Michael Iavarone, an accomplished investment banker, hopes Big Brown pays big dividends in the Run for the Roses.
Things are relatively quiet at the barn of trainer Michael Matz and void of the media buzz that surrounded other such barns as Richard Dutrow and Eoin Harty leading up to Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Although he has had 13 Kentucky Derby mounts, the winning prize has eluded 38-year-old Corey Nakatani. Not so honors in other racing events, from riding titles at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park, Del Mar, and Oak Tree, to seven Breeders' Cup victories.
Adriano will be providing trainer Graham Motion with his second Kentucky Derby (gr. I) starter. The Cambridge, England, native saddled his first horse in the Run for the Roses in 1998 when Chilito finished 11th.
John Velazquez is well-known for his successful partnership with trainer Todd Pletcher, so it is extremely fitting that his Derby contender this year come from Pletcher's stable. Cowboy Cal is Velazquez's mount, and if the jockey improves off his second-place finish aboard Invisible Ink in 2001, he'll have himself a winner.
Frank Calabrese's homebred Dreaming of Anna, winner of the March 15 Hillsborough Stakes (gr. IIIT) in her last start, will be the one to beat when nine older fillies and mares heads postward in the $150,000-added Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIIT).
Noonmark, who dropped down to allowance-optional claiming as late as September of 2007, looks for his second graded stakes score of the year when he takes on eight older horses in the $250,000 Churchill Downs Stakes (gr. II) May 3.
Who can forget Edgar Prado's winning ride aboard Barbaro in the 2006 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I)? The experience seemed once-in-a-lifetime, but Prado is back this year aboard the H. Graham Motion-trained Adriano seeking a second Derby win.
Monba, Cowboy Cal arrive; Eight Belles eyes history; all systems go for Smooth Air
Big Brown has caused quite a stir on the backside in the days before the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), so much so that trainer Richard Dutrow decided the easiest way to handle the media was to host a daily question and answer session.
In our quest to discover the origins of names belonging to Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contenders, we discovered a diamond mine, picked up some basketball lingo, learned Indonesian, and found out what brown can do for us. Here are the stories behind the names of a few runners going into this year's first Saturday in May.
The best drama in Louisville today takes place in the racing office on the backside at Churchill Downs. It's the pill pull to see what order post positions will be drawn later this afternoon in the made-for-television post position show on ESPN.
The Barclay Tagg-trained Big Truck will be "Running for Re-Run" in the May 3 Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
No one horse expected to run in the 2008 Kentucky Derby is an absolute standout if examined purely by the numbers produced for their best 3-year-old races by Brisnet, Beyer and Daily Racing Form. They're compiled here side-by-side for easy comparison.
An interview with Benny Stutts Jr. was the highlight of the annual Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners' and Breeders' Association's Derby trainers' dinner, as the 70-year-old trainer expressed his delight at preparing to saddle his first Kentucky Derby starter - Mount Joy Stables' Smooth Air.
Poet T.S. Eliot labeled April "cruelest month," but it is not a bad month on stud farms for foaling winners of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). In fact, over the last eight years, April foals have won three runnings of the Derby. February, the month that gives us both Groundhog Day and Presidents Day despite being the shortest month of the year, has been responsible for five winners.
Should Eight Belles run on Saturday, she will provide trainer Larry Jones with his second Kentucky Derby (gr. I) starter. Last year he conditioned Hard Spun, who ran a credible second behind Street Sense and was also owned by Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farms.
HRTV's originally produced show on the Derby contenders. Big Brown arrives, Tale of Ekati works, Big Brown and Recapturetheglory gallop, a look at the Oaks entries, and an interview with Nick Zito - his thoughts on his two Derby contenders and the rest of the field.
Tale of Ekati breezes, Big Brown checks out Churchill Downs, Pletcher's pair arrive April 30, Recapturetheglory gallops.
Well, Big Brown finally is here and the racing world had its first look at the likely Kentucky Derby favorite and its first encounter with his colorful trainer Rick Dutrow.
When Tony Lacy was signing sale tickets for yearlings last year, the Kentucky-based bloodstock agent and Four Star Sales consultant didn't know that two of the horses would distinguish themselves by having siblings running in this year's Kentucky Presented By Yum Brands (gr. I).
Janice and Robert McNair of Stonerside Stable announced April 29 that any earnings by their homebred Cowboy Cal in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) will be donated to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, in memory of John Long.
Ten years ago Rick Dutrow was living in a tack room at Aqueduct, determined to make it on his own in the racing industry. On the morning of April 28, he faced a room full of media members intent on covering the progress of his contender for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Two-time Eclipse Award winner Mike Smith won the Kentucky Derby aboard Giacomo in 2005. Since then, he's had Derby fever even worse than before.
Trainer Larry Jones and his wife and assistant, Cindy, may have found a lucky charm for one of racing's biggest weeks. It's a nine-month-old African grey parrot named Buddy.
For 70-year-old trainer Bennie Stutts Jr., coming to the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with his first starter, Smooth Air, is a bit like getting the chance to play in another major sporting event.
As trainer Louie Roussel III feeds his 3-year-old bay colt a mint to keep him quiet during a morning bath in the week leading up to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), it isn't so hard to imagine it is Risen Star being rinsed down, not the appropriately named Recapturetheglory.
With four days to go to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), only two classic contenders worked at Churchill Downs on the morning of Tuesday, April 29.
Trainer Nick Zito is holding court with a ring of media members outside his barn. The two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer has two starters for Saturday's running: Cool Coal Man and Anak Naktal. Zito is talking about the subject of the year: synthetic surfaces. We have a feeling he's not a big fan.
Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Big Brown shipped into Churchill Downs April 28, exhibiting the same ease with which he earned his latest five-length victory.
Julien Leparoux adds a bit of French flair to the American racing scene, having developed a strong career in Central Kentucky at tracks such as Keeneland and Churchill Downs after getting his start on horseback in his native country.
Jose Lezcano answered the questions for this interview on the telephone, through the interpretation of his agent, Jason Bidas, while laughing hysterically in the background.
Denis of Cork in after Behindatthebar skips Derby; five others turn in works; Big Brown to arrive Monday afternoon.
In partnership with WLEX-TV (Lexington, KY - NBC Affiliate), BloodHorse.com will be offering live streaming video from Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 3rd. The local coverage begins at 9:00 am and will be available until 4:00 pm.
The Sanan family's Padua Stables' Behindatthebar will not enter the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and instead will point for the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I). The decision opens the door for Mr. and Mrs. William Warren's Denis of Cork who had been 21st on the graded earnings list.
Michael Matz didn't expect Visionaire to sizzle in his final work before the Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I), so the trainer was satisfied when the colt breezed a half-mile in :48.40 Monday morning at Churchill Downs.
Bob Black Jack, the runner-up to Colonel John in the April 5 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), drilled a half-mile at Churchill Downs late Monday morning in :48 3/5.
There should have been a celebration at trainer David Carroll's barn at Churchill Downs Monday morning, but instead it was more like a funeral.
Richard Migliore bounds through Barn 45 at Churchill Downs at a few minutes past nine. That's late for a racetracker, but the jet-setting jockey has a valid excuse. He just got into town.
The Steve Asmussen-trained duo of Pyro and Z Fortune kicked off the week leading up to Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with their final workouts Monday, April 28.
With each day, more and more questions are being answered. We now know Colonel John at least can work like the dickens on dirt; we know that Proud Spell will run in the Oaks, letting Bob Black Jack in the Derby; we know that Smooth Air is feeling fine again; and we know that Gayego is looking and training awesome.
Colonel John posts bullet five furlongs; Adriano, Bill Mott duo of Derby contenders also post workouts.
Nick and Jaqui de Meric will have a special rooting interest in this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Recapturetheglory, who will be running for the roses May 3 at Churchill Downs after capturing the Illinois Derby (gr. II) by four lengths, is a graduate of the couple's Florida-based pinhooking program.
WinStar Farm's Colonel John, one of the favorites for Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), solidified his status with a scintillating five-furlong bullet work over the main track at Churchill Downs Sunday morning.
Concerned about forecasts for rain in upcoming days, trainer Bill Mott worked his two contenders for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on Sunday, April 27.
Adriano worked five furlongs at Churchill Downs Sunday morning in preparation for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The striking chestnut son of A.P. Indy got the distance in 1:00 4/5 under exercise rider Xavier Aizpuru.
Mount Joy Stables' Smooth Air and 70-year-old trainer Bennie Stutts saw things return to normal Sunday, April 27, at Churchill Downs, including the colt's temperature, appetite and morning regimen.
Former Kentucky Gov. Brereton C. Jones said April 27 that Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) winner Proud Spell would be pointed only to the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and not the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Mike Barnes is a big LSU fan. He can't help but hide it. The exercise rider's helmet has the distinctive "LSU" logo that adorns the Tiger's football helmets. "I bleed purple and gold," the Louisiana native says. "I've been a fan since birth."
West Point Thoroughbreds' Macho Again had the determination to overcome four graded stakes winners, plus four others, when he powered to the lead in the $115,200 Derby Trial at Churchill Downs April 26.
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