H. L. Mencken once wrote, "The theory seems to be that as long as man is a failure, he is one of God's children, but that as soon as he succeeds he is taken over by the devil." On May 4, the "devils" got their due...again. Bob Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas, the same two masters of the racing universe who captured five consecutive Kentucky Derbys (gr. I) from 1995 to 1999, were allowed to team up with 20-1 War Emblem and 23-1 Proud Citizen for the largest exacta payoff in Derby history.
With so many classy speed horses and stalkers in this year's Derby, we were particularly interested in the final works by two of the closers whom we feel have a good chance to come charging late and who have the pedigrees to get the mile and a quarter.
Starlight Stable's Harlan's Holiday, the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) and Florida Derby (gr. I) winner and likely favorite for the Kentucky Derby, underwent his final workout for Saturday's classic when he breezed a half-mile in :49 3/5.
Once again, we had leading Kentucky Derby contenders turning is totally dissimilar works, which just adds to this year's complicated Derby picture.
Probable Kentucky Derby favorite Harlan's Holiday turned in a fast workout at Churchill Downs on Wednesday, with trainer Ken McPeek expressing satisfaction in how the colt is coming into the season's first classic.
Officer is out of Saturday's Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) because of a "suspicious area" discovered on his left front tendon.
Kentucky Derby contender War Emblem, purchased by The Thoroughbred Corp. after his win in the Illinois Derby (gr. II), sparkled at Churchill Downs Thursday in his first work for new trainer Bob Baffert.
A slight chance remains that the Thoroughbred Corp.'s Officer will run in the Kentucky Derby, but trainer Bob Baffert first needs to see an impressive performance in Saturday's Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.
The decision to scratch One Tuff Fox from the Illinois Derby (gr. II) was mandated by state racing rules and was in the best interest of the wagering public, chief state Steward Eddie Arroyo said Sunday
Russell L. Reineman Stable's Pretty Gale, a half-sister of Illinois Derby winner War Emblem, beat Lunar Star by 7 1/4 lengths in the $100,000 Lady Hallie Handicap at Sportsman's Park on Sunday.
Trainer Frank Springer spent his final day with War Emblem Thursday, as the son of Our Emblem will be transferred to Bob Baffert's barn at Churchill Downs Friday barring anything unforeseen happening to stop the sale of the colt to The Thoroughbred Corp.
Time is running out for this year's Derby picture to come into focus. Heavy hitters Came Home, Repent, and Johannesburg are in the books, but the questions continue.
Illinois Derby (gr. II) winner War Emblem was shipped to Kentucky by van Sunday, but the son of Our Emblem is still not considered a likely Kentucky Derby (gr. I) starter.
California trainer David La Croix verbalized what most of the entrants were thinking in the days leading up to the April 6 Illinois Derby (gr. II) when he said he was looking for a "back door" to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) for Fonz's.
Headed by Repent and Changeintheweather, at least nine 3-year-olds are expected to be entered for Saturday's grade II, $500,000 Illinois Derby at Sportsman's Park.
For some owners and trainers, the $100,000 LeComte Stakes at Fair Grounds on Jan. 26 was the goal. For others, the mile race was just a pop quiz. Questions had to be answered before the final exam, the $750,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) scheduled for March 10. Intentions were hard to read.
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