Put up or shut up; now or never; do or die. You get the picture. With the running of Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) and Arkansas Derby (gr. II), we finally will have a good idea who will be in the starting lineup for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
First Samurai was installed as the 8-5 favorite when he drew post position five in the nine-horse field entered for Saturday's 82nd running of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Ky.
Rafael Bejarano, who rides Flashy Bull in Saturday's Florida Derby (gr. I), has been named as the new rider for First Samurai, replacing Edgar Prado. First Samurai is scheduled to make his next start in the April 15 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Cecil Peacock's Brother Derek heads an impressive list of 137 3-year-olds nominated to Keeneland's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) April 15. The race will be televised live by ABC Sports from 5 to 6 p.m. (ET).
Trainer Todd Pletcher was all smiles at Churchill Downs Sunday morning after watching two of his three Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contenders record their final works for the May 7 Run for the Roses.
The workout tab at Churchill Downs for horses pointing toward the May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) continued to be light Wednesday, with only classic contender Consolidator going through the paces.
Gary and Mary West's High Limit, winner of the Louisiana Derby (gr. II), was installed the 9-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.
Keeneland has moved Wednesday's post position draw for the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), to be contested over 1 1/8 miles Saturday, from the paddock to inside the sales pavilion due to expected inclement weather.
Mr Sword tuned up for Saturday's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland with a five-furlong breeze Tuesday morning over the Central Kentucky oval. The Jennifer Pedersen-trainee got the distance in :57 4/5.
Robert and Beverly Lewis' Consolidator sparkled in a swift five furlong breeze Sunday at Churchill Downs that marked his final major prep for Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.
There was plenty of pre-race action at Keeneland Race Course Tuesday morning as a handful of potential Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) runners, including a possible Marker's Mark Mile (gr. IT) and Ashland Stakes (gr. I) starter hit the oval. Opening day at Keeneland is April 8.
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.
Tracy Farmer's Sun King, winner of both his starts this year including the Tampa Bay Derby, breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:02 4/5 at Churchill Downs Monday in preparation for the April 16 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Declan's Moon, champion 2-year-old colt last year, and Wilko, winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), are among the 126 nominations for Keeneland's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
"CITGO Racing to the Kentucky Derby," a nine-show series on the ABC and ESPN networks that provides coverage of key Visa Triple Crown prep races, returns in March, with coverage of the March 5 Fountain of Youth (gr. II) and Swale Stakes (gr. II) from Gulfstream Park.
One of North America's most lucrative stakes programs will be even richer for spring 2005, track officials at Keeneland announced Tuesday.
The Keeneland Association honored its contestants for Saturday's running of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) Thursday evening with a special dinner at the Keene Barn entertainment complex on the Keeneland grounds. The connections from most of the eight runners, Marylou Whitney Stable's Birdstone was scratched earlier in the day, were interviewed following the dinner, and following are some of the comments made by them.
Lion Heart was installed the 5-2 morning line favorite against eight other 3-year-olds for Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland and trainer Patrick Biancone agreed. "He's that good and I hope he gets to show it on the track," Biancone said.
Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) hopefuls Lion Heart and Preachinatthebar led the Monday morning worktab at Santa Anita. Lion Heart earned the bullet for five furlongs in :58 2/5 and Preachinatthebar posted a time of :59 1/5 for the same distance.
Juvenile champion Action This Day will make his longest excursion when he ships April 5 to Keeneland for the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on April 10, but Richard Mandella does not anticipate any problems with his 3-year-old.
When racing returns to Central Kentucky, TVG will air live on-site coverage of Keeneland's 15-day Spring Meet, beginning April 2 through April 23. TVG's live coverage will air from 3:00-5:00 p.m. (est) on "Trackside Live!: Keeneland/Aqueduct" and will be simulcast on Fox Sports Net 2 on 11 of the 15 days.
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.
Trainer Nick Zito said Buckram Oak Farm's Eurosilver, one of the leading candidates for the Triple Crown events, is being treated for an infection and will miss the April 10 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.
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.
The Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on April 10 is the racing highlight of the new "Best of the Bluegrass" festival that kicks off April 4 in Lexington.
Almost all of the leading contenders for the Visa Triple Crown Challenge, including trainer Nick Zito's highly regarded twosome of Birdstone and Eurosilver, are among 157 nominees to Keeneland's $750,000, Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I). The 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds will be run on Saturday, April 10, three weeks before the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). It will be televised live on NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. (ET).
Overnight ratings for NBC's coverage of major Triple Crown prep races Saturday, April 12, showed a slight increase in viewership over last year's numbers.
Jockey Tony Farina, who rode Brancusi, was upset with criticism leveled at him after a foul claim by jockey Kent Desormeaux, aboard Crowned Dancer in Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.
Edmund Gann's Peace Rules, winner of the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) in his last start, was installed the 7-5 morning line favorite after drawing post two for Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.
Offlee Wild, trained by T. V. Smith, worked a half-mile at Gulfstream Park Sunday in :48 1/5. At Calder, Supah Blitz, second in the Fountain of Youth (gr. I) and fourth in the Florida Derby (gr. I) worked five furlongs in 1:01 handily.
Ten Cents A Shine, who finished eighth in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) earlier this month, will make his next start in the $500,000 Arkansas Derby (gr. II) on April 12, owner Ken Ramsey said. The son of Devil His Due worked one mile in 1:38 2/5 at Santa Anita Sunday morning for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
Peace Rules and Ocean Terrace are among the 141 horses nominated to the April 15 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.
Nineteen stakes worth $3.675 million will be run during Keeneland's 15-day spring meet from April 4-25.
As the road to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) gets shorter, the telecasts of premier 3-year-old Thoroughbred racing heats up in prep races televised on "Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby," the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA)-produced series on the ESPN networks.
Keeneland's two major stepping stones to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) will be televised nationally during the April 5-26 spring race meeting.
Opening weekend at Keeneland Race Course is one week away. The 2002 program promises to one of the best ever as top purses, and top horses highlight the meet.
Almost every leading contender for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is among the 102 3-year-olds nominated to the 78th running of the $750,000Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) to be run on Saturday, April 13 during Keeneland's spring meeting.
Two television networks will provide 2 1/2 hours of coverage of major Triple Crown preps April 13.
Nineteen stakes worth $3.65 million will be offered during Keeneland's 16-day spring meet from April 5-26. Anchoring the rich stakes program are two grade I races -- the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass for 3-year-olds and the $500,000 Ashland Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
Wagering on Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Day program totaled an all-time Keeneland record of $17,076,993, topping the previous high for a single day by more than $2.8 million.
Saturday's mutuel handle increased 31 percent from the corresponding day in 2000 and erased the previous record of $14,202,152 set on Blue Grass Day in 1999. Win, place and show wagering on the Blue Grass totaled $1,924,646, topping Keeneland's single-race record.
Millennium Wind and Bonnie Scot, two colts who could compete in Saturday's grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, turned in impressive drills at the track Tuesday morning in preparation for the $750,000 event at 1 1/8 miles. Millennium Wind went the fastest of 11 horses that worked five furlongs.
Ol' Memorial Stable and Michael Tabor's A P Valentine turned in his final tune-up for Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) when he worked five furlongs in 1:00 at Keeneland on Monday. The A. P. Indy colt, who was on the track shortly before the maintenance break, worked in company with the older Inca Slew.
In an effort to promote the road to the Kentucky Derby in the Derby's back yard, Keeneland and sister track Turfway Park have announced a $1-million bonus for a horse that wins three of four prep races, track officials announced Thursday. The races involved are the Turfway Spiral Stakes, the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, the Coolmore Lexington Stakes, and the Kentucky Derby.
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