Although the Breeders' Cup dirt races will have some element of the unknown due to the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita, the unchartered waters of the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) will be the deepest of all.
WinStar Farm's Colonel John, winner of the $1 million Travers Stakes (gr. I) by a nose at Saratoga, worked four furlongs Sept. 14 on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface in :48 4/5 for trainer Eoin Harty. The colt is headed for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) Oct. 25 at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meet.
Horse of the Year Tiznow, second on the general sire list this year, emerged on top the list of leading sires by average (with three of more sold) for the Sept. 11 fourth day of the Keeneland September yearling sale.
HRTV's weekly series analyzing each division of the Breeders' Cup. This 2008 debut episode includes a discussion of the 2-day format and the Pro-ride surface, an analysis of the Pacific Classic, a look ahead to the Spinaway and the Hopeful and much more.
Just before leaving a flight from Albany, N.Y., to Southern California, trainer Eoin Harty checked in at the barn at Saratoga to see how WinStar Farm's Colonel John came out of the exciting nose victory over Mambo in Seattle in the $1-million Travers Stakes presented by Shadwell Farm (gr. I) Aug. 23.
In one of the most thrilling finishes in the race's 139-year history, WinStar Farm's Colonel John nosed out Mambo in Seattle to win the $1-million Travers Stakes Presented by Shadwell Farm (gr. I) Aug. 23 at Saratoga.
This week, Jason and guest co-host Evan Hammonds take on the Travers (gr. I). Plus, Cary Fotias of Equiform offers picks for race 10 at Arlington Park Aug. 23.
Other than Big Brown, no 3-year-old has separated itself from the rest of the pack in 2008. That could all change Aug. 23 at Saratoga, as a full field of 12 will go to post in the $1 million Travers Stakes Presented by Shadwell Farm (gr. I), each horse seeking its place in history by attempting to win one of the oldest and most prestigious Thoroughbred races in North America.
A field of 12 was entered Aug. 20 for the $1-million Travers Presented by Shadwell Farm at Saratoga Aug. 23.
Dallas Stewart and Eoin Harty, the respective trainers of Macho Again and Colonel John, discuss the chances of their colts in Saturday's Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga.
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Da' Tara fired a bullet work Aug. 15, and along with Jim Dandy (gr. II) winner Macho Again, head the likely field for the Aug. 23 Travers (gr. I).
According to New York Racing Association Stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes, Acai, Colonel John, Da' Tara, Harlem Rocker, Macho Again, Mambo in Seattle, Pyro, Tale of Ekati, and Tres Borrachos are probable for the Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga.
Tres Borrachos found a great spot for his first victory over winners when he rallied boldly on the inside to upset Colonel John and Two Step Salsa as the longest shot in the field in the $355,495 Swaps Stakes (gr. II) July 12 at Hollywood Park.
Colonel John, who ran sixth after a poor start as the second choice in the 2008 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), makes his first start in 10 weeks in the $350,000 Swaps Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) at Hollywood Park July 12.
Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Colonel John worked four furlongs in :49 on Santa Anita's synthetic track June 1 for trainer Eoin Harty. It was the colt's first recorded workout since the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Colonel John is scheduled to return to California next week from Kentucky, trainer Eoin Harty said May 16 at Santa Anita.
As participants in The Race For Education's Racehorse Nomination Program, a percentage of any earnings by Colonel John, Court Vision, Monba, Visionaire, Z Fortune and Z Humor in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) will go to the non-profit, which funds scholarships and educational grants for young people with significant financial need.
This space will not focus too much on Big Brown or Colonel John. The comments and observations that follow are designed to help ferret out some elusive price horses, based on looks, works, and gallops.
It was only appropriate that the final Kentucky Derby work belong to Big Brown, who showed why he just may be as special as his connections believe he is.
Trainer Todd Pletcher doesn't have the first, second, or third choice in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). In fact, his horses were assigned odds of 15-1 (Monba) and 20-1 (Cowboy Cal) on the morning line. So, after giving an update on the status of his runners, Pletcher was left to confirm Rick Dutrow Jr.'s confidence in Big Brown during a May 1 press conference at Churchill Downs.
The connections of 3-1 morning-line favorite Big Brown selected the outside 20 post position for the undefeated colt in Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) during the April 30 post position draw held in downtown Louisville.
Although he has had 13 Kentucky Derby mounts, the winning prize has eluded 38-year-old Corey Nakatani. Not so honors in other racing events, from riding titles at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park, Del Mar, and Oak Tree, to seven Breeders' Cup victories.
In our quest to discover the origins of names belonging to Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contenders, we discovered a diamond mine, picked up some basketball lingo, learned Indonesian, and found out what brown can do for us. Here are the stories behind the names of a few runners going into this year's first Saturday in May.
Poet T.S. Eliot labeled April "cruelest month," but it is not a bad month on stud farms for foaling winners of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). In fact, over the last eight years, April foals have won three runnings of the Derby. February, the month that gives us both Groundhog Day and Presidents Day despite being the shortest month of the year, has been responsible for five winners.
Well, Big Brown finally is here and the racing world had its first look at the likely Kentucky Derby favorite and its first encounter with his colorful trainer Rick Dutrow.
When Tony Lacy was signing sale tickets for yearlings last year, the Kentucky-based bloodstock agent and Four Star Sales consultant didn't know that two of the horses would distinguish themselves by having siblings running in this year's Kentucky Presented By Yum Brands (gr. I).
- By Dan Liebman
by Dan Liebman - One night during the 2007 Keeneland November sale, Eoin Harty was enjoying a leisurely dinner when the topic turned to horses, in particular those in his Southern California stable.
Trainer Nick Zito is holding court with a ring of media members outside his barn. The two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer has two starters for Saturday's running: Cool Coal Man and Anak Naktal. Zito is talking about the subject of the year: synthetic surfaces. We have a feeling he's not a big fan.
Bob Black Jack, the runner-up to Colonel John in the April 5 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), drilled a half-mile at Churchill Downs late Monday morning in :48 3/5.
With each day, more and more questions are being answered. We now know Colonel John at least can work like the dickens on dirt; we know that Proud Spell will run in the Oaks, letting Bob Black Jack in the Derby; we know that Smooth Air is feeling fine again; and we know that Gayego is looking and training awesome.
HRTV's originally produced show on the Derby contenders. The show moves to Louisville and airs daily from Churchill Downs. Today's episode includes the news of the day, a report on the works from Sunday, and an update on the Derby status of the fillies trained by Larry Jones.
WinStar Farm's Colonel John, one of the favorites for Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), solidified his status with a scintillating five-furlong bullet work over the main track at Churchill Downs Sunday morning.
HRTV's originally produced show on the Derby contenders. The show moves to Louisville and begins airing daily. Today's episode includes the news of the day, a report on the works from the week, and an Oaks update.
Hurt by its early-season cancellation of 11 racing days, Santa Anita concluded its winter/spring meet April 20 with decreases in overall handle and attendance. But officials were breathing a sigh of relief that it wasn't worse.
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.
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.
Well, we're down to our final two major preps, the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) and Arkansas Derby (gr. II), with the Coolmore Lexington (gr. II) and Holy Bull (gr. III) thrown in for good measure. The question right now is: what did we learn from last Saturday's preps?
Unbeaten Big Brown, the dominating winner of last week's Florida Derby (gr. I), took on the look of the ultimate favorite for the $2-million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) when he finished as a solid 3-1 choice in the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2008 Derby Future Wager.
Colonel John was all set to run for the roses the morning after his late-running victory in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), but the trainer for the runner-up, the persevering Bob Black Jack, plans to weigh his options.
WinStar Farms' Colonel John emerged as the West Coast's leading Triple Crown contender with a clutch late-running victory before a crowd of 50,358 in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 5.
IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr.'s Big Brown, the unbeaten winner of the Florida Derby (gr. I), remained the top choice of Kentucky Derby fans as the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager reached its midway point April 4.
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 the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, a recap of the Florida Derby, an interview with Eoin Harty, trainer of Colonel John; and previews of the Wood Memorial, Illinois Derby, and Santa Anita Derby.
Colonel John has been installed as a slight favorite over El Gato Malo in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 5. A larger-than-expected field of 11 was entered in the 1 1/8-mile synthetic track test for 3-year-olds.
With the final Derby preps approaching, there is no more room for error. It's time to earn your way into the Run for the Roses or pack up and go home. The three graded stakes this weekend, the grade I Santa Anita Derby and Wood Memorial and grade II Illinois Derby, offer intriguing plot lines that will make or break aspiring Derby hopefuls.
Unbeaten newcomer Big Brown, a dazzling five-length winner in his stakes debut in the $1-million Florida Derby (gr. I), has been installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite for the third and final pool for Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which opens its four-day run April 3.
Sham Stakes winner Colonel John, one of the favorites for the April 5 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and a major Triple Crown contender, worked six furlongs in 1:10.80 March 31 at Santa Anita Park.
Despite three losses to reigning 2-year-old champion War Pass, Winchell Thoroughbreds' homebred Pyro is the 4-1 favorite as Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager closed March 9.
War Pass and Pyro are each at odds of 4-1 heading into the final day of wagering for Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager after conclusion of betting March 8.
War Pass, who kicked off his 2008 Triple Crown campaign with an allowance victory at Gulfstream Feb. 24, stood as the solid 5-2 favorite as the first day of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2 drew to a close March 6.
So, did Saturday's Sham Stakes (gr. III) showcase two exceptional 3-year-olds or was it simply about two top horses running agonizingly slow early and coming home fast late over a synthetic surface? We'll know the answer when they hit the quarter pole at Churchill Downs on May 3.
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