In Tuesday developments leading up to Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I), High Fly joined trainer Nick Zito's contingent of contenders after breezing at Churchill Downs. Also putting in final works at Churchill before shipping to Pimlico were Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo and Wilko.
Complete daily report on contenders for Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico Racecourse.
Afleet Alex, the only contender for the May 21 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) currently at Pimlico, went out onto the main track twice Saturday morning.
Jockeys Edgar Prado and David Flores have picked up mounts in the May 21 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico Race Course. Prado gets the call aboard High Limit and Flores will ride Greeley's Galaxy.
Fourteen horses, the absolute limit, have not started in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) since 1992, but as events continue to unfold, it appears the starting gate could be filled to capacity for the middle jewel of the Triple Crown.
After three days of mild exercise in the barn, Jerry and Ann Moss' Giacomo, the surprise winner of the 131st Kentucky Derby (gr. I), returned to the Churchill Downs track Wednesday for the first time since his stunning victory.
The field for the May 21 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) continues to grow, as one horse was reported to be on his way to Baltimore, a second became a surprise supplement to the race, and trainer Nick Zito gave some indication as to which of his horses may still be in play.
Trainer Tim Ritchey confirmed Wednesday that Afleet Alex will be the first Preakness (gr. I) shipper to arrive at the Pimlico stakes barn. The third place finisher in Saturday's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is to get on a van Wednesday morning at Churchill and is expected at Old Hilltop in the late afternoon.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority is reviewing the wearing of advertising by some jockeys in the May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) that wasn't approved by the regulatory agency or Churchill Downs. Included is jockey Jeremy Rose, who finished third aboard Afleet Alex.
With Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo scheduled to ship to Pimlico on Wednesday, May 18, the field the Holy Bull colt will face in the May 21 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) is taking shape.
One day after riding Giacomo to an upset victory in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) at 50-1 odds, jockey Mike Smith was in the limelight Sunday morning in the Churchill Downs barn area.
Giacomo, the second biggest upset winner in the 131-year history of the Kentucky Derby, runner-up Closing Argument and third place finisher Afleet Alex could all start in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) May 21 although winning trainer John Shirreffs hasn't committed his son of Holy Bull.
The crowd at Churchill Downs has settled on Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Bellamy Road as the favorite for this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
My latest rankings have Afleet Alex number one, followed by Bellamy Road and Bandini. But, let's face it, we're talking the three favorites, and anyone can come up with the same three horses. There are question marks surrounding most of the horses in what looks to be as strong and deep a Derby field as we've had in a long while.
- By Dan Liebman
Granted, the pool is still small, but the bettors on Kentucky Oaks day pushed more than $380,000 into the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) win pool on Friday. And they made Afleet Alex the favorite over program pick Bellamy Road.
There isn't much more to say about Afleet Alex that hasn't been said before. Well, come to think of it, maybe there is. Alex was the star of the morning, being the only worker. He also was the center of attention at an informal auction to benefit cancer research.
A chilly Tuesday morning on the Churchill Downs backstretch brought out the warmth in the heart of B. Wayne Hughes. The owner of possible dual Kentucky Derby (gr. I) entrants Greeley's Galaxy and Don't Get Mad matched Afleet Alex's majority owner/partner Charles Zacney bid for bid, landing a 2006 no guarantee season right to Afleet Alex's sire Northern Afleet--all in the name of charity.
Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Afleet Alex was the only contender for Saturday's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) to put in his final workout Tuesday, and the son of Northern Afleet again showed his fitness by breezing a half-mile in :48 2/5 at Churchill Downs.
All horses foaled in the Northern Hemisphere have the universal birth date of Jan. 1 as their official age of racing, but not all of this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contenders are actually 3-year-olds as of yet. Who's the oldest? Who's the youngest? Whose birth date is actually Derby day, May 7?
The Northern Afleet syndicate and its manager Taylor Made/WinStar venture has agreed to donate the proceeds of a live auction of a 2006 Northern Afleet no guarantee season to benefit "Alex's Lemonade Stand." The auction of this season will be held Tuesday, May 3 at 10:30 a.m. on the backstretch of Churchill Downs adjacent the clocker's stand.
An ugly, rainy morning, and no Kentucky Derby (gr. I) works made for a funky Friday. The Derby lost one prospective starter when it was announced General John B will not run due to a tendon injury to his left front leg. On the jockey front was the announcement that Pat Valenzuela will ride Coolmore Lexington (gr. II) winner Coin Silver.
It's that time of the week when things briefly quiet down before the second wave of workouts. With only Consolidator working under the cover of darkness, this is a good time to reflect on how the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is shaping up so far.
By Evan I. Hammonds - There have been some gaudy numbers put up over the last couple of weekends by horses and humans alike. Some add spice to the coming Kentucky Derby (gr. I); some show a renewed vigor in the sport of Thoroughbred racing.
Tuesday's activity can be pretty much summed up in two words: Afleet Alex -- with the emphasis on Afleet. Working over a loose track that was playing on the slow side, Alex blazed his five furlongs in :59, with several others getting him in :58 3/5.
Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Afleet Alex displayed his affinity for the track at Churchill Downs when he zipped five furlongs in :59 Tuesday morning in preparation for the May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
As a budding athlete in grade school, Tim Ritchey recalls, he did "two-a-day" drills as a member of the football team. Now, Ritchey is applying those lessons learned at a young age, along with lessons learned as a trainer of show horses and a healthy dose of what he calls "common sense," in his training of Afleet Alex, one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
As a road trip to Louisville, Ky. for the Kentucky Derby rekindles memories of Smarty Jones' 2004 journey, there are also omens pointing to Afleet Alex as another Triple Crown Trail success story out of Philadelphia Park.
Boy, has this Kentucky Derby (gr. I) picture changed. Suddenly, it's the year of the routs. So, what do you do when you have final Derby preps won by 17 1/2, 9 1/2, 8, and 6 lengths?
Trainer Tim Ritchey announced Tuesday that Jeremy Rose will ride Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Afleet Alex in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) May 7. Rose has ridden Afleet Alex in every race but one, winning six of his eight starts aboard the colt.
Victory by Cash is King Stable's Afleet Alex in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) pushed the Northern Afleet colt to the top of the list of Kentucky Derby contenders by graded stakes earnings.
Afleet Alex gave Oaklawn Park its second major contender for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) in as many years with his smashing win Saturday in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II).
Favored Afleet Alex bounced back from the worst race of his career, a last-place finish in the Rebel (gr. III) a month ago, to win the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) as much the best Saturday before 71,010 at Oaklawn Park.
A field of 10 was entered for Saturday's $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II), and although two of the "Big Three" stabled at Oaklawn this winter will run, it is not quite what the Hot Springs track had envisioned.
As trainer Tim Ritchey watched aboard the stable pony Tuesday morning, Afleet Alex signaled that he is ready for Saturday's $1-million Arkansas Derby (gr. II), zipping through a fast half-mile workout at Oaklawn Park.
With less than four weeks until the May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), Godolphin Racing's Blues and Royals, winner of the UAE Derby (UAE-II) on the Dubai World Cup card, is still on top of the list of Derby contenders by graded stakes earnings.
Rick Porter, owner of Rockport Harbor, said that although the colt is doing much better after suffering his third setback of the year, he is 50-50 at best to make the April 16 Arkansas Derby (gr. II), and that the April 23 Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland appears to be the more likely spot at this time."
Cash is King Stable managing partner Chuck Zacney, co-owner of Afleet Alex, announced Tuesday he has accepted Dan Borislow's $50,000 challenge matching Borislow's Wild Desert against Afleet Alex and Rockport Harbor in a horse-against-horse showdown in the April 16 Arkansas Derby (gr. II).
Patrick Valenzuela has been named to ride Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) runner-up Wild Desert in the April 16 Arkansas Derby (gr. II), majority owner Dan Borislow said Monday. If Wild Desert runs well enough at Oaklawn to merit a trip to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), Valenzuela will remain aboard.
So, where are the best 3-year-olds based? Florida, Arkansas, California, and New York can all make a case for being the hot spot right now following Saturday's stirring and strange turn of events. With Declan's Moon and now Roman Ruler out of the picture, and Afleet Alex and Wilko facing uphill battles, last year's top 2-year-olds are fading fast.
It was a big night for the connections of Southern Image at the March 20 Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association annual awards dinner. Southern Image was named Florida-bred horse of the year and champion older horse, while his sire, Halo's Image, who stands at Arthur I. Appleton's Bridlewood Farm, was named sire of the year.
Afleet Alex, who finished last as the 3-5 favorite in Saturday's Rebel (gr. III), was scoped following the race and found to be suffering from a lung infection. Trainer Tim Ritchey said the colt is still being pointed for the April 16 Arkansas Derby (gr. II).
Lewis Lakin's Greater Good rallied from well off the pace to collar runaway pacesetter Rockport Harbor for a half-length victory in the $250,000 Rebel (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park.
The March 19 Rebel Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park promises to deliver some major fireworks when Afleet Alex, Rockport Harbor, and Greater Good lock horns in the 1 1/16-mile race, which drew a field of six.
Saturday's $250,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. III) from Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., will be televised on ESPNEWS at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Bettors across North America settled on "all others" as the lukewarm favorite when Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2005 Kentucky Derby Future Wager ended its four-day run on Sunday evening.
Just when it looked as if Rockport Harbor's luck had run out and he'd be unable to make the March 19 Rebel Stakes (gr. III), trainer John Servis, while still cautious, said the foot looked much better Sunday.
Cash Is King Stable's Afleet Alex and Harry Aleo's unbeaten Lost In The Fog emerged as the favorites at the midway point of Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager following the defection of the injured Declan's Moon.
The Kentucky Derby (gr. I) picture finally cleared up a bit last Saturday as Declan's Moon and Afleet Alex returned in grand style and Nick Zito put the finishing touches on his powerful four-horse Derby package, all of whom are coming off impressive victories. But the weekend's events still left us with several questions.
The second of three pools in the 2005 Kentucky Derby Future Wager will open four days of betting with co-favorites in unbeaten juvenile champion Declan's Moon and the mutuel field, the wagering interest that includes all 3-year-olds other than the 23 individual horses in the March 10-13 pool.
Cash is King Stable's Afleet Alex will make his 3-year-old debut in the Saturday's Mountain Valley Stakes, going six furlongs at Oaklawn Park.
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