Unbeaten 2-year-old champion War Pass, winner of the $2-million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), and Pyro, the runner-up in the Juvenile and winner of the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III), are the early favorites for Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which opens Mar. 6.
There's just no escaping it. You can question his pedigree and his running style all you want, but War Pass is simply in a class by himself right now, and until someone figures out how to beat him or his pedigree catches up to him, he has to be the top dog.
Juvenile champion War Pass was impressive in his 3-year-old debut Feb. 24 at Gulfstream Park, looking sharp in a one-mile allowance race against four overmatched foes.
Robert LaPenta's Eclipse Award-winning War Pass, champion 2-year-old in 2007, will make his first start since an emphatic victory in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) when he runs in a $60,000 allowance event at Gulfstream Park Feb. 24.
- By Steve Haskin
Steve Haskin's Derby Dozen for the week of Feb. 25 is topped by War Pass, who returned to the races with a striking win in an allowance race Feb. 24 at Gulfstream Park.
Three-year-olds around the country continue to get "zapped" by the Derby trail's three-headed monster. You know, zap, as in Nick Zito, Steve Asmussen, and Todd Pletcher.
Champion 2-year-old War Pass drilled six furlongs in 1:13 1/5 at Palm Meadows Saturday in preparation for his 3-year-old debut, which could come in an allowance race at Gulfstream Feb. 23.
Four runners trained by Nick Zito, all potential contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), lead the list of 52 3-year-olds nominated for the $350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 24.
Odds on Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro, the impressive winner of the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) Feb. 9, closed at 5-1 in Pool 1 of the Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
From the cavalry charge that entered the head of the lane for the $300,000 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds, a star emerged. Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro smoked the competition, making a huge last-to-first move under Shaun Bridgmohan at Fair Grounds Feb. 9.
The field, at odds of 6-5, continued to show the way at the conclusion of the second day of the 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager's opening pool Dec. 8.
This year's Future Wager field includes some interesting morning line odds, withy only five of the 23 horses higher than 20-1 and only three less than 15-1. That means that 15 horses are either 15-1 or 20-1. That all seems to imply that no one -- not even the oddsmaker -- has a clue what to make of this year's classic crop so far.
Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia has installed the "all others" bet as the strong 5-2 favorite in his morning-line odds for Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which begins its four-day run at noon Feb. 7 at racetracks and satellite wagering outlets across the United States and Canada.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' homebred Pyro will make his 3-year-old debut in the $300,000 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Feb. 9, but don't think the Steve Asmussen trainee lacks experience. Prior to a Feb. 5 move over the Louisiana oval, his last two works were impressive bullets fired in company with 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin.
Headed by Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner and Eclipse Award champion 2-year-old War Pass, 448 horses were nominated to the 2008 Triple Crown during the early nomination period for the three classics. That figure ranks second behind 2007's record 450 early nominations.
Robert LaPenta's undefeated Eclipse champion War Pass continued to prep for his seasonal debut when he worked a bullet half-mile in :46.80 at Palm Meadows training center Feb. 2. Anak Nakal and Tale of Ekati also worked.
It used to be so simple. Every step horses took on the Kentucky Derby trail was on good old Mother Earth. Now, we have no idea what some horses are putting their feet into.
Trainer Nick Zito has a barn loaded with potential Kentucky Derby contenders, and four of those 3-year-olds made impressive moves this weekend.
War Pass, undefeated winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), received the high weight assignment of 127 pounds on the 2007 Experimental Free Handicap.
War Pass capped off his perfect season Jan. 21 with championship honors as the leading 2-year-old male.
Undefeated War Pass, winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and the favorite for divisional championship honors, will stand at William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Ky., upon his retirement from racing.
Fields are beginning to take shape for each of the five graded stakes at Churchill Downs Thanksgiving weekend, highlighted by the Nov. 23 $500,000-added Clark Handicap (gr. II).
Start engraving the Eclipse Awards. This year's honors are all but a done deal. Despite the horrible conditions at Monmouth Park, the Breeders' Cup World Championships were surprisingly formful, with several favorites and leading contenders turning in dominating performances.
- By Ron Mitchell
Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner War Pass was bred in Kentucky by Cherry Valley Farm and possesses the solid bloodlines of Cherry Valley owner Seth Hancock.
Once more, War Pass has proven that no one can run with him. Robert LaPenta's undefeated colt set a fast pace on a sloppy Monmouth Park strip and took command early on the far turn, finishing up nicely to register a 4 3/4-length in the $2 million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Oct. 27.
Nick Zito trainee War Pass, winner of the Oct. 6 Champagne Stakes (gr. I), has been installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the $2- million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Oct. 27.
The previous successes of Cherokee Run's progeny seem now to have been merely building momentum toward the weekend of Oct. 6-7 that arrived with almost tsunami force. Juvenile War Pass delivered a dominating performance to capture the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) and 3-year-old Zanjero took his earnings past the $1 million mark.
The preps are over and the journey to Jersey begins. This past weekend's stakes orgy did not measure up to the stirring stretch battles and top-class performances we saw the previous week. While there were some big efforts and exciting finishes, it was not a good weekend for favorites, with several big-name stars and division leaders going down to defeat.
War Pass put in a tremendous performance Oct. 6 to win the $400,000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park by 1 1/2 lengths and will now head to the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27 undefeated in three starts.
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