The Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) isn't just about the horse. This edition boasts an unusually fertile crop of human-interest stories in the connections behind the horses.
There's lots to catch up on, with several works of interest over the weekend and a star-studded array of works this morning, which unfortunately were played out against a horrific backdrop.
Sickly foal, which was a $290,000 yearling sale buy-back, has grown up to become a Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) contender.
Pioneerof the Nile didn't turn in the fastest five-furlong work April 27 at Churchill Downs, but that wasn't the goal for his trainer, Bob Baffert. The 3-year-old son of Empire Maker cruised through five furlongs in 1:01 and impressed onlookers with his long, free-flowing stride in his final breeze before the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Monday morning at Churchill Downs was a busy day for horses getting in their final preparations for Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
A full sister to Pioneerof the Nile, one of the leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), was foaled April 23.
Trainer Gary Stute went "old school" April 25 at Churchill Downs, working his Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Papa Clem seven furlongs in 1:29 1/5. The trainer, the son and nephew of the legendary training brothers of Mel and Warren Stute (respectively), may give his colt a quarter-mile blowout a day or two before the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
General Quarters, the "feel-good" horse of this year's Kentucky Derby, breezed five furlongs in 1:01 4/5 over a fast track at Churchill Downs April 23.
Zayat Stables' Pioneerof the Nile brought a smile to the face of three-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert with a sharp five-furlong work over a fast Churchill Downs track on April 21.
Regal Ransom sneaks onto the list as Godolphin confirms he will run in the Derby.
In a decision they agonized over for weeks, jockey Garrett Gomez and agent Ron Anderson finally have decided to stick with Pioneerof the Nile as their Kentucky Derby (gr. I) mount.
HRTV's weekly series analyzing the pursuit of the Triple Crown. This week's edition includes a preview of the Coolmore Lexington, and recaps of the Arkansas Derby and Blue Grass Stakes.
California stars Pioneerof the Nile and Chocolate Candy, the first two finishers in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 4, arrived at Churchill Downs April 16 to prepare for the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
This week's And They're Off is all about the Kentucky Derby, including the prospects of the California horses, the depth of the field, musical jockeys, graded earnings, and last but not least, the winners of the Kentucky Derby Contest.
Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Pioneerof the Nile had his final workout at Santa Anita on a blustery but sun-drenched morning April 15, busting four furlongs on the Pro-Ride racing surface in a bullet :46 1/5, the fastest of 39 drills at the distance.
We're getting close to judgment day -- finding that single horse or betting angle or most attractive overlay possibilities. Until the horses can be observed in the flesh starting next week, here are some of the most memorable moments on this year's Derby trail in one person's opinion that will help in finding potential overlays.
David Lanzman and IEAH Stables' I Want Revenge, the possible favorite for the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), turned in his first serious training move since his arrival at Churchill Downs when he worked an easy half-mile over a muddy track on April 14.
Chocolate Candy, runner-up in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), worked five furlongs under new rider Mike Smith on Pro-Ride in :59 1/5 April 12. The son of Candy Ride is scheduled to leave April 14 for Louisville to prepare for the 135th Kentucky Derby.
With a strong second to Pioneerof the Nile in the April 4 Santa Anita Derby, Chocolate Candy jumps into the top 5 of Haskin's latest Derby Dozen.
It's not quite the Sunshine Millions, but this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is looking like a regional battle between California- and Florida-based horses, who at this point appear on their way to occupying the top four favorite roles in the Run for the Roses.
I Want Revenge, who overcame a poor start and significant traffic concerns to win the Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct April 4, emerged the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) as the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager completed its four-day run.
Even as he prepares to ship Pioneerof the Nile to Churchill Downs April 14 for the 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), trainer Bob Baffert says he's still trying to figure out what kind of running style the son of 2003 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Empire Maker possesses.
A lack of pace changed the game plan for odds-on choice Pioneerof the Nile, but jockey Garrett Gomez improvised, enabling the son of Empire Maker to hold off Chocolate Candy for a one-length win in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on a picture-perfect day in Arcadia, Calif.
Edward P. Evans' Quality Road, winner of the Florida Derby (gr. I) for his third victory in four career races, remained the favorite to win the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on May 2 as the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2009 Kentucky Derby Future Wager reached its midway point on the evening of April 3.
Featuring previews of the Santa Anita Derby (including words from Bob Baffert and Julio Canani), Wood Memorial, and Illinois Derby, and recaps of the Florida Derby and the UAE Derby. Plus, updates on Charitable Man and Dunkirk.
Saturday's big three Kentucky Derby preps should be pretty formful, with one or two standouts in each race. But, there's a lot more to these races than who is going to win. While they are all prestigious events, let's not forget the fact that they are indeed preps.
Jason, Suzanne, and the Wizard analyze the Wood Memorial (gr. I) and the Santa Anita Derby. Watch Video
Trainer Julio Canani says The Pamplemousse doesn't need the lead to win the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 4. After a couple of interesting developments when entries were taken, that theory could be put to the test.
The Pamplemousse, with his regular rider Alex Solis aboard, turned in a sharp final tune-up March 31 for the April 4 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). The 3-year-old son of Kafwain worked three furlongs in :34.80 seconds at Santa Anita Park in California. He was the fastest of 15 workers at that distance.
Featuring previews of the Florida Derby (including an interview with Todd Pletcher, trainer of Dunkirk) and UAE Derby, a recap of the Lane's End, and works for Chocolate Candy and Pioneerof the Nile.
On several occasions over the past few years, Todd Pletcher has reached into his hat to pull out a rabbit, and in most cases the trick didn't go quite as planned. Despite some bad hare days, Pletcher has decided to try his luck at prestidigitation once again in Saturday's Florida Derby (gr. I).
The Pamplemousse, Pioneerof the Nile and Chocolate Candy, the three top choices for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 4, each worked on the track's Pro-Ride racing surface March 25.
Joel Rosario, Santa Anita's third-leading rider, will ride El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) winner Chocolate Candy in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 4, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said.
As often happens on the Kentucky Derby trail, they fell like proverbial bowling pins last weekend, although two of the bigger names reinforced their strong position. Not all the vanquished will be taken off the trail, as some deserve another chance after racing on less than desirable surfaces, but they have put themselves in a desperate situation.
Odds-on choice Pioneerof the Nile got the test he needed in preparation for his big showdown with The Pamplemousse next month, turning back a challenge in the stretch to win the $200,000 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita March 14.
Racing fans continue to have a difficult time deciding who should be the favorite in Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2009 Kentucky Derby Future Wager as "all others" edged unbeaten and untested Dunkirk as the narrow choice among 23 betting interests as the pool reached the midpoint of four days of betting on Friday, March 13.
A pair of unbeaten horses and the betting interest that represents "all others" drew the strongest fan support on the opening day of second of three pools in Churchill Downs' 2009 Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
This week, Jason, Evan, and the Wizard look at both the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds, and the San Felipe (gr. II) at Santa Anita. Both races are Saturday, March 14. Watch Video
In this episode, Lenny and Steve discuss the upcoming Derby preps, including the Louisiana Derby, the San Felipe, and the Rebel, Bob Baffert's Hall of Fame quest, and Helen Pitts and Einstein. Plus, win a Backside Tour Derby Week, with the Derby Contest!
Pioneerof the Nile, heading into the $200,000 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) March 14 as the West Coast's top Triple Crown contender, takes on an ambitious group of six up-and-coming colts at Santa Anita.
Pool 2 of the 2009 Kentucky Derby Future Wager opens its four-day run on Thursday, March 12 and bettors will be able to wager on an exacta for the first time in the pool's 11-year history.
Leading West Coast Triple Crown contender Pioneerof the Nile worked five furlongs on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride March 8 in a bullet :58.80 under regular rider Garrett Gomez for the grade II San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. At Oaklawn, Old Fashioned worked a bullet five furlongs in :59.
Because of the lack of 3-year-old races this week, we're going into full detail on Dunkirk's race. Another reason we're giving it a good deal of space is the big buzz it created. The question is, was it warranted?
Triple Crown Talk blog, with host Jason Shandler, reviews Old Fashioned's performance in the Southwest and offers a new top 10 Derby Watchlist.
The mutuel field, or "all others," was the solid 9-5 favorite among 24 wagering interests at the conclusion of betting in four-day pool. But Fox Hill Farm's Old Fashioned was a clear choice among the 23 individual horses in the Derby Future pool that ended on the eve of the colt's 3-year-old racing debut.
The traditional status of the mutuel field, or "all others," as the favorite in the opening pool of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager seems secure for another year, but unbeaten Old Fashioned has strengthened his position as the leading individual contender for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with one day of wagering remaining in the first of three 2009 Derby Future pools.
The mutuel field, or "all others" has been the favored wagering interest in every opening pool of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager since its introduction in 1999, and bettors showed little inclination to change that pattern on the first day of the 2009 action.
Hosted by Lenny Shulman and Steve Haskin, "And They're Off" is a bi-monthly online video series sponsored by Darby Dan Farm. In this Valentine's Day edition, Lenny and Steve evaluate the recent Derby preps, discuss the Preakness infield experience, touch on Nicanor's debut, celebrate the 96th Birthday of John Nerud, and more.
It was an excellent weekend on the old trail, with some first-class performances, not only by the winners, but several of the losers as well. The latest Top 15 follows the column.
Triple Crown contender Pioneerof the Nile, overcoming traffic problems on the final turn, charged from the back of the pack to win the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) in the final strides over 17-1 shot Papa Clem at Santa Anita Feb. 7.
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