A full field of 10 sophomores will go to the post in Saturday's $200,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita, including grade I winner Lion Heart, the likely favorite making his first start of the year.
Rock Hard Ten stamped himself as a prime candidate for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 3, rolling to a sharp 1-¾ length victory over Teton Forest in a $53,872 allowance event for 3-year-olds Wednesday at Santa Anita Park.
The lineup for the March 13 Florida Derby (gr. I) has gained another stakes-winning contender as Tapit's connections have announced they will enter the colt for the race.
Almost all of the leading contenders for the Visa Triple Crown Challenge, including trainer Nick Zito's highly regarded twosome of Birdstone and Eurosilver, are among 157 nominees to Keeneland's $750,000, Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I). The 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds will be run on Saturday, April 10, three weeks before the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). It will be televised live on NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. (ET).
March 3, 1966
The Chicken Flamingo
Two horses trained by Nick Zito--Birdstone and Eurosilver--top the list of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contenders compiled by Steve Haskin, senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse. Champion Action This Day follows the top pair.
Neil Howard said Tuesday he will run Risen Star (gr. III) winner Gradepoint in Sunday's $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II), as well as runaway allowance winner Breakaway, both owned by William S. Farish.
Buckram Oak Farm's homebred Eurosilver ranks high on most Kentucky Derby (gr. I) followers' lists, including the one compiled by The Blood-Horse's Steve Haskin, who has the son of Unbridled's Song No. 2 on his Derby Dozen.
Cynics be damned, it's time to see what the Derby gods might be scheming. With the equine version of March Madness starting next weekend, this is the last opportunity in a while to look at the Derby in an ethereal sense.
March 2, 1989
Sunday Silence at Santa Anita
Trainer Bob Baffert sent out a slew of his top sophomores for workouts Monday over Santa Anita's fast main track and leading the parade was San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) candidate Consecrate, who worked five furlongs in 1:00 2/5.
March 1, 1986
Snow Chief at Gulfstream Park
Cynics be damned, it's time to see what the Derby gods might be scheming. With the equine version of March Madness starting next weekened, this is the last opportunity in a while to look at the Derby in an ethereal sense.
Maiden Go Kitty Go stormed past weakening 11-10 favorite Rocky Gulch to post a major surprise in Sunday's $105,450 Borderland Derby for 3-year-olds at Sunland Park.
Mike Mitchell has been training nearly 30 years but has never run a horse in the Kentucky Derby. If the 55-year-old Bakersfield, Calif. native gets to Churchill Downs on May 1, his hopes rest with Quinton's Gold Rush.
Feb. 29, 1964
Hill Rise in the Santa Anita Derby
Seattle Borders, making his first start for Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, wore down Stalking Tiger in the closing stages and notched a one-length victory in the $113,350 Baldwin Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds Saturday at Santa Anita Park.
Water Cannon doused the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) hopes of Capac when he scored a narrow victory in the $40,000 Miracle Wood Stakes as the heavy favorite tired to fifth.
Someday Farm's heavily-favored Smarty Jones ran his undefeated record to four Saturday, holding off the rallying Two Down Automatic and Pro Prado for a three-quarters of a length victory in the $100,000 Southwest Stakes for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park.
Lloyd Madison Farms' favored Silver Minister drew away from the field to post an impressive victory over a strong group of invaders in the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial for 3-year-olds Saturday, his fourth consecutive victory at Turfway Park.
Feb. 28, 1948
Citation in the Flamingo
An impressive maiden winner at Fair Grounds in Louisiana will take on seasoned New Mexico-based stakes winners in the $100,000 Borderland Derby Feb. 29 at Sunland Park.
In our last story, we demonstrated that splits close to 12 seconds per furlong are usually employed to win the Kentucky Derby. In this installment, we examine pre-Derby splits of the last 10 winners.
Feb. 27, 1988
Risen Star at Fair Grounds
One of the top juveniles of last year will need a bit of help in order to make his 2004 debut in the $100,000 Baldwin Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Santa Anita Park.
The $100,000 Southwest Stakes, the second of three local preps for the $1-million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) on April 10, lured a field of 10, including a pair of two-horse couplings, Feb. 28 at Oaklawn Park.
Three East Coast-based colts are scheduled to tackle the local contingent of 3-year-olds Feb. 28 in the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes--final local prep for the March 20 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II)--at Turfway Park.
Capac, strong winner of a Feb. 4 allowance race at Laurel Park, is scheduled to make his stakes debut in the $40,000 Miracle Wood Stakes Feb. 28 at the Maryland racetrack.
Is there any possibility that the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner can come out of the Miracle Wood, Baldwin Stakes (gr. IIIT), Southwest Stakes, John Battaglia Memorial or Borderland Derby? Not likely, but that doesn't mean there won't be any potential Derby contenders competing this weekend.
Buckram Oak Farm's Silver Wagon, last year's Hopeful (gr. I) winner who had been scheduled to run in the Florida Derby (gr. I), likely will undergo surgery on both knees, which will keep him out of training for most of the year.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Kitten's Joy, who is undefeated in four starts on grass, has been nominated to the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) and Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Feb. 26, 1955
Nashua in Florida
Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's undefeated grade I winner Lion Heart got his final major prep for his March 6 sophomore debut, breezing six furlongs from the gate under regular jockey Mike Smith in 1:12 4/5 at Santa Anita on Wednesday.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Tapit, winner of the Laurel Futurity (gr. III), shipped to Laurel Wednesday afternoon where he worked seven furlongs between races in 1:29 3/5 in company with two other horses trained by Michael Dickinson.
Feb. 25, 1956
Needles in the Flamingo Stakes
With Tuesday's break in the recent rainy weather hitting California, several top horses were out on the track at Santa Anita getting workouts in before the next wave of wet weather is scheduled to pass through the area on Wednesday.
The Nick Zito-trained pair of Birdstone and Eurosilver lead Action This Day in the latest installment of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contender analysis by Steve Haskin, senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse.
Feb. 24, 1964
Northern Dancer at Hialeah
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone, winner of his 3-year-old debut in allowance company, may skip the March 13 Florida Derby and run in the following week's $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park instead, trainer Nick Zito said Monday.
Pro Prado and Wildcat Shoes, the one-two finishers in the Mountain Valley Stakes on Jan. 24, and the undefeated New York invader Smarty Jones, head the field for Saturday's $100,000 Southwest Stakes at one mile at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
What do War Emblem and Fusaichi Pegasus have in common? Yes, they each won the Kentucky Derby. And they each did it in a similar way.
Feb. 23, 1963
Chateaugay at Hialeah
Trainer Michael Dickinson has notified Laurel Park officials that he plans to work his Triple Crown candidate Tapit between races on Wednesday.
Each year at this time, new stars are spotted in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) galaxy for the first time. But there is always a question whether they have come along too late to shine brightly on the first Saturday in May. Such is the case with Redskin Warrior, Odds On, Purge, Rock Hard Ten, and Quintons Gold Rush.
Team Valor's pair of Tiger Hunt and Shadowland worked sharply Sunday morning for their respective engagements in the Rebel Stakes (gr. III) and Louisiana Derby (gr. II).
Feb. 22, 1966
Kauai King at Hialeah
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