For Churchill Downs Inc. president and chief executive officer Tom Meeker, being what he calls a "caretaker of the Derby" is one of his jobs. But that doesn't mean there can't be change for the world's most recognized horse race, or other aspects of the industry for that matter, he said.
Racing fans in Kentucky and Indiana who can't make it to Churchill Downs will have access to 9 1/2 hours of live coverage May 5-6 on the Horse Racing Radio Network.
Unlike earlier in the week when a possibility of showers was in the forecast for Louisville, Ky., on Saturday, the latest predictions call for partly sunny, cool and dry conditions for the 132nd Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
One thing the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) has taught us over the years is that the winner can come from anywhere. And the same goes for the winner's sire.
Like any kind of crop, a 3-year-old crop requires time to grow before it can be determined whether it is weak or strong. In racing, people have a tendency to denounce a 3-year-old crop in its infantile stages, and then praise it when it suddenly bears fruit right before the Kentucky Derby.
It's 12:25 p.m. A pair of Derby contenders enter the paddock for some schooling.
In an attempt to dress up the post position selection program for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), the event was taken downtown this year.
If Sharp Humor wins Saturday's Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), "it might be the largest winner's circle picture of all time at Churchill Downs," said the colt's trainer, Dale Romans.
Bob Baffert, Bob McNair, Bob and John, Bode Baffert, and Beverly Lewis, wife of the late Bob Lewis. There is a distinct theme being played in Barn 33 on the Churchill Downs backstretch, which was a "B" hive of activity Wednesday morning.
- By Tom LaMarra
Supporters of legislation that would ban the transport of horses to slaughter for human consumption are hopeful the measure will pass Congress this year, a co-sponsor of the bill said May 3. Meanwhile, members of the Kentucky horse industry have united to form the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, a shelter and adoption service for unwanted horses of all breeds.
Three horses, including Florida Derby (gr. I) third-place finisher Sunriver, were excluded when 23 horses were entered Wednesday for Saturday's Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) that is limited to 20 starters on the basis of earnings in graded stakes.
Even with two definite contenders going into the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), trainer Todd Pletcher remained calm and collected May 3, giving out instructions to exercise riders from his pony in the final countdown to the big day.
The last workout by a candidate for Saturday's Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) was turned in Wednesday when Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) winner Deputy Glitters was timed in 1:03 1/5 for five furlongs.
At the racing office for the draw for the order of post position draw later today at Fourth Street Live! The atmosphere is almost party like. There are a few nervous faces, but overall most people are in a jovial mood.
The annual Kentucky Derby trainer's dinner brought out a mixture of memories and laughs from conditioners past and present.
Figures don't lie. At the eighth pole in 48 of the last 51 Kentucky Derbys, the winner was either on the lead, within a length of the lead, or running second although more than a length off the leader.
This year's contenders for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) come from a mixed bag of beginnings. Homebreds, sale purchases, and privately purchased runners will all be viable contenders come the first Saturday in May.
On Monday, did anybody wish Derby contender Seaside Retreat happy birthday? Someone should have, because May 1 was his foaling date. While all horses foaled in the Northern Hemisphere have the universal birth date of Jan. 1 as their official age of racing, not all of this year's contenders are actually 3-year-olds.
- By Esther Marr
Just days before the Run for the Roses, Gov. Ernie Fletcher made a trip to Churchill Downs to present the first Kentucky Thoroughbred Breeders' Incentive Fund check. The recipients were Mike and Jeanne Owens, owners of Kentucky-bred Sinister Minister, winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) April 15.
The Tex Sutton plane carrying Bob and John, Point Determined, and A. P. Warrior arrived at Louisville Airport at about 11:20 a.m. following an uneventful flight from California.
- By Tom LaMarra
New York City came to Louisville, Ky.--and vice versa--the morning of May 2 when the opening bell of the NASDAQ stock exchange rang from a fourth-floor porch at Churchill Downs to celebrate Derby week.
Should you adjust your handicapping for this year's Derby to decide who you think might run best on an off track? Well...maybe.
Jockey John McKee shares a chat with Bonnie Holthus back at their barn after Lawyer Ron took a tour of the track Tuesday morning. Bonnie is the wife of trainer Bob Holthus, or "Mr. Bob" as he's called at his base at Oaklawn Park.
"I worked his daddy out of that barn," jockey Robby Albarado said the morning of April 29, pointing to barn 43 on the Churchill Downs backside.
Ask Dan Hendricks the hardest part about his Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) experience, and he doesn't hesitate with his answer.
It's becoming an adventure waiting for jockeys to arrive for morning works. Unlike Kent Desormeaux, who never showed up for Sweetnorthernsaint's work on Saturday, Alex Solis did make it to Churchill Monday morning to work Brother Derek following a flight from Los Angeles to Cincinnati.
Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Brother Derek breezed a half-mile in :49 1/5 over a muddy track at Churchill Downs Monday in his final preparation for Saturday's Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Although neither of his horses will be among the favorites for Saturday's Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), trainer Steve Asmussen has a comfort level with how both Private Vow and Storm Treasure are coming into the race.
Late on a rainy, dreary Sunday afternoon, thoughts drift through the years, remembering Derbys of the not-so-distant past.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is no stranger to Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. The 45-year-old Lexington native was a long-time assistant to five-time Derby winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas and last year sent out 71-1 Closing Argument, a surprise runner-up behind Giacomo. This year, the laid-back Kentuckian hopefully has two horses for this year's Run for the Roses in Jazil and Flashy Bull.
If Illinois Derby (gr. III) winner Sweetnorthernsaint wins this year's Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), he would join elite company of eight geldings who have previously won the spring classic.
Beginning May 1 and running daily through Derby Day, bloodhorse.com introduces Morning Line, a new feature designed to bring the horses, people, and places of Thoroughbred racing closer to racing enthusiasts.
A daily update on the candidates for the May 6 Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
Despite suffering from a spring-time cold, trainer Todd Pletcher was active Saturday morning when he sent Bluegrass Cat, Keyed Entry, and Sunriver to the racetrack for their final Kentucky Derby works.
With one week to go before the 132nd running of the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), 13 candidates for the 1 1/4-mile classic were on the track at Churchill Downs Saturday morning, going through their final workouts before the rain that was forecast for later in the day in Louisville, Ky.
Dan Hendricks clutched several carrots in his hand, as he watched Brother Derek get his morning bath following the colt's first gallop over the Churchill Downs strip. Just then, someone from a passing car on Longfield Avenue shouted, "Go, Brother, go!" For the first time, Derby electricity was in the air.
Churchill Downs is offering Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) fans a chance to take home a million-dollar prize May 6. The Kentucky Derby "Super" Challenge, a free online contest that debuts this year, offers participants the opportunity to win up to $1 million by selecting the winning superfecta in the Derby.
Friday was another relatively quiet day on the backside at Churchill Downs, as none of the 22 horses being pointed toward the May 6 Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) worked on a dry sunny morning.
If you're a Kentucky Derby handicapper, you've probably heard on occasion that early-born foals have an advantage when racing on the first Saturday in May. However, matters of record lead to the opposite conclusion.
This may color your decision-making in regard to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
The National Weather Service issued its 10-day forecast today that extends through May 6, otherwise known as Kentucky Derby day.
The Kentucky Derby favorite has arrived in all his glory. At around 11:30 Thursday morning, Brother Derek stepped off the Tex Sutton chartered plane and onto a one-horse van, which delivered him safe and sound to his new home at Churchill Downs.
William S. Farish, Jr.'s Seaside Retreat displayed his affinity for the Churchill Downs surface during a strong workout Thursday morning, after which trainer Mark Casse said the colt was confirmed for the May 6 Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
If it is true that history repeats itself, the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) presented by Yum! Brands has plenty of historical trends to follow. However, the fact that it has a varied history makes it hard to pick exactly which trend to follow.
The biggest news of the day was the arrival Tuesday of Sweetnorthernsaint and Cause to Believe. With a lack of work activity once again, the talk of the morning was the cold and the unveiling of the new Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) saddle towels, which appear to be designed with the sole intention of going unnoticed.
Joseph LaCombe Stables homebred Deputy Glitters worked five furlongs in 1:01.46 at Belmont Park in preparation for the May 6 Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Horse Power LLC announced Tuesday that it has launched an online blog devoted to the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Sinister Minister or no Sinister Minister, Sharp Humor is the one they'll have to catch on May 6, says the colt's trainer Dale Romans. And any horse who dares look Romans' gladiator in the eye early in the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) will pay the price.
Three first-time Kentucky Derby trainers joined veteran conditioner Bob Holthus on a national teleconference April 25 to discuss final preparations for their horses heading into the Derby.
For the connections of Flashy Bull and Sunriver, there are three things on their mind this week - Showing Up's puncture wound, Seaside Retreat's workout on Thursday, and Mister Triester's performance in Saturday's Derby Trial Stakes. Only after that will they know whether they've made it into the Derby field.
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