Monarchos, Cee Dee, Dream Run, City Zip, and Talk Is Money were sent out for works Sunday morning in South Florida in preparation for Saturday's Florida Derby (gr. I).
C.T. Grether Inc.'s Crafty C.T. set the early pace and drew away in the stretch, winning the $200,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) by four lengths over Palmeiro on a fast track at Santa Anita on Saturday. Under jockey Eddie Delahoussaye, Crafty C.T. completed the one-mile race for 3-year-olds in 1:35.79.
For the second straight year a prep race for an obscure Kentucky Derby prep may have some impact on the Triple Crown series as Futurity Stakes (gr. I) winner Burning Roma emerged victoriously Saturday from his 2001 debut in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. In last year's renewal of the Tampa Bay Derby prep race, Impeachment -- who would subsequently finish third in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes -- finished fourth in the 1 1/16-mile event.
TVG will debut its new documentary series, "TVG Insider," with an in-depth look at trainer Simon Bray's decision to train and race Startac, a horse bred for turf-racing, on dirt to see if he is a legitimate contender for the Kentucky Derby. The hour-long show, entitled "The Arizona Experiment," will air Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m., PST).
The $75,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Saturday should identify which of this winter's Arkansas-based horses are emerging as major contenders for the $500,000 Arkansas Derby. At Northern Kentucky's Turfway Park, the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial has attracted a field of eight
Godolphin Racing's Street Cry, one of the leading 2-year-olds in America last year, took his first step toward his return to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May by winning the $250,000 United Arab Emirates (UAE) Two Thousand Guineas at Nad al Sheba Race Course in Dubai on Thursday.
Fountain of Youth Stakes winner Songandaprayer was on the track for a serious seven-furlong trial on Thursday. With jockey Edgar Prado in the saddle, Songandaprayer was clocked in 1:23 4/5 handily and is on schedule for his appearance in the $1 million Florida Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles here on March 10. Songandaprayer went in fractions of :36 1/5 for three furlongs, :47 4/5 for the half-mile, :59 4/5 for five furlongs, 1:23 4/5 for seven furlongs and galloped out a mile in 1:38 3/5.
In an effort to promote the road to the Kentucky Derby in the Derby's back yard, Keeneland and sister track Turfway Park have announced a $1-million bonus for a horse that wins three of four prep races, track officials announced Thursday. The races involved are the Turfway Spiral Stakes, the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, the Coolmore Lexington Stakes, and the Kentucky Derby.
They keep asking questions of Startac, and so far he's come up with all the right answers. Being a son of champion Theatrical, who won multiple grade I stakes, including the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr.IT), at 12 furlongs, Startac figured to have no problem with distance limitations. Just to prove the point, he broke his maiden at first asking in August at Del Mar going one mile on the turf. In five lifetime starts, he has never raced at less than that distance.
Santa Catalina Stakes runner-up Palmeiro worked four furlongs in :47.60 over Santa Anita's main track Wednesday in preparation for Saturday's grade II San Rafael Stakes for 3-year-olds going one mile. Probable starters in the race, with jockeys, are: Palmeiro, Kent Desormeaux; Swordfish, David Flores; Victory Roar, Gary Stevens; Crafty C.T., Eddie Delahoussaye; Early Flyer, Chris McCarron; Media Mogul, Alex Solis and Wild And Wise, Victor Espinoza.
Leading contenders for this year's Kentucky Derby.
Street Cry has his first outing of the year on Thursday, March 1st but another leading Godolphin contender for the American Triple Crown races, Express Tour, needs more time and will have his seasonal debut delayed until the UAE Derby at Nad al Sheba on March 24th.
If Golden Ballet is as brilliant in the Mar. 10 Santa Anita Oaks as she's been in her two starts this year, then beware, boys. Barry Irwin, president of Team Valor, who co-owns the daughter of Moscow Ballet, told The Blood-Horse that if Golden Ballet comes out of the Oaks in good shape, there is a good chance she will then take on the colts.
Trainer John Ward, Jr. had his highly regarded 3-year-old Monarchos out for a five-furlong workout on Monday. With jockey Jorge Chavez in the saddle, Monarchos had a very easy trial and was clocked in 1:04 1/5 breezing. According to Ward, the colt is right on schedule for his next start, the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) to be run over 1 1/8 miles here on March 10.
When a non-winners of two allowance race at Santa Anita and the Herat Stakes at Laurel are the two biggest races of the week, then it's time to step off the Derby trail, get out a blanket and some cheese and crackers, and take time to ponder where we've been and where we're heading. But in a year like this, not only do we not know where we're heading, we're really not quite sure where we've been. The only 2-year-olds within 10 pounds of the leader on the Experimental Free Handicap that we can sink our teeth into are Dollar Bill and Millennium Wind. For the sixth straight year, the Experimental topweight will be a non-entity in the Triple Crown.
Almost immediately after A P Valentine's third-place finish in an allowance race Feb. 17, trainer Nick Zito began having second thoughts about running him in the Florida Derby. Now that he's officially ruled it out, it's time for him to begin making alternate plans.
With the final major preview event in the books, the field for Gulfstream Park's $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) on March 10 is starting to take shape. The top three finishers in last week's grade I Fountain of Youth Stakes – Songandaprayer, Outofthebox and City Zip – are expected to top a field of eight or nine in the 50th anniversary running of the Florida Derby, centerpiece of the winter meeting for 3-year-olds.
Trainer David Hofmans said he would prefer to stay at Santa Anita and run Millennium Wind in the March 17 San Felipe Stakes but that he's also looking at going east for the $750,000 Louisiana Derby March 11. "A lot depends on the weather," Hofmans said. "We're pointing for the San Felipe but we're keeping all of our options open."
Since the official Kentucky Derby (gr. I) chart began listing an "off" time in 1963, the race has never started past 5:42.30, the estimated post time of the 1971 running won by Canonero II. That will change this year.
From Thunder Gulch's second crop, Point Given appears poised to make a run at the 2001 Derby, giving the Mr. Prospector line another strong player to extend the dynasty. If successful, Thunder Gulch would join Unbridled (Grindstone) as the most recent Derby winner to sire a Derby winner.
In the first of three pools offered by Churchill Downs, the "field" of all other 3-year-olds closed at 3-1. Point Given, who lost the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last year by a nose, is second choice at 7-1
Ranked in preference order, with horse/ trainer/breeding
Click on horse's name to access Contender Page
Last year, the Fountain of Youth Stakes, despite being won convincingly by High Yield, was upstaged by an allowance race, won by a powerful, classy-looking colt named Fusaichi Pegasus. This year, the Fountain of Youth Stakes, despite being won convincingly by Songandaprayer, was upstaged by an allowance race, won by a powerful, classy-looking colt named Hero's Tribute. Also impressive this weekend was the professional-like performance of Dollar Bill, who did everything the right way in winning Sunday's Risen Star Stakes in his 3-year-old debut.
After the first round of the 2001 Kentucky Derby Future Wager closed Sunday the mutuel field remained the 3-1 favorite in the betting with Point Given (7-1) the lowest priced individual horse. Dollar Bill, who won the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds in the closing minutes of the bet, closed at 14-1, up from his 10-1 listing on the morning line.
Gary and Mary West's Dollar Bill stalked early leader Gracie's Dancer while racing in third-place on the backstretch before collaring that rival in the stretch en route to a 2 1/2-length win in the $125,000 Risen Star Stakes Sunday at Fair Grounds. Under jockey Chris McCarron, Dollar Bill completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.45 on a fast track.
The mutuel field remained the fans' favorite in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, but an upset in the weekend's major Kentucky Derby prep race resulted in a shuffling of the odds on several Derby contenders heading into the final day of wagering in the pool. The biggest move of the day was made by Songandaprayer, the upset winner of the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park. Songandaprayer opened Saturday's wagering as the longest shot in the field at 99-1, but the odds on that colt had dropped to 30-1 by the end of Saturday's betting
Under jockey Jorge Chavez, Hero's Tribute pressed the early pace set by Liberty Township and drew away to a four-length win over Dream Run in a seven-furlong allowance race Saturday at Gulfstream Park. 11-10 favorite A P Valentine finished another 2 1/2 lengths back in third.
The mutuel field, which includes all 3-year- olds other than those 23 individual horses, was a heavy favorite at the mid-point of first of three four-day pools in the 2001 Kentucky Derby Future Wager. At the close of Friday's second day of Pool 1, the mutuel field was an odds-on favorite at 4-5.
Kentucky Derby fans across the nation made the mutuel field a strong favorite among 24 wagering interests on the opening day of Pool 1 of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager. The mutuel field, which includes all 3-year-olds other than the 23 individual Kentucky Derby contenders on the list of wagering interests, was a 3-2 favorite after the first day of wagering on the four-day pool ended at 11:00 p.m. (EST) Thursday evening. Derby fans in 26 states wagered a total of $43,318 on the opening day of Pool 1 - including $14,186 wagered on the mutuel field.
TVG announced Wednesday that the company would offer exclusive interactive online wagering and special television programming for each leg of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which begins today (Thursday). TVG subscribers can wager online and access real-time field, odds and pool information, free past performances from Equibase and special handicapping capsules on each horse in the mutuel field.
One of the most intriguing Fountain of Youth Stakes in memory is set for this Saturday, as 11 top-class horses from all over the country converge on Gulfstream Park for the first major 3-year-old prep of the season. Favoritism will be up for grabs in this competitive 1 1/16-mile event, as a case can be made for several of the participants.
Steve Haskin, the award-winning turf writer and senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse, analyzes the horses included in Churchill Downs 2001 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1. 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.
It's been 24 years since Seattle Slew became the 10th Triple Crown winner and 17 years since a son of his (Swale) won the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). The Derby arguably is the toughest of all races to win, and any horse who attempts to handle the 1 1/4 miles the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs against as many as 19 rivals needs a competent trainer and jockey, along with the proper blend of speed and stamina, and a good deal of racing luck. With all that in mind, it's time to take a look at one of Seattle Slew's grandsons, A P Valentine, and see how he fits into the Derby picture.
Macho Uno, last year's champion 2-year-old colt, will be sent to Rood & Riddle clinic in Lexington, Ky. Wednesday to be evaluated due to prolonged stiffness in his hind end, Adena Springs farm trainer Danny Vella told The Blood-Horse on Monday. "This will cost him time, and it's not our way of doing things to rush a horse who's not a hundred percent," Vella said.
The defection of Macho Uno, the co-third choice on the original list of Churchill Downs' 2001 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1 wagering interests at 10-1, and the addition of Songandaprayer have prompted track oddsmaker Mike Battaglia to adjust his morning line for the Future Wager pool. Songandaprayer has been installed at 30-1 in Pool 1, while the odds of three other horses have been adjusted downward. A P Valentine had been installed at odds of 12-1 and is now listed at 10-1,
Ranked in preference order, with horse/ trainer/breeding
Windsor Castle, who came down with a high fever several weeks ago, finally seems to be coming back to himself and should be back under tack sometime this week. But trainer Frank Alexander said the colt lost some muscle tone and he does not anticipate a start before April, which would all but eliminate him from Derby consideration. "It'll be hard for him to make the big one," Alexander said.
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