Any Given Saturday

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Success on Saturday Was a Given

Any Given Saturday has been threatening to break out at the highest level for some time now. That happened last Saturday, when he captured the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) by 4-1/2 lengths from Hard Spun and Curlin, while setting the best Beyer speed figure of the year by a 3-year-old at a distance longer than six furlongs.

Any Given Saturday Romps in Haskell

Any Given Saturday Romps in Haskell

Under a confident ride from Garrett Gomez, Any Given Saturday moved past pace-setting Cable Boy, then caught Hard Spun in mid-stretch and pulled away for a decisive 4 1/2-length victory in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park.

Curlin the Star of Aug. 5 Haskell

Curlin the Star of Aug. 5 Haskell

During the post position draw for the Aug. 5 running of the $1-million Haskell Invitational (gr. 1), Steve Asmussen was asked if Curlin was the best horse he has ever trained. A master of understatement, Asmussen flatly replied: "I think that would be very reasonable."

Field for Haskell Taking Shape

The 2007 running of Monmouth Park's $1-million Haskell Invitational Presented by Vonage (gr. I) promises to be one of the best ever, with Preakness (gr. I) winner Curlin, Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) runner-up Hard Spun, and the undefeated Cable Boy heading the field.

Curlin, Hard Spun Turn in Sharp Works for Haskell

Curlin, Hard Spun Turn in Sharp Works for Haskell

The second season for 3-year-olds began on July 4, with the emphatic victory by Any Given Saturday in the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II), and judging from the works turned in by Curlin and Hard Spun on Monday, as well as Street Sense's work on Sunday, the heavy hitters from the Triple Crown are all primed and ready for their respective returns.

'Saturday Upstages 'Shobiz in Dwyer

'Saturday Upstages 'Shobiz in Dwyer

Freshened by trainer Todd Pletcher since an eighth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Any Given Saturday repelled his rival Nobiz Like Shobiz at the top of the stretch and rolled to a convincing victory in the $147,000 Dwyer (gr. II) for 3-year-olds Wednesday at Belmont Park.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Crunch Time

Arriving in Kentucky two weeks ago, the feeling here was that there were two horses in particular to concentrate on who looked to be coming into the Derby with enough angles to make them live at a decent price. After watching most of the Derby horses work and gallop at Keeneland and Churchill, things have changed a bit, as has track condition.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Let the Mind Games Begin

The post position draw is history, and it is time for racing's greatest minds to start planning strategy. Will there be a fast pace or a slow pace? Do you send or take back and see what others do? Will the outside horses break sharply and try to get to the inside or take back and hope to get lucky to find the holes? The wheels are turning.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Post Trauma

It was 11:15, and the 11 a.m. post position selection draw at the racing office still had not begun, as owners and trainers of Kentucky Derby horses paced back and forth or just stood anxiously waiting to see if all their hard work was about to be nullified by some random, ominous-sounding number.

Pletcher Works Derby Trio, Oaks Favorite

During the crisp, clear early morning of Sunday, April 29, less than a week before the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), trainer Todd Pletcher watched the final workouts of three of his contenders, Any Given Saturday, Circular Quay, and Scat Daddy over Keeneland's Polytrack surface.

Oaks and Derby Contenders to Benefit RFE

One Kentucky Oaks and four Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (both gr. I) contenders will be helping young people to obtain a college degree. As part of the Race For Education's Racehorse Nomination Program, a portion of any earnings by Street Sense, Cowtown Cat, Any Given Saturday, Sam P., and Appealing Zophie will go to the non-profit organization, which funds scholarships and educational grants for young people in the equine industry.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: My New Kentucky Home

Greetings from...Keeneland? That's right, Keeneland, home of the Kentucky Derby horses. Well, at least for many of them, and at least for a while. Although several trainers will begin shipping their horses to Churchill Downs this week, Todd Pletcher and Doug O'Neill will complete their works at Keeneland, with Pletcher staying put until next Tuesday.

Curlin Favored at 7-2 in Final Derby Pool

Unbeaten Curlin, a dazzling winner of the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) on Saturday, emerged as a strong favorite over such accomplished rivals as 2006 2-year-old champion Street Sense and Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Nobiz Like Shobiz when betting drew to a close in the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2007 Kentucky Derby Future Wager.

Curlin Tops Derby Wager at Midway Point

Unbeaten Curlin, the morning line favorite for Saturday's $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park, is a slight favorite over juvenile champion Street Sense and Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Scat Daddy as betting on the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2007 Kentucky Derby Future Wager reached its midway point.

Kentucky Derby Trail: Nobiz All Biz as Trail Heats Up

We had a little bit of everything this week, with Nobiz Like Shobiz back to his winning ways; the deja vu-like return of Team Giacomo; and some shifts in the Todd Pletcher power structure. So, with links to Funny Cide and Giacomo providing a sense of recent history, the Kentucky Derby trail heads into its final big weekend of preps.

Nobiz Like Shobiz Delivers Wood Blockbuster

Before the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I), Barclay Tagg worried that the lack of pace in the six-horse field would prevent Nobiz Like Shobiz from sitting behind horses. It turned out exactly that way, yet Nobiz overcame a paceless race and more to win the 83rd Wood by half a length and place himself among the favorites for next month's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

Kentucky Derby Trail: Finally Making Some Sense of it All

Not even a change to green silks on St. Patrick's Day for Any Given Saturday could deny 2-year-old champ Street Sense a hard-earned victory in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III). Also on Saturday, rapidly emerging stars Cobalt Blue and Curlin burst on the Derby scene with impressive scores in their two-turn debuts.

Kentucky Derby Trail: Torrid Todd Takes Two...Or Was it Three?

Todd Pletcher is dominating the Derby trail. Todd Pletcher is dominating the Derby trail. Todd Pletcher is dominating the Derby trail. Remember the kid in school who is forced by the teacher to write something over and over on the blackboard? Well, sorry, folks, but Mr. Pletcher is making us all write the same column over and over every week.

Field Narrowly Favored as Derby Future Pool Closes

The second of three pools of Churchill Downs' 2007 Kentucky Derby Future Wager ended on Sunday with 'all others' a narrow favorite in a scramble with reigning 2-year-old champion Street Sense, Remsen (gr. II) and Holy Bull (gr. III) winner Nobiz Like Shobiz, and Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner Circular Quay.

Street Sense, Nobiz' Odds Both 6-1 at KDFW Midpoint

James Tafel's reigning 2-year-old champion Street Sense, winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), and Elizabeth Valando's Nobiz Like Shobiz, winner of the Remsen (gr. II) and the Holy Bull (gr. III), continued to share the role of favorite as pool 2 of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager reached its midway point.

Street Sense, Nobiz Like Shobiz Head Blue Grass Nominations

James Tafel's Street Sense, winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and champion 2-year-old colt, and Elizabeth Valando's Nobiz Like Shobiz, who captured the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) in his season debut, lead a list of 179 3-year-olds nominated to Keeneland's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).

Kentucky Derby Trail: Two for the Road

When outnumbered, retreat. Times are no doubt changing, and with so many leading contenders looking at only two preps before the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), perhaps it is time to loosen our tight grip on the history books and accept the fact that one of these years some horse is going to write its own chapter.

Street Sense at 6-1 Midway Through Derby Pool 1

Individual stars such as juvenile champion Street Sense and Nobiz Like Shobiz continued to receive strong support, but the wagering interest that includes "all other 3-year-olds" remained the favorite at the mid-point of Pool 1 of Churchill Downs' 2007 Kentucky Derby Future Wager.

Street Sense at 6-1 Midway Through Derby Pool 1

Individual stars such as juvenile champion Street Sense and Nobiz Like Shobiz continued to receive strong support, but the wagering interest that includes "all other 3-year-olds" remained the favorite at the mid-point of Pool 1 of Churchill Downs' 2007 Kentucky Derby Future Wager.

Kentucky Derby Trail: Defining Moments

Many times when looking back on the career of a Kentucky Derby winner, you can find one defining race or defining moment within a race that stamps the horse as a legitimate classic contender. This is the first of several attempts this winter to find such moments.

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