Long-range weather forecast calling for showers on Derby day.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - This year brings us to a couple of tried and tested chapters from the unwritten trainers' manual regarding the Kentucky Derby: the "two-prep" and "unraced juvenile" rules.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has assigned jockeys to all of his potential starters for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Meanwhile, with 15 days remaining until the running of the 133rd Derby, top agents are ironing out plans for their riders' May 5 mounts.
Delta Air Lines will offer customers more than 5,900 additional seats between Louisville and its hubs in Atlanta, Cincinnati, and New York in celebration of the 133rd Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Customers now can book Delta's added Derby flights on delta.com.
On the day of the Eclipse Awards, Dr. Dean Richardson is presented the Big Sport of Turfdom Award from the Turf Publicists of America.
Barbaro remains in stable condition with good vital signs after a restful night, according to a release from the New Bolton Center, where the colt owned by Roy and Gretchen Jackson continues battling laminitis.
The tears for Barbaro have all been shed, and now people around the world anxiously await each daily report on the colt's condition. It's been more than a week since Barbaro's horrific injury in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), which set off an outpouring of emotion on a national scale never before seen in Thoroughbred racing.
Veterinary surgeon Dean Richardson and trainer Michael Matz flashed smiles during a press briefing that followed afternoon-long surgery Sunday to repair the right hind ankle of classic winner Barbaro that was severely injured one day earlier in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico. Barbaro was standing and eating in a recovery stall following the surgery at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa.
A peek into history reveals some of the strongest Triple Crown contenders have found their easiest jewel in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Each year, trends in racing seem to be changing, and having a fresh horse is what most trainers now seem most comfortable with.
Who is the favorite in the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I)? Well, the public is not sure.
They call it Chamber of Commerce weather. This year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) will be run on a beautiful day in Louisville, Ky.
With nearly $400,000 in the pool, admittedly a small amount compared to what will eventually be wagered to win on the Derby, the favorite is only 6-1.
It is Todd Pletcher day at Churchill Downs Friday. When he sent out Oonagh Maccool to an easy win in the $271,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares, the trainer was notching his fourth winner of the day...and that's from four races in which he had runners.
On Monday, did anybody wish Derby contender Seaside Retreat happy birthday? Someone should have, because May 1 was his foaling date. While all horses foaled in the Northern Hemisphere have the universal birth date of Jan. 1 as their official age of racing, not all of this year's contenders are actually 3-year-olds.
Should you adjust your handicapping for this year's Derby to decide who you think might run best on an off track? Well...maybe.
The National Weather Service issued its 10-day forecast today that extends through May 6, otherwise known as Kentucky Derby day.
Sure, Brother Derek should win the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). Yes, you can pick out of a hat in the suddenly depleted Wood Memorial (gr. I), And, of course, Cause to Believe and Sweetnorthernsaint look to be the standouts in the Illinois Derby (gr. II). But it's what comes out of these races that will prove to be more important.
Fourteen horses were announced as late nominees for the 2006 Triple Crown by Triple Crown Productions, at a cost of $6,000 each. The additions bring the total number of nominations to 440.
Retired jockey Gary Stevens has officially joined NBC Sports' broadcasting team, according to his manager, Kelly Weitsma. The Hall of Fame rider finalized a long-term deal with NBC earlier this month, and will co-host the network's horse racing coverage along with broadcasting veteran Tom Hammond.
Saturday's $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II), which was being billed as the stakes debut of undefeated Strong Contender, now has turned into a 12-horse free-for-all with no big-name 3-year-olds.
John Oxley's Strong Contender, who would have been the heavy favorite for Saturday's $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II), did not make the starting field when 12 others with higher earnings were entered.
Stevie Wonderboy, champion 2-year-old male and winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), suffered a condylar fracture of the right front leg during a workout Monday morning and has been knocked off the Triple Crown trail, trainer Doug O'Neill said.
Cash is King Stable's Afleet Alex, winner of this year's Preakness and Belmont Stakes (both gr. I), has been retired.
The following is a potpourri of impressions, observations, afterthoughts, and memorable quotes from this year's Triple Crown, which proved to be a pretty wild ride. There was nothing ordinary about the cast of characters and the unusual paths they took to get to Churchill Downs and beyond.
Bellamy Road, who finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) as the 5-2 favorite, popped a splint Tuesday morning in his left front leg and will miss at least 30 days of training.
NBC Sports' broadcast of Giacomo's surprise win at the 131st running of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) notched an 8.2 overnight rating and 19 share, slightly down from an 8.3 rating in 2001, 2003, and 2004.
Battle Won, in his second start since running in Hong Kong, drew off to win the $231,000 Churchill Downs Handicap (gr. II) by 3 1/2 lengths Saturday at Churchill Downs, the first stakes race on the card that will feature the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
- 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.
Mighty Beau, who just missed last time out in the Shakertown Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland, easily took the $113,500 Aegon Turf Sprint (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs Friday.
Even-money favorite Limehouse, who ran fourth in last year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I), ran this year on Kentucky Oaks day, winning the $112,900 Alysheba Stakes.
Sweet Talker burst to the lead as the field straightened for home and held off the late charge of Rich in Spirit to win the $112,400 Edgwood Stakes by three-quarters of a length at Churchill Downs Friday.
Everyone likes to talk about the Derby gods. Their impact on racing this weekend at Churchill Downs is unknown, but they certainly have blessed the Louisville, Ky. area with nice weather.
Trainers of some Kentucky Derby (gr. I) horses were altering plans this past weekend, juggling work schedules to avoid the rain. If the National Weather Service is correct, no one should have to worry come Derby day.
Bob and Beverly Lewis' Consolidator, winner of the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), has been withdrawn from the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) picture after suffering a fractured sesamoid in his right front ankle. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas confirmed the situation Monday and said Consolidator has been retired.
Kinsman Stable's Bellamy Road, the early favorite for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:02 4/5 at Churchill Downs Thursday morning. It was the colt's first work since his 17 1/2-length romp in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) April 9.
Should Greater Good win the May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), it would make the second time in the past three years the winner cannot stand at stud.
Pat Day, the all-time leading jockey in North America by earnings and fourth by wins, will undergo surgery on his right hip March 30 and may miss the May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), a race he has ridden in the past 21 years.
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.
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.
Declan's Moon, champion 2-year-old and early favorite for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), has been taken off the Derby trail after X-rays disclosed a small chip fracture in his left knee, trainer Ron Ellis said Friday morning.
Tracy Farmer's Sun King, third in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and Champagne Stakes (gr. I), will make his 3-year-old debut in a one-mile allowance race at Gulfstream Park Feb. 26.
You could say that So Long Birdie has some awfully big wings to fill. Last year, his half-brother, Birdstone, won the grade I Belmont and Travers, and the year before, his half-sister, Bird Town, captured the grade I Kentucky Oaks and Acorn on her way to an Eclipse Award.
Cash Is King Stable's Afleet Alex, winner of the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) and runner-up in the voting for 2-year-old champion, had his first work of the year at Oaklawn Park Wednesday, drilling a sharp half in :47 flat with jockey Jeremy Rose aboard. It was the second fastest of 40 works at the distance.
Tim Scott joined Churchill Downs Inc. Feb. 8 as the company's senior vice president of sales and marketing.
Gulfstream Park's reshuffled schedule of 3-year-old races gets its first test in the Feb. 5 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) when Kentucky Derby (gr. I) hopefuls are required to stretch out for the first of three 1 1/8-mile stakes.
Two undefeated colts, Declan's Moon and Rockport Harbor, worked Thursday morning at Santa Anita and Oaklawn Park, respectively, in preparation for their 3-year-old debuts. Declan's Moon turned in a sharp five furlongs in :59 4/5, while Rockport Harbor went the same distance in 1:02 1/5.
Churchill Downs Incorporated launched the official 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) Web sites Wednesday. According to a release from the company, the new and improved sites offer "the most comprehensive coverage of the Run for the Roses" and its sister race, the Kentucky Oaks. This year's Derby will be held May 7 and the Oaks May 6.
Although last weekend saw rainouts on both coasts, including a rare cancellation at Santa Anita, there at least was a 'High Fly' hit that turned into a tape measure home run. So, while the Florida 3-year-olds moved forward, the California horses hit a brick wall and now must wait for dry weather in order to race, and even train.
WAVE 3 in Louisville, Ky., won the Media Eclipse Award for local television for its pre-and post-race coverage surrounding last year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I), the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Jan. 4.
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