Despite Siphonic's second in the Santa Catalina, Steve Haskin says the 3-year-old remains his top pick for the May 4 Kentucky Derby. In this first installment leading up to the spring classic, Haskin lists his top 25 and those "Knocking on the Door."
He's out there, somewhere. He may be in the back of his stall nibbling on a mound of alfalfa, or stretched out with his head nestled in a bed of straw. He may be nothing more than a shrouded figure galloping through an early morning fog or a mere silhouette against a golden sunrise. But one thing is certain: somewhere out there is the winner of the 2002 Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
John C. Oxley's Monarchos, who capped a strong winter-spring campaign with victories in the Florida Derby (gr. I) and Kentucky Derby (gr. I) last year, makes his 4-year-old debut here Saturday as he preps for Gulfstream Park's $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) on Feb. 9.
The Association of Racing Commissioners International has developed a model rule that could make a proposed Breeders' Cup future wager an annual event and expand early wagering on the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Churchill Downs and officials with the city of Louisville, Ky. have requested help from the federal government in dealing with security for the May 4 Kentucky Derby, the Kentucky Oaks, and the Pegasus Parade that is staged Derby week.
By Steve Haskin -- There are 2,904 hours until the Kentucky Derby. By the time I finish writing this, there will be 2,903. I figure approximately 650 of those hours will be spent sleeping, leaving 2,253 hours to think about the Derby.
Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier's Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Johannesburg begins 2002 as the future-book favorite for both the Sagitta Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) and the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Both races will be run on May 4.
This is it, the final report for 2001. Starting next week, we'll officially be on the 2002 Kentucky Derby trail, as the major scenes shift to Gulfstream and Santa Anita, joining the already-in-progress Fair Grounds and Aqueduct meets. We close the year with the Hollywood Futurity and several more impressive maiden and allowance victories.
The one trainer who seems to be establishing his niche in this year's Derby picture is Shug McGaughey. With Saarland, Maybry's Boy, and D'Coach, it's as if McGaughey is standing at the quarter pole with a slingshot and launching some speeding projectiles down the Aqueduct stretch.
Before the early (and we stress early) list of classic hopefuls gets too long, we're going to sort out the growing number of promising 2-year-olds and take a crack at where they might fit in the 2002 Kentucky Derby picture. We're sure there will be omissions, but this at least will provide an idea who might be some of the major players next spring. Horses are listed in alphabetical order:
Steve Haskin, an award-winning turf writer and senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse, provides his insights into the contenders and the pretenders for this year's Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown races.
Derby fever, in November? Heck, why not. The Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner is tucked away somewhere in Ireland, and until word surfaces from the usually tight-lipped Coolmore people, he will remain out of sight in winter hibernation. Whether or not a full-grown grizzly bear is going to emerge next year, and whether he's going to come back here looking for more easy pickins we won't know for a while.
Surely, no disappointment is greater than losing the Triple Crown by a narrow margin in the Belmont. But ranking a very close second is a first-round loss in the Kentucky Derby. If there is one Triple Crown race to win, many trainers agreed the Derby is the one.
By Ed Schuyler -- Often it is best to make a quick exit, and that's what Monarchos gave me for my 33rd and last Kentucky Derby.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- John and Donna Ward's stable is thriving, in large part because of a team approach to their operation.
By Karl Schmitt -- The last weekend in April, 30 young sports journalists from across the country descended on Churchill Downs to attend the Kentucky Derby Collegiate Sports Journalism Seminar. They came hoping to network, boost their résumés and revel with peers. They were not disappointed. But more important, they left with a deeper understanding and appreciation for Thoroughbred racing.
Turf Paradise Derby winner Startac has been confirmed as a starter for Saturday's Kentucky Derby. Trainer Simon Bray said Alex Solis would ride Startac in the Derby. Startac will be the first Derby entrant for Bray, a former assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
By John Veitch -- There is not a year that goes by, when the first Saturday in May approaches, that 1978 and Alydar don't come to life in my subconscious.
- By Ray Paulick
The entry box at Churchill Downs doesn't close until 10 a.m. on May 2, but as this is written it appears the 127th Kentucky Derby (gr. I) will be renewed without an entry from the barn of D. Wayne Lukas.
Flamingo Stakes (gr. III) winner Thunder Blitz worked five furlongs at Churchill Downs Saturday morning, getting the distance in 1:00 3/5. Also working toward the Derby was Tincin.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- Fifteen years ago in the 112th running of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), a 73-year-old trainer put a 54-year-old jockey up on a 3-year-old colt named Ferdinand, and something magical happened. Now Laffit Pincay, like Shoemaker in 1986, is 54 years old, and standing in the twilight of a Hall of Fame career. Can he pull a rabbit out of his hat under the Twin Spires this May 5?
Dogwood Stable's Distilled, one of the leading candidates for this Saturday's $500,000 Illinois Derby, worked five-eighths of a mile on a fast track Monday morning at his Hialeah Park homebase. The chestnut son of Hennessy covered the distance in 1:02 1/5 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15. The drill was one-fifth of a second quicker than that of A. P. Valentine, who prepped Monday for the Grade III Flamingo in 1:02 2/5: The connections of Secret Romeo will decide Monday afternoon whether or not to start in the Illinois Derby. Entries for the Grade II, mile and an eighth race will be drawn Tuesday.
For those who want to get their information straight from the horse's mouth, Dollar Bill has started his own website. Well, maybe there was human intervention somewhere in there, but Mary and Gary West's 3-year-old classic contender writes in the first-person on the site, which is aimed at his fans, known as 'Billsters.'
The first two Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contenders arrived at historic Churchill Downs Wednesday. Dollar Bill, trained by Dallas Stewart, and Buckle Down Ben, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, arrived on a plane from Fair Grounds Racecourse.
ESPN Classic's "Road Show" will make a stop at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day.
Since the official Kentucky Derby (gr. I) chart began listing an "off" time in 1963, the race has never started past 5:42.30, the estimated post time of the 1971 running won by Canonero II. That will change this year.
After the first round of the 2001 Kentucky Derby Future Wager closed Sunday the mutuel field remained the 3-1 favorite in the betting with Point Given (7-1) the lowest priced individual horse. Dollar Bill, who won the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds in the closing minutes of the bet, closed at 14-1, up from his 10-1 listing on the morning line.
Churchill Downs is looking into expanding the number of possible wagering interests in the Kentucky Derby to 20, eliminating the need for horses to run as part of a mutuel field.
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