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.
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.
Bob Black Jack, the runner-up to Colonel John in the April 5 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), drilled a half-mile at Churchill Downs late Monday morning in :48 3/5.
WinStar Farm's Colonel John, one of the favorites for Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), solidified his status with a scintillating five-furlong bullet work over the main track at Churchill Downs Sunday morning.
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.
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."
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.
Darley Stabe's Little Belle battled back in the stretch to fend off Bsharpsonata to capture Saturday's Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland by a hard-fought neck.
By Evan Hammonds - The casino bill's chances in Kentucky aren't necessarily a longshot, but aren't exactly 2-5, either.
With a strong last-to-first move in the slop at Monmouth Park, Midnight Lute stormed to a 4 3/4-length victory over the front-running Idiot Proof in the $2 million TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint.
Indian Blessing, the 8-5 favorite, led he 13-horse field on a merry chase in the $2-million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Oct. 27, cruising to an easy 3 1/2-length gate-to-wire victory.
It's not surprising a Todd Pletcher-trained filly was made the favorite for the Oct. 27 Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I), it's just a little surprising which one.
The condition of Monmouth Park's turf course Oct. 27, with rain in the forecast for the middle part of Breeders' Cup week, is a major concern for horsemen with runners in the $2-million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT).
Heading into uncharted territory, Monticule's homebred Prussian was made the 3-1 favorite for the inaugural Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. Run as the second Breeders' Cup race on the new Friday program, the $1-million race will be run at a mile Oct. 26.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The untimely loss of Hennessy will not only leave a void at Coolmore's Ashford Stud, but for breeders in both hemispheres looking for speed and versatility.
Coolmore's talented stallion Hennessy reportedly died of an apparent heart failure Aug. 9 at Haras La Mission in Argentina. The 14-year-old son of Storm Cat had shuttled to South America for the Southern Hemisphere breeding season.
Youbet reported a loss of $357,000, or one cent a share, in its second quarter, down from income of $2.2 million, or six cents per share, in the year-ago period, the company reported Tuesday.
Five of the eight runners in Saturday's Diana Stakes (gr. IT) not only have names that start with the letter "M"; they all have a big chance in the first "Win and You're In" race from Saratoga.
Fans are trickling into Belmont Park through the grandstand entrance. Out back by the picnic area, there are a few spots still available, but there won't be for long.
On the third row of Section G on the third floor of the clubhouse sit two yellow plastic bags. Labeled Adelman's Deli, the bags are stuffed with pastrami sandwiches, knishes, latkes, and pickles.
The paddock opens at 11:30 for schooling. One of the first to arrive is Belmont (gr. I) entrant Tiago. Trainer John Shirreffs, his stepson David Ingordo, and Frankie Herrarte, a member of his crew, follows the Pleasant Tap colt, who is led by Frank Leal.
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.
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.
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.
Three Kentucky Derby contenders will be a few days shy of their actual third birthday prior to the First Saturday in May.
It wasn't quite like a scene from Noah's Ark, but four of trainer Todd Pletcher's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contenders arrived Tuesday afternoon two by two in separate vans.
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.
Yum! Brands, presenting sponsor for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), announced Monday, April 30, that it will offer a $1-million to the connections of any horse that wins this year's Derby and beats Barbaro's winning margin of 6 1/2 lengths.
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.
Richard Porter's Hard Spun scorched the Churchill Downs main track Monday morning, blazing five furlongs in :57 3/5 under regular rider Mario Pino. Hard Spun worked in company, for a while at least, with graded stakes winner Wildcat Bettie B.
When I hear about the Yumfecta and Yum! Brands, I suddenly have an urge for a Root Beer Float...
Dominican, surprise winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) two weeks ago, worked five furlongs Sunday morning at Churchill Downs in :59 3/5.
The weather today in Louisville couldn't be better. A good-sized crowd has amassed under the Twin Spires.
Street Sounds, making her first start for trainer Michael Matz since winning the Selima Stakes last November on the turf at Laurel, stayed well off the rail at Keeneland Thursday afternoon, scoring a neck victory over favorite Forever Together in the $250,000 Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (gr. II).
Street Sense drew post four for Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland. James Tafel's homebred champion was also made the 4-5 morning line favorite for the nine-furlong race. Great Hunter, the 9-5 second choice, will break from the outside seven post.
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.
After running one-two last year, trainer Bob Baffert ships Hal and Patti Earnhardt III's Law Breaker from Santa Anita to the Sunland Park for Sunday's nine-furlong WinStar Derby. With a $600,000 purse, it's worth coming back for more...especially when you'll have the likely favorite.
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.
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.
Tracking a hotly contested pace early, Street Sense came up the rail and ran away with the $1,832,000 Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) by 10 lengths at Churchill Downs Nov. 4.
Trainer Tom Albetrani said his Bernardini will be facing the most difficult task of his life Saturday in the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
Gorella, a beast on the turf course this year against the girls and a formidable foe against the boys, drew post position 12 of 14 for Saturday's NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs.
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.
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.
Along with Classic contenders Sun King and Flower Alley putting in their final drills for Saturday's World Championships at Churchill Downs, several other runners stretched their legs under the Twin Spires.
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