With the serious workouts over and a bit of a lull in activity before Saturday's second leg of the Triple Crown, Thursday's Alibi Breakfast was conducted on a lighter note.
Trainer Carl Nafzger was relaxed at the Preakness barn Thursday morning. And, why shouldn't he be.
Street Sense and Hard Spun, the one-two finishers in the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, drew outside post positions for Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I), which attracted a field of nine.
Hard Spun completed his preparations for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) with a quarter-mile blowout under jockey Mario Pino May 16 at Delaware Park.
Circular Quay is now headed for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). It wasn't so much a question of why the colt should run in the Preakness, but why shouldn't he run? He's obviously sound, fit, and ready, and this is the perfect spot for him.
Street Sense, winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) completed his Preakness preparations Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs. He ships to Pimlico on Wednesday.
By Bill Nack - The Derby, unique and demanding, requires that a horse be absolutely dead fit to win it.
Steve Asmussen trainee Curlin, who finished third in the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), tuned up for Saturday's 132nd running of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) with an easy half-mile work on Monday at Churchill Downs.
Almost a week has gone by since the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and all the analyses have been written. While it's time to look ahead to the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), there still are some Derby points that are worth discussing.
Larry Jones, who is still having visions of Street Sense getting shut off somewhere - anywhere - in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), is just about ready to drop what might have been and focus all his attention on what will be.
Silks embellished with Maker's Mark's signature red sealing wax design and autographed by this year's Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel and several other riders will be auctioned off to raise funds for the Mint Jubilee Charities.
Steady growth in interstate wagering, total handle and purse payouts highlighted the 81st season of live thoroughbred racing at Tampa Bay Downs, which ended May 6. The Oldsmar, Fla., track also celebrated a record single-day attendance May 5 when a crowd of 11,014 witnessed Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) winner Street Sense capture the 133rd Kentucky Derby.
The 133rd Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) was about a king, a queen, and a bunch of country boys. It was about a near-record crowd that erupted in celebration for its transplanted hometown heroes -- Street Sense, Carl Nafzger, and Calvin Borel. And it was about the end of a 23-year-old jinx. But most importantly, it was about class.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - Finally, after 23 years, Breeders' Cup officials can let out a sigh of relief. James Tafel's Street Sense proved that life does exist for a horse after winning the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
- By Dan Liebman
By Dan Liebman - More than anything else, this year's Run for the Roses is about relationships...and myths.
Larry Jones, in his familiar white cowboy hat, has become a recognizable figure during the build-up to the Triple Crown. The personable 50-year old conditioner might be switching to a black cowboy hat as he and his star Hard Spun hope to spoil the Triple Crown hopes of Street Sense and trainer Carl Nafzger in the $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico Race Course on May 19.
Jockey Calvin Borel's victory aboard James Tafel's Street Sense in the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) was his first in the Run for the Roses, and now that special moment at Churchill Downs will take the Louisiana native to a White House state dinner in honor of Queen Elizabeth II of England.
Early visitors to the stable area at Churchill Downs received a rare treat Sunday morning when Street Sense jogged a mile one day after winning the Kentucky Derby.
When Street Sense moves on to Pimlico Race Course for the May 19 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the Carl Nafzger-trained colt is likely to face only a few of the 19 horses he defeated in Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
The total on-track and all-sources wagering on the 2007 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) program at Churchill Downs nearly matched last year's record-setting totals at the Louisville track.
The jinx has been broken. Calvin Borel and Street Sense won the $2.2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) Saturday, the first Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner to return at 3 and win the Derby.
Jim Tafel's Street Sense, the champion 2-year-old of 2006, is the favorite for Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The advance wagering pool is still open but at 7 p.m. (Eastern), Street Sense was 9-2.
Arriving in Kentucky two weeks ago, the feeling here was that there were two horses in particular to concentrate on who looked to be coming into the Derby with enough angles to make them live at a decent price. After watching most of the Derby horses work and gallop at Keeneland and Churchill, things have changed a bit, as has track condition.
From Aristides in 1875 to Barbaro in 2006, homebred runners have a successful history in the Run for the Roses, with 49 of 132 winners carrying the colors of their breeders into the winner's circle at Churchill Downs.
With Curlin installed as the 7-2 morning line favorite for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), it's interesting to take a look at favorites throughout history to see how they performed on the first Saturday in May.
Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Curlin was installed the moderate 7-2 morning line favorite for Saturday's $2 million, 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) when post positions were drawn Wednesday.
The connections of Storm in May will have first choice when post positions are selected later this evening thanks to pulling the No. 1 pill during the pill pull at the racing office. In all 22 horses were entered. Reporting for Duty and Delightful Kiss did not draw into the body of the field due to lack of enough graded earnings.
It was 11:15, and the 11 a.m. post position selection draw at the racing office still had not begun, as owners and trainers of Kentucky Derby horses paced back and forth or just stood anxiously waiting to see if all their hard work was about to be nullified by some random, ominous-sounding number.
Although trainer Doug O'Neill has played a significant role in some of racing's biggest days, on May 5 he will experience saddling a Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contender for the first time. After the defection of his trainee Cobalt Blue, O'Neill will be saddling two horses in the Derby, Great Hunter and Liquidity
Three Kentucky Derby contenders will be a few days shy of their actual third birthday prior to the First Saturday in May.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - For some, just getting a horse to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May is the realization of a dream. For others who've been there before, it's about winning -- pure and simple.
Jim Tafel's Street Sense completed his final preparations for Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) when he worked five furlongs in 1:01 at Churchill Downs on Tuesday, May 1.
Welcome to Derby Week, or week 11 of the "Starting Gate," one person's look at this year's Kentucky Derby lineup. As we approach Wednesday, entry day, this how we would handicap the top 20 contenders for the May 5 Run for the Roses. Actual entry into America's greatest race is reliant on graded stakes earnings -- this lineup is based on some speculation, past performances, and potential performance on Saturday.
When I hear about the Yumfecta and Yum! Brands, I suddenly have an urge for a Root Beer Float...
The weather today in Louisville couldn't be better. A good-sized crowd has amassed under the Twin Spires.
To aid in unscientific handicapping (and for the entertainment of trivia aficionados), here are the stories behind the titles of this year's contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
One Kentucky Oaks and four Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (both gr. I) contenders will be helping young people to obtain a college degree. As part of the Race For Education's Racehorse Nomination Program, a portion of any earnings by Street Sense, Cowtown Cat, Any Given Saturday, Sam P., and Appealing Zophie will go to the non-profit organization, which funds scholarships and educational grants for young people in the equine industry.
The racing industry's equine stars have one shot at winning the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr.I). Their riders, on the other hand, keep coming back for more. Here are the Derby records of several jockeys with prospective mounts in this year's Run for the Roses.
There was one disappointing aspect of Tuesday morning's brief activity at Churchill Downs. With 11 days still left until the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), it would come as a major surprise - no, make that a shock - if any horse turns in a more impressive workout than Street Sense's five-furlong masterpiece.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - This year brings us to a couple of tried and tested chapters from the unwritten trainers' manual regarding the Kentucky Derby: the "two-prep" and "unraced juvenile" rules.
James Tafel's champion colt Street Sense turned in his final serious Kentucky Derby workout Tuesday, April 24, going five furlongs in an impressive :59 over a fast track at Churchill Downs.
Sheikh Mohammed's broodmare band has taken a powerful turn. Late last year in the name of Darley, Sheikh Mohammed privately purchased the dams of top Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) hopefuls Street Sense and Scat Daddy.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has assigned jockeys to all of his potential starters for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Meanwhile, with 15 days remaining until the running of the 133rd Derby, top agents are ironing out plans for their riders' May 5 mounts.
The death of Buddy Holly on Feb. 3, 1959 was "the day the music died." April 14, 2007 was the day dirt racing in America died. That may sound harsh and premature, but if races like the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) are what we have to look forward to in the future, then we have indeed seen the beginning of the end of dirt racing as we know it.
Unbeaten Curlin, a dazzling winner of the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) on Saturday, emerged as a strong favorite over such accomplished rivals as 2006 2-year-old champion Street Sense and Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Nobiz Like Shobiz when betting drew to a close in the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2007 Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
The first five finishers in yesterday's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) -- Dominican, Street Sense, Zanjero, Teuflesberg and Great Hunter -- are all, according to their connections, pointing toward a start in the May 5 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Four of those five were separated by only a neck at the wire in yesterday's race.
Silverton Hill's Dominican moved into the Triple Crown picture when he came from well behind to nose Street Sense, last year's 2-year-old champion, on the wire of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) Saturday on the all-weather track at Keeneland.
Unbeaten Curlin, the morning line favorite for Saturday's $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park, is a slight favorite over juvenile champion Street Sense and Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Scat Daddy as betting on the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2007 Kentucky Derby Future Wager reached its midway point.
The silks of owner James B. Tafel will be prominent in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland in Lexington--and during Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach this weekend in California.
Well, this is it, the final major Derby prep weekend. After this, there is only the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) for horses hoping to hop aboard at the last minute. All eyes now turn to Street Sense, who can emerge from the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) as a solid Derby favorite. But he has to get by Great Hunter first.
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