A long-range look at how the Breeders' Cup Classic Powered by Dodge (gr. I) is shaping up, ranked in order, and with the latest odds in the Wynn Las Vegas Race Book.
- By Dan Liebman
By Dan Liebman - Thankfully, someone at the time did have an interest in standing Danzig, Storm Cat, and Mr. Prospector, respectively. And, our breed has been changed forever because of their decisions.
- By Ron Mitchell
Though there are four more months left in the 2007 racing season, Street Sense's narrow victory in the Aug. 25 Travers Stakes (gr. I) is sure to provoke discussion of whether he has already done enough to sew up the 3-year-old championship.
Carl Nafzger says he does not worry about the competition going into a race, because you can only train one horse, and that's your horse. Were he concerned about a specific runner for Street Sense to beat in Saturday's running of the Travers (gr. I), however, it would be the Phipps Stable's Sightseeing, who is coming into the Aug. 25 race in what trainer Shug McGaughey terms the "best mental condition" this year.
Any Given Saturday, recent winner of the Haskell Invitational Stakes (gr. I) at Monmouth Park, will became a member of Sheikh Mohammed's Darley team following this year's Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
With 12 days remaining until the 138th running of the Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga, the field is starting to take shape.
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.
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.
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."
A field of seven is shaping up for the $1-million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Aug. 5. The race, presented by Vonage, is for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles.
Any number of horses -- Lava Man, Street Sense, Rags to Riches, Papi Chullo, Sun King, Any Given Saturday, and Curlin -- could fill the void left by the recent departures of some of racing's biggest stars.
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.
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.
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.
Rested since his 10th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Sponsored by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Elizabeth Valando's Nobiz Like Shobiz will likely be the favorite anyway in the $150,000 Dwyer (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park Wednesday.
Trainer Todd Pletcher unleashed more than a handful of his stakes horses for workouts at Belmont Park Sunday morning, including 3-year-old stars Rags to Riches and Any Given Saturday.
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.
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.
From Aristides in 1875 to Barbaro in 2006, homebred runners have a successful history in the Run for the Roses, with 49 of 132 winners carrying the colors of their breeders into the winner's circle at Churchill Downs.
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.
Three Kentucky Derby contenders will be a few days shy of their actual third birthday prior to the First Saturday in May.
It wasn't quite like a scene from Noah's Ark, but four of trainer Todd Pletcher's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contenders arrived Tuesday afternoon two by two in separate vans.
Todd Pletcher's stay at Keeneland, for all intents and purposes, is over, and he went out with a bang, with three of his Derby horses - Any Given Saturday, Circular Quay, and Scat Daddy - turning in excellent works before heading over to Churchill Downs on Tuesday.
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.
Doug O'Neill ruled the Derby roost Friday morning, sending out seven workers at Keeneland, including his three starters for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). When it was over, O'Neill and exercise rider Tony Romero were all smiles.
Many of this year's candidates for the Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I), were offered at public auction before they began their racing careers. Two sold for more than $1 million apiece, but you could have purchased some of them for less than $100,000.
Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle five contenders to this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on May 5. Here, he reviews his horses' running styles and talks strategy before the big race.
With speed the primary ingredient in the Thoroughbred, and true stamina being pushed deeper and deeper into a horse's pedigree, we have to try to find staying power wherever we can. Although old-fashioned stamina on the sire's side no longer is necessary to win the Derby, it still has been a main factor on the dam's side.
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.
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.
Trainer Todd Pletcher continued the classic preparations for three of his five probable Kentucky Derby starters when Scat Daddy, Any Given Saturday, and Circular Quay worked over the Polytrack surface at Lexington's Keeneland Racecourse Sunday, April 22.
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.
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.
We had a little bit of everything this week, with Nobiz Like Shobiz back to his winning ways; the dejaÂ 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.
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).
Street Sense and Any Given Saturday, the respective 1-2 finishers in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III), made the largest moves in the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's weekly 3-Year-Old Thoroughbred Poll.
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.
James B. Tafel's 2006 juvenile champion Street Sense returned to action in gutsy style Saturday when he defeated 7-10 favorite Any Given Saturday by a nose in a tremendous finish to the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III).
The Derby trail hits four fronts this weekend, with all eyes on Tampa Bay Downs, Oaklawn Park, Santa Anita, and Sunland Park. Although the races in general are more about potential stars than proven stars, that certainly doesn't apply to the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) which features the match-up of the year, so far.
The March 17 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) has a long tradition of sending entrants to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and other premier 3-year-old stakes. Heading the field this year appear to be Street Sense, who is making his 3-year-old debut and Sam F. Davis winner Any Given Saturday.
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.
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.
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.
The "all others" bet remains the morning line favorite for the second of three pools of Churchill Downs' 2007 Kentucky Derby Future Wager ("KDFW"), which launches its four-day run March 8.
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).
The $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II), a key Triple Crown prep at Turfway Park on March 24, has drawn 166 nominations.
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.
Satish and Anne Sanan's Padua Stables has acquired an interest in major Triple Crown contender Any Given Saturday from Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm.
WinStar Farm's Any Given Saturday went off at odds of 1-5 in his 3-year-old debut Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs. He gave his supporters little reason for concern with a 2 3/4-length triumph in the $146,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes.
Any Given Saturday, a $1.1 million Keeneland yearling purchase, goes into the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs with one thing to prove--whether he's matured from his headstrong ways.
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