The New York Racing Association released its 2008 stakes schedule Dec. 12, following approval by NYRA's board of trustees at its monthly meeting. The New York State Racing and Wagering Board still must give its approval, a standard procedure.
Slew's Tizzy and Hard Spun, who figure to be the pacesetters in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), drew next to each other at the post position draw Wednesday morning at Belmont Park. Curlin, the classic-winning morning line favorite in the seven-horse field, drew post three.
- By Dan Liebman
By Dan Liebman - Never having been in such a position, Gallion had trouble putting a value on Curlin...
Trainer Carl Nafzger was relaxed at the Preakness barn Thursday morning. And, why shouldn't he be.
By Bill Nack - The Derby, unique and demanding, requires that a horse be absolutely dead fit to win it.
The jinx has been broken. Calvin Borel and Street Sense won the $2.2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) Saturday, the first Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner to return at 3 and win the Derby.
Standing outside the Gold Room on the sixth floor of the clubhouse of Churchill Downs is Lisa Underwood. Underwood is the executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.
As the gates opened at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks day, the key was not the field for the race but the weather forecast.
In a year where multiple trainers have multiple horses in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Bill Kaplan will saddle two longshots.
Although trainer Doug O'Neill has played a significant role in some of racing's biggest days, on May 5 he will experience saddling a Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contender for the first time. After the defection of his trainee Cobalt Blue, O'Neill will be saddling two horses in the Derby, Great Hunter and Liquidity
In a year filled with synthetic surface preps and extended layoffs between races, most of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contenders are looking to break some kind of trend.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - For some, just getting a horse to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May is the realization of a dream. For others who've been there before, it's about winning -- pure and simple.
Calling the :58.91 move "as good as a horse could work," trainer Todd Pletcher expressed great pleasure with the five-furlong performance of Cowtown Cat over the Keeneland Polytrack Saturday morning.
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.
- By Dan Liebman
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.
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