NBC has switched gears, and will air "Barbaro: A Nation's Horse" Saturday, May 5, at 8 p.m. ET, an hour and a half after the network signs off from covering the Kentucky Derby.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - For some, just getting a horse to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May is the realization of a dream. For others who've been there before, it's about winning -- pure and simple.
Jim Tafel's Street Sense completed his final preparations for Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) when he worked five furlongs in 1:01 at Churchill Downs on Tuesday, May 1.
Trainer Doug O'Neill said Monday night there is a "slight chance" that Merv Griffin's Cobalt Blue would not be entered in Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas holds court for an assembling of media in front of his spotless barn. He's the only trainer without a Derby horse who can still provoke a good half-hour worth of questioning.
Welcome to Derby Week, or week 11 of the "Starting Gate," one person's look at this year's Kentucky Derby lineup. As we approach Wednesday, entry day, this how we would handicap the top 20 contenders for the May 5 Run for the Roses. Actual entry into America's greatest race is reliant on graded stakes earnings -- this lineup is based on some speculation, past performances, and potential performance on Saturday.
The connections of Maryland-based Xchanger continue to point the Federico Tesio Stakes winner toward Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
It takes a lot to steal the spotlight from Curlin, but at approximately 8:35 Monday morning, Hard Spun made Curlin's half-mile work two hours earlier seem like a distant memory. That's when the Lane's End (gr. II) winner went out and worked five furlongs in :57 3/5, all but leaving sparks as his feet hit the ground.
Yum! Brands, presenting sponsor for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), announced Monday, April 30, that it will offer a $1-million to the connections of any horse that wins this year's Derby and beats Barbaro's winning margin of 6 1/2 lengths.
The Steve Asmussen-trained duo of Curlin and Zanjero each worked a half-mile at Churchill Downs as Kentucky Derby week got off to a warm and busy start Monday, April 30.
The work of the morning at Churchill Downs Monday was Hard Spun's :57 3/5 scorcher, but other Derby hopefuls went through their final paces over the main track just after the renovation break. Trainer Bill Kaplan sent out Storm in May and Imawildandcrazyguy while trainer Darrin Miller worked Silverton Hills' Sedgefield.
Multiple stakes winner Bwana Bull, who was added to the contenders list for this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) over the weekend, worked six furlongs in 1:14 2/5 at Churchill Downs Monday, April 30.
Richard Porter's Hard Spun scorched the Churchill Downs main track Monday morning, blazing five furlongs in :57 3/5 under regular rider Mario Pino. Hard Spun worked in company, for a while at least, with graded stakes winner Wildcat Bettie B.
When I hear about the Yumfecta and Yum! Brands, I suddenly have an urge for a Root Beer Float...
Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Nobiz Like Shobiz worked five furlongs in :59.98 over the main track at Belmont Park Sunday morning as he continued preparations for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Todd Pletcher's stay at Keeneland, for all intents and purposes, is over, and he went out with a bang, with three of his Derby horses - Any Given Saturday, Circular Quay, and Scat Daddy - turning in excellent works before heading over to Churchill Downs on Tuesday.
During the crisp, clear early morning of Sunday, April 29, less than a week before the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), trainer Todd Pletcher watched the final workouts of three of his contenders, Any Given Saturday, Circular Quay, and Scat Daddy over Keeneland's Polytrack surface.
Look past unknown jockeys, unbeaten starters, unfamiliar owners, and other contributors to this year's intriguing Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). More noticeable than the presence of uniqueness is the absence of three trainers who held the Triple Crown spotlight for several decades.
Southwest Stakes winner Teuflesberg showed Sunday why trainer Jamie Sanders is optimistic about the colt's chances in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) when he worked five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 over a fast track.
Dominican, surprise winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) two weeks ago, worked five furlongs Sunday morning at Churchill Downs in :59 3/5.
Most people feel Sam P. has a high mountain to climb in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). But it's not nearly as high as the human Sam P. climbed during World War II. So if you want a good story to root for, Sam P. could be your horse.
Calling the :58.91 move "as good as a horse could work," trainer Todd Pletcher expressed great pleasure with the five-furlong performance of Cowtown Cat over the Keeneland Polytrack Saturday morning.
As Churchill Downs prepared for Saturday's opening-day card, a case of Derby fever was making its way around the stable area as trainers of Bwana Bull and Teuflesberg said their horses would be pointed toward the May 5 classic.
Trainer Michael Matz was enthused with a strong gallop by Centennial Farm's Chelokee on Friday at Keeneland, but said a bid for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) had been ruled out for the third-place finisher in the Florida Derby (gr. I).
To aid in unscientific handicapping (and for the entertainment of trivia aficionados), here are the stories behind the titles of this year's contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Doug O'Neill ruled the Derby roost Friday morning, sending out seven workers at Keeneland, including his three starters for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). When it was over, O'Neill and exercise rider Tony Romero were all smiles.
Great Hunter, Liquidity, and Cobalt Blue all worked sharply at Keeneland Friday in their last major preps for the May 5 Run for the Roses.
Many of this year's candidates for the Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I), were offered at public auction before they began their racing careers. Two sold for more than $1 million apiece, but you could have purchased some of them for less than $100,000.
At TheDowneyProfile.com, we utilize thirteen factors more common to Kentucky Derby winners than non-winners, based on our 34-year study, in order to create an objective, weighted-factor predictor of Kentucky Derby success. One factor that we do not use is the "horse for the course" handicapping angle, the one that looks to horses that have run well at Churchill Downs.
Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle five contenders to this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on May 5. Here, he reviews his horses' running styles and talks strategy before the big race.
Slew's Tizzy, 40-1 winner of the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II), will not run in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 5, trainer Greg Fox said April 26.
With speed the primary ingredient in the Thoroughbred, and true stamina being pushed deeper and deeper into a horse's pedigree, we have to try to find staying power wherever we can. Although old-fashioned stamina on the sire's side no longer is necessary to win the Derby, it still has been a main factor on the dam's side.
One Kentucky Oaks and four Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (both gr. I) contenders will be helping young people to obtain a college degree. As part of the Race For Education's Racehorse Nomination Program, a portion of any earnings by Street Sense, Cowtown Cat, Any Given Saturday, Sam P., and Appealing Zophie will go to the non-profit organization, which funds scholarships and educational grants for young people in the equine industry.
The racing industry's equine stars have one shot at winning the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr.I). Their riders, on the other hand, keep coming back for more. Here are the Derby records of several jockeys with prospective mounts in this year's Run for the Roses.
HorseRacing Television's popular weekly show "Target Louisville" will be broadcast daily as "Target Louisville Live," offering racing fans up-to-date information developments directly from Churchill Downs leading up to the 133rd edition of the Kentucky Derby.
NBC's one-hour documentary, "Barbaro: A Nation's Horse," will premiere Sunday, April 29, on what would have been the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner's fourth birthday.
Representatives from Churchill Downs will honor the late 2006 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Barbaro and his owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, during a winner's circle ceremony at this year's Derby May 5. The ceremony will take place between races six and seven at approximately 2:30 p.m. EDT.
When Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip attend the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 5, they will enjoy a meal fit for a queen. Executive chef Gil Logan of Levy Restaurants, the official caterer for Churchill Downs, will showcase authentic Derby cuisine made with the finest, freshest ingredients, many from Kentucky Proud producers in the Bluegrass State.
The Klein Family Learning Center will open a special gift shop on the backside of Churchill Downs for Kentucky Derby Week to benefit track workers.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - This year brings us to a couple of tried and tested chapters from the unwritten trainers' manual regarding the Kentucky Derby: the "two-prep" and "unraced juvenile" rules.
James Tafel's champion colt Street Sense turned in his final serious Kentucky Derby workout Tuesday, April 24, going five furlongs in an impressive :59 over a fast track at Churchill Downs.
Youbet.com announced Monday that it is at an impasse in negotiations with TrackNet Media that could result in the online wagering company being unable to take bets on this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Starlight Stable and Paul Lucarelli's Sam P. tuned up for an expected run in the $2 million Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with a sharp five-furlong workout at Churchill Downs on Monday.
Elizabeth Valando's Nobiz Like Shobiz got down to some serious business Monday morning, working five furlongs in :59.60 on the Belmont Park training track with jockey Cornelio Velasquez up.
When the final weekend of prep races for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) was over, some new players had joined the list of contenders based on earnings in graded stakes.
Greetings from...Keeneland? That's right, Keeneland, home of the Kentucky Derby horses. Well, at least for many of them, and at least for a while. Although several trainers will begin shipping their horses to Churchill Downs this week, Todd Pletcher and Doug O'Neill will complete their works at Keeneland, with Pletcher staying put until next Tuesday.
Trainer Steve Asmussen sent Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Curlin and stablemates Zanjero and Reporting for Duty for a final Kentucky Derby prep over the Polytrack surface at Lexington's Keeneland Racecourse on Monday, April 23.
Trainer Larry Jones sent Kentucky Derby contender Hard Spun for a mile work over the Polytrack surface at Lexington's Keeneland Racecourse Monday, April 23.
Trainer Todd Pletcher continued the classic preparations for three of his five probable Kentucky Derby starters when Scat Daddy, Any Given Saturday, and Circular Quay worked over the Polytrack surface at Lexington's Keeneland Racecourse Sunday, April 22.
A special dinner and art exhibition at Avalon restaurant in Louisville will pay homage to the legendary Secretariat May 1 at 7 p.m.
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