Triple Crown

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

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Major Derby Works Conclude

Another bright, mild morning saw the final flurry of Kentucky Derby works, as Millennium Wind, Fifty Stars, Jamaican Rum, and Keats all made the work tab. Now comes the task of sorting all through all the works we've seen over the past 10 days and trying to narrow down the three or four standout moves. We'll discuss these moves in Friday's Derby Report, along with the horses who have been the most impressive in their gallops and the ones who are flourishing physically and look to be sitting on a big effort. We'll combine all that with some logic, history, and speed figures, and narrow down the field to the three or four we feel will be peaking on Derby Day.

Morning at Churchill Highlighted By Derby Workouts

Millennium Wind turned in his last workout for Saturday's Kentucky Derby, working five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning. According to Churchill clockers, he went in splits of :23 2/5 and :48 for a half-mile and galloped out six furlongs in 1:16. Trainer David Hofmans timed the son of Cryptoclearance in the same 1:00 2/5, but got splits of :11 4/5, :24, and :48 2/5, and a gallop out time of 1:14 2/5.

New York Suspends Trainer Dowd, Fines Owner Perez

New York racing regulators on Monday slapped trainer John Dowd with a 120-day suspension after three Thoroughbreds he ran during races in 1999 and 2000 at Aqueduct tested positive for ergonovine. In another disciplinary matter, Thoroughbred owner Robert Perez was fined $3,000 following what officials described as a nasty confrontation with stewards last year at Saratoga in an incident the board said was "detrimental to the best interests of racing.''

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Bob's Big Boys Burn Up Churchill Strip

The setting was the same as past years: Bob Baffert standing in the Churchill Downs grandstand, his white hair glistening in the morning sun like a fresh mound of snow. A two-way radio is held close to his mouth, as he surveys the post-renovation break scene and offers his first set of instructions to exercise rider Dana Barnes. Several minutes later, after watching his two Derby horses work, Baffert takes a deep, relaxing breath and breaks out into a smile and selection of one-liners. His horses once again have left a long line of smoldering hoof prints in the Churchill Downs surface.

Point Given, Congaree 'Awesome'; Maiden Drops Out

Kentucky Derby favorite Point Given and stablemate Congaree had their last workouts before Saturday's race, each posting fast times for their five furlong efforts. Point Given was timed in :58.50 seconds, as clocked by trainer Bob Baffert, who caught Congaree in :58.75 for five furlongs. Also Monday, Churchill officials announced that Tincin, winless in seven starts, was no longer being considered for the Derby after developing a cough.

Startac To Contest Derby

Turf Paradise Derby winner Startac has been confirmed as a starter for Saturday's Kentucky Derby. Trainer Simon Bray said Alex Solis would ride Startac in the Derby. Startac will be the first Derby entrant for Bray, a former assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

Inky's Return From the Dead

No matter where Invisible Ink finishes in the Kentucky Derby, he will depart Louisville a winner. Just the fact that the son of Thunder Gulch, nicknamed "Inky," is here and considered a legitimate contender is enough of a miracle to those who stood by this colt and never gave up hope when all seemed hopeless. By all rights, Invisible Ink should be nothing more than a tragic memory in the hearts and minds of the people who raised him and broke him and treated him. Instead, he is at Churchill Downs, about to run in America's greatest race. And all because he refused to die, thanks to a handful of people who refused to let him die.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Fleet Four Fly Five Furlongs

Throw 'em in a hat and pick one. Regardless of which one you choose you'll have the work of the day. That's how similar this morning's four Derby works were. In fact, the times of all four horses – Dollar Bill, Balto Star, Thunder Blitz, and Invisible Ink – were within a fifth of a second of each other. For the seventh morning in a row, since we arrived, the dawn brought bright skies and mild to crisp temperatures. More of the same is predicted through the week, with showers arriving, you guessed it, on Friday.

Startac, Arctic Boy Could Join Derby Fray

Two 3-year-olds being shipped to Churchill Downs for other races on Kentucky Derby (gr. I) week could join the field for the season's first classic. Trainer Tony Richey said Boyce Roberts' Arctic Boy may run in the Derby rather than a conditioned allowance race on Derby Day he is being pointed toward. Richey said a final decision on Derby plans for the son of Maria's Mon will be made following a Monday workout under jockey Calvin Borel. Meanwhile, Churchill officials said trainer Simon Bray could also decide to run Turf Paradise Derby winner Startac in the Derby rather than the Crown Royal American Turf (gr. III), a 1 1/16-mile grass test on Friday's Kentucky Oaks card.

Meetyouathebrig Romps in Derby Trial

Meetyouathebrig stalked the early leaders from mid-pack and blew by the field in the stretch to win Saturday's $100,000 Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III) by 6 1/4 lengths on opening day of the Churchill Downs meet. Under Robby Albarado, the Elliott Walden-trained winner completed the mile in 1:36.44 on a fast track.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Express Train Roars Through Churchill

We've seen some great works over the past week, but this morning we saw a super work; the best move by a Derby horse so far. Express Tour obviously has several questions surrounding him, such as having only one start this year, having missed several days training with a bruised foot, and a less than classic pedigree. But freaks have a way of overcoming such mundane obstacles, and everyone who was around this horse at Calder last year is convinced he indeed is a freak. After watching today's work, and the past few day's gallops, we're not about to argue with them.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Monarchos Takes the Spotlight

Sorry, but we've got yet another terrific work to confuse you with. But even with all the top works we've seen this week, we'd have to give this morning's drill by Monarchos the highest marks. There was a great deal of confusion as to what time he actually worked, as the clockers somehow only caught the final three-eighths of his five-furlong work.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: A Wind, a Songandaprayer

It was a tale of two works at Churchill Downs this morning. The formula was something we see many times prior to the Kentucky Derby: two horses with similar running styles come off the same race, have two completely contrasting works, and both their trainers are ecstatic. It was a perfect example how different horses need different types of works. The beaming smiles on the faces of trainers Dave Hofmans and John Dowd told the story following Millennium Wind's five-furlong work in 1:01 3/5 and Songandaprayer's deceiving :59 drill over the same distance.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: A Shining, Crisp Dollar Bill

It was one of those intoxicating spring mornings that only Churchill Downs in late April can bring: blue skies, crisp temperatures that put an extra jump in your step, and the sight of Kentucky Derby horses, decked out in their striking gold saddlecloths, strutting over the track with adolescent enthusiasm. Although there were no works on tap this morning, we were able to take advantage of the leisurely atmosphere to get excellent close-up studies of many of the contenders as they galloped against the picture-book backdrop of the Twin Spires.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Point Given, Congaree Pass First Test

If opposing trainers were looking for any holes in the Baffert Brigade, they sure didn't find them this morning, as Point Given and Congaree both turned in brilliant works over a deep track that trainer Bob Baffert described as demanding. Baffert, always nervous before big works, was looking forward to getting these out of the way. Heavy rains at around 8 p.m. the night before didn't help soothe his nerves any, but morning brought bright blue skies and a drop in the temperature from the previous day.

Steve Haskin's Weekly Derby Contender Reports and Analysis

Each week since Jan. 22, Steve Haskin, the award-winning turf writer and senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse, has reported on the leading contenders and analyzed this year's Kentucky Derby. 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 Derby Report: The Action Heats Up

Welcome to Churchill Downs. Many of the names and faces change each year, but the same charge of electricity still ripples through the backstretch. Bob Baffert has two shotgun cartridges aimed right at the Twin Spires, while Nick Zito is back after a one-year absence, and for the first time since Genuine Risk captured the roses in 1980, D. Wayne Lukas will be a spectator.

Godolphin's Street Cry Injured, Out of Derby

Godolphin's Street Cry, winner of the UAE Two Thousand Guineas and runner-up in the UAE Derby, will not run in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) after suffering an ankle injury Sunday morning. "He went out for a jog this morning," assistant trainer Tom Albertrani said, "and when he came back we noticed some filling in the right front ankle."

Street Cry Injured; Will Miss Kentucky Derby

Godolphin Racing's Street Cry has sustained an injury to his right front ankle and will not contest the Kentucky Derby, according to an announcement on Godolphin's Website. The exact nature of the injury to the 3-year-old son of Machiavellian or how long he will be out of training were not revealed in the announcement.

Marciano Upsets Burning Roma in Tesio

Win More Stable's Marciano rallied in the stretch at Pimlico Saturday to catch pacesetter Talk Is Money en route to a 1 1/4-length victory in the $145,500 Federico Tesio Stakes. Buring Roma came home another 1 3/4 lengths back in third. Polar Ray was last in the four-horse field.

Keeneland Race Report: Keats Wires Lexington Field

The talent pool of this year's crop of 3-year-olds runs deep, as witnessed over the last few weeks in major Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prep races. An armada of lesser crafts set out April 21 at Keeneland for the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) to test the waters one final time before the main event takes place at Churchill Downs in two weeks. Instead of a boat race, the majority of them found choppy seas and roiling water that all but grounded their Derby dreams on the rocks. Just the opening of the starting gate alone had several starters bailing instead of sailing.

Family Matters: Congaree's Pedigree Profile

When Arazi came to the 1992 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), it was his first appearance at Churchill Downs since winning the previous year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at the Louisville track. He was the 4-5 favorite and was expected to play an important role in the first Saturday in May. He finished eighth that day, while Lil E. Tee earned the rose blanket.

Haskin's Report: Balto Star Will Get the Derby Distance

There has been a lot of talk about Balto Star recently. His last two races – actually, last three -- have been so mind-boggling, especially his Thoro-Graph numbers, people simply don't know what to make of him. Balto Star is the horse Bob Baffert is afraid of, despite being a gelding, a son of sprinter Glitterman, and a confirmed front-runner. If you go by logic, all three of those factors should add up to Balto Star having too much going against him. Then again, maybe they shouldn't.

Trip to Derby May be on Line in Coolmore Lexington

Ten 3-year-olds, some of which may be looking for a berth in the May 5 Kentucky Derby, will square off Saturday in the $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. The Lexington, a grade II event, was won in 1999 by Charismatic, who went on to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. He then finished third in the Belmont Stakes even though he suffered a career-ending injury.

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