With the additions of Digger and Time Squared, there are seven probable starters in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) contenders Hard Spun, Imawildandcrazyguy, and Tiago, as well as Todd Pletcher-trained candidates Rags to Riches and Circular Quay, all hit the Belmont main track for work-outs Sunday morning.
Slew's Tizzy had his final major pre-Belmont Stakes workout Saturday morning at The Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington, Ky. The colt breezed a half mile over the facility's conventional dirt track for trainer Gregory Fox.
With the racing world still rocking from the bombshell dropped by Carl Nafzger Thursday morning, all thoughts immediately turned to the two big horses who will remain on their Triple Crown journey and the two trainers who elected to see it through to its conclusion.
With the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) fast approaching, trainers of the expected contenders were making plans for travel and pre-race works May 31.
Street Sense, winner of the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), worked a half-mile May 30 at Churchill Downs as his owner, Jim Tafel, and trainer, Carl Nafzger, consider a possible start in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the final jewel of racing's Triple Crown.
Five days after the Preakness (gr. I) and people are still talking about the race, asking the same questions. How did Street Sense lose? How remarkable was Curlin's performance? Did Mario Pino make a blunder or did he make the right move that just didn't turn out right? Why was Calvin Borel looking behind him in deep stretch?
Fresh off his nose victory over Derby winner Street Sense in the Preakness (gr. I) on May 19, Curlin tuned up for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 9 with an easy five-furlong work on Monday at Churchill Downs.
Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense remains a "possible" starter in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Curlin, winner of the May 19 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), is gearing for a start in the Belmont and returned to the racetrack May 23 at Churchill Downs for the first time since his victory over Street Sense, winner of this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I)
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - The fighting spirit shown by both Curlin and Street Sense in this terrific stretch battle epitomizes what breeding and racing Thoroughbreds is all about.
- By Dan Liebman
By Dan Liebman - Never having been in such a position, Gallion had trouble putting a value on Curlin...
Thoroughbred racing is a sport of contrasting emotions, ranging from euphoria to despair and laced with a heavy dose of what might have beens. It often takes a special horse to bring all those emotions to the surface, and after watching the 132nd Preakness Stakes (gr. I), there is no doubt that Curlin is that kind of horse.
Though the net result was slightly less than last year's effort, Pimlico Race Course still realized its fourth-highest wagering day ever May 19 for its card highlighted by the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Curlin, who suffered his first defeat in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), kept gaining down the stretch and got past Street Sense in the final strides to win the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) Saturday at Pimlico.
There were few surprises in Friday's early wagering on Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico Racecourse, with Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense the predictable favorite.
Unlike the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), the Preakness (gr. I) cannot be assessed through observations, as the horses shipped in to Pimlico just days before the race and have not been visible enough to be judged off works or even gallops.
After a terrible journey chasing roses May 5, inexperienced Curlin has every right to improve in Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I), says assistant Scott Blasi, who is handling the colt for trainer Steve Asmussen this week.
Street Sense and Hard Spun, the one-two finishers in the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, drew outside post positions for Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I), which attracted a field of nine.
Hard Spun completed his preparations for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) with a quarter-mile blowout under jockey Mario Pino May 16 at Delaware Park.
Circular Quay is now headed for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). It wasn't so much a question of why the colt should run in the Preakness, but why shouldn't he run? He's obviously sound, fit, and ready, and this is the perfect spot for him.
Steve Asmussen trainee Curlin, who finished third in the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), tuned up for Saturday's 132nd running of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) with an easy half-mile work on Monday at Churchill Downs.
Almost a week has gone by since the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and all the analyses have been written. While it's time to look ahead to the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), there still are some Derby points that are worth discussing.
The 133rd Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) was about a king, a queen, and a bunch of country boys. It was about a near-record crowd that erupted in celebration for its transplanted hometown heroes -- Street Sense, Carl Nafzger, and Calvin Borel. And it was about the end of a 23-year-old jinx. But most importantly, it was about class.
Larry Jones, in his familiar white cowboy hat, has become a recognizable figure during the build-up to the Triple Crown. The personable 50-year old conditioner might be switching to a black cowboy hat as he and his star Hard Spun hope to spoil the Triple Crown hopes of Street Sense and trainer Carl Nafzger in the $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico Race Course on May 19.
The jinx has been broken. Calvin Borel and Street Sense won the $2.2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) Saturday, the first Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner to return at 3 and win the Derby.
Jim Tafel's Street Sense, the champion 2-year-old of 2006, is the favorite for Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The advance wagering pool is still open but at 7 p.m. (Eastern), Street Sense was 9-2.
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.
With Curlin installed as the 7-2 morning line favorite for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), it's interesting to take a look at favorites throughout history to see how they performed on the first Saturday in May.
Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Curlin was installed the moderate 7-2 morning line favorite for Saturday's $2 million, 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) when post positions were drawn Wednesday.
Three Kentucky Derby contenders will be a few days shy of their actual third birthday prior to the First Saturday in May.
Welcome to Derby Week, or week 11 of the "Starting Gate," one person's look at this year's Kentucky Derby lineup. As we approach Wednesday, entry day, this how we would handicap the top 20 contenders for the May 5 Run for the Roses. Actual entry into America's greatest race is reliant on graded stakes earnings -- this lineup is based on some speculation, past performances, and potential performance on Saturday.
It takes a lot to steal the spotlight from Curlin, but at approximately 8:35 Monday morning, Hard Spun made Curlin's half-mile work two hours earlier seem like a distant memory. That's when the Lane's End (gr. II) winner went out and worked five furlongs in :57 3/5, all but leaving sparks as his feet hit the ground.
The Steve Asmussen-trained duo of Curlin and Zanjero each worked a half-mile at Churchill Downs as Kentucky Derby week got off to a warm and busy start Monday, April 30.
To aid in unscientific handicapping (and for the entertainment of trivia aficionados), here are the stories behind the titles of this year's contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
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.
The racing industry's equine stars have one shot at winning the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr.I). Their riders, on the other hand, keep coming back for more. Here are the Derby records of several jockeys with prospective mounts in this year's Run for the Roses.
There was one disappointing aspect of Tuesday morning's brief activity at Churchill Downs. With 11 days still left until the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), it would come as a major surprise - no, make that a shock - if any horse turns in a more impressive workout than Street Sense's five-furlong masterpiece.
In spite of unsatisfactory weather conditions throughout much of the winter-spring, business at Oaklawn Park stayed strong on track through the 2007 live racing season. While attendance and daily average slipped, on-track wagering remained strong.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - This year brings us to a couple of tried and tested chapters from the unwritten trainers' manual regarding the Kentucky Derby: the "two-prep" and "unraced juvenile" rules.
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 Steve Asmussen sent Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Curlin and stablemates Zanjero and Reporting for Duty for a final Kentucky Derby prep over the Polytrack surface at Lexington's Keeneland Racecourse on Monday, April 23.
When 2007 began, trainer Steve Asmussen was having Triple Crown dreams about a colt named Tiz Wonderful. Those dreams were dashed when the son of Tiznow injured his right front tendon and was sent to the sidelines, and it looked as if Asmussen would be watching the spring classics alongside his talented runner.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has assigned jockeys to all of his potential starters for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Meanwhile, with 15 days remaining until the running of the 133rd Derby, top agents are ironing out plans for their riders' May 5 mounts.
The death of Buddy Holly on Feb. 3, 1959 was "the day the music died." April 14, 2007 was the day dirt racing in America died. That may sound harsh and premature, but if races like the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) are what we have to look forward to in the future, then we have indeed seen the beginning of the end of dirt racing as we know it.
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.
Undefeated Curlin made like Smarty Jones in winning Saturday's $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) and heads into next month's Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) as the potential favorite following his record 10 1/2-length demolition job at Oaklawn Park.
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.
Well, this is it, the final major Derby prep weekend. After this, there is only the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) for horses hoping to hop aboard at the last minute. All eyes now turn to Street Sense, who can emerge from the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) as a solid Derby favorite. But he has to get by Great Hunter first.
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