Midas Eyes kicked off what could be a banner week for trainer Bobby Frankel by posting a 2 ½-length gate-to-wire victory in the $167,400 Derby Trial (gr. III) Saturday at Churchill Downs before an opening day crowd of 14,492.
The storm that hit Louisville yesterday lingered until mid-morning, with the drizzle and wind finally giving way to brightening skies. With very little action, today will be more of a Derby potpourri. The heavy duty works pick up tomorrow, headed by Empire Maker and Peace Rules.
According to the 10-day forecast from The National Weather Service, it is a good thing we already know that Empire Maker can run on an off track.
It was an important morning for Empire Maker and trainer Bobby Frankel, as the Derby favorite went out for his much-anticipated schooling session in the gate. Known for his erratic gate behavior, the son of Unbridled provided a few anxious moments, but in the end passed his test in fine style.
Juddmonte Farms' Empire Maker, who looms a strong favorite for the May 3 Kentucky Derby, has made the cover of a popular mainstream magazine.
This year's running of the Kentucky Derby will be special. It will be won by a special horse with a special story. We're sure of it after watching last night's PBS documentary on Seabiscuit. The only Derby horse on the work tab Tuesday was Offlee Wild. Also, Fund of Funds is out with an injury.
Dr. John Chandler, president of Juddmonte Farms, said great things have been expected of Empire Maker since he was a young foal. "He was just an outstanding foal, a great physical specimen, and he's progressed like all great horses," Chandler said Tuesday during an NTRA teleconference.
Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) runner-up Indian Express turned in his first work since arriving at Churchill Downs for Kentucky Derby 129 and jockey Robby Albarado was named to ride Holy Bull (gr. III) winner Offlee Wild in this year's Run for the Roses.
If you think this year's road to the Kentucky Derby has been a bizarre one, imagine how scrambled your brain would be right now if Bobby Frankel hadn't brought some semblance of normalcy to the proceedings.
Juddmonte Farm's Empire Maker, the strong favorite for the 129th running of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), arrived at Churchill Downs Sunday afternoon to continue his preparations for the May 3 race. Several other leading contenders have joined the Wood Memorial winner at the historic track.
Juddmonte Farms' Empire Maker confirmed his credentials as this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) consensus choice with a calculated half-length victory in Saturday's $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I) in the mud at Aqueduct Park.
Early Kentucky Derby (gr. I) favorite Empire Maker will mark his return to the Empire State Saturday in the $750,000 Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) at Aqueduct. He will break from the outside in a field of eight entered for the 1 1/8 mile Derby prep.
Empire Maker arrived Wednesday in New York, along with Aldebaran, Congaree, Senor Swinger, and others planning to battle Saturday in the Wood and the Carter.
Juddmonte Farm's Empire Maker, winner of the Florida Derby (gr. I) and the favorite for next week's Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct, remained a strong favorite to win the 129th Kentucky Derby (GI) as wagering in the third and final pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager drew to a close on Sunday evening.
Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel sent out a slew of his stars, including top sophomores Empire Maker, Peace Rules and Midas Eyes, for workouts at Hollywood Park Sunday morning.
Odds on Buddy Gil, winner of the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I,) dropped from 25-1 to 15-1 as Pool 3 wound down Saturday on the eve of the final day for the 2003 Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
Empire Maker remained the solid choice in pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Friday, but the odds on the son of Unbridled edged up a bit to 3-1.
In addition to hosting Kentucky Derby prep the Wood Memorial on April 12, Aqueduct has also invited groups from the surrounding borough of Queens to the track that day to celebrate the area's diverse offerings.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- There wasn't a hotter trainer in the country than Larry Barrera for a brief time in the late spring of 1980. Larry, the son of Hall of Fame conditioner Laz Barrera, was just 20 years old when he saddled three stakes winners at Hollywood Park over a five-day period.
Juddmonte Farms' Empire Maker, the record-breaking winner of the Florida Derby (gr. I), has been installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite for the third and final pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which opens its four-day run on Thursday.
Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel sent out a trio of his top sophomores and a star handicap horse for workouts over Hollywood Park's main track on Saturday.
Edmund Gann's Midas Eyes, impressive winner of the Swale Stakes in his 3-year-old debut, will make his next start in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 19, trainer Bobby Frankel said.
Trainer Manny Tortora reported that Supah Blitz, a 3-year-old son of Mecke--Boots N' Jackie who finished a tiring fourth in the Florida Derby (gr. I), has a breathing problem.
A record-smashing victory in the Florida Derby (gr. I) by Juddmonte Farm homebred Empire Maker made a strong impression on Kentucky Derby (gr. 1) fans across the nation. The mutuel field still emerged as a narrow favorite as wagering in Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2003 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) ended its four-day run on Sunday.
After thinking things over Saturday night, trainer Bobby Frankel said he's decided to send Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Empire Maker to New York's Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) after all.
Empire Maker's smashing victory in the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) Saturday has earned him solid favoritism among the 23 individual horses listed in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
Juddmonte Farms' Empire Maker expanded trainer Bobby Frankel's realm over the 2003 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) preps. A week after conquering Louisiana with Peace Rules in the $750,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II), Empire Maker gave the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) to Frankel with a spectacular performance, trouncing the seven-horse field with an eye-catching stretch run.
On the eve of the biggest race of his career, the public is holding Juddmonte Farms' Empire Maker as the favorite at 9-1 among the 23 individuals listed in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
With the field favored at 7-2 at the completion of the first day of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2, Louisiana Derby (gr. II) runner-up Kafwain attracted the most individual action Thursday.
Frankel waxes on Florida Derby; Trust N Luck on schedule for Saturday.
Midway Cat and Senor Swinger put in their final Florida Derby works Wedneday at Gulfstream Park. Empire Maker, who arrived there Tuesday, took a job around the track.
Hear what the trainers and jockeys of the Florida Derby horses had to say at the draw for the race.
Seven 3-year-olds are slated to contest Saturday's grade I, $1,000,000 Florida Derby, Gulfstream Park's stop on the Triple Crown Trail.
With three straight Eclipse Awards, Brooklyn-born trainer Bobby Frankel has been the master of all he has surveyed. Last year, his runners earned more than $17.7 million and he won 14 grade I races. But one has always eluded him: the Florida Derby.
A trio of potential Triple Crown runners hit the track on Sunday and Monday, working toward their next start and a date a Churchill Downs on the fist Saturday in May.
In spite of a brutal winter storm that hampered wagering in several key racing markets in the Midwest and East, Pool 1 of Churchill Downs' 2003 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) closed strongly on Sunday and ended with the mutuel field as a record-setting favorite.
Odds on Trust N Luck, off the board in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool at greater than 99-1 prior to his Fountain of Youth (gr. I) victory at Gulfstream Saturday, fell to 23-1 near the close of wagering Saturday.
The field remained the solid favorite at 6-5 over each of the 23 named betting interests at the conclusion of the second day of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager's opening pool Friday.
Reflecting the lack of a solid favorite, or any favorite at all, Kentucky Derby Future Wager bettors hammered the field down to the even-money favorite after the first day of wagering in pool one Thursday.
Perhaps influenced by his patient father, Richard, Gary Mandella is not caught up in Derby fever with a promising 3-year-old colt named Man Among Men, who went from turf to dirt in upsetting 2-5 favorite Empire Maker in Santa Anita's Sham Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 7.
Composure, Man Among Men, Ministers Wild Cat, and Ozzie Cat have joined the list of leading Kentucky Derby contenders compiled by Steve Haskin, senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse magazine.
Man Among Men tracked the early leaders, rallied on the second turn to gain the lead, then easily held off heavily favored Empire Maker in the stretch to win the restricted $81,000 Sham Stakes by a length Friday at Santa Anita.
Juddmonte Farms' Empire Maker, one of the most hyped 2-year-old runners last year is scheduled to make his 2003 debut Friday in the $75,000 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita. The 1 1/8-mile race, while is restricted to 3-year-olds that have not won $50,000 at a mile or over, has drawn a diverse crowd.
February promises to provide a great deal of excitement, with the eagerly-awaited debuts of 2-year-old champion Vindication, Sky Mesa, Empire Maker, and Kafwain.
Juddmonte Farms' promising 3-year-old Empire Maker worked six furlongs in 1:12 4/5 at Hollywood Park Saturday morning, in preparation for his first start of the year, the 1 1/8-mile Sham Stakes on Feb. 7.
In the first weekly installment looking at leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby, Vindication tops the list compiled by Steve Haskin, senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse.
Dark bay or brown colt, foaled April 27, 2000
Unbridled--Toussaud, by El Gran Senor
Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner and early Kentucky Derby favorite Vindication worked for the first time as a sophomore Monday, logging a half-mile in :48 2/5, handily, over Santa Anita's fast main track. Exercise rider Dana Barnes was in the irons for the move, which was listed as the 22nd fastest of the 46 who worked at the distance.
Daniel Borislew's gritty Toccet posted a 2 1/2-length victory over Bham in Aqueduct's Remsen Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-olds at 1 1/8 mile Saturday.
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