Trainers watching weather, Colonel John, Denis of Cork, and Gayego gallop, Anak Nakal and Recapturetheglory work.
Javier Castellano buys you a drink, then wraps the glass in a napkin so your hands don't get cold. If you're standing and he's sitting, he jumps up to offer his chair. In the paddock, greeting owners, he doffs his helmet with remarkable chivalry. And he loves puppies and kittens, which has nothing to do with racing, but adds to his delightful personality. We've dubbed him the most charming jockey riding in this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Manoel Cruz has never won a grade I race, and his most significant career victory came in a grade II event with a purse of $200,000. On May 3, he'll tackle the $2-million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) aboard Smooth Air.
Louie Roussel didn't like the weather forecast for Saturday, or Sunday, and Monday for that matter, so he moved Recapturetheglory's five-furlong work to Friday morning.
Recapturetheglory wasn't scheduled to work Friday morning at Churchill Downs, but trainer and co-owner Louie Roussel changed his plan for the colt.
Anak Nakal breezes a half-mile in :46.60.
Should Eight Belles run in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands instead of the previous day's Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), jockey Gabe Saez will have the mount, trainer Larry Jones said April 24.
Eee-bar. I-bar. Aye-bar. Eibar Coa doesn't care what you call him -- or what you think of him. His bold edge, which some call egotism, is just self-confidence. The unforgiving techniques he employs on the racetrack are carefully-honed race-riding skills. And his intensely competitive side is an inborn trait that brought him success in other athletics, such as judo and basketball.
Call Shaun Bridgmohan the strong, silent type. This 28-year-old rider keeps a relatively low profile in the jockeys' room and could be overshadowed by his more flamboyant fellow riders. But his exceedingly professional approach to his career has been the foundation for a highly successful partnership with trainer Steve Asmussen, for whom Bridgmohan will ride Pyro in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
The first morning at Churchill Downs brought sunny skies and warm temperatures, as the Kentucky Derby horses began their final stretch to racing's biggest day. From here on, there is no room for error. We'll give a brief rundown of the day's activities and continue with the plusses and minuses of each contender.
Cool Coal Man Works; Big Brown Zips at Palm Meadows; Anak Nakal to work Friday.
A "Chase the Race" package will be auctioned to benefit the Klein Family Learning Center/WinStar Library & Classrooms during the April 28 traditional kickoff to Derby week at John E's Restaurant & Lounge in Louisville, Ky.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said April 24 that Starlight Stable, Donald Lucarelli and Paul Saylor's Monba and Stonerside Stable's Cowboy Cal remain on schedule to work at Keeneland either April 26 or April 27 in their first works since finishing one-two in the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I). Pletcher said the pair would then ship to Churchill Downs probably April 28, for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on May 3.
Probable Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) favorite Big Brown turned in his final serious work April 24 at Palm Meadows training center, breezing five furlongs in :58 3/5 under exercise rider Michelle Nevin.
Cool Coal Man, who ran ninth in the April 12 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), worked a half mile in :47 2/5 under exercise rider Megan Smillie at Churchill Downs April 24.
If you're a Kentucky Derby handicapper, breeder or owner, the 2008 contenders' states and dates of birth might be of interest to you--particularly the states. And since homebreds have won the last four runnings of the Derby, we'll take a look at that here, too.
While Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Gayego settles into his temporary home at Churchill Downs in advance of the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), his trainer, Paulo Lobo, is logging some serious frequent flyer miles between Louisville and his base in California.
The field for the 134th running of the $2-million guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) Saturday, May 3, at Churchill Downs is limited to 20 horses. Here is a look at graded stakes earnings for Kentucky Derby 134 nominees through April 23, 2008.
Edgar Prado was hospitalized, but quickly released April 23 following a spill at Keeneland Race Course. The Peruvian jockey, who will ride Adriano in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) for trainer H. Graham Motion, had been aboard another Motion trainee in the seventh race at the Lexington oval when the accident occurred.
In 2006, Ramon Dominguez rode Bluegrass Cat to a second-place finish behind Barbaro in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). He was close enough to practically taste the victory, and this year he's chasing it with renewed determination aboard the Todd Pletcher-trained Monba, his fifth Derby contender.
In spite of his affinity for Louisville, Robby Albarado is missing a victory in the race that makes that city famous. He'll be chasing that win in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) aboard the Steve Asmussen-trained Z Fortune, while making his 10th start in the race May 3.
Pyro jogs a mile, Smooth Air jogs 2 miles, change in work plans for Recapturetheglory, Tale of Ekati works at Keeneland
Trainer Barclay Tagg sent Tale of Ekati out for a five-furlong work Wednesday morning at Keeneland, and was pleased with the colt's performance.
Zayat Stables' Halo Najib worked a half-mile on the grass in :50.40 at Churchill Downs on April 22, with exercise rider Gennero Garcia up.
He has a new first-rate home base (California) and a new first-call trainer (Bobby Frankel), but Rafael Bejarano, 25, will be back in Kentucky to ride Anak Nakal for trainer Nick Zito in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) the first Saturday in May.
He can't live without his cell phone. If he could choose another profession, he would be a rock star. He once drove 165 miles per hour to reach the track in time for the first race. And May 3, E.T. Baird will be riding to the post aboard Recapturetheglory in the 134th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I)
Colonel John and Smooth Air jog at Churchill, Big Truck and Visionaire work at Keeneland, Halo Najib works on the turf, and Pyro arrives at Churchill Downs.
Another Kentucky Derby is upon us, and most of the talk has been about the inconsistencies and slow speed figures of this year's crop of 3-year-olds. Before we get into all the observations and analyses, and attempt to figure out this daffy Derby there is one point that must be addressed first.
Just when it looked as if Todd Pletcher would be sitting out this year's Kentucky Derby, his two best Derby hopes from day one - Monba and Cowboy Cal - came through for him with a first and second in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Adriano had an easy morning on Monday, walking the shedrow at Barn 42 a day after working five furlongs in 1:01.80
Team Valor International and Vision Racing LLC's Visionaire returned to the work tab April 22 at Keeneland for the first time since he finished fifth in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Eric Fein's Big Truck, winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III), worked a half-mile in :48.8 over the Polytrack at Keeneland April 22.
In spite of the shocking news of the Triple Crown trail-ending injury to 2007 juvenile champion male War Pass and the apparent decision to forego the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) for a run in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) by the connections of Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) winner Behindatthebar, a 20-horse field is still being predicted for the 134th Run for the Roses May 3 at Churchill Downs.
If you were looking for a sign that Pyro has bounced out of his Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) fiasco in top shape and is back to being the Pyro of old, you certainly didn't get it Monday morning when the colt worked six furlongs in fog so thick it wasn't able to be timed by the Keeneland clockers.
For all those who have written off Denis of Cork, the one-time leading Kentucky Derby contender turned in a sensational work at Churchill Downs Monday.
Courtlandt Farm's Adriano, winner of the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park, continued his preparation for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with a five-furlong work April 20 at Churchill Downs.
Fox Hill Farms' Eight Belles and Brereton Jones' Proud Spell, two fillies who have either the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) or the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) in their immediate futures, each worked a half-mile April 20 in their final moves at Keeneland before they are shipped to Churchill Downs April 25.
Two weeks ago, Todd Pletcher was sitting on the outside of the Derby picture looking in. But when Padua Stables and partners' Behindatthebar followed the hard-knocking efforts of Monba and Cowboy Cal in the April 12 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) with an impressive performance of his own in the $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) April 19, the venerable trainer could count not one, but three potential contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Launching a strong bid from between horses on the final turn, favored Icabad Crane ran down the front-running Mint Lane in the final sixteenth of a mile to register a head victory in the $100,000 Federico Tesio Stakes on opening weekend at Pimlico April 19. The triumph could provide trainer H. Graham Motion and owner Earle I. Mack with a prospect for the May 17 Preakness (gr. I) over the track.
Mount Joy Stables' hombred Smooth Air turned in a strong seven furlong work at Calder Race Course April 19 in preparation for a start in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Robert LaPenta's War Pass, the champion 2-year-old of 2007 and winner of the $2 million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Grade I) at Monmouth Park, has suffered a leg injury that has knocked the colt out of the $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).
Trainer Todd Pletcher said April 18 that he has not decided when he will ship Monba and Cowboy Cal, his one-two finishers in the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I), to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and is considering giving the two colts their final works at Keeneland the weekend before the Run for the Roses.
Two regally bred Japanese colts, Casino Drive and Spark Candle, are due to arrive at Belmont Park April 30, with at least one of them pointing for the 140th Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 7.
Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Big Brown, likely favorite for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), breezed five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 at Palm Meadows Friday with regular exercise rider Michelle Nevin aboard.
John Servis has not been on the Triple Crown trail since Smarty Jones captivated the Thoroughbred racing world in 2004. The veteran trainer will try to change that this year, as he sends out Indian Jump in the $150,000 Federico Tesio Stakes April 19 at Pimlico Race Course, a 1 1/8-mile dirt event that serves as the local prep for the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
With the Derby getting closer, we're doubling up this week to take a look at the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) and mostly to discuss what may turn out to be one of the most important works on this year's Derby trail.
General admission tickets for Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) are now available for advanced purchase through Ticketmaster. The tickets will be available for purchase at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone, or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
Charles Fipke's Tale of Ekati worked a half-mile in :49.20 April 17 at Keeneland. Trainer Barclay Tagg described the move as "a little maintenance work after his race."
Connections of Racecar Rhapsody are thinking ahead. There's no other explanation for choosing Churchill Downs as the site of his final workout ahead of Keeneland's grade II Coolmore Lexington Stakes.
Illinois Derby (gr. II) winner Recapturetheglory, a potential contender for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), worked five furlongs at Churchill Downs April 17.
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