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Pletcher's Pair Arrives at Churchill

Pletcher's Pair Arrives at Churchill

As Todd Pletcher's contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) arrived at Barn 34 from Keeneland April 30, accompanied by stakes contenders Danzon, Leah's Secret, and Garden District, the Eclipse Award-winning trainer took time to reflect upon the challenge of reaching - let alone winning - the first leg of the Triple Crown.

Behindatthebar Skips; Denis of Cork In

Behindatthebar Skips; Denis of Cork In

The Sanan family's Padua Stables' Behindatthebar will not enter the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and instead will point for the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I). The decision opens the door for Mr. and Mrs. William Warren's Denis of Cork who had been 21st on the graded earnings list.

Monba, Cowboy Cal Work at Keeneland

Monba, Cowboy Cal Work at Keeneland

Before the running of last year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Keeneland Race Course was overrun with trainers whose potential contenders were squeezing in final works prior to shipping up to Churchill Downs. This year, Todd Pletcher cut a lonely figure along the rail at the Lexington oval as he sent Behindatthebar to gallop and then watched Monba and Cowboy Cal complete their final preparations April 26.

Prado Hospitalized, Released After Spill

Prado Hospitalized, Released After Spill

Edgar Prado was hospitalized, but quickly released April 23 following a spill at Keeneland Race Course. The Peruvian jockey, who will ride Adriano in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) for trainer H. Graham Motion, had been aboard another Motion trainee in the seventh race at the Lexington oval when the accident occurred.

Behindatthebar in Front in Lexington

Behindatthebar in Front in Lexington

Two weeks ago, Todd Pletcher was sitting on the outside of the Derby picture looking in. But when Padua Stables and partners' Behindatthebar followed the hard-knocking efforts of Monba and Cowboy Cal in the April 12 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) with an impressive performance of his own in the $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) April 19, the venerable trainer could count not one, but three potential contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

Monba, Cowboy Cal May Work at Keeneland

Monba, Cowboy Cal May Work at Keeneland

Trainer Todd Pletcher said April 18 that he has not decided when he will ship Monba and Cowboy Cal, his one-two finishers in the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I), to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and is considering giving the two colts their final works at Keeneland the weekend before the Run for the Roses.

Big Glen Could Upset Coolmore Lexington

Big Glen Could Upset Coolmore Lexington

For several 3-year-olds pointing toward the $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland, the April 19 event offers a final chance at graded earnings and entry into the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). But the horse whose form points to a likely win in the 1 1/16-mile event has no aspirations of making the Derby -- and he could spoil the plans of those who do when a field of 11 goes postward in the final Derby prep of the season.

Blue Grass Notes, The Day After

Blue Grass Notes, The Day After

One day after his 3-year-olds ran 1-2 in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), trainer Todd Pletcher said he will take a few days before deciding when Monba and Cowboy Cal will ship to Churchill Downs in preparation for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

Pletcher Duo One-Two in Blue Grass

Pletcher Duo One-Two in Blue Grass

Trainer Todd Pletcher had won just a single race at Keeneland going into the April 12 card. But he won again where it counted, and with Monba and Cowboy Cal finishing 1-2 in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), it looks like North America's leading trainer of 2007 will be headed to the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) after all.

Take Charge Lady Filly Wins in Debut

Take Charge Lady Filly Wins in Debut

During her racing days, Take Charge Lady was known as the "Queen of Keeneland." That moniker was branded as a result of the Dehere filly winning the Alcibiades (gr. II), Ashland (gr. I), as well as the Spinster Stakes (gr. I) on two occasions. So it was only fitting that the first foal out of the remarkable Take Charge Lady made her debut at the Lexington racetrack. And, it was also fitting that the regally-bred filly won.

Pletcher Works Pair For Blue Grass

Pletcher Works Pair For Blue Grass

Trainer Todd Pletcher was at Keeneland April 6 for the first time during the spring meet to oversee his horses stabled here, including the 3-year-olds Cowboy Cal and Monba. Both colts worked before sunrise, Monba in company with Ready's Image at about 6:15 a.m., and Cowboy Cal some 45 minutes later.

War Pass Has Questions to Answer in Wood

War Pass Has Questions to Answer in Wood

Nick Zito has not lost faith in War Pass. True, the colt has questions to answer after finishing last as the 1-20 choice in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III). But the trainer saw his 2007 juvenile champ at his best during a five-race winning streak that carried over into this season, and he's hoping that side is revealed again when the son of Cherokee Run heads a field of 10 in Aqueduct's $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I).

War Pass Draws Post Five in Wood

War Pass Draws Post Five in Wood

Robert LaPenta's War Pass has drawn post position number five in the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I), an April 5 prep for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) that has drawn a field of 10 3-year-old contenders.

Arkansas Derby Draws 110 Nominations

Arkansas Derby Draws 110 Nominations

Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner War Pass, current Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) favorite Pyro, and filly sensation Eight Belles head a list of 110 nominations for the 72nd running for the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park.

Illinois Derby Could Have Deep Field

Illinois Derby Could Have Deep Field

Entries for the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) won't be drawn until March 31, but from the looks of the nominations, the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) prep is shaping into a deep and competitive field with many of the nation's top trainers and horses participating.

Grasshopper Good to Go in New Orleans

Grasshopper Good to Go in New Orleans

The $500,000 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) is shaping up just like the Feb. 9 Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) did, and that's fine as far as Neil Howard is concerned. The trainer sends 4-year-old Grasshopper to the March 8 event looking for the same form the colt showed in his Mineshaft victory - and Howard fully expects similar results.

Davona Dale Packed with Talent

Davona Dale Packed with Talent

Cloverleaf Farm's homebred Bsharpsonata, winner of the Feb. 9 Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, heads a field of six talented fillies in the $150,000 Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) there March 1. Other runners include Game Face, American County, Robbie's Gal, and J Z Warrior.

General George Draws Solid Field

General George Draws Solid Field

Trainer Bruce Levine has conditioned Roddy Valente's homebred Bustin Stones through four victories -- including three black type wins -- and a successful comeback from surgery on both knees. But the 4-year-old son of City Zip will have to step it up a notch to remain undefeated when he tackles graded company for the first time in the Feb. 18 General George Handicap (gr. II) at Laurel Park.

Grasshopper Tackles Mineshaft

Grasshopper Tackles Mineshaft

Todd Pletcher trainee Magna Graduate has not scored a win since April 2007 and the Neil Howard-trained Grasshopper has not raced since a second-place finish in the Super Derby Sept. 22. Both are looking for a return to their winning ways in the $150,000 Mineshaft Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Feb. 9.

448 Early Triple Crown Nominations

448 Early Triple Crown Nominations

Headed by Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner and Eclipse Award champion 2-year-old War Pass, 448 horses were nominated to the 2008 Triple Crown during the early nomination period for the three classics. That figure ranks second behind 2007's record 450 early nominations.

Passion Gamely Takes La Habra

Passion Gamely Takes La Habra

Passion, under a determined ride from Rafael Bejarano, outlasted favored Ariege in a fierce stretch duel, taking the $100,000 La Habra Stakes (gr. IIIT) by a nose Feb. 2 on the downhill turf course at Santa Anita.

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