A field of ten 3-year-olds passed the entry box for Saturday's $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) at Hawthorne Race Course. With some serious graded stakes earnings and a May 6 date at Churchill Downs on the line, El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) winner Cause to Believe alights on the Cicero, Ill., track looking for a third straight added-money score.
Though beaten in his first try at two turns, the 3-5 favorite First Samurai was awarded victory in the $300,000 Fountain of Youth (gr. II) Saturday at Gulfstream Park when stewards disqualified the inexperienced Corinthian for weaving in the stretch.
First Samurai can answer the question of his distance capability and establish himself as the leading contender in Florida for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with a winning performance in the $300,000 Fountain of Youth (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
The undefeated Barbaro showed himself to be one of the most exciting prospects for this year's Triple Crown series Saturday when he handled a sloppy strip to win the $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) in his first main track attempt at Gulfstream Park.
The journey on the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) Trail officially began last weekend, and although none of the major stars were in action, there were enough solid performances – both gutsy and explosive -- to start the year off in a positive way.
Doctor Decherd commenced a strong rally entering the lane to nip Itsallboutthechase by a nose in a head-bobbing stretch duel to capture Saturday's fifth running of the $125,000 Aventura Stakes, the opening leg of this year's Florida Derby (gr. I) series for 3-year-olds.
Saturday's one-mile Aventura Stakes at Gulfstream provides an interesting look into this year's 3-year-old picture. The 14-horse field is an indication of what a competitive group we have in Florida, and the number of trainers who can't wait to hit the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) trail.
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