For several 3-year-olds pointing toward the $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland, the April 19 event offers a final chance at graded earnings and entry into the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). But the horse whose form points to a likely win in the 1 1/16-mile event has no aspirations of making the Derby -- and he could spoil the plans of those who do when a field of 11 goes postward in the final Derby prep of the season.
Trainer Eric Guillot was refreshingly candid during an April 15 teleconference hosted by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, calling his horse "one of the 15 who might not belong," but saying a trip to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) is definitely under consideration for Salute the Sarge.
Owner Rick Porter has always known Eight Belles is a solid contender -- but he's thinking about putting the 3-year-old filly's class and stamina to the ultimate test May 3. Porter said April 13, if all goes well, the daughter of Unbridled's Song will be entered in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Courtlandt Farm's homebred Adriano is now considered "likely" for a run in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) following a four-furlong workout April 13 at Churchill Downs.
Four new names entered the fray that's called the Road to the Kentucky Derby on Saturday with wins and placings in the grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and grade II Arkansas Derby. And with their good fortune, the dreams of others were dampened if not outright doused.
Trainer Todd Pletcher had won just a single race at Keeneland going into the April 12 card. But he won again where it counted, and with Monba and Cowboy Cal finishing 1-2 in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), it looks like North America's leading trainer of 2007 will be headed to the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) after all.
Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Big Brown drilled five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 under regular exercise rider Michelle Nevin Saturday morning at Palm Meadows Training Center.
HRTV's originally produced weekly show on top Derby prospects and the road to the Triple Crown. This week's episode includes an update on Graded Stakes Earnings, a detailed analysis of the Santa Anita Derby, previews of the Blue Grass Stakes and Arkansas Derby, and an interview with Mike Smith who rides Gayego in the Arkansas Derby.
The April 19 Coolmore Lexington (gr. II), the final chance for Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) hopefuls to pick up graded stakes earnings, closed April 11 with 39 nominations.
Last year, Steve Asmussen and Robby Albarado teamed up with eventual Horse of the Year Curlin to clobber eight other contenders in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. I). On April 12 at Oaklawn Park the trainer/jockey duo will collaborate again with Zayat Stables' Z Fortune, but this time their starter has a lot to prove.
Jet Set Racing Stable's Tomcito, third in the Florida Derby (gr. I) in his United States racing debut, traveled to Churchill Downs April 9 for a test run over the track which the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) will be run May 3.
Pyro may be on fire going into the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland April 12, but 11 other runners will attempt to douse his Derby dreams in the 1 1/8-mile event.
International has been named the official truck of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby, officials said April 8. Churchill Downs Inc. and Navistar International Corp. have agreed to a two-year deal.
- By Claire Novak
Jockey Edgar Prado has teamed with Baltimore Sun writer John Eisenberg to produce a book that reaches deep into his soul, giving readers a taste of the powerful connection between horse and rider. My Guy Barbaro: A Jockey's Journey Through Love, Triumph, and Heartbreak with America's Favorite Horse hit stores April 1.
Well, we're down to our final two major preps, the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) and Arkansas Derby (gr. II), with the Coolmore Lexington (gr. II) and Holy Bull (gr. III) thrown in for good measure. The question right now is: what did we learn from last Saturday's preps?
NBC Sports announced April 7 it has added 30 minutes of coverage to its broadcast of the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) from Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 3.
Eight Belles continued her quest to become the best 3-year-old filly in the nation, as the daughter of Unbridled's Song overcame a poor start to win by three-quarters of a length in the $250,000 Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) April 6 at Oaklawn Park, her third consecutive stakes triumph.
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
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).
Who was the best Derby Starter in the last 30 years that did not win? Poll says: Point Given
Who was the best horse since 1979 to fall one leg short of the Triple Crown? Vote today.
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.
No denying, Big Brown's Florida Derby win was sensational. But let's not hand him the Derby so soon.
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.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano was back in the saddle April 2, just 21 days after sustaining compressed fractures to his T-5 and T-6 vertebrae in a Santa Anita spill.
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.
The fillies Eight Belles and Proud Spell are among the late nominees for this year's Triple Crown
Despite suffering from a case of laryngitis and unable to speak much, trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. said that Florida Derby (gr. I) runaway winner Big Brown came out of the March 29 event in good shape.
Denis of Cork, Blackberry Road, and My Pal Charlie worked at Churchill Downs March 30 as they prepared for final starts before the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
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."
Target Louisville: March 27, 2008 Part 1
Airdrie Stud's-homebred filly Proud Spell has been nominated to the Triple Crown. She is slated to make her next start against fillies in the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) April 5 at Keeneland.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro, early favorite for the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I), worked five furlongs in 1:02 2/5 the morning of March 24 over Keeneland's main Polytrack surface.
Adriano gave trainer Graham Motion plenty to think about with an impressive win in the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park March 22.
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).
It's been said that special Thoroughbreds have a certain look and feel about them that is different than your average horse. Pyro is proof.
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.
Zayat Stables' Halo Najib looks to the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) with a chance to punch his ticket to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
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).
Trainer Michael Matz said that Gotham winner Visionaire appears to have come out of his March 8 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) victory in good shape, and will ship back to Palm Meadows in Florida March 11.
HRTV's originally produced weekly show on top Derby prospects and the road to the Triple Crown.
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.
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