Six weeks ago, WinStar Farm looked as though it would be without a starter in the upcoming Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Now, the powerful outfit could have three, the final potential starter coming thanks to a eye-catching, last-to-first victory by Advice in the $300,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) April 18 on the Keeneland Polytrack.
Some of the most accomplished jockeys in Thoroughbred racing participated in Riders Up!, a karaoke competition at Keeneland April 17 that raised more than $50,000 for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. The event attracted a capacity crowd of some 500 people.
Godolphin's pair of contenders for the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) Desert Party and Regal Ransom turned in sharp works April 18 in their first serious training at Churchill Downs, while Illinois Derby (gr. II) winner Musket Man worked a strong six furlongs under Derby jockey Eibar Coa.
Third in the Doubledogdare Stakes (gr. III) a year ago, Donald Adam's homebred Indescribable was much the best in the 2009 running of the $100,000 event, as she pulled away in the stretch to win by 2 1/4 lengths April 17 at Keeneland.
West Point Thoroughbreds' Justwhistledixie tuned up for an expected run in the May 1 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) by working five furlongs in 1:00 in company with stablemate Fitz Just Right on April 17 at Keeneland.
Grade II winner Wild and Wicked sired his first winner when his daughter Unloch the Fury won April 15 at Turf Paradise in her initial start.
California stars Pioneerof the Nile and Chocolate Candy, the first two finishers in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 4, arrived at Churchill Downs April 16 to prepare for the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Afternoon Stroll pulled off a 50-1 shocker in the $100,000 Appalachian (gr. IIIT) April 16 on the Keeneland turf, getting up by a nose over Hot Cha Cha in a thrilling photo finish.
A star-studded cast of older horses that includes three former Kentucky Derby (gr. I) starters tops a field of seven in the $150,000 Ben Ali (gr. III), the feature race on Keeneland's April 19 program.
Ready's Image, a grade II winner by More Than Ready, will shuttle to the newly-established Lincoln/Walmac Associated Farms at Scone, New South Wales, Australia.
On April 26, after the dedication of the Barbaro memorial sculpture at Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby Museum will open a tribute exhibit, Barbaro: The Heart of a Winner.
Balance, a grade I winner and half-sister to unbeaten champion Zenyatta, foaled her first offspring, an A.P. Indy colt, Jan. 18.
When Doug O'Neill discovered a left front shin injury on Square Eddie in the beginning of February, he figured the colt's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) chances were over. But a speedy recovery and a series of nice works has O'Neill thinking of roses just two months later, and a nice effort in the $300,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) April 18 at Keeneland will likely send the son of Smart Strike on to Louisville.
The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation Maker's Mark Secretariat Center will hold its inaugural Horses Helping Horses event starting April 19. It includes halters from Serena's Song, Distorted Humor, and Ghostzapper, among others.
Bo Hirsch's homebred Papa Clem, winner of the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park April 11, arrived at Churchill Downs April 14 to continue his preparation for the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
English-bred April Pride, fresh off her victory in last month's China Doll Stakes on the Santa Anita turf, ships in from California and was installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite in a wide-open edition of $100,000 Appalachian (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland April 16 .
Grade II winner Old Fashioned, who underwent surgery after emerging from the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) with an injury, has been retired.
David Lanzman and IEAH Stables' I Want Revenge, the possible favorite for the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), turned in his first serious training move since his arrival at Churchill Downs when he worked an easy half-mile over a muddy track on April 14.
A hearing has been scheduled for April 23 into trainer Rick Dutrow's appeal of a 15-day suspension from Kentucky stewards after his horse, Salute the Count, allegedly tested positive for an excessive amount of clenbuterol following a stakes race at Churchill Downs on May 2, 2008.
Brereton C. Jones' homebred champion Proud Spell has been retired from racing and bred to Indian Charlie.
Champion War Pass will shuttle to Antony Thompson's Widden Stud in New South Wales, Australia, for the Southern Hemisphere breeding season.
Champion turf runner Forever Together started her 5-year-old campaign with a stylish late-running win in the $200,000 Jenny Wiley Stake (gr. IIT) on the Keeneland turf course April 11.
Some thought General Quarters' Sam F. Davis (gr. III) win two starts back was a fluke. But the son of Sky Mesa proved them wrong by powering to a 1 1/2-length victory in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on April 11 at Keeneland, and he will now head to next month's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) as a legitimate contender.
Five-year-old Eternal Star took advantage of a perfect stalking trip to bag his first graded stakes victory in the $250,000 Commonwealth Stakes (gr. II) April 11 on the Keeneland Polytrack.
Heros Reward, making his first start since the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint last October, rallied from off the pace and edged a pair of rivals at the wire to take the $100,000 Shakertown (gr. IIIT) April 11 on the Keeneland Turf.
The Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training was the fifth and final major select juvenile auction of the year, and its results followed the downward trends seen at the earlier sales. Read what buyers and consignors had to say about the market in Lexington April 6 and 7.
Circle E Racing's Mr. Sidney took command at the top of the lane, then outdueled Passager in a long stretch drive to win the $300,000 Maker's Mark Mile (gr. IT) on Keeneland's yielding turf course April 11.
When Charitable Man goes to post in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on April 11, it will be his first race in nearly seven months. In his more than 20 years of training, Kiaran McLaughlin cannot remember a time when he entered a horse in a tougher spot.
West Point Thoroughbreds' Justwhistledixie, winner of five consecutive races and a leading contender for the May 1 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), worked a half-mile in :50.40 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin the morning of April 10 at Keeneland.
George Strawbridge Jr.'s Informed Decision split horses in deep stretch and ran down 2-5 favorite Ventura to win the $300,000 Vinery Madison (gr. I) by a head in thrilling fashion April 9 at Keeneland.
Grade I winner Offlee Wild sired his first winner from his initial starter when his son Heavenville won April 9 at Keeneland.
Shadwell Stable's Mafaaz, who will make his U.S. debut in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on April 11, visited the starting gate April 9 at Keeneland and then galloped a mile and a quarter under exercise rider Miguel Moya.
The accreditation of Churchill Downs by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Safety and Integrity Alliance is being called a major accomplishment by the officials involved, but they also acknowledge it's just the beginning. Safety and integrity standards will change, and compliance will be reviewed at least every two years.
At a press conference April 9 at Churchill Downs, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced that the Louisville racetrack has been fully accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance following a comprehensive review of racing operations at the facility.
A Kentucky state judge ordered April 8 that a lien placed on the purse winnings from Einstein's victory in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) be released, and directed the funds be given to a court-appointed receiver overseeing the financial affairs of Midnight Cry Stable, which is operated by recently-convicted disbarred attorneys Shirley Cunningham Jr. and William Gallion.
Rebellion will attempt to become the first since Black Tie Affair in 1990-91 to win repeat renewals of the Commonwealth Stakes (gr. II) when he faces seven rivals April 11 in the $250,000 sprint at Keeneland.
A talented group of eight fillies and mares will line up against last year's female turf champion Forever Together when she makes her 5-year-old debut April 11 in the $200,000 Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. IIT) at Keeneland.
War Kill got the best of Selva after a lengthy stretch duel to win the $150,000 Beaumont Stakes (gr. II) at odds of 16-1, giving Julien Leparoux his fourth victory on the card.
Mr. Nightlinger will make his seasonal debut in the $100,000 Shakertown Stakes (gr. IIIT) April 11 at Keeneland, an event he won a year ago.
Hold Me Back was made the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on April 11 at Keeneland.
A hearing officer has ruled that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission acted properly when it handed a five-year suspension to veterinarian Dr. Rodney Stewart after cobra venom and other prohibited substances were found in a barn and in his truck at Keeneland in June 2007.
Keeneland's sale of 2-year-olds in training, like just about every other Thoroughbred auction in recent memory, generated results that lagged well behind the previous year's statistics. The gross revenue for the two-day sale, which ended the evening of April 7 in Lexington, dropped 27.6% while the average price declined 15.5%. The median price fell 21.7%.
Facing the harsh realities posed by a weak economy and stiff competition from racetracks in nearby states with more lucrative purses boosted by alternative gaming, two Kentucky tracks April 7 received permission to cut their live race dates this year.
When Charitable Man goes to post in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on April 11, he will be making his first start since winning the Futurity (gr. II) at Belmont Park on Sept. 13.
Though he won the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) last fall over the same course, Zayat Stables' Thorn Song may have a tough time when making his first start of the season in the $300,000 Maker's Mark Mile (gr. IT) April 10 on the Keeneland turf.
Considering she won the event last year and is coming off a nose defeat against the boys five weeks ago, Ventura would seem to be a cinch for the $300,000 Vinery Madison (gr. I) April 9 at Keeneland. But that is not the case, as the Chester House filly will face six capable fillies on the Polytrack, including multiple stakes winners Informed Decision and Bsharpsonata.
Rachel Alexandra, the probable $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) favorite who has dominated all three of her starts this season, will ship from Hot Springs, Ark. to Louisville, Ky. on April 8 to begin training at Churchill Downs, trainer Hal Wiggins said.
Vallenzeri, who set a world Thoroughbred auction record last year as a $7.7-million buy-back, finally found a new home as the Keeneland sale of 2-year-olds in training opened in Lexington April 6.
A committee of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has approved a proposed regulation that would mandate safety helmets be worn by all licensed personnel--including exercise riders and trainers during morning training times--at all of the state's tracks.
Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr.'s undefeated Charitable Man completed his major work for the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) April 11 by working five furlongs in :59.60 under exercise rider Pat Correa April 5 at Keeneland in Lexington.
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