With the final Derby preps approaching, there is no more room for error. It's time to earn your way into the Run for the Roses or pack up and go home. The three graded stakes this weekend, the grade I Santa Anita Derby and Wood Memorial and grade II Illinois Derby, offer intriguing plot lines that will make or break aspiring Derby hopefuls.
Georgie Boy, winner of the grade II San Vicente and San Felipe Stakes, will miss the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) due to a pulled back muscle.
Sham Stakes winner Colonel John, one of the favorites for the April 5 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and a major Triple Crown contender, worked six furlongs in 1:10.80 March 31 at Santa Anita Park.
El Gato Malo and Georgie Boy turned in bullet moves March 29 at Hollywood Park in their final major works for next week's Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).
Craig Dollase thinks grade III winner El Gato Malo will be even tougher in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 5 thanks to his recent defeat.
MAHUBAH'S CORNER, by Avalyn Hunter
When Fumie Takahashi's 4-year-old colt Matsurida Gogh swept across the finish line of the Arima Kinen (JPN-I), all Japan was once again reminded of the loss of Sunday Silence. A member of the stallion's last crop, Matsurida Gogh's upset victory, his first in a group I event, placed an exclamation point on the legacy of Japan's greatest sire.
Veteran jockey Mark Guidry, 21st on the all-time list of North American riders with more than 5,000 victories, plans to close out his riding career Nov. 10 at Churchill Downs.
Trainer Nick Zito said it's "all systems go" for Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) after C P West worked a half-mile at Belmont Park May 14. Meanwhile, Hard Spun, King of the Roxy, Xchanger, and Mint Slewlep all prepped for their run at the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle five contenders to this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on May 5. Here, he reviews his horses' running styles and talks strategy before the big race.
We had a little bit of everything this week, with Nobiz Like Shobiz back to his winning ways; the dejaÂ vu-like return of Team Giacomo; and some shifts in the Todd Pletcher power structure. So, with links to Funny Cide and Giacomo providing a sense of recent history, the Kentucky Derby trail heads into its final big weekend of preps.
It was all in the genes for Tiago, the half-brother to 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo who registered a timely come-from-behind victory in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) Saturday.
Hard to believe the Santa Anita Derby looks like the best betting race of the big three Triple Crown preps on Saturday. Or is it?
Liquidity, hoping to bounce back from a sixth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) on March 10, has been installed as the 5-2 favorite for Saturday's $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) for 3-year-olds.
Santa Anita Oaks winner Rags to Riches, who would have been only the fourth filly to start in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) in 70 runnings, will instead go "straight to the Kentucky Oaks," trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday morning.
With favored Ravel out of the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) with an injury, new candidates Black Seventeen and Level Red have surfaced for the 70th running of the the West Coast's major 3-year-old steppingstone on April 7.
With the withdrawal of Ravel from the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) due to an injury, Todd Pletcher and co-owner Jack Wolf have decided to run Robert B. Lewis (gr. II) runner-up Sam P. at Santa Anita, instead of the Illinois Derby (gr. II), as originally planned.
Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Brother Derek breezed a half-mile in :49 1/5 over a muddy track at Churchill Downs Monday in his final preparation for Saturday's Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Brother Derek breezed five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 at Santa Anita Monday.
Rafael Bejarano missed Keeneland's card to ride nine mounts in Southern California Saturday, including Triple Crown candidate Point Determined in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). The trip proved worthwhile when six of Bejarano's horses – four in succession – brought him to the winner's circle.
The heavily backed Brother Derek heads for next month's Run for the Roses as the likely favorite after he ran as expected in an easy gate-to-wire victory Saturday in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) before 54,189.
With expected Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) contender Fast Parade taking a pass, things look even better for Brother Derek. But will he have it all his way?
The stars were out in full force Sunday morning, as many of the leading Derby contenders tuned up for next Saturday's grade I Santa Anita Derby and Wood Memorial.
Borderland Derby winner Indy Wildcat could have returned to New Mexico's Sunland Park for Saturday's rich WinStar Derby, but trainer and part owner Paula Capestro chose instead to stay home for the April 8 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).
Brother Derek, current favorite in the Kentucky Derby Future Book, breezed six furlongs Sunday morning under regular rider Alex Solis in a bullet 1:11 in preparation for the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 8.
Trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday that he could enter as many as four horses in the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) Saturday at Santa Anita.
Brother Derek came out of his victory in Saturday's Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park with a minor scrape but trainer Dan Hendricks said it won't impede his schedule en route to the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 8.
A day after Brother Derek squared his record with Stevie Wonderboy at one win apiece with a gate-to-wire victory in Saturday's San Rafael Stakes (gr. II), the 3-year-old colts were on course to meet once more in the Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita on March 4.
Trainer Doug O'Neill has mapped out a program that would keep Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Stevie Wonderboy in Southern California until the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) on May 6.
A lawsuit filed on behalf of those who wagered on Sweet Catomine in last April's Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) was dismissed by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge last week.
Horse transportation driver Dean Kerkhoff was fined $500 by Hollywood Park stewards for his role in misidentifying Pam and Marty Wygod's champion Sweet Catomine as a stable pony before transporting her from Santa Anita to Alamo Pintado Equine Clinic near Los Olivos and back in early April.
Mike Smith stood by himself in front of the detention barn on the Churchill Downs backstretch. The May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) was still a week and a half away, and the mass influx of media was not due for several days. Smith, who had been riding regularly at Keeneland, gazed out at the track, watching the morning activities.
Fog City Stable's Buzzards Bay, surprise winner of the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), tuned up for his engagement in Saturday's 131st running of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) with a bullet six-furlong workout in 1:11 2/5 Monday morning at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.
Trainer Julio Canani became the third person facing a California Horse Racing Board complaint regarding the health and activities of Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) favorite Sweet Catomine during the week prior to the April 9 race.
Embattled owner Marty Wygod fired back Tuesday at the complaints filed against him by the California Horse Racing Board concerning events around Sweet Catomine's run in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) last Saturday.
The California Horse Racing Board filed complaints Monday against Martin J. Wygod, the owner of Sweet Catomine, and a racehorse transport driver after determining the champion filly was falsely identified to the stable gate guard as a "pony" when she left Santa Anita at 3 a.m. April 4 for special medical treatment and again when she returned to the stable area the following night.
Fog City Stable's Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Buzzards Bay will return to the track on Tuesday morning, trainer Jeff Mullins said, where he will begin preparations for a likely next start in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
In continuing fallout from the weekend loss by champion Sweet Catomine in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), four or five horses previously trained by Julio Canani for owners Marty and Pam Wygod are being transferred to trainer John Shirreffs.
Comments made by Sweet Catomine co-owner Marty Wygod after her flop as the odds-on favorite in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 9 spurred an investigation into the champion filly's pre-race activities and condition.
Trainer Jeff Mullins became the first trainer to win three consecutive editions of the Santa Anita Derby when his 30-1 outsider Buzzards Bay registered a gutty score by a half-length over 64-1 shot General John B Saturday.
This is a bad week for the Future Wager if you like anyone in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), Wood Memorial (gr. I), or Illinois Derby (gr. II). The only way you can get a decent price in those races is if you happen to like a horse who gets beat and feel he might move forward off it.
NBC Sports will kick off coverage of the 2005 Visa Triple Crown season Saturday with a two-hour telecast of "NTRA Road to the Kentucky Derby." The broadcast begins 4 p.m. ET and will feature live coverage of the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) from Santa Anita Park; Wood Memorial (gr. I) from Aqueduct.; and the Illinois Derby (gr. II) from Hawthorne Race Course.
Marty Wygod, owner of Sweet Catomine, said Tuesday on a national teleconference that if his filly does not run in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), she most likely will not ship to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). Sweet Catomine is scheduled to face colts this weekend in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association will offer a national pick three wager "the NTRA Spring Pick 3" on three of the nationally televised races airing live April 9 on NBC from 4-6 p.m.
Champion Sweet Catomine was put through her final prep before she faces the boys for the first time in Saturday's $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), topping a Southen California work tab that included several of her rivals.
Frankie Dettori, who rode Wilko to a 28-1 upset in the 2004 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Lone Star Park, will fly in from Europe and be aboard the colt once more in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 9.
Champion Sweet Catomine as well as Don't Get Mad, Giacamo, and Buzzards Bay worked in Southern California over the last two days in preparation for the April 9 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).
El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) runner-up Wannawinemall, set to make his next start in the April 9 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), worked six furlongs in 1:12 4/5 under trainer Kristin Mulhall at Santa Anita Sunday morning.
B. Wayne Hughes said Thursday morning that Don't Get Mad will run in the grade I Santa Anita Derby April 9 rather than the April 16 Arkansas Derby (gr. II), for which the son of Stephen Got Even was also being considered.
Rerun and the California Equine Retirement Foundation will present a "Moneigh" exhibit at Santa Anita Park April 9, the same day as the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), the final West Coast prep race for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). The Moneigh sale will be held adjacent to the paddock area.
Mr. and Mrs. Martin Wygod's champion Sweet Catomine, getting ready to take on males for the first time in the April 9 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), worked a half-mile in :49 under regular jockey Corey Nakatani over Santa Anita's fast main track Monday morning.
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