The Churchill Downs spring meet begins Saturday with the $100,000-added Derby Trial (gr. III), the final prep for the May 5 Derby. The race is being used by trainer Ken McPeek to determine whether Gift Of The Eagle will be sent back in the classic one week later.
Possible starters in the 2001 Kentucky Derby
Florida Derby winner Monarchos displayed his readiness for the May 5 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) when he turned in a solid five furlong work in 1:00 4/5 at Churchill Downs on Friday.
The Illinois Racing Board said Thursday it has found no evidence of wrongdoing at Arlington Park and its off-track betting operation following an investigation of allegations employees were fraudulently cashing outstanding winning tickets and keeping the money, which totaled $1 million.
Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone will come out of retirement May 20 to ride in The Blood-Horse Sportsman's Challenge during the 35th High Hope Steeplechase at the Kentucky Horse Park near Lexington.
She's A Devil Due, winner of last year's Walmac International Alcibiades Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland, has been retired due to nagging minor injuries, according to her trainer, Ken McPeek.
Godolphin stallion Dubai Millennium, who underwent surgery Monday to relieve a blockage of the small intestine, remains in critical condition, according to a representative from Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Stud Management on Friday morning.
In what will be the biggest handicap race in New York so far this year, eight runners will race once around Aqueduct's 1 1/8 mile track in Saturday's grade III $200,000 Excelsior Breeders' Cup.
Irish-based Coolmore Stud announced fees for its stallions shuttling to Australia this summer, and Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Fusaichi Pegasus carries the top fee.
An agreement has been reached between Finger Lakes Race Track and the Western Regional OTB to open a Finger Lakes Special Betting District in the western New York area. The deal, contingent upon Western Regional OTB obtaining an operating license from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board to re-open Batavia Downs, will aid the expansion of simulcast wagering at Finger Lakes and local OTB parlors. Both sides have been working on a deal since Finger Lakes approached Western with the proposal in March 2000.
The song says the "sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home." But, the long range forecast from the National Weather Service is calling for showers in Louisville, Ky., on Kentucky Derby Day.
Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. I) winner Songandaprayer turned in his final workout for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) on Thursday when he worked five-eighths of a mile in :59 at Churchill Downs. Millennium Wind was timed in 1:01 3/5 for his five furlong workout.
Matty's Man, a colt from the first crop of Matty G, sold for $210,000 Wednesday to top the third session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. Matty's Man, who worked a quarter-mile in :21 3/5 during the April 20 under tack show, was bought by Robert Scanlon, agent. Consigned by Eisaman Equine, agent, the colt is out of stakes-placed Joy to Raise, by Raise a Man.
Canterbury Park, the Minnesota racetrack that hit rock-bottom in the early 1990s, could have its best meet since its "second coming." Officials report heightened interest in the Shakopee track's racing program, which this year will offer $120,000 per day in purses.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Wednesday that Dr. Scot Waterman will fill the new position of director of procedures and methods for the NTRA Racing Integrity and Drug Testing Task Force. Waterman will be based in Lexington.
Suffolk Downs; Plainridge Racecourse, a Standardbred track; and two Greyhound tracks, Raynham-Taunton and Wonderland, have an agreement in place that allows for cross-breed and cross-species simulcasting, according to published reports. The racing law in Massachusetts expired last year, so the tracks are operating on an extension.
Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner Captain Steve worked five furlongs in 1:02 4/5 at Churchill Downs on Wednesday, with trainer Bob Baffert saying he does not know when the horse will make his next start. "It was an easy work because he hadn't worked in a while," Baffert said.
Bold World, a Fortunate Prospect filly, sold for $475,000 Tuesday to top the second session of the Ocala Breeders's Sales Company's spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. She was purchased by Amy Tarrant of Vermont.
With the defection of Godolphin Racing's Street Cry from the Kentucky Derby due to an injury, jockey Frankie Dettori has opted to remain in England to ride Tobougg in the Sagitta Two Thousand Guineas at Newmarket the same day. Tobougg is also owned by Street Cry's owner, Sheikh Mohammend.
Ashland Stakes (gr. I) winner Fleet Renee, among the favorites for the May 3 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), worked five furlongs in 1:01 under exercise rider Lisa Tenney at Churchill Downs on Wednesday.
Flute, the runner-up in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I), breezed six furlongs in 1:14 4/5 on Monday (April 23) at Churchill Downs in preparation for the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). Jockey Joe Deegan was up for trainer Bobby Frankel.
It was a slow week on the leading sires list by progeny earnings. Fly So Free, Phone Trick, Tour d'Or, Thunder Gulch, Cee's Tizzy, A.P. Indy, and Maria's Mon still hold down the top seven spots.
Purse supplements recently signed into law by acting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco will fuel the $300,000 per day average in overnight purses at Monmouth. Including stakes, the daily average will be $350,000.
By John Veitch -- There is not a year that goes by, when the first Saturday in May approaches, that 1978 and Alydar don't come to life in my subconscious.
West Nile made its Western Hemisphere debut in the summer and fall of 1999, attacking birds, horses, and humans. Twenty-five equine positives were confirmed in 1999 in the Northeast, followed by 59 positives in 2000.
Stormy Kris, a Whitney Tower filly consigned by Rising Hill Farm, agent, brought $150,000 Monday to top the opening session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's 2001 spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. John Dolan and Wesley Ward purchased the session topper, who was produced by the Kris S. mare Surely Kris. The filly worked an eighth-mile in :10 2/5, the fastest work at the distance in the sale's first under tack show on April 18.
Bits and pieces from around the industry
Daily Kentucky Derby Notes From Churchill Downs
Daily Kentucky Derby Notes From Churchill Downs
Daily Kentucky Derby Notes From Churchill Downs
Each week since Jan. 22, Steve Haskin, the award-winning turf writer and senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse, has reported on the leading contenders and analyzed this year's Kentucky Derby. During his 29 years with the Daily Racing Form, Haskin became known for his insightful coverage of the Triple Crown races. Haskin won the Red Smith Award for Kentucky Derby writing in 1997, 1999, and 2000.and received the David Woods Award for best Preakness story in 1997. In 1999, he co-authored "Baffert: Dirt Road to the Derby" with trainer Bob Baffert and wrote the book, "Dr. Fager" for Eclipse Press' "Thoroughbred Legends" series in 2000.
Trainer Ken McPeek withdrew Illinois Derby (gr. II) runner-up Saint Damien from consideration for the Kentucky Derby after the son of Saint Ballado bled severely during a workout Monday. McPeek still has Gift of the Eagle, who also worked Monday, under consideration for the May 5 classic.
Grade II winner Meadow Monster's first winner emerged April 22 at Keeneland when Drought won a 4 1/2-furlong maiden race in :53.35 in her first start.
Kentucky Derby notes from Churchill Downs.
Serena's Tune breezed four furlongs Sunday at Churchill Downs in preparation for her start in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). The La Habra Stakes winner won't have to face Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) third-place finisher She's a Devil Due in the 1 1/8-mile Oaks, as trainer Ken McPeek says she is no longer under consideration for that race.
Xtra Heat set a quick pace under pressure from Raging Fever and drew off approaching the stretch to lead a strung-out field to the wire in Sunday's $250,000 Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (gr. II). Undefeated in sprints, Xtra Heat has now won 12 of 13 career races, with her lone defeat coming in the 1 1/16-mile Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). The Beaumont marks her 11th stakes win and third in a graded stakes.
Tom's Thunder and Lady Katie won divisions of the $100,000 New York Stallion Stakes at Aqueduct on Sunday. Jockey John Velazquez recorded his 2,000th career victory aboard Tomn's Thunder. It was the second straight year and the fourth time in the race's eight runnings that he rode the Times Square winner.
Friday at Keeneland
Gestut Fahrhof's homebred 5-year-old Silvano held favored Jim and Tonic at bay in the stretch to earn a 1 3/4-length win in Sunday's Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (HK-I) at Sha Tin. Indigenous finished third, 1 1/2 lengths behind Jim and Tonic.
Sunday at Keeneland
Flamingo Stakes (gr. III) winner Thunder Blitz worked five furlongs at Churchill Downs Saturday morning, getting the distance in 1:00 3/5. Also working toward the Derby was Tincin.
Edmund A. Gann's Fateful Dream raced in last place behind moderate fractions before rallying in the stretch to win the $107,100 Inglewood Handicap (gr. IIIT) by a length over National Anthem on Saturday at Hollywood Park. Under David Flores, Fateful Dream completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.65 on a firm turf course.
Win More Stable's Marciano rallied in the stretch at Pimlico Saturday to catch pacesetter Talk Is Money en route to a 1 1/4-length victory in the $145,500 Federico Tesio Stakes. Buring Roma came home another 1 3/4 lengths back in third. Polar Ray was last in the four-horse field.
Country Hideaway rallied from next-to-last in the seven-horse field and held off a resurgent Critical Eye to win the $157,700 Bed O' Roses Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) Saturday at Aqueduct. Under John Velazquez, the 5-year-old daughter of Seeking the Gold, out of the Pleasant Colony mare Our Country Place, stopped the timer after running a mile in 1:34.98 on a fast track.
Hallowed Dreams fought off a late challenge from 22-1 longshot Itsacryingshame to defeat males in a 5 1/2-furlong allowance race for Louisiana-breds Friday night at Evangeline Downs.
Kalu, a 3-year-old son of Honor Grades, dueled for the lead throughout the $100,000 LG&E Energy Forerunner Stakes, but dug in in the stretch to win Friday's feature at Keeneland by 1 3/4 lengths.
Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., saw significant decreases in attendance and on-track handle for its 52-day meet that ended April 15.
Jack Garey's multiple grade I winner Heritage of Gold has been retired and will be bred to Seeking the Gold this year, according to an announcement from Robert Clay's Three Chimneys Farm near Midway, Ky., where the mare was scheduled to be sent this weekend. Heritage of Gold won or placed in 22 of 28 career starts and retires with earnings of $2,381,762.
The Virginia Racing Commission has become the third racing jurisdiction to join the North American Pari-Mutuel Regulators Association this year, and the 26th to join the organization since it formed in 1997.
Breeder/owner Arthur A. Seeligson Jr., whose homebred colt Avatar won the 1975 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), died April 17 in a Houston hospital following a massive stroke.
Most Popular Stories
- Mubtaahij Easily Earns Kentucky Derby Spot
- Prince Bishop Denies U.S. Runners in Dubai
- I'm a Chatterbox Sweeps to FG Oaks Victory
- Champion Groupie Doll Delivers Premature Foal
- Birdatthewire Tops Familiar Rivals in GP Oaks
- Streaking Chocolate Ride Wires Mervin Muniz
- The Big Beast, 3YOs Prep for Wood Day Starts
- Beauty Parlor Wins U.S. Debut in Orchid
- Lady Lara Makes Late Run to Win Honey Fox
- War Correspondent Captures Appleton