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.
With a nationwide network of top clients and an agent who keeps him on the country's best horses, Garrett "Go-Go" Gomez used up enough frequent flier miles last year to earn him plenty of free trips to Louisville. Now the key is finding a winner in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
HRTV's originally produced show on the Derby contenders. The show moves to Louisville and begins airing daily. Today's episode includes the news of the day, a report on the works from the week, and an Oaks update.
David Flores has been around the block a time or two, but he has yet to find his way to the Kentucky Derby winner's circle. This year, he has two potential mounts in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Big Brown to ship Monday, Big Truck and Tale of Ekati arrive, Gayego Works, Smooth Air fights Fever, Monba and Cowboy Cal work at Keeneland, Colonel John gallops.
Trainer Paulo Lobo and jockey Mike Smith flew to Louisville, Ky., from California April 26 for the final work by Gayego before the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Before the running of last year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Keeneland Race Course was overrun with trainers whose potential contenders were squeezing in final works prior to shipping up to Churchill Downs. This year, Todd Pletcher cut a lonely figure along the rail at the Lexington oval as he sent Behindatthebar to gallop and then watched Monba and Cowboy Cal complete their final preparations April 26.
HRTV's originally produced weekly show on top Derby prospects and the road to the Triple Crown. This week's episode includes a recap of the injury report, works by Big Truck and Tale of Ekati, a recap of the Coolmore Lexington, Gary Stevens' thoughts from Kentucky, what makes a good Derby Work, a focus on Bob Black Jack, including an interview with his trainer, James Kasparoff, and Jeff Siegel's Top 10.
It's baaaack. Starting Sunday, April 27, and running daily through Kentucky Derby day, May 3, The Morning Line returns to bloodhorse.com. The feature, first unveiled during the 2006 run up to the Kentucky Derby, offers a behind-the-scenes look at the participants and players of Thoroughbred racing during racing's major events.
The team that won the 2007 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with Street Sense will reunite at Churchill Downs, the scene of their stirring victory, for a special book signing April 27
Trainers watching weather, Colonel John, Denis of Cork, and Gayego gallop, Anak Nakal and Recapturetheglory work.
Javier Castellano buys you a drink, then wraps the glass in a napkin so your hands don't get cold. If you're standing and he's sitting, he jumps up to offer his chair. In the paddock, greeting owners, he doffs his helmet with remarkable chivalry. And he loves puppies and kittens, which has nothing to do with racing, but adds to his delightful personality. We've dubbed him the most charming jockey riding in this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Manoel Cruz has never won a grade I race, and his most significant career victory came in a grade II event with a purse of $200,000. On May 3, he'll tackle the $2-million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) aboard Smooth Air.
Louie Roussel didn't like the weather forecast for Saturday, or Sunday, and Monday for that matter, so he moved Recapturetheglory's five-furlong work to Friday morning.
Recapturetheglory wasn't scheduled to work Friday morning at Churchill Downs, but trainer and co-owner Louie Roussel changed his plan for the colt.
Anak Nakal breezes a half-mile in :46.60.
Eee-bar. I-bar. Aye-bar. Eibar Coa doesn't care what you call him -- or what you think of him. His bold edge, which some call egotism, is just self-confidence. The unforgiving techniques he employs on the racetrack are carefully-honed race-riding skills. And his intensely competitive side is an inborn trait that brought him success in other athletics, such as judo and basketball.
Call Shaun Bridgmohan the strong, silent type. This 28-year-old rider keeps a relatively low profile in the jockeys' room and could be overshadowed by his more flamboyant fellow riders. But his exceedingly professional approach to his career has been the foundation for a highly successful partnership with trainer Steve Asmussen, for whom Bridgmohan will ride Pyro in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Cool Coal Man Works; Big Brown Zips at Palm Meadows; Anak Nakal to work Friday.
A "Chase the Race" package will be auctioned to benefit the Klein Family Learning Center/WinStar Library & Classrooms during the April 28 traditional kickoff to Derby week at John E's Restaurant & Lounge in Louisville, Ky.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said April 24 that Starlight Stable, Donald Lucarelli and Paul Saylor's Monba and Stonerside Stable's Cowboy Cal remain on schedule to work at Keeneland either April 26 or April 27 in their first works since finishing one-two in the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I). Pletcher said the pair would then ship to Churchill Downs probably April 28, for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on May 3.
Probable Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) favorite Big Brown turned in his final serious work April 24 at Palm Meadows training center, breezing five furlongs in :58 3/5 under exercise rider Michelle Nevin.
Cool Coal Man, who ran ninth in the April 12 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), worked a half mile in :47 2/5 under exercise rider Megan Smillie at Churchill Downs April 24.
If you're a Kentucky Derby handicapper, breeder or owner, the 2008 contenders' states and dates of birth might be of interest to you--particularly the states. And since homebreds have won the last four runnings of the Derby, we'll take a look at that here, too.
Documentary filmmakers John and Brad Hennegan announced their film "The First Saturday in May," which made its debut April 18 in approximately 20 cities around the country, has been carried over for at least one more week in six Truly Indie theaters. The film will also make its debut at several other theaters starting April 24.
While Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Gayego settles into his temporary home at Churchill Downs in advance of the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), his trainer, Paulo Lobo, is logging some serious frequent flyer miles between Louisville and his base in California.
The field for the 134th running of the $2-million guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) Saturday, May 3, at Churchill Downs is limited to 20 horses. Here is a look at graded stakes earnings for Kentucky Derby 134 nominees through April 23, 2008.
Edgar Prado was hospitalized, but quickly released April 23 following a spill at Keeneland Race Course. The Peruvian jockey, who will ride Adriano in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) for trainer H. Graham Motion, had been aboard another Motion trainee in the seventh race at the Lexington oval when the accident occurred.
In 2006, Ramon Dominguez rode Bluegrass Cat to a second-place finish behind Barbaro in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). He was close enough to practically taste the victory, and this year he's chasing it with renewed determination aboard the Todd Pletcher-trained Monba, his fifth Derby contender.
In spite of his affinity for Louisville, Robby Albarado is missing a victory in the race that makes that city famous. He'll be chasing that win in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) aboard the Steve Asmussen-trained Z Fortune, while making his 10th start in the race May 3.
Pyro jogs a mile, Smooth Air jogs 2 miles, change in work plans for Recapturetheglory, Tale of Ekati works at Keeneland
Zayat Stables' Halo Najib worked a half-mile on the grass in :50.40 at Churchill Downs on April 22, with exercise rider Gennero Garcia up.
He has a new first-rate home base (California) and a new first-call trainer (Bobby Frankel), but Rafael Bejarano, 25, will be back in Kentucky to ride Anak Nakal for trainer Nick Zito in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) the first Saturday in May.
He can't live without his cell phone. If he could choose another profession, he would be a rock star. He once drove 165 miles per hour to reach the track in time for the first race. And May 3, E.T. Baird will be riding to the post aboard Recapturetheglory in the 134th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I)
Colonel John and Smooth Air jog at Churchill, Big Truck and Visionaire work at Keeneland, Halo Najib works on the turf, and Pyro arrives at Churchill Downs.
Another Kentucky Derby is upon us, and most of the talk has been about the inconsistencies and slow speed figures of this year's crop of 3-year-olds. Before we get into all the observations and analyses, and attempt to figure out this daffy Derby there is one point that must be addressed first.
Team Valor International and Vision Racing LLC's Visionaire returned to the work tab April 22 at Keeneland for the first time since he finished fifth in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Eric Fein's Big Truck, winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III), worked a half-mile in :48.8 over the Polytrack at Keeneland April 22.
In spite of the shocking news of the Triple Crown trail-ending injury to 2007 juvenile champion male War Pass and the apparent decision to forego the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) for a run in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) by the connections of Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) winner Behindatthebar, a 20-horse field is still being predicted for the 134th Run for the Roses May 3 at Churchill Downs.
Fox Hill Farms' Eight Belles and Brereton Jones' Proud Spell, two fillies who have either the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) or the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) in their immediate futures, each worked a half-mile April 20 in their final moves at Keeneland before they are shipped to Churchill Downs April 25.
Two weeks ago, Todd Pletcher was sitting on the outside of the Derby picture looking in. But when Padua Stables and partners' Behindatthebar followed the hard-knocking efforts of Monba and Cowboy Cal in the April 12 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) with an impressive performance of his own in the $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) April 19, the venerable trainer could count not one, but three potential contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Mount Joy Stables' hombred Smooth Air turned in a strong seven furlong work at Calder Race Course April 19 in preparation for a start in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Robert LaPenta's War Pass, the champion 2-year-old of 2007 and winner of the $2 million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Grade I) at Monmouth Park, has suffered a leg injury that has knocked the colt out of the $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).
Consider this chilling scenario: Customers of several advance deposit wagering companies - and possibly some large off-shore rebate shops - won't be able to place wagers on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) through those entities.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said April 18 that he has not decided when he will ship Monba and Cowboy Cal, his one-two finishers in the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I), to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and is considering giving the two colts their final works at Keeneland the weekend before the Run for the Roses.
A warrant has been issued in a California county for the arrest of jockey Patrick Valenzuela, who failed to appear at a recent hearing associated with a charge against him for driving under the influence.
With the Derby getting closer, we're doubling up this week to take a look at the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) and mostly to discuss what may turn out to be one of the most important works on this year's Derby trail.
General admission tickets for Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) are now available for advanced purchase through Ticketmaster. The tickets will be available for purchase at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone, or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
Charles Fipke's Tale of Ekati worked a half-mile in :49.20 April 17 at Keeneland. Trainer Barclay Tagg described the move as "a little maintenance work after his race."
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