Pyro may be on fire going into the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland April 12, but 11 other runners will attempt to douse his Derby dreams in the 1 1/8-mile event.
Video coverage and interviews from the April 9 post position draw for the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), to be run Sat., Apr. 9 at Keeneland.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner Pyro turned in his final major prep for Saturday's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) by working a half-mile in :50.60 early Monday morning at Keeneland.
Unbeaten Big Brown, the dominating winner of last week's Florida Derby (gr. I), took on the look of the ultimate favorite for the $2-million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) when he finished as a solid 3-1 choice in the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2008 Derby Future Wager.
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.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro, winner of the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) and the second choice at 9-2 in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) future wager pool number three, schooled in the paddock at Keeneland April 5
IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr.'s Big Brown, the unbeaten winner of the Florida Derby (gr. I), remained the top choice of Kentucky Derby fans as the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager reached its midway point April 4.
Unbeaten newcomer Big Brown, a dazzling five-length winner in his stakes debut in the $1-million Florida Derby (gr. I), has been installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite for the third and final pool for Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which opens its four-day run April 3.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro, winner of the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) and Louisiana Derby (gr. II) in his two starts this year, continued his preparations for the April 12 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) by working six furlongs in 1:14.60 March 31 at Keeneland.
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.
Rick Dutrow may be staying in the United States this weekend, but his runners in Dubai are not to be discounted. On March 29, Benny the Bull tackles the Golden Shaheen while Diamond Stripes aims for the Godolphin Mile.
Despite being ranked No. 1 or 2 on just about every Derby poll, Pyro, for some reason, has been branded by many a slow horse and simply the best of a bad lot. Yes, the pace in his two starts this year has been slow, and his final times have not exactly set the Fair Grounds teletimer aflame, but is this horse really as slow as many of the experts say he is?
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro, early favorite for the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I), worked five furlongs in 1:02 2/5 the morning of March 24 over Keeneland's main Polytrack surface.
It's been said that special Thoroughbreds have a certain look and feel about them that is different than your average horse. Pyro is proof.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro, likely favorite for Keeneland's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) April 12, stretched his legs in an easy mile gallop March 20 over the main Polytrack.
HRTV's originally produced weekly show on top Derby prospects and the road to the Triple Crown. This week's episode includes a detailed analysis of the Louisiana Derby, an Into Mischief update, and more on Big Brown, plus previews of the San Felipe, Rebel, and Tampa Bay Derby.
One year ago, Carl Nafzger was the hottest name in horse racing, as Street Sense, starting with his Tampa Bay Derby victory, was just beginning his run towards the Kentucky Derby. In this exclusive Q & A, see what Nafzger remembers most about Street Sense's Derby win, and who the veteran trainer likes in this year's Classic.
A half-brother to classics contender Pyro was born March 12 at 10:15 p.m. at the Winchell family's Corinthia near Lexington.
- By Steve Haskin
Now that he's become the first horse to put together two big stakes wins this year, Pyro deserves to return to the top of the list. Showing the ability to sit closer to the pace makes him all the more dangerous; the one to beat.
On Saturday, in one corner of the country, the mighty Pyro once again crushed his foes, winning the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) in grand style. On the same day, in the opposite corner of the country, a humbly-bred colt who sold for meager $1,000 as a yearling, Autism Awareness, mowed down his field to win the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III).
Despite three losses to reigning 2-year-old champion War Pass, Winchell Thoroughbreds' homebred Pyro is the 4-1 favorite as Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager closed March 9.
Pyro, winner of the March 8 Louisiana Derby (gr. II), will stand at Sheikh Mohammed's Darley operation in Lexington upon completion of his racing career.
War Pass and Pyro are each at odds of 4-1 heading into the final day of wagering for Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager after conclusion of betting March 8.
The doubters said that Pyro's last-to-first victory in the Risen Star (gr. III) was not as good as it looked. There won't be much for the skeptics to say after the Pulpit colt's latest performance, a commanding three-length score in the $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) March 8 at Fair Grounds, a victory that cemented the Steve Asmussen trainee as one of the top two 3-year-olds in the country.
War Pass, who kicked off his 2008 Triple Crown campaign with an allowance victory at Gulfstream Feb. 24, stood as the solid 5-2 favorite as the first day of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2 drew to a close March 6.
We've all heard it said. It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game. That will be our focus when Pyro runs in Saturday's Grade II Louisiana Derby.
With less than two months until the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), it is time that some of the highly-touted 3-year-olds begin to answer our questions. Many of those answers will be provided March 8 at Fair Grounds, when nine top challengers will do battle in the $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II).
With some important Triple Crown prep races on tap for the weekend of March 8, many trainers are looking for victories that could bring them closer to stamping their contenders' tickets for the first Saturday in May.
Unbeaten 2-year-old champion War Pass, winner of the $2-million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), and Pyro, the runner-up in the Juvenile and winner of the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III), are the early favorites for Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which opens Mar. 6.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro, who stamped himself as a leading Triple Crown contender after his win in last month's Risen Star Stakes (gr. III), is the 7-5 morning-line choice in a field of nine 3-year-olds entered in the March 8 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds.
Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) winner Pyro and Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) winner Cool Coal Man headline a talented roster of 167 3-year-olds nominated to Keeneland's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), to be held Saturday, April 12.
Visionaire, third to Pyro in the Risen Star Stakes (gr.III) at the Fair Grounds Feb. 9, will run next in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct March 8, majority owner Barry Irwin said Feb. 28.
A total of 156 horses were nominated for the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) March 22 at Turfway Park.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro, impressive winner of the Feb. 9 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds, worked Feb. 18 at the New Orleans track and had to avoid a loose horse in the process.
Racing journalists and for that matter journalists in general are noted for their weakness for a bad pun, and the impressive Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) winner Pyro has already given rise to more than a few. Therefore, I must ask the reader's indulgence, or at least credit for having made nothing more than a Freudian Slip, when I say that my first thought on looking at Pyro's pedigree was that the family has been "on fire" in recent years.
The Kentucky Derby trail received the spark it had been looking for when Pyro put on a spectacular exhibition in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III). There is no doubt Pyro is a top-class horse with a powerful closing kick, but before we get too euphoric, let's not forget that this has happened many times at Fair Grounds.
Odds on Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro, the impressive winner of the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) Feb. 9, closed at 5-1 in Pool 1 of the Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
The two early Kentucky Derby favorites, one in Lousiana, the other in Florida, are on schedule for their respective trainers.
From the cavalry charge that entered the head of the lane for the $300,000 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds, a star emerged. Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro smoked the competition, making a huge last-to-first move under Shaun Bridgmohan at Fair Grounds Feb. 9.
The field, at odds of 6-5, continued to show the way at the conclusion of the second day of the 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager's opening pool Dec. 8.
Last year, trainer Steve Asmussen finished third in the grade III Risen Star Stakes, beaten by shippers from California and Florida. This year, he appears to have the upper hand with Pyro.
This year's Future Wager field includes some interesting morning line odds, withy only five of the 23 horses higher than 20-1 and only three less than 15-1. That means that 15 horses are either 15-1 or 20-1. That all seems to imply that no one -- not even the oddsmaker -- has a clue what to make of this year's classic crop so far.
Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia has installed the "all others" bet as the strong 5-2 favorite in his morning-line odds for Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which begins its four-day run at noon Feb. 7 at racetracks and satellite wagering outlets across the United States and Canada.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' homebred Pyro will make his 3-year-old debut in the $300,000 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Feb. 9, but don't think the Steve Asmussen trainee lacks experience. Prior to a Feb. 5 move over the Louisiana oval, his last two works were impressive bullets fired in company with 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin.
Horse of the Year Curlin, pointing toward a 4-year-old campaign, and 3-year-old contender Pyro were noses apart at the finish of a six-furlong tandem workout officially timed in 1:13 at Fair Grounds Jan. 30.
The 2007 Horse of the Year breezed five furlongs with stablemate Pyro Jan. 24 at Fair Grounds.
Horse of the Year favorite Curlin, gearing up for a potential 4-year-old campaign, worked a half-mile in :53 2/5 seconds Jan. 6 at Fair Grounds.
Once more, War Pass has proven that no one can run with him. Robert LaPenta's undefeated colt set a fast pace on a sloppy Monmouth Park strip and took command early on the far turn, finishing up nicely to register a 4 3/4-length in the $2 million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Oct. 27.
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