Sinister Minister stormed out of the starting gate and was never challenged in cruising to 12 3/4 -length victory in Saturday's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Put up or shut up; now or never; do or die. You get the picture. With the running of Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) and Arkansas Derby (gr. II), we finally will have a good idea who will be in the starting lineup for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
First Samurai was installed as the 8-5 favorite when he drew post position five in the nine-horse field entered for Saturday's 82nd running of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Ky.
With owners Bruce Lunsford and Lansdon Robbins III looking on, Kentucky Derby (Grade I) contender First Samurai completed his major preparation for Saturday's $750,000-added Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) with a strong half-mile workout on Monday at Churchill Downs.
Unbeaten Discreet Cat, winner of the UAE Derby (UAE-II) at Dubai's Nad Al Sheba, and Lawyer Ron, the likely favorite in next week's Arkansas Derby (gr. II), stood as co-favorites at the midway point of betting in Pool 3 of Churchill Downs' 2006 Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
Bruce Lunsford and Lansdon Robbins III's First Samurai, winner via disqualification of the Fountain of Youth (gr. II) in his most recent start, continued his preparation for Keeneland's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) with a strong seven-furlong work Monday at Churchill Downs.
Rafael Bejarano, whose list of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) mounts grows each day, has been named by trainer Bob Baffert to ride Point Determined in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 8. Victor Espinoza, who was originally named to ride the colt, has a prior commitment that day aboard Balance in the Ashland Stakes (gr. I).
Grade I winner First Samurai will stand at the Hancock family's Claiborne Farm near Paris, Ky., following his retirement from racing.
Rafael Bejarano, who rides Flashy Bull in Saturday's Florida Derby (gr. I), has been named as the new rider for First Samurai, replacing Edgar Prado. First Samurai is scheduled to make his next start in the April 15 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Paraneck Stable's Achilles of Troy, the beaten favorite in Saturday's Gotham (gr. III), has come out of the race with muscle spasms in his back and will likely make his next start in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II).
Cecil Peacock's Brother Derek heads an impressive list of 137 3-year-olds nominated to Keeneland's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) April 15. The race will be televised live by ABC Sports from 5 to 6 p.m. (ET).
You know it's a strange day on the Triple Crown trail when you have four stakes and the two most impressive horses seen are in a maiden race and a workout. Although heavy favorites Brother Derek and First Samurai emerged victorious, the latter on a disqualification, it still left most people wanting more.
Santa Catalina (gr. II) winner Brother Derek shot to favoritism at 10-1 among individual horses as Pool 2 of the 2006 Kentucky Derby Future Wager closed on Sunday. But the field entry of all 3-year-olds not listed in the pool was a solid overall choice of bettors at odds of 3-1.
Though beaten in his first try at two turns, the 3-5 favorite First Samurai was awarded victory in the $300,000 Fountain of Youth (gr. II) Saturday at Gulfstream Park when stewards disqualified the inexperienced Corinthian for weaving in the stretch.
The mutuel field remained the favored betting interest at the midway point of Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, but unbeatens Barbaro and Strong Contender gained solid support as well Friday.
Racing fans made "all others" the favorite on the opening day of the second pool of Churchill Downs' 2006 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, but had trouble deciding on which of the individual horses deserved backing.
First Samurai can answer the question of his distance capability and establish himself as the leading contender in Florida for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with a winning performance in the $300,000 Fountain of Youth (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
First Samurai finally gets his opportunity to show what he can do going two turns when he heads a field of nine in the $300,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), one of four 3-year-old stakes to be run on Saturday. The other big-name horse in action is Brother Derek, who will be a heavy favorite in the Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II).
HorseRacing TV will offer viewers a pair of important Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) prep races Saturday, along with the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) in a March 4 coast-to-coast telecast.
Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park will mark the first time First Samurai has traveled two turns and has gone 1 1/8 miles, but neither factor has trainer Frankie Brothers too concerned.
The March 25 Lane's End Stakes (gr.II) at Turfway Park has drawn 155 nominations, the most since Lane's End Farm began sponsoring the race in 2002.
Bruce Lunsford and Lansdon Robbins III's 3-year-old First Samurai worked a mile in a strong 1:37 3/5 Friday morning at Gulfstream Park in preparation for the $300,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr.II) going 1 1/8 miles a week from tomorrow.
In his first workout since finishing second in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 4, Bruce Lunsford and Lansdon Robbins III's 3-year-old First Samurai drilled five furlongs in :59 2/5 Thursday morning at Gulfstream Park.
What could have been a revealing weekend at Gulfstream Park was instead a muddy mess that left us with just as many questions as we had going in. We also had to try and digest some huge performances by former claimers in lesser races and several defeats that may have outshone the victories.
Making his stakes debut, Keyed Entry repelled the 3-5 favorite First Samurai in the stretch to post a determined win in the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds on a sloppy Gulfstream Park main track Saturday.
This weekend's February feast of 3-year-old races promises to unveil several leading Triple Crown contenders, with a heavy emphasis, as usual, on Todd Pletcher, Bob Baffert, and Nick Zito. The focal points will be the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) and the return of First Samurai in the Hutcheson (gr. II).
The first 2006 appearance of leading 3-year-old Florida Derby (gr. I) threat First Samurai in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) and seasonal debut of the promising 3-year-old Barbaro in the $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) are among the highlights on a stakes-filled card at Gulfstream Park Saturday..
Racing fans across North America made the field a solid favorite over individual stars First Samurai and Stevie Wonderboy in the first 2006 Kentucky Derby Future Wager as betting drew to a close on Sunday evening.
With co-owner Bruce Lunsford looking on from the new Gulfstream Park clubhouse, leading Hutcheson Stakes (gr. III) contender First Samurai breezed a half-mile from the starting gate Saturday morning with his new jockey Edgar Prado aboard.
The "all others" wager remained a solid 6-5 favorite on Friday as betting in the four-day opening pool of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager reached its midway point.
The 2006 edition of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager is set to open its four-day run Thursday, Jan. 26. The mutuel field, the wagering interest that includes all 3-year-olds other than the 23 individual betting interests in the pool, has been installed as a the 4-1 favorite.
The 2006 edition of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager is set to open its four-day run Jan. 26. The mutuel field, the wagering interest that includes all 3-year-olds other than the 23 individual betting interests in the pool, has been installed as a the 4-1 favorite
Kentucky Derby (gr. I) hopeful First Samurai blistered the Gulfstream Park main track Sunday morning, working seven furlongs in 1:23 2/5 for his imminent 3-year-old debut.
Leading Classics contender First Samurai breezed six furlongs in 1:14 at Gulfstream Park Saturday morning as he continues to work toward his expected season debut in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) at seven furlongs on Feb. 4.
The highly regarded Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prospect First Samurai continues to work toward his much-anticipated 3-year-old debut, breezing five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 Saturday morning at Gulfstream Park.
With the exception of Horse of the Year, three finalists in each category for Eclipse Awards were announced Thursday by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers Association, and Daily Racing Form, the three organizations that vote for year-end honors.
It's time once again to officially embark on the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) trail. Now is as good a time as any to preview what's to come by listing the most accomplished and promising youngsters. Many of these names will be only that in a few months, but for now, this is how the classic division shapes up as we begin the road to the May 6 Derby.
First Samurai, a multiple grade I-winning 2-year-old son of Giant's Causeway, stretched his legs Sunday at Gulfstream Park, working three furlongs in a brisk :35.
Todd Pletcher, who two weeks ago set a North American record for earnings in a year by a trainer, submitted the names of 17 horses for early-bird nomination to the April 1 Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park.
Cash is King Stable's Afleet Alex, who hasn't raced since his victory in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in June, was one of more than 100 horses that shipped into Gulfstream Park in South Florida the morning of Nov. 28.
After jockey Edgar Prado got his first Breeders' Cup win in the $1.59 million Alberto VO5 Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) the $1.6 million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) provided the first Breeders' Cup win for trainer Doug O'Neill and rider Garrett Gomez.
Patrick Byrne has been in this position at the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships before, heading into the Bessemer Trust Juvenile (gr. I) with an undefeated colt.
So far, Darley Stable's Henny Hughes has been the best man to First Samurai's groom. But Henny Hughes' new trainer, Kiaran McLauglin, thinks it's possible to move his colt into the No. 1 spot in Saturday's Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
Despite the driving rain that inundated Belmont Park Saturday morning, trainers continued to work their horses in preparation for next Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
Jerry Bailey, the leading Breeders' Cup jockey with 14 victories, will have mounts in every Breeders' Cup race next Saturday. He could be on four favorites with First Samurai (Bessemer Trust Juvenile), Shakespeare (John Deere Turf) Oujia Board (Emirates Airline F&M Turf) and Saint Liam (Classic Powered by Dodge).
One of the most exciting horses scheduled to run in the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on Oct. 29 is First Samurai. Undefeated in four races, the son of Giant's Causeway is his division's leader heading into the Bessemer Trust Juvenile (gr. I).
When Lord Derby's Ouija Board seeks to defend her title in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) Oct. 29, she could have the services of Jerry Bailey, whose 14 wins is first among all jockeys in World Thoroughbred Championships history.
This may sound like an outrageous question in October, but could it be that we finally are going to see a Triple Crown winner next year? It just very well may be that the stars finally are aligned for it to happen.
Top juveniles First Samurai and Henny Hughes will go at it again, this time in Saturday's $500,000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at a mile at Belmont Park against six others.
The NTRA National Pick 4 wager, offered in conjunction with "The Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships on NBC", will be available for fans Saturday, Oct. 8.
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