Where have we seen this before? A modestly-bred Danzig-line horse, after leading throughout to score a devastating win in a grade I classic trial on his second start of the year, becomes a favorite for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Nick Zito has not lost faith in War Pass. True, the colt has questions to answer after finishing last as the 1-20 choice in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III). But the trainer saw his 2007 juvenile champ at his best during a five-race winning streak that carried over into this season, and he's hoping that side is revealed again when the son of Cherokee Run heads a field of 10 in Aqueduct's $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I).
Fresh off his impressive victory in the March 29 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin shipped into Belmont Park April 2 to begin his quarantine period after spending the past several weeks in Dubai.
Robert LaPenta's Cool Coal Man, a major contender for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), prepped for a planned run in the April 12 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland with a sharp half-mile work at Churchill Downs April 3.
By now, just about every superlative has been used to describe Big Brown's performance in the Florida Derby (gr. I). How many times do you think the word "freak" has been uttered since Saturday? Well, there is no doubt that the colt has accomplished freakish things in his brief career, but so did Curlin, and he couldn't win the Derby off three career starts.
IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr.'s highly-touted Big Brown proved that all the hype was justified, as he led from start to finish in the $1-million Florida Derby, crushing 11 rivals to win by five lengths March 29 at Gulfstream Park while making just his third career start.
BloodHorse.com announces the launch of a fun new interactive game entitled "March into May." For the five week period leading up to this year's Kentucky Derby, Thoroughbred racing fans can cast their votes to determine "the greatest Thoroughbred of all-time."
HRTV's originally produced weekly show on top Derby prospects and the road to the Triple Crown. This week's episode includes an interview with Robert LaPenta, owner of War Pass and Cool Coal Man, a detailed analysis of the San Felipe Stakes, a look at the Graded Earnings List, and a preview of the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II).
Grade III winner Danthebluegrassman, a 9-year-old son of Pioneering who campaigned on the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) trail for trainer Bob Baffert in 2002 before scratching from the race early Derby morning, has been retired and is headed to Old Friends equine retirement center near Georgetown, Ky. He will serve as the official mascot of the Festival of the Bluegrass at the Kentucky Horse Park June 12-15.
Churchill Downs Inc. has partnered with Truly Indie and filmmakers John and Brad Hennegan to distribute their award-winning documentary The First Saturday in May to U.S. theaters for a week-long national run in 18 major markets starting April 18. A special one-night Louisville premiere is scheduled for April 13 at The Louisville Palace Theatre.
So, the undefeated 2-year-old champion, sent off at 1-20 in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III), had a fever the week before the race and the public was unaware of it. There is nothing that can be said here that won't be said in the weeks to come by those who bet War Pass, including the bridge jumpers, and those who had invested in him emotionally.
HRTV's originally produced weekly show on top Derby prospects and the road to the Triple Crown. This week's episode includes a detailed analysis of the Louisiana Derby, an Into Mischief update, and more on Big Brown, plus previews of the San Felipe, Rebel, and Tampa Bay Derby.
Handicappers who take on the $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) will probably find their challenge not in choosing a winner, but in selecting the order of finish behind Robert LaPenta's prohibitive favorite War Pass.
Steve Asmussen's 3-year-old colts have been in full view on the trail to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The trainer's fillies have been less visible, but his 3-year-old Sky Mom may get her chance to shine in the $200,000 WinStar Sunland Park Oaks March 16.
On Saturday, in one corner of the country, the mighty Pyro once again crushed his foes, winning the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) in grand style. On the same day, in the opposite corner of the country, a humbly-bred colt who sold for meager $1,000 as a yearling, Autism Awareness, mowed down his field to win the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III).
Hall of Fame jockeys Angel Cordero Jr., Pat Day, Chris McCarron and Laffit Pincay have signed on to participate in an international promotion of the horse racing industry known as "Legends on Tour." The tour kicks off May 2, the night before the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with a gala at the Executive West Hotel in Louisville, Ky.
Trainer Richard Schosberg, who has been preparing his New York-bred Giant Moon for the March 8 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, is anxious to see if the colt will continue to show an affinity for long distances as he looks toward the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Okay, so three-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert does not have anyone on this year's Classic trail, so far. But thanks to Indian Blessing, he does have the best 3-year-old filly in the nation. Undefeated in five starts, the 2007 juvenile filly champion will look to continue her domination March 8 in the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks.
So, did Saturday's Sham Stakes (gr. III) showcase two exceptional 3-year-olds or was it simply about two top horses running agonizingly slow early and coming home fast late over a synthetic surface? We'll know the answer when they hit the quarter pole at Churchill Downs on May 3.
Bea Oxenberg's 3-year-old Hey Byrn reaffirmed his credentials as a potential Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contender March 2 at Gulfstream Park when he drew off to win a 1 1/8-mile allowance race by six lengths under jockey Edgar Prado.
For the second consecutive year, Churchill Downs and UPS will team up to bring the horsepower of the Kentucky Derby to NASCAR, as the two companies unveiled a special Kentucky Derby 134 paint scheme Feb. 29 that will be featured on the #44 UPS Toyota Camry during the Aaron's 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway April 27.
BloodHorse staff writer/blogger Jason Shandler takes to the Triple Crown Trail with a look at the "Derby Drought" that has followed three of the best trainers in the world - Bill Mott, Todd Pletcher and Steve Asmussen. Though between them they have more than $420 million in purse money and nearly 10,000 wins, the dynamic trio is a combined 0-for-30 on Derby day.
Trainer Carl Nafzger and jockey Edgar Prado topped the list of 12 finalists for election to the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame in 2008 when the museum announced nominees Feb. 22. Notably missing from the list was California conditioner Bob Baffert, who has been eligible for election for the past two years.
Three top contenders from the West Point Thoroughbreds string prepared for starts in graded stakes while breezing for their respective trainers Feb. 21. Led by 4-year-old Awesome Gem, the worktab also included potential Derby contenders El Gato Malo and Saratoga Russell.
Robert LaPenta's Eclipse Award-winning War Pass, champion 2-year-old in 2007, will make his first start since an emphatic victory in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) when he runs in a $60,000 allowance event at Gulfstream Park Feb. 24.
Winning Colors, winner of the 1988 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), was euthanized Feb. 17 following complications from colic at Hagyard Davidson McGee vet clinic near Lexington. The 23-year-old Caro mare, who was in foal to Mr. Greeley at the time of her death, was buried at Greentree Farm, a division of Gainesway Farm near Lexington. Bloodhorse.com salutes the champion mare with a special slide show.
Four runners trained by Nick Zito, all potential contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), lead the list of 52 3-year-olds nominated for the $350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 24.
Churchill Downs has unveiled an $11 million stakes schedule for its 2008 spring and fall meets that features 45 stakes events - including a record 38 graded stakes races - headed by the 134th renewals of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
Due to an oversight on the part of Triple Crown Productions, there is an addition of one early nominee for this year's Triple Crown. The addition increases the nomination total to 449, just one below the record of 450 posted in 2007.
Kentuckyderby.com will now offer racing fans another way to experience the 2008 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with the introduction of a journalism series focusing on memorable racing moments and personalities.
Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia has installed the "all others" bet as the strong 5-2 favorite in his morning-line odds for Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which begins its four-day run at noon Feb. 7 at racetracks and satellite wagering outlets across the United States and Canada.
By Steve Haskin - With Thoroughbred racing in the United States going through perhaps the roughest time in its history, it is reassuring to know that the passion people around the world have for the sport and for the horse still is as strong as ever.