On-track and simulcast wagering records for Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs tumbled on Friday as a crowd of 108,065, the second largest in the history of the event, saw 47-1 shot Lemons Forever score the biggest upset in the history of the track's premier race for 3-year-old fillies.
Lemon Drop Kid could hardly have picked a better time to have a breakthrough horse. On national TV, his daughter Lemons Forever charged down the stretch to win the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), writing her name into the history of the nation's oldest race for three-year-old fillies and becoming her sire's first grade I winner.
Defending champion Hollywood Story will attempt to snap a seven-race losing streak in Sunday's $100,000 Hawthorne Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park.
There simply are too many highly regarded horses with near-identical running styles to get a good read on this race, which is one of the most puzzling in memory.
Last year there was a 50-1 shot that won the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). This year, a 47-1 shot captured the $755,900 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), the longest winning odds in the 132-year history of the race.
Newsweek magazine's long-running financial columnist Jane Bryant Quinn has been a fan of Thoroughbred racing for some time. The author of the new book "Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People," Quinn shared her thoughts on handicapping, the Kentucky Derby, and Secretariat's 31-length Belmont Stakes victory recently with Evan Hammonds of The Blood-Horse.
Patrick Biancone has been a big supporter of Polytrack and Stream Cat, who trained on the surface at Turfway Park, won the $114,300 Crown Royal American Turf (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs Friday.
With nearly $400,000 in the pool, admittedly a small amount compared to what will eventually be wagered to win on the Derby, the favorite is only 6-1.
It is Todd Pletcher day at Churchill Downs Friday. When he sent out Oonagh Maccool to an easy win in the $271,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares, the trainer was notching his fourth winner of the day...and that's from four races in which he had runners.
Freshman sire Orientate got his first winner May 4 at Hollywood Park when the filly Lost On Champagne won at first asking.
This time Man of Illusion had a clean trip. In his first start in this country, the Australian-bred horse had tons of trouble and still was beaten only two lengths in Keeneland's Shakertown (gr. IIIT). Friday, he had clear sailing and won the $116,000 Aegon Turf Sprint (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs.
Favored Gouldings Green won a stretch battle with Wild Desert to beat last year's Queen's Plate winner in the $114,500 Alysheba Friday at Churchill Downs.
Daily notes on candidates for Saturday's Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Trainer Todd Pletcher is having a perfect day at Churchill Downs Friday, winning all three of the races in which he had entries. The third was Magnificent Song, who won the $114,900 Edgewood Stakes, the first undercard stakes on Kentucky Oaks day.
Barclay Tagg-trained Showing Up made his way around the Churchill Downs grounds Friday morning, one day after the undefeated Lexington Stakes (gr. II) winner arrived in Louisville, Ky., on a flight from New York for Saturday's Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
When Sweetnorthernsaint co-owner Ted Theos was looking to bring his and partner Joe Balsalmo's horses to a Maryland area trainer two years ago, he looked for a conditioner who embodied focus, dedication, and hard work.
For Churchill Downs Inc. president and chief executive officer Tom Meeker, being what he calls a "caretaker of the Derby" is one of his jobs. But that doesn't mean there can't be change for the world's most recognized horse race, or other aspects of the industry for that matter, he said.
Racing fans in Kentucky and Indiana who can't make it to Churchill Downs will have access to 9 1/2 hours of live coverage May 5-6 on the Horse Racing Radio Network.
The Illinois General Assembly has approved and sent to Gov. Rod Blagojevich legislation that would provide as much as $35 million a year in subsidies for Illinois racing--but only for two years.
- By Tom LaMarra
Betfair, the rapidly growing exchange-wagering provider based in Great Britain, believes it could provide up to $50 million in new revenue for itself, racetracks, and horsemen by 2008 should it be permitted to operate in the United States.
Unlike earlier in the week when a possibility of showers was in the forecast for Louisville, Ky., on Saturday, the latest predictions call for partly sunny, cool and dry conditions for the 132nd Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Folklore, champion juvenile filly of 2005, has been retired because of a stress fracture in her knee, according to trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
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