Denis of Cork went from last to third in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), and it is that bid that has led many to think he will enjoy the extra quarter-mile he will have to run in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 7.
David Carroll trains the Harlan's Holiday colt, who has won three of five career starts. The last horse to make it into the full 20-horse Derby field, Denis of Cork went off at odds of 27-1 but proved he belonged with his late charge.
In addition to being the third-place finisher in the Run for the Roses, Denis of Cork, who skipped the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), has a win in the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) to his credit. His only off the board finish came in the Illinois Derby (gr. II), where he ran fifth behind Recapturetheglory, who subsequently ran fifth in the Kentucky Derby.
Carroll, who grew up in Ireland, worked for Shug McGaughey for six years and galloped such notable horses as Easy Goer and Seeking the Gold. Easy Goer spoiled Sunday Silence’s chance for a Triple Crown when he defeated him handily in the 1989 Belmont.
Carroll was an assistant trainer for Peter Vestal for two years before going out on his own. He has trained such horses as grade II winners American Chance and Fire Slam as well as grade III winners Connected, Keene Dancer, Marshua’s River, and Pantufla.
Denis of Cork is owned by William and Suzanne Warren, who campaigned 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam. William Warren became interested in racing when his father took him to Del Mar, and he bought his first racehorse in 1983.
As agent, Mike Ryan purchased Denis of Cork for $250,000 at the 2007 Barretts March 2-year-olds in training sale from Scanlon Training Center, agent. A Florida-bred, the colt originally sold for $120,000 at the 2006 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s August yearling sale to Sea Gull Stable from Summerfield, agent for Westbury Stables.
Alfonso and Nora Figliolia own Westbury Stables near Ocala, Fla. They bought Denis of Cork’s dam, the Unbridled mare Unbridled Girl, then in foal to Hennessy, for $95,000 at the 2004 OBS January mixed sale from Summerfield, agent.
In 2005, the Westbury Stables foal crop totaled seven horses. In addition to Denis of Cork, it has produced grade III winner Awesome Chic, who ran in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). Five of the foals have started, four have won, and three are stakes winners.
Unbridled Girl has an unraced juvenile Touch Gold filly named Side Venture.