Three veterans of the Visa Triple Crown trail -- Meetyouathebrig, Scorpion, and Percy Hope -- will try to build momentum for the second half of their 3-year-old campaigns as they head a field of 10 horses entered in Saturday's $100,000-added Northern Dancer Handicap at Churchill Downs.
Percy Hope worked four furlongs in :47 2/5 for trainer Tony Reinstedler at Pimlico Sunday. After the work, Reinstedler said "it's a go" for the Lone Star Derby winner to race in the Preakness.
Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos returned to the scene of his biggest career victory Tuesday when he exercised at Churchill Downs. With exercise rider Bryan Beccia aboard, the gray son of Maria's Mon was lively, nipping at the boots of assistant trainer Yvonne Azeff, aboard the lead pony as the pair made their way to the track.
The Maryland Jockey Club lists 12 horses as possible entrants for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), led by Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Monarchos.
Millennium Wind turned in his last workout for Saturday's Kentucky Derby, working five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning. According to Churchill clockers, he went in splits of :23 2/5 and :48 for a half-mile and galloped out six furlongs in 1:16. Trainer David Hofmans timed the son of Cryptoclearance in the same 1:00 2/5, but got splits of :11 4/5, :24, and :48 2/5, and a gallop out time of 1:14 2/5.
With its purse ratcheted up to $500,000, its distance stretched out to 1 1/8 miles, and its date moved to a more convenient spot on the calendar, Lone Star Park's derby became a genuine prep for the famed roseate run in Kentucky. The Grand Prairie, Texas, racetrack even created a $1-million bonus, to be paid to any horse that parlays a Lone Star Derby win into a victory in any of the Triple Crown races. It was a meaningful prep indeed--an ironic one, too. Percy Hope served up generous portions of both meaning and irony. The field, which included four stakes winners, had earned $1.2 million, or an average of $154,429 per starter, more than twice as much as the field for the grade II Illinois Derby. And Percy Hope, who previously had won the Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park, once again made winning look easy.
For the second straight year a prep race for an obscure Kentucky Derby prep may have some impact on the Triple Crown series as Futurity Stakes (gr. I) winner Burning Roma emerged victoriously Saturday from his 2001 debut in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. In last year's renewal of the Tampa Bay Derby prep race, Impeachment -- who would subsequently finish third in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes -- finished fourth in the 1 1/16-mile event.
Gary and Mary West's Dollar Bill rebounded from a 10th-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) to win the $218,800 Brown and Williamson Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) by 1 1/4 lengths Saturday on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs. Racing on an off track for the first time, the 2-year-old son of Peaks and Valleys completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:47.18.
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