NBC will kick off coverage of the 2005 Visa Triple Crown season April 9, with the two-hour telecast of "NTRA Road to the Kentucky Derby." The show will air from 4-6 p.m. (ET) and will feature live coverage of the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), Wood Memorial (gr. I), and the Illinois Derby (gr. II).
The long Triple Crown trail for 3-year-olds gets starts in earnest on the West Coast Saturday with Santa Anita Park's $150,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II), which drew six entries.
A total of 10 grade I stakes and more than $12 million in stakes money will be up for grabs when Santa Anita Park kicks off its 85-day winter/spring meeting Dec. 26 with the Malibu Stakes (gr. I).
Will Rock Hard Ten qualify in graded earnings for the May 1 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and who will ride him if he does? Trainer Jason Orman doesn't know, but he plans to ship the third-place finisher in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) to Kentucky in hopes that he'll run.
- By Steve Haskin
From out of the fog that has shrouded the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) trail all year comes two colts with regal-sounding names. But for Castledale and Imperialism, it's been quite an odd journey getting to the footsteps of hallowed Churchill Downs.
In a wild stretch run, Castledale, a 30-1 shot, edged Rock Hard Ten by a head to win the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), the West Coast's major 3-year-old steppingstone to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
The question in the 67th Santa Anita Derby, with Lion Heart going to Lexington to run in the Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes instead of here, is who will go to the lead.
Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner Wimbledon has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite for Saturday's $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).
Although many have already written off this year's 3-year-old crop and are expecting a muddled mess in the 130th Kentucky Derby (gr. I), there are several feasible scenarios, beginning with this weekend's preps, that could actually make this an unforgettable Run for the Roses.
Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams' Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) candidate Lucky Pulpit, eighth in the San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) in his last start after displacing his palate, worked a half-mile in an easy :50 3/5 over Santa Anita's fast main track Tuesday morning.
Trainer Bob Baffert's gray Triple Crown duo of Preachinatthebar and Wimbledon were both out for workouts over Santa Anita's fast main track on Monday morning.
Stan Fulton's St Averil, who just missed by a nose in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) in his last start, drilled five furlongs in :58 2/5 at Santa Anita Sunday, in preparation for next Saturday's Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).
Trainer Patrick Biancone revealed late Friday that he's considering skipping the April 3 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) with grade I winner Lion Heart in favor of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland a week later.
Mike Smith came to a fork in the road with Lion Heart and Azeri and has decided on Lion Heart. Both horses are scheduled to run in grade I stakes on April 3, Lion Heart in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby and Azeri in the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park.
Trainer Jeff Mullins said he's leaning toward running Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) winner Castledale in the April 3 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) after the colt worked a bullet six furlongs in 1:11 4/5 over Santa Anita's fast main track on March 25.
Lacking experience and making his first stakes start, Rock Hard Ten faces a daunting task running in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 3.
Steve Taub's multiple grade II winner Imperialism, getting ready to make his final stop on the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) trail in the April 3 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), worked five furlongs in a bullet 1:00 4/5 over Hollywood Park's fast main track Tuesday.
Kentucky Derby hopeful Rock Hard Ten worked seven furlongs in a bullet 1:24 2/5 at Santa Anita on Saturday morning in preparation for a start in either the April 3 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) or the April 10 Arkansas Derby (gr. II).
Five 3-year-olds are pointing to the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 3, with three others awaiting developments this weekend before a decision is made.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who did not compete in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) last year for the first time since 1979, will miss the West Coast's premier 3-year-old race again this year.
The $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 3 is shaping up as one of the most competitive races of the year, with Wimbledon, Lion Heart, St Averil, and Imperialism all battling for West Coast supremacy among the 3-year-olds.
By Dick Downey -- The final local showdown for the Grade I Santa Anita Derby unfolds Sunday as some of the most well-known names in West Coast racing contest the Grade II San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 mile.
Undefeated 3-year-old Rock Hard Ten, impressive in his two victories thus far, is not definite for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 3, trainer Jason Orman said.
Steve Taub's San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) winner Imperialism is headed for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 3, where he will most likely meet up again with runner-up Lion Heart.
March 8, 1958
Silky Sullivan at Santa Anita
Rock Hard Ten stamped himself as a prime candidate for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 3, rolling to a sharp 1-¾ length victory over Teton Forest in a $53,872 allowance event for 3-year-olds Wednesday at Santa Anita Park.
Mike Mitchell has been training nearly 30 years but has never run a horse in the Kentucky Derby. If the 55-year-old Bakersfield, Calif. native gets to Churchill Downs on May 1, his hopes rest with Quinton's Gold Rush.
Feb. 19, 1955
Swaps in the Santa Anita Derby
Trainer Patrick Biancone said he plans to take the Southern California route to prepare Lion Heart for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Stan Fulton's Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) winner St Averil will continue on down the California trail to the Triple Crown, trainer Rafael Becerra said Sunday morning.
Stan E. Fulton's St Averil inched past Lucky Pulpit in mid-stretch and edged away to a 1 1/2-length victory in Saturday's $150,000 Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita.
Undefeated Lion Heart, a future book favorite for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), will take the Southern California route to the Run for the Roses on May 1, trainer Patrick Biancone said.
Santa Anita opens its winter-spring meet on Dec. 26. The California track will offer 60 stakes races in the meet's 84 days of racing.
Buddy Gil, who finished sixth in the May 3 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), is recovering from a May 7 surgery in which two bone chips were removed, one from his right knee, and one from his left ankle.
Sometimes, when you dig deep to try to find something, all you wind up with is a big hole. In Saturday's Santa Anita Derby, we kept digging, hoping to find the key to unlock Kentucky Derby 129. But in the end, not even Indiana Jones could locate the treasure most everyone had been looking for.
Although he was running with Lasix, Buddy Gil did "bleed slightly" through the nostrils during his victory Saturday in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), trainer Jeff Mullins said. It was the first time the horse has done so in a race, Mullins said.
Jockey Gary Stevens broke Bill Shoemaker's record with his ninth Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) victory Saturday aboard unheralded Buddy Gil.
Ministers Wild Cat was scratched from the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby Saturday with a bruised right hind foot, trainer Neil Drysdale said.
The key factors surrounding Saturday's Santa Anita Derby will be the pace scenario and the enticing overlays awaiting bettors. If you go by the morning line, Domestic Dispute at 15-1, Ministers Wild Cat at 10-1, and even Kafwain as third choice at 4-1 look awfully appealing.
A 10-horse field, including three 3-year-olds trained by Bob Baffert, were entered for Saturday's $750,000, grade I Santa Anita Derby at 1 1/8 miles.
Jockey Gary Stevens is excited about the progression of Buddy Gil and is anxious for his 3-year-olds actions to speak louder than words in Saturday's Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park.
It was Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) preview day at the California oval Monday as four of the eight or nine expected runners were put through their final drills for Saturday‚s $750,000 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prep.
Having to cope with a slow week like this right before the final push to Louisville is like being a little kid staring out the window on a rainy, summer day, trying to figure out what to do. So, what better time to indulge in a potpourri of minutia.
The Thoroughbred Corp.'s Kafwain was disqualified from his second-place finish in the March 9 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds because he raced with an excessive amount of the bronchodilator clenbuterol. Trainer Bob Baffert did not appeal so Kafwain could make his next racing engagement, but he has called for uniformity in medication rules.
The Aventura Stakes, Illinois Derby, and Santa Anita Derby will make up a national pick three April 5.
Man Among Men, in need of more time following his disappointing seventh in the San Felipe, probably will pass the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on april 5 and point to the $500,000 Arkansas Derby (Gr. II) at 1 1/8 miles at Oaklawn Park a week later.
Phil and Sheva Chess' Indian Express, a fast-closing fourth in the San Pedro Stakes last time out, will make his next start in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 5, trainer Bob Baffert said.
A trio of Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) hopefuls stretched their legs in morning workouts at Santa Anita Park on Tuesday in preparation for the track's final Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prep event. The 1 1/8-mile stakes, worth $750,000, is set to be contested on Saturday, Apr. 5.
Trainer Craig Dollase said he is "strongly considering" the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) for Logician, the $520,000 son of Tabasco Cat that prompted the pace and held well to finish a surprising fourth in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II).
Trainer Neil Drysdale said that Victor Espinoza, just removed as the rider of Kafwain, would ride Ministers Wild Cat in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 5.
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