Triple Crown

News, stories, video, blogs, results, previews for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont Stakes

Steve Haskin's Derby Dozen; Point Given Still on Top

Steve Haskin, the award-winning turf writer and senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse, updates his top Kentucky Derby contenders weekly. During his 29 years with the Daily Racing Form, Haskin became known for his insightful coverage of the Triple Crown races. Haskin won the Red Smith Award for Kentucky Derby writing in 1997, 1999, and 2000.and received the David Woods Award for best Preakness story in 1997. In 1999, he co-authored "Baffert: Dirt Road to the Derby" with trainer Bob Baffert and wrote the book, "Dr. Fager" for Eclipse Press' "Thoroughbred Legends" series in 2000.

Oaklawn Park Report: Balto Star Repeats

Those who thought Balto Star's romping win in the March 24 Spiral Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park was a fluke better think again. It appears Balto Star is indeed a star. Under Mark Guidry, Balto Star danced away from what was thought to be a competitive field of 11 3-year-olds April 14 in the $500,000 Arkansas Derby (gr. II). Finely tuned by trainer Todd Pletcher, Balto Star went fast early and late and drew off to a 4 1/2-length win in the slop. He covered the nine furlongs in a solid 1:49.04.

Keeneland Report: Pincay, the Millennium Man

One week before the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), Laffit Pincay Jr. sat comfortably in a rocking chair half a continent away from Keeneland in the Santa Anita Park jocks' room. Asked to pick his biggest thrill in racing, Pincay could be forgiven if he tussled awhile with the question. After all, there have been 35 years of memories: the ascension to all-time leading rider; induction into the Hall of Fame; six Eclipse Awards; seven wins on one card; historic stakes wins on horses like Affirmed and John Henry. Yet his answer came before the question had time to dry--his win aboard Swale in the 1984 Kentucky Derby (gr. I).

Congaree Continues to Fight, From Birth to the Wood

Go ahead, tell Congaree he doesn't have the experience or seasoning to win the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). He'll laugh in your face, just as he did to those who questioned his ability to defeat the mighty Monarchos in the April 17 Wood Memorial (gr. II) off only three career starts. We're talking about a colt who literally was born a fighter, and who has been defying the odds ever since. When you have to fight to get born, there isn't a challenge life has to offer that you back away from. To Congaree, the $750,000 Wood was just another race at just another track against just another horse. And the result was just another of his resounding victories.

Lafayette Winner Griffinite Bound for Lexington

Paraneck Stable's recent Lafayette Stakes (gr. III) winner Griffinite will race next in the $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) on April 21 at Keeneland, according to trainer Jennifer Pedersen. "He had been training awesomely," Pedersen said. "We were very happy for the win, but we knew that it was a just a prep for the Lexington. He came out of the race full of himself. He knows he won."

Aidan O'Brien Runner Possible for Kentucky Derby

Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien, who almost pulled off the Breeders' Cup Classic last year with Giant's Causeway, is considering running Michael Tabor's Mozart in the Kentucky Derby. O'Brien said in The Racing Post if any of his 3-year-olds will be sent to Churchill Downs it will be the son of Danehill.

Monarchos Tops Field of Six in Wood Memorial

A field of six was entered for Saturday's $750,000 Wood Memorial, with the 4-5 morning line favorite Monarchos drawing post 2. California invader Congaree, listed at 8-5, will break from post 5. Richly Blended, wire-to-wire winner of the Gotham Stakes, drew post 6, and is expected once again to set the pace under jockey Rick Wilson. The remainder of the field is made up of It's So Simple, from the Nick Zito stable; Voodoo, third in the Gotham; and Paging, third in the Tampa Bay Derby.

Trainers Gearing Up For Big Stakes; Godolphin Pair Arrives at Churchill

Top trainers from New York to Kentucky to Arkansas are gearing up for this weekend's three big Kentucky Derby preps, after which we should have a good idea who will provide the main challenges to Santa Anita Derby winner Point Given. On the foreign front, the two Godolphin invaders, Street Cry and Express Tour, arrived safe and sound at Churchill Downs today at approximately 1 p.m. after clearing quarantine at Keeneland.

Millennium Wind Breezes Rapidly at Keeneland

Millennium Wind and Bonnie Scot, two colts who could compete in Saturday's grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, turned in impressive drills at the track Tuesday morning in preparation for the $750,000 event at 1 1/8 miles. Millennium Wind went the fastest of 11 horses that worked five furlongs.

Injury KO's Ommadon from Wood Memorial; Congaree Sharp in Work

Ommadon, winner of his only start this year, will not run in Saturday's $750,000 Wood Memorial after suffering a bruised foot last Monday. The son of Grindstone, winner of last fall's Nashua Stakes, will now be pointed for the $200,000 Federico Tesio Stakes on Apr. 21, which could be used as a prep for the Preakness Stakes.

Steve Haskin's Derby Top 20: Point Given Moves to Head of the Class

Steve Haskin, the award-winning turf writer and senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse, updates his top Kentucky Derby contenders weekly. During his 29 years with the Daily Racing Form, Haskin became known for his insightful coverage of the Triple Crown races. Haskin won the Red Smith Award for Kentucky Derby writing in 1997, 1999, and 2000.and received the David Woods Award for best Preakness story in 1997. In 1999, he co-authored "Baffert: Dirt Road to the Derby" with trainer Bob Baffert and wrote the book, "Dr. Fager" for Eclipse Press' "Thoroughbred Legends" series in 2000.

Steve Haskin's April 9 Derby Report: Point Given Nears Perfection

It's rare to see perfection in a young colt prepping for the Kentucky Derby, but that's just about what we saw from Point Given in the Santa Anita Derby. Frankly, we can't think of anything left for this colt to prove. Taking every factor into consideration, other than soundness, we've got a horse who has the right trainer; the right jockey; the right pedigree; is a dual qualifier; is not only bigger and stronger than his opponents, but is also quicker and faster; can come from the clouds, lay in mid-pack, or stalk the leaders; can handle dry and wet tracks; and has already shown he likes Churchill Downs.

Point Given 2-1 Favorite as Derby Future Wager Closes

Impressed with his winning performance in Saturday's Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), bettors poured money on Point Given in pool three of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager, with the son of Thunder Gulch the 2-1 favorite as the bet closed at 4:30 p.m. (EDT) Sunday. Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Monarchos was the 6-1 second choice, with both Dollar Bill and A P Valentine at 10-1.

Outofthebox Is Out of the Derby Due to Injury

Churchill Downs officials received word Sunday that an injury will prevent Outofthebox from competing in Kentucky Derby 127 on May 5. The track immedicatley suspended wagering on the colt in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. According to an announcement from the track, Outofthebox suffered a foot injury in a fifth-place finish in Saturday's Flamingo Stakes (gr. III) at Hialeah Park.

Lone Star Park Racing: Percy Hope Upsets Fifty Stars, 'Hoover' in Lone Star Derby

With its purse ratcheted up to $500,000, its distance stretched out to 1 1/8 miles, and its date moved to a more convenient spot on the calendar, Lone Star Park's derby became a genuine prep for the famed roseate run in Kentucky. The Grand Prairie, Texas, racetrack even created a $1-million bonus, to be paid to any horse that parlays a Lone Star Derby win into a victory in any of the Triple Crown races. It was a meaningful prep indeed--an ironic one, too. Percy Hope served up generous portions of both meaning and irony. The field, which included four stakes winners, had earned $1.2 million, or an average of $154,429 per starter, more than twice as much as the field for the grade II Illinois Derby. And Percy Hope, who previously had won the Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park, once again made winning look easy.

Hialeah Race Report: As Track Ponders Future, Thunder Blitz Wins Flamingo

Though it is always there, shrouding the grounds like the thick Miami springtime humidity, history is never more omnipresent at Hialeah Park than on the day of the Flamingo Stakes (gr. III). The track proudly displayed the epic runs of heroes of old such as Nashua, Northern Dancer, and Spectacular Bid--the last Flamingo winner, in 1979, to win the Kentucky Derby (gr. I)--and trotted out Citation's trainer Jimmy Jones to adoring fans. However, the focus on the 2001 edition, held April 7, was on Hialeah's future.

Point Given Romps in Santa Anita Derby

The Thoroughbred Corp.'s homebred Point Given tracked pacesetter Crafty C.T. through the early going, went by the leader approaching the second turn, and pulled clear in the stretch to an impressive 5 1/2-length victory in Saturday's $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). On a track listed as muddy, Point Given completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.77 under jockey Gary Stevens.

Songandaprayer Works; Accident Disrupts Keeneland Training Regimen

Devil Eleven Stable and D J Stable's Fountain of Youth (gr. I) winner Songandaprayer worked five furlongs in a quick :59 2/5 at Keeneland Racecourse Friday morning in preparation for the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I). The workout by the bay colt with the distinctive blaze was held up for more than an hour when Keeneland's main track was closed due to a training accident.

Outofthebox Headlines Flamingo

Outofthebox, runner-up in both the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. I) and the Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream this winter, will be a short-priced favorite Saturday at Hialeah in the $250,000 Flamingo Stakes (gr. III) at 1 1/8 miles.

Balto Star's Pedigree Does Not Indicate Derby Success

The free-running style of Balto Star gives him the apparent look of a sharp sprinter able to successfully stretch his speed to 1 1/16 or 1 1/8 miles. The fact he is by the one-turn wonder Glitterman would also suggest he wouldn't be suited for 1 1/4 miles on the first Saturday in May. His Dosage Index of 1.80, aided by a stamina-laced female line, tells us otherwise, giving us the cold, hard number that getting the classic Kentucky Derby distance isn't beyond his scope.

Steve Haskin's Third Pool Future Wager Analysis

In this analysis, we're going to add Thoro-Graph speed figure patterns on occasion to see, from that perspective, just who is likely to come into the Derby sitting on a peak performance. Thoro-Graph's Jerry Brown stated emphatically that this is "by far the best 3-year-old crop in history." Brown added, "The numbers so far have been insane, and it's probably going to take around a 2 1/2 to win the Derby," which is the same number Fusaichi Pegasus ran last year.

Derby Contenders Work

Several three-year-olds pointing toward upcoming Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prep races stretched their legs Tuesday, with the sharpest move being put in by the Bob Baffert-trained Congaree, who got six furlongs in 1:11 3/5 handily at Santa Anita.

Three Rebel Stakes Grads Among Seven Late Triple Crown Nominees

Seven 3-year-olds, including three horses that ran in Oaklawn Park's Rebel Stakes (gr. III), were nominated to the Visa Triple Crown and $5-million Visa Triple Crown Challenge before the March 31 late deadline. As a result of the new nominees, the total nominated to this year's series was 447, just short of the record 452 nominees to the three-race series in 1986.

Oxley's Triple Crown Contenders to Race for Equine Research

John C. Oxley, who with wife Debby has a pair of Triple Crown candidates in Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Monarchos and graded stakes-placed Hero's Tribute, announced that 1% of money either colt wins through victories in grade I races through the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) will be earmarked for the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation. The donations are retroactive to the Florida Derby, in which Monarchos earned $600,000 (which provided $6,000 to the foundation).

A Look Ahead at the Illinois Derby, Lady Hallie

Dogwood Stable's Distilled, one of the leading candidates for this Saturday's $500,000 Illinois Derby, worked five-eighths of a mile on a fast track Monday morning at his Hialeah Park homebase. The chestnut son of Hennessy covered the distance in 1:02 1/5 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15. The drill was one-fifth of a second quicker than that of A. P. Valentine, who prepped Monday for the Grade III Flamingo in 1:02 2/5: The connections of Secret Romeo will decide Monday afternoon whether or not to start in the Illinois Derby. Entries for the Grade II, mile and an eighth race will be drawn Tuesday.

Haskin's Derby Top 20 (April 2): A P Valentine Still on Top

Steve Haskin, the award-winning turf writer and senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse, updates his top Kentucky Derby contenders weekly. During his 29 years with the Daily Racing Form, Haskin became known for his insightful coverage of the Triple Crown races. Haskin won the Red Smith Award for Kentucky Derby writing in 1997, 1999, and 2000.and received the David Woods Award for best Preakness story in 1997. In 1999, he co-authored "Baffert: Dirt Road to the Derby" with trainer Bob Baffert and wrote the book, "Dr. Fager" for Eclipse Press' "Thoroughbred Legends" series in 2000.

Haskin's Derby Report April 1: The Day of Godolphin

With the annual last weekend in March lull, the only news on the racing front was the impressive 3-year-old debut by Ommadon in an Aqueduct allowance race on March 28. This gives us an opportunity to sit back, take a deep breath, and reflect on...well, anything that will keep the Derby electrodes charged during this unwelcomed break in the action. With most of the horses here pretty much embedded in our minds already, we're going to concentrate a good deal on the two Godolphin horses, whom we feel will be legitimate threats, despite the questions surrounding them.

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