A day after Marasca upset Equality in the inaugural running of the $250,000 Aventura Stakes the connections of those horses said the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is not on their respective agendas.
The bird has flown, leaving us instead with the Aventura Stakes, Gulfstream Park's $250,000 replacement for Hialeah's signature Flamingo Stakes that served as a springboard to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) for the likes of Citation and Seattle Slew. Based upon the returns of the inaugural Aventura, run on April 6, none of the nine 3-year-olds are likely to follow that path.
Right after Gulfstream Park simulcasts the Illinois Derby (gr. II) Saturday, it will run its own Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prep, the Aventura Stakes.
Repent's self-inflicted problems in the Louisiana Derby brings us to the inevitable question: can Repent continue with these follies and still win the Kentucky Derby?
Repent gets up to win the grade II Louisiana Derby by a nose over Easyfromthegitgo.
A field of eight was entered Friday for Sunday's Louisiana Derby, with Risen Star winner Repent heading one of the race's strongest and deepest fields in years. The 1 1/16-mile event also attracted some of the nation's top riders, including Jerry Bailey, Pat Day, Jorge Chavez, and Russell Baze.
Michael Tabor's Nokoma, runner-up in last year's Remsen Stakes, breezed a sharp 5 furlongs in 1:00 4/5 Tuesday for the March 16 Florida Derby. Trainer Todd Pletcher called the work "super."
Before the early (and we stress early) list of classic hopefuls gets too long, we're going to sort out the growing number of promising 2-year-olds and take a crack at where they might fit in the 2002 Kentucky Derby picture. We're sure there will be omissions, but this at least will provide an idea who might be some of the major players next spring. Horses are listed in alphabetical order:
Trainers on both coasts unwrapped some exciting early Christmas presents last week, and all the gifts appear to come with batteries packed with enough charge to last well past next May. This is the time of year when the colts with Derby pedigrees make their appearance, and if you like to see brilliance and a big closing kick to go along with a very low dosage index, then you're going to love Pelirrojo, Charioteer, Axis, and Iwin.
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