It was a tale of two works at Churchill Downs this morning. The formula was something we see many times prior to the Kentucky Derby: two horses with similar running styles come off the same race, have two completely contrasting works, and both their trainers are ecstatic. It was a perfect example how different horses need different types of works. The beaming smiles on the faces of trainers Dave Hofmans and John Dowd told the story following Millennium Wind's five-furlong work in 1:01 3/5 and Songandaprayer's deceiving :59 drill over the same distance.
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.
Under the plan approved Wednesday by the Maryland Racing Commission, Thoroughbreds will cease racing in the state from July 8 to Aug. 7. During that period, Colonial Downs, the track in Virginia managed by the Maryland Jockey Club, will run its 25-day meet.
Penn National's stock got a huge boost this week from a glowing first quarter earnings report and an announcement that it will soon close a deal involving casinos in Canada and Louisiana.
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.
Lu Ravi fell just short of attaining her grade I goal when she finished second to Gourmet Girl in the April 8 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park. Now with $1,819,781 in earnings, eight stakes wins, and three second-place finishes in grade I races, trainer Carl Bowman and owner Yoshio Fujita have retired the 6-year-old mare.
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.
It was one of those intoxicating spring mornings that only Churchill Downs in late April can bring: blue skies, crisp temperatures that put an extra jump in your step, and the sight of Kentucky Derby horses, decked out in their striking gold saddlecloths, strutting over the track with adolescent enthusiasm. Although there were no works on tap this morning, we were able to take advantage of the leisurely atmosphere to get excellent close-up studies of many of the contenders as they galloped against the picture-book backdrop of the Twin Spires.
The NTRA Services wagering hub in Oregon handled $6,133,521 for the first quarter of 2001, by far the highest figure for a three-period since the first report was submitted early last year. The handle, generated by bettors in Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, and Oregon, is almost twice as large as the handle recorded for the first three months of 2000.
About 400 newspapers in major markets or horse racing markets have received a CD-ROM from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association to facilitate coverage of Thoroughbred racing. The disk contains photographs of owners, trainers, jockeys, and horses, as well as logos and graphics. The package is similar to those produced by other sports leagues.
With none of the horses being pointed toward the May 5 Kentucky Derby working out, it was a routine day on the backside of Churchill Downs on Wednesday. Trainer David Hofmans added Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) winner Millennium Wind to the list of horses scheduled to work Thursday.
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.
If opposing trainers were looking for any holes in the Baffert Brigade, they sure didn't find them this morning, as Point Given and Congaree both turned in brilliant works over a deep track that trainer Bob Baffert described as demanding. Baffert, always nervous before big works, was looking forward to getting these out of the way. Heavy rains at around 8 p.m. the night before didn't help soothe his nerves any, but morning brought bright blue skies and a drop in the temperature from the previous day.
The National Racing Compact has approved criteria for the licensing of trainers, jockeys, and drivers, and plans an event at Churchill Downs the week of the Kentucky Derby to spread the word. The NRC began licensing owners earlier this year.
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.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners recently released a brochure about vesicular stomatitis for the horse owner.
So far, the evidence for effective herbal deworning is next to nonexistent, according to Dr. Tom Klei of Louisiana State University.
Scientists are warning horse owners and veterinarians to be cautious about using compounded (private pharmacy-mixed) gastric ulcer medications.
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.
- By Ray Paulick
The entry box at Churchill Downs doesn't close until 10 a.m. on May 2, but as this is written it appears the 127th Kentucky Derby (gr. I) will be renewed without an entry from the barn of D. Wayne Lukas.
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.
Godolphin stallion Dubai Millennium remains in intensive care at a Newmarket clinic following surgery. The condition has worsened to such a point that Godolphin's Sheikh Mohammed arrived Wednesday from Dubai to check out the stallion. Dubai Millennium, who is standing his first season at stud, underwent surgery Monday to relieve a blockage of the small intestine and additional surgery Tuesday night. "He remains in intensive care in Newmarket, but the vets are giving him every possible medical treatment to enable his internal system to function normally again," said Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock advisor John Ferguson. "He's being a wonderful patient, and is comfortable, though clearly unwell."
Faced with the possibility of the lights going dark this summer, management planned ahead and purchased four back-up generators to ensure rolling blackouts don't affect operations. But the energy crisis has already come at a cost...The power crisis also prompted Hollywood to bump up its start time on Fridays from 7:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Running lights at night would be too costly considering electricity prices will be increased up to 46% by this summer. The move could result in a drop in on-track attendance.
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.
A 45.9% increase in revenue at Charles Town Races helped its parent company Penn National acheive record revenue, earnings, and net income for the first quarter of the year.
Point Given: While there are questions surrounding most of the top choices, the only question people are asking about this big chestnut is whether he's going to win the Triple Crown. Work on April 24 should be interesting.
Welcome to Churchill Downs. Many of the names and faces change each year, but the same charge of electricity still ripples through the backstretch. Bob Baffert has two shotgun cartridges aimed right at the Twin Spires, while Nick Zito is back after a one-year absence, and for the first time since Genuine Risk captured the roses in 1980, D. Wayne Lukas will be a spectator.
2000 Horse of the Year Tiznow sustained an injury during a workout last Friday, and a nuclear-imaging test conducted Monday revealed a problem with his lumbar vertebrae. "The prognosis is good, but we're going to have to walk him for 60 days before resuming training with him," said conditioner Jay Robbins Tuesday morning from his Santa Anita barn. The injury knocks Tiznow out of the May 12 Pimlico Special (gr. I).
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.
Kent Desormeaux got off to a good start, with three wins, two seconds, and two third-place finishes in 11 rides his first weekend in Japan.
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.
Rumor became fact Sunday night when Tony Chamblin, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International for the past 15 years, announced he would step down, effective July 1. The RCI will form a committee to search for a replacement.
For some, it may be Mach-speed roller coasters or bungee jumping. Others run with the bulls in Pamplona or go crowd surfing at a punk rock concert. There are precious few experiences, however, that can match the rush of riding a hot-blooded Thoroughbred. Just imagine...you're alone on the lead at speeds beyond belief, riding low with your hair on fire. And then, without warning, your horse shifts direction. Ouch.
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.
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