Zayat Stables' Halo Najib worked a half-mile on the grass in :50.40 at Churchill Downs on April 22, with exercise rider Gennero Garcia up.
He has a new first-rate home base (California) and a new first-call trainer (Bobby Frankel), but Rafael Bejarano, 25, will be back in Kentucky to ride Anak Nakal for trainer Nick Zito in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) the first Saturday in May.
He can't live without his cell phone. If he could choose another profession, he would be a rock star. He once drove 165 miles per hour to reach the track in time for the first race. And May 3, E.T. Baird will be riding to the post aboard Recapturetheglory in the 134th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I)
Colonel John and Smooth Air jog at Churchill, Big Truck and Visionaire work at Keeneland, Halo Najib works on the turf, and Pyro arrives at Churchill Downs.
Another Kentucky Derby is upon us, and most of the talk has been about the inconsistencies and slow speed figures of this year's crop of 3-year-olds. Before we get into all the observations and analyses, and attempt to figure out this daffy Derby there is one point that must be addressed first.
Just when it looked as if Todd Pletcher would be sitting out this year's Kentucky Derby, his two best Derby hopes from day one - Monba and Cowboy Cal - came through for him with a first and second in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Adriano had an easy morning on Monday, walking the shedrow at Barn 42 a day after working five furlongs in 1:01.80
Team Valor International and Vision Racing LLC's Visionaire returned to the work tab April 22 at Keeneland for the first time since he finished fifth in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Eric Fein's Big Truck, winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III), worked a half-mile in :48.8 over the Polytrack at Keeneland April 22.
In spite of the shocking news of the Triple Crown trail-ending injury to 2007 juvenile champion male War Pass and the apparent decision to forego the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) for a run in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) by the connections of Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) winner Behindatthebar, a 20-horse field is still being predicted for the 134th Run for the Roses May 3 at Churchill Downs.
If you were looking for a sign that Pyro has bounced out of his Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) fiasco in top shape and is back to being the Pyro of old, you certainly didn't get it Monday morning when the colt worked six furlongs in fog so thick it wasn't able to be timed by the Keeneland clockers.
For all those who have written off Denis of Cork, the one-time leading Kentucky Derby contender turned in a sensational work at Churchill Downs Monday.
Courtlandt Farm's Adriano, winner of the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park, continued his preparation for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with a five-furlong work April 20 at Churchill Downs.
Fox Hill Farms' Eight Belles and Brereton Jones' Proud Spell, two fillies who have either the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) or the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) in their immediate futures, each worked a half-mile April 20 in their final moves at Keeneland before they are shipped to Churchill Downs April 25.
Two weeks ago, Todd Pletcher was sitting on the outside of the Derby picture looking in. But when Padua Stables and partners' Behindatthebar followed the hard-knocking efforts of Monba and Cowboy Cal in the April 12 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) with an impressive performance of his own in the $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) April 19, the venerable trainer could count not one, but three potential contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Launching a strong bid from between horses on the final turn, favored Icabad Crane ran down the front-running Mint Lane in the final sixteenth of a mile to register a head victory in the $100,000 Federico Tesio Stakes on opening weekend at Pimlico April 19. The triumph could provide trainer H. Graham Motion and owner Earle I. Mack with a prospect for the May 17 Preakness (gr. I) over the track.
Mount Joy Stables' hombred Smooth Air turned in a strong seven furlong work at Calder Race Course April 19 in preparation for a start in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Robert LaPenta's War Pass, the champion 2-year-old of 2007 and winner of the $2 million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Grade I) at Monmouth Park, has suffered a leg injury that has knocked the colt out of the $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).
Trainer Todd Pletcher said April 18 that he has not decided when he will ship Monba and Cowboy Cal, his one-two finishers in the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I), to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and is considering giving the two colts their final works at Keeneland the weekend before the Run for the Roses.
Two regally bred Japanese colts, Casino Drive and Spark Candle, are due to arrive at Belmont Park April 30, with at least one of them pointing for the 140th Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 7.
Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Big Brown, likely favorite for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), breezed five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 at Palm Meadows Friday with regular exercise rider Michelle Nevin aboard.
John Servis has not been on the Triple Crown trail since Smarty Jones captivated the Thoroughbred racing world in 2004. The veteran trainer will try to change that this year, as he sends out Indian Jump in the $150,000 Federico Tesio Stakes April 19 at Pimlico Race Course, a 1 1/8-mile dirt event that serves as the local prep for the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
With the Derby getting closer, we're doubling up this week to take a look at the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) and mostly to discuss what may turn out to be one of the most important works on this year's Derby trail.
General admission tickets for Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) are now available for advanced purchase through Ticketmaster. The tickets will be available for purchase at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone, or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
Charles Fipke's Tale of Ekati worked a half-mile in :49.20 April 17 at Keeneland. Trainer Barclay Tagg described the move as "a little maintenance work after his race."
Connections of Racecar Rhapsody are thinking ahead. There's no other explanation for choosing Churchill Downs as the site of his final workout ahead of Keeneland's grade II Coolmore Lexington Stakes.
Illinois Derby (gr. II) winner Recapturetheglory, a potential contender for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), worked five furlongs at Churchill Downs April 17.
Prepping for a run in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Zayat Stables' Z Humor worked four furlongs in :47.50 at Churchill Downs April 17.
For several 3-year-olds pointing toward the $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland, the April 19 event offers a final chance at graded earnings and entry into the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). But the horse whose form points to a likely win in the 1 1/16-mile event has no aspirations of making the Derby -- and he could spoil the plans of those who do when a field of 11 goes postward in the final Derby prep of the season.
With Edgar Prado deciding to ride Adriano in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Ramon Domiguez was named by trainer Todd Pletcher to ride Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) winner Monba.
Despite having won the Wood Memorial (gr. I) aboard Tale of Ekati and the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on Monba, Edgar Prado has decided to ride Courtlandt Farms' Adriano in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Robert Evans' Elysium Fields, runner-up in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), will be sidelined indefinitely, said trainer Barclay Tagg.
Trainer Eric Guillot was refreshingly candid during an April 15 teleconference hosted by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, calling his horse "one of the 15 who might not belong," but saying a trip to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) is definitely under consideration for Salute the Sarge.
Jet Set Racing Stable's Tomcito, preparing for Saturday's $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II), worked three furlongs out of the gate in :34.60 and galloped out a half-mile in :46.80 with Manfreddy Guzman up Tuesday morning at Keeneland.
Well, should we talk about the vagaries of Polytrack form for the umpteenth time or concentrate on the weekend's racing?
Dogwood Stable's Atoned, fourth last time out in the grade II, $500,000 Illinois Derby, will be entered in the grade II $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 19, according to Cot Campbell, Dogwood Stable President.
WinStar Farms' Colonel John worked four furlongs in :47.40, and Bob Black Jack went :48.00 on the Cushion Track at Santa Anita Park the morning of April 14.
Owner Rick Porter has always known Eight Belles is a solid contender -- but he's thinking about putting the 3-year-old filly's class and stamina to the ultimate test May 3. Porter said April 13, if all goes well, the daughter of Unbridled's Song will be entered in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Gayego is to be flown to Louisville, Ky., on April 14, to prepare for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). He will be joined on the flight by second and third-place finishers, Z Fortune and Tres Borrachos.
Mt. Joy Stables' Smooth Air, runner-up in the March 29 Florida Derby (gr. I), continued his preparation for the 134th "Run for the Roses" April 13 with a sharp mile workout at Calder timed in 1:41, an impressive move over that surface.
One day after his 3-year-olds ran 1-2 in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), trainer Todd Pletcher said he will take a few days before deciding when Monba and Cowboy Cal will ship to Churchill Downs in preparation for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Courtlandt Farm's homebred Adriano is now considered "likely" for a run in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) following a four-furlong workout April 13 at Churchill Downs.
Four new names entered the fray that's called the Road to the Kentucky Derby on Saturday with wins and placings in the grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and grade II Arkansas Derby. And with their good fortune, the dreams of others were dampened if not outright doused.
After doing all of his running on Southern California's synthetic tracks, favored Gayego proved he has no problem with a conventional dirt surface, either. The Paulo Lobo-trained invader repelled Z Fortune in the stretch run for a three-quarter-length victory in the $1-million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park.
Bea Oxenberg's Hey Byrn kept his Kentucky Derby hopes alive with a workmanlike 2 1/4-length win in the slowly run $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park April 12.
Sebastian County, a clear leader a furlong from home, held off Poni Colada by a head to win the $75,000 Northern Spur for 3-year-olds on the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) program at Oaklawn Park April 12.
Trainer Todd Pletcher had won just a single race at Keeneland going into the April 12 card. But he won again where it counted, and with Monba and Cowboy Cal finishing 1-2 in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), it looks like North America's leading trainer of 2007 will be headed to the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) after all.
Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Big Brown drilled five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 under regular exercise rider Michelle Nevin Saturday morning at Palm Meadows Training Center.
The upstart California-bred colt Bob Black Jack, second in the April 5 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) is headed to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) for his next start so long as he has the graded earnings to make the 20-horse field.
HRTV's originally produced weekly show on top Derby prospects and the road to the Triple Crown. This week's episode includes an update on Graded Stakes Earnings, a detailed analysis of the Santa Anita Derby, previews of the Blue Grass Stakes and Arkansas Derby, and an interview with Mike Smith who rides Gayego in the Arkansas Derby.
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