The rain continued to come down at Belmont Park Thursday morning as several Belmont Stakes (gr. I) contenders tried to stay loose for Saturday's main event.
Several Triple Crown contenders are among the nominees for the $500,000 Virginia Derby, centerpiece of the upcoming meet at Colonial Downs. The turf event is scheduled for July 12.
After Wednesday's Belmont post position draw, all the combatants can now start planning their strategies. When Funny Cide drew post 4 and Empire Maker post 1, the wheels immediately started turning as to how the early battle will unfold.
Funny Cide, who will attempt to become Thoroughbred racing's 12th winner of the Triple Crown Saturday in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), will do so from post 4. The Sackatoga Stable star will face five challengers in the 1 ½-mile "Test of a Champion" and was installed the even-money favorite for the race.
Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Funny Cide was made the even-money morning line favorite when six horses were entered Wednesday for Saturday's Belmont Stakes. The 3-year-old gelding will break from post position 4 as Derby runner-up Empire Maker breaks from the inside post.
The more one looks at the repercussions of a Funny Cide victory in Saturday's Belmont Stakes, the more it looks almost a sure thing that Empire Maker will hook up fairly early with the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner.
Illinois Derby winner Ten Most Wanted worked five furlongs in a solid :59 3/5 at Hollywood Park Monday morning as he continues preparations for Saturday's $1-million Belmont Stakes.
Just when the sun makes a rare appearance, it is gone in a few hours and the rain clouds roll back in. As a result, several trainers of Belmont horses have had to revise their training schedules.
Belmont Park was visited by a long, lost friend Friday morning...the sun. But it's not supposed to stay very long.
Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Funny Cide may very well be the "people's horse," but the impeccably-bred Empire Maker still remains the big horse in the eyes of jockey Jerry Bailey.
Bobby Frankel's plans to run Kentucky Derby runner-up Empire Maker in Monday's Jersey Derby were canceled Sunday morning when the colt breezed 5 furlongs in 1:02 3/5 over Belmont's yielding inner turf course.
Trainer Bobby Frankel, fearing he may not get enough training in Empire Maker because of the bad weather in the Northeast, has entered Kentucky Derby runner-up Empire Maker in Monday's Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park.
With the Belmont track soaked from several days of rain, trainer Christophe Clement has decided to postpone Dynever's work from Friday to either Sunday or Monday. Also scheduled to work Monday is Kentucky Derby runner-up Empire Maker.
Ten Most Wanted, who finished a disappointing ninth in the Kentucky Derby at odds of 6-1, turned in a sharp 6-furlong breeze in 1:13 2/5 at Hollywood Park Wednesday in preparation for the Belmont Stakes.
Empire Maker breezed six furlongs on Belmont Park's fast main track after the mid-morning break Tuesday in a bullet 1:12 under jockey Aaron Gryder.
If Funny Cide sweeps the Triple Crown he will have earned it. Not only is a large field expected for the Belmont Stakes, but several of them will be talented newcomers to the Triple Crown scene, as well as some fresh horses who ran big in the Kentucky Derby.
Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel said that Peace Rules, fourth in the Preakness (gr. I), appears fine after shipping back to New York. Peace Rules will not compete in the Belmont Stakes, but Frankel will have Derby runner-up Empire Maker fresh for the 1 ½-mile classic.
Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide has three weeks to prepare for the biggest race of his career and trainer Barclay Tagg and assistant Robin Smullen have tentatively mapped out a plan for the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Empire Maker breezed four furlongs in :48 3/5 Wednesday. He will skip Saturday's Preakness and train up to the $1 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 7. On the same day Derby winner Funny Cide walked at Belmont Park.
Bobby Frankel finally has his Preakness starter confirmed. Frankel informed Pimlico stakes coordinator David Rollinson Sunday morning that Peace Rules will be his only runner in the second leg of the Triple Cown.
Just hours after saying that Empire Maker would point to the Preakness Stakes, trainer Bobby Frankel had second thoughts, and as a result, the Kentucky Derby runner-up is back out of the Preakness picture.
Bobby Frankel said Saturday, in wake of the investigation regarding the possibility of Jose Santos carrying a suspicious object in the Kentucky Derby, he and Juddmonte Farms have decided to point for the Preakness Stakes with Empire Maker.
Juddmonte Farms' Empire Maker, runner-up in the Kentucky Derby, will not not run in the Preakness, and will go straight to the Belmont Stakes, trainer Bobby Frankel said Thursday morning.
It appears that Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide will van down to Pimlico from New York on May 14, a day after the New York-bred puts in his final Preakness work. Owner Jack Knowlton informed Maryland Jockey Club officials of his horse's plans for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) Wednesday afternoon.
With the Kentucky Derby taking its toll physically on several of the top contenders, it looks as though no more than eight horses will contest the Preakness Stakes. The second jewel of the Triple Crown likely will attract the first three finishers of the Derby.
Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel said he, like his horses, came out of Saturday's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) in good shape.
One day after Funny Cide upset the Kentucky Derby at odds of nearly 13-1, his trainer said the New York-bred gelding came out of the race unscathed and will move on to Baltimore, Md. to contest the Preakness Stakes on May 17.
Funny Cide, who was beaten just a half-length by Kentucky Derby (gr. I) favorite Empire Maker in the Wood Memorial (gr. I), sprung the upset Saturday at Churchill Downs. He became the first New York-bred to ever win the Derby and the first gelding to take the roses since Clyde Van Dusen in 1929.
Last year, the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) favorite was an incredibly high 6-1. Unlike Harlan's Holiday a year ago, Empire Maker was supposed be lower than 2-1. Well, it doesn't look like that is going to happen.
If Empire Maker is to win the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), he'll be bucking 52 years of history. This fact and more stats on the First Saturday in May...
It's like combining a Rolls Royce and a Mercedes when the rest of the world is represented by Dodge Darts. Bobby Frankel and Jerry Bailey have dominated their respective professions in the new century, and the dynamic duo hook up again Saturday with--and this is no surprise--the overwhelming favorite to win the Kentucky Derby.
Here's a look at what happened on the training front with the 17 contenders for Saturday's Kentucky Derby,as described by Churchill Downs' note takers.
With only two days remaining before the big race, no news is good news, especially around the Bobby Frankel barn. Frankel kept throwing one word around in response to inquiries about Empire Maker's jog – "Perfect."
Kentucky Derby morning-line favorite Empire Maker was back on the Churchill Downs track Thursday morning and jogged to the satisfaction of trainer Bobby Frankel.
Here's a look at Wednesday morning's backstretch developments at Churchill Downs.
The works are over, the order of post position draw has been determined, and after the trainer and owners choose their posts this evening there will nothing left but the waiting. OK, and the partying.
Trainer Bobby Frankel is confident that a bruised foot suffered by Kentucky Derby favorite Empire Maker will clear up, and Bob Baffert reports that Kafwain has a strained tendon.
It was learned this morning that Kentucky Derby favorite Empire Maker has been battling a minor foot bruise since his victory in the Wood Memorial. After examining the colt following his 6:45 jog, veterinarian Ken Reed told Frankel the colt should be fine.
Probable Kentucky Derby (gr. I) favorite Empire Maker has never been offered at public auction. He's a homebred who races for Prince Khaled Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms. But most of the Derby candidates have passed through a sale ring at some point in their lives. Some brought hundreds of thousands of dollars, others much less.
When the horses competing in this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) got their names, they had only their pedigree, personality, and their owners' personalities to create for them the perfect title.
Here's a look at what some of the contenders for Saturday's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) were up to on Monday morning, according to Churchill Downs track notes.
This was the big morning everyone has been waiting for, with Empire Maker and Peace Rules having their one and only work at Churchill Downs, while Ron Ellis sent Atswhatimtalknbout out for the most important work of his career.
In his final workout prior to next Saturday's $1-million Kentucky Derby, probable favorite Juddmonte Farm's homebred Empire Maker breezed six furlongs in 1:12 3/5 at Churchill Downs Sunday morning.
Midas Eyes kicked off what could be a banner week for trainer Bobby Frankel by posting a 2 ½-length gate-to-wire victory in the $167,400 Derby Trial (gr. III) Saturday at Churchill Downs before an opening day crowd of 14,492.
The storm that hit Louisville yesterday lingered until mid-morning, with the drizzle and wind finally giving way to brightening skies. With very little action, today will be more of a Derby potpourri. The heavy duty works pick up tomorrow, headed by Empire Maker and Peace Rules.
According to the 10-day forecast from The National Weather Service, it is a good thing we already know that Empire Maker can run on an off track.
It was an important morning for Empire Maker and trainer Bobby Frankel, as the Derby favorite went out for his much-anticipated schooling session in the gate. Known for his erratic gate behavior, the son of Unbridled provided a few anxious moments, but in the end passed his test in fine style.
Juddmonte Farms' Empire Maker, who looms a strong favorite for the May 3 Kentucky Derby, has made the cover of a popular mainstream magazine.
This year's running of the Kentucky Derby will be special. It will be won by a special horse with a special story. We're sure of it after watching last night's PBS documentary on Seabiscuit. The only Derby horse on the work tab Tuesday was Offlee Wild. Also, Fund of Funds is out with an injury.
Dr. John Chandler, president of Juddmonte Farms, said great things have been expected of Empire Maker since he was a young foal. "He was just an outstanding foal, a great physical specimen, and he's progressed like all great horses," Chandler said Tuesday during an NTRA teleconference.
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