Never before have three grade III stakes and a grade II stakes come together on one afternoon to showcase so many major players on the Triple Crown trail. With the grade III Rebel, Gotham, and Tampa Bay Derby and grade II San Felipe drawing so many serious Derby horses, this surely will be a make or break weekend.
Todd Pletcher, whose bench is stronger than most other trainers' first string, sends out the first team on Saturday, when he'll saddle Bluegrass Cat in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) and Keyed Entry in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III).
Cecil Peacock's Brother Derek heads an impressive list of 137 3-year-olds nominated to Keeneland's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) April 15. The race will be televised live by ABC Sports from 5 to 6 p.m. (ET).
After agonizing for days whether to ride Bluegrass Cat in the March 18 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) or Keyed Entry in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) the same day, John Velazquez and agent Angel Cordero decided to stick to their commitment and ride WinStar Farm's Bluegrass Cat.
Sam F. Davis Stakes winner Bluegrass Cat tops of group of 36 horses nominated to the $250,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) that highlights the March 18 Festival Day card at the Florida track.
You know it's a strange day on the Triple Crown trail when you have four stakes and the two most impressive horses seen are in a maiden race and a workout. Although heavy favorites Brother Derek and First Samurai emerged victorious, the latter on a disqualification, it still left most people wanting more.
Santa Catalina (gr. II) winner Brother Derek shot to favoritism at 10-1 among individual horses as Pool 2 of the 2006 Kentucky Derby Future Wager closed on Sunday. But the field entry of all 3-year-olds not listed in the pool was a solid overall choice of bettors at odds of 3-1.
The mutuel field remained the favored betting interest at the midway point of Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, but unbeatens Barbaro and Strong Contender gained solid support as well Friday.
Racing fans made "all others" the favorite on the opening day of the second pool of Churchill Downs' 2006 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, but had trouble deciding on which of the individual horses deserved backing.
So far, Todd Pletcher has been probing the enemy forces with his second- and third-stringers, with and without success. But this week it was time to get serious and bring out the heavy ammo. He hit his target with Bluegrass Cat on Saturday and now gets ready to fire off his second round with High Cotton on Wednesday.
WinStar Farm's homebred Bluegrass Cat kicked off his 3-year-old campaign with a dogged victory over 63-1 shot Deputy Glitters in the $121,000 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs Saturday.
What has happened to the Sam F. Davis Stakes? Saturday's race has drawn a field that in the past would have been considered a super field for the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III), for which the Davis has been an obscure prep. Perhaps the presence of so many accomplished horses can be attributed to Gulfstream Park's configuration.
Triple Crown contenders Bluegrass Cat and Private Vow were among several 3-year-olds working at Palm Meadows and Gulfstream Park Sunday morning.
Racing fans across North America made the field a solid favorite over individual stars First Samurai and Stevie Wonderboy in the first 2006 Kentucky Derby Future Wager as betting drew to a close on Sunday evening.
The "all others" wager remained a solid 6-5 favorite on Friday as betting in the four-day opening pool of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager reached its midway point.
Todd Pletcher, who two weeks ago set a North American record for earnings in a year by a trainer, submitted the names of 17 horses for early-bird nomination to the April 1 Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park.
WinStar Farm's homebred Bluegrass Cat, the 3-5 favorite, withstood a serious threat from Flashy Bull in the deep stretch and drew away from the stubborn challenger to win the 92nd running of the $200,000 Remsen (gr. II) for 2-year-olds at Aqueduct Saturday.
WinStar Farm's Bluegrass Cat continued his education at Belmont Park on Friday afternoon, winning the $113,300 Nashua (gr. III) for 2-year-olds at a mile by 1 1/4 lengths over outsider Political Force.
Trainer H. Graham Motion hopes to get his Breeders' Cup weekend off to a strong start when he sends Donald Adams' Express News out to tackle a talented group of juveniles in the $100,000 Nashua (gr. III) at one mile at Belmont Park Friday.
Most Popular Stories
- V. E. Day Gives Lezcano Win 2,000 in Curlin
- Dance With Fate's Exercise Rider Has Surgery
- Whitney Card's Grade I Races Taking Shape
- LoPresti Unfazed by Slow Move from Wise Dan
- Lochte Looks to Regain Form in Oceanport
- Ami's Holiday Leads Prince of Wales Lineup
- Little Alexis Set for Test After Bullet Move
- Dance With Fate Euthanized After Accident
- Untapable Favored in Haskell Against Boys
- Keeneland Dirt Installation July 21, 2014