Record 798 Nominated to Derby Week Stakes

Churchill Downs officials report a record 798 nominations to its roster of 2001 Kentucky Derby Week stakes races that lead up to the 127th running of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) on Saturday, May 5.

The 13 Kentucky Derby Week stakes events--headed by a pair of grade I events in the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks and the $300,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, carry total purses of $2.15 million. The 2001 Derby Week stakes nominations surpassed the previous record of 793, which was established last year.

The 2000 Spring Meet at Churchill Downs opens on April 28 and continues
through July 8.

The Kentucky Oaks attracted 167 nominations, the eighth-highest total in the 127-year history of the race and the largest number of nominations since 181 3-year-old fillies were nominated in 1989. Nominees for the 1 1/8-mile race include such stars as Ashland (gr. I) winner Fleet Renee, Las Virgenes and Santa Anita Oaks (both gr. I) winner Golden Ballet, Fantasy (gr. I) winner Mystic Lady, Golden Rod (gr. II) winner Miss Pickums, and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) winner Caressing, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2000.

The 15th running of the $300,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic attracted a list of 109 nominations that includes its defending champion, Columbine Stable, Nichols and Jones' Manndar. The list of nominations also includes San Juan Capistrano (gr. IT) winner Bienamado; River City (gr. IIIT) and
Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) winner Brahms; 2000 Crown Royal American Turf (gr. IIIT) and Jefferson Cup winner King Cugat; Maker's Mark Mile (gr. IIT) winner and Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) runner-up North East Bound; Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) winner Perfect Sting, the champion turf filly or mare in 2000; and Hawksley Hill, the runner-up in the 1998 Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT)) and the third-place finisher in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic in 1998 and 1999.

The $250,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup (gr. II), which includes a $100,000 purse supplement from the Breeders' Cup National Stakes fund, has attracted another star-studded group of nominees. The 1 1/16-mile race will be run on Kentucky Oaks Day and its list of nominees includes 1999 champion older filly or mare Beautiful Pleasure, 2000 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Secret Status, 2000 Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) winner Spain, defending champion and Fleur de Lis (gr. III)) winner Heritage of Gold, Falls City (gr. III) winner Bordelaise, and Apple Blossom (gr. I) winner Gourmet Girl.

Kentucky Derby Week kicks off with the $100,000 Derby Trial, a one-mile race for 3-year-olds that serves as the final prep of the Derby campaign. The roster of 61 Derby Trial nominees includes Kentucky Derby contenders Balto Star, A P Valentine and Invisible Ink. Others on the list include Iroquois (gr. III) winner Meetyouathebrig, Gotham (gr. III) winner Richly Blended, Bay Shore (gr. III) winner Skip to the Stone; Bashford Manor (gr. II)) winner Duality; Lone Star Derby winner Percy Hope; Hopeful (gr. I) winner Yonaguska; and Illinois Derby (gr. II) winner Distilled.

The $100,000 Mamzelle, for fillies and mares 3-and-up on the turf at five furlongs on May 3, attracted 32 nominations. The $100,000 La Troienne (gr. III), for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, will also be on May 3 and has attracted 70 nominations.

The $100,000 Aegon Turf Sprint (gr. IIIT), for 3-year-olds and up at five furlongs on turf, kicks off the stakes competition on Kentucky Oaks Day, May 4. Forty-two horses have been nominated to that event. The $100,000 Crown Royal American Turf, a 1 1/16-mile grass test for 3-year-olds also scheduled for Kentucky Oaks Day, drew 59 nominations.

The $150,000 Churchill Downs Handicap presented by Lane's End kicks off the Kentucky Derby Day stakes schedule and 46 horses were nominated to the seven-furlong event. The $100,000 Three Chimneys Juvenile, for 2-year-olds at five furlongs, is the first major stakes race of the year for juveniles and has attracted 80 nominations.

Sixty-one filles and mares ages 3-and-up--including 2000 filly and mare turf champion Perfect Sting--were nominated to the $100,000 Citgo Distaff Turf Mile on Derby Day. Thirty-five were nominated to the $150,000 Humana Distaff (gr. II), for fillies and mares 3-and-up at seven furlongs.

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