enough graded earnings.

Evan Hammonds' Kentucky Derby Starting Gate

Welcome to Derby Week, or week 11 of the "Starting Gate," one person's look at this year's Kentucky Derby lineup. As we approach Wednesday, entry day, this how we would handicap the top 20 contenders for the May 5 Run for the Roses. Actual entry into America's greatest race is reliant on graded stakes earnings -- this lineup is based on some speculation, past performances, and potential performance on Saturday.

Derby Works: The More the Merrier

The work of the morning at Churchill Downs Monday was Hard Spun's :57 3/5 scorcher, but other Derby hopefuls went through their final paces over the main track just after the renovation break. Trainer Bill Kaplan sent out Storm in May and Imawildandcrazyguy while trainer Darrin Miller worked Silverton Hills' Sedgefield.

Talamo Headed to New York

Apprentice Joe Talamo, runaway leader in the jockey standings at Fair Grounds, will switch his tack to New York for the start of Aqueduct's main track meet in early April, according to his agent, Ronnie Ebanks.

Trainer Robert Durso Dead at 68

Trainer Robert J. Durso passed away at his home in Hallandale, Fla., on Wednesday morning following a short illness. The trainer of multiple graded winner Frisk Me Now was 68 years old.

Not So Special

By Evan Hammonds - During this year's Preakness weekend at Pimlico, the "Magna Entertainment Experience" surrounding the second jewel of the Triple Crown will not be nearly as enriching. On Jan. 25, the Maryland Jockey Club stuck a fork in the Pimlico Special (gr. I) for 2007.

I Guarantee It

By Evan I. Hammonds - We're pretty sure there are no guarantees in Thoroughbred racing. However, let's step out for Breeders' Cup XXIII at Churchill Downs Nov. 4. There are a few "automatics." I guarantee it.

McCarthy Covers Pletcher's Churchill Base

The key to any Thoroughbred trainer's success is the quality of people around them. Trainer Todd Pletcher learned that from his mentor, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Pletcher, the two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer, is working with the same model. Holding down the Churchill Downs barn is assistant Mike McCarthy.

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