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Kentucky Derby 2002: Hitting the Trail

As the masses congregate at the start of the Kentucky Derby trail, there will, as usual, be lots of pushing and shoving until late February and early March when the contenders begin to separate themselves from the pack. But disappointment and frustration can be prevelant just getting to the Derby trail, as evidenced by the number of highly promising juveniles who stumbled along the way last week.

Kentucky Derby 2002: Siphonic And Other Presents

This is it, the final report for 2001. Starting next week, we'll officially be on the 2002 Kentucky Derby trail, as the major scenes shift to Gulfstream and Santa Anita, joining the already-in-progress Fair Grounds and Aqueduct meets. We close the year with the Hollywood Futurity and several more impressive maiden and allowance victories.

NTRA Releases Spring TV Schedule

  • News

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association unveiled its spring 2002 television schedule for Thoroughbred racing and outlined the full complement of programming planned for next year.

Two New Stakes Highlight 2002 Calendar at Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs stakes schedule for 2002 includes the 128th renewals of the $1 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby and the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks - plus a record five grade I events and record total stakes purses of more than $8 million. The schedule also includes a pair of new stakes, including one named in honor of legendary track president Col. Matt Winn that will be run during the centennial anniversary of his arrival at the Louisville track.

2002 Derby Hopefuls: Early Horse-by-Horse Rundown

Before the early (and we stress early) list of classic hopefuls gets too long, we're going to sort out the growing number of promising 2-year-olds and take a crack at where they might fit in the 2002 Kentucky Derby picture. We're sure there will be omissions, but this at least will provide an idea who might be some of the major players next spring. Horses are listed in alphabetical order:

Kentucky Derby 2002: Some Holiday Gifts

Trainers on both coasts unwrapped some exciting early Christmas presents last week, and all the gifts appear to come with batteries packed with enough charge to last well past next May. This is the time of year when the colts with Derby pedigrees make their appearance, and if you like to see brilliance and a big closing kick to go along with a very low dosage index, then you're going to love Pelirrojo, Charioteer, Axis, and Iwin.

Kentucky Derby 2002: Stars in the Making

This is the time of the year to keep close tabs on 2-year-old maiden races. Whether trainers admit it or not, they are well aware that no Kentucky Derby winner has failed to start as a 2-year-old since Apollo in 1882. Recently, we've seen several intriguing prospects break their maiden, and now is as good a time as any to start planting the seed.

2002 Kentucky Derby: Steve Haskin Looks Ahead

Derby fever, in November? Heck, why not. The Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner is tucked away somewhere in Ireland, and until word surfaces from the usually tight-lipped Coolmore people, he will remain out of sight in winter hibernation. Whether or not a full-grown grizzly bear is going to emerge next year, and whether he's going to come back here looking for more easy pickins we won't know for a while.

Churchill Board Backs $127-Million Renovation Plan

The Churchill Downs Inc. board of directors on Thursday endorsed a comprehensive plan to rebuild and modernize the company's flagship racetrack in Louisville, Ky. The racetrack's $127-million, two-phase master plan outlines the most sweeping changes at the historic facility in more than a century.

Churchill Names JettSport Artwork Licensee

Churchill Downs and JettSport, Inc. have agreed on a three-year-deal under which the Louisville sport and event graphics company will be the licensee for the track's "Art of the Kentucky Derby" series, and other Churchill Downs artwork, for the next three years.

Churchill: Derby Pumps $217.8M Into Economy

About a month after it made a public pitch for tax reductions and support from the state, Churchill Downs said Monday that the 2001 Kentucky Derby contributed $217.8 million to the economy Louisville, Ky., and the surrounding region over a three-day period.

Tubbs Hired as Churchill Vice President of Sales

  • News

Churchill Downs as hired a vice president of sales who will oversee all sponsorship efforts for the Kentucky Derby and Oaks, as well as sales initiatives at all racetracks owned by Churchill Downs Inc.

Wrong Fit

By Steve Haskin -- If the 2001 Triple Crown were a suit, you'd definitely send it back for alterations until it looked just right.

Florida Derby Gets Later 2002 Date

Gulfstream Park announced that the Florida Derby (gr. I), its premier prep for the Triple Crown, would be run March 16 next year--one week later than usual and seven weeks before the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). The track also has shifted the dates of other key stakes races.

Oxley Extends Research Pledge Through Preakness and Belmont

John Oxley, the owner of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) favorite Monarchos, announced today that he has extended his pledge of one per cent of purse earnings to the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation if his three-year-old colt wins Saturday's Preakness Stakes and/or the Belmont Stakes June 9. The total purses for the Preakness and Belmont Stakes are each $1,000,000.

Monarchos Rules, Even on Ebay

As of May 16, 30 different Monarchos-related items were offered on the popular auction site ebay. Some of them, such as Belmont Stakes programs and $2 Belmont win tickets on the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner, don't even exist yet.

National Rating For NBC's Derby Debut Was Up 40 Percent

NBC Sports' debut broadcast of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) attracted 40 percent more viewers than a year ago. The national rating for the 5 p.m. to 6:42 p.m. program earned an 8.1 rating and captured 21 percent of viewers compared with last year when the Derby earned a 5.8 rating and a 17 percent market share. The rating is the highest since 1992 when the Derby earned a national rating of 8.9 and a 26 percent market share. Each rating point currently represents slightly more than one million households.

Haskin's Derby Story: Strong Dose of Monarchos

A stoic John T. Ward Jr. stood alone on the Churchill Downs grass course, watching Monarchos return from his magnificent triumph in the 127th running of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). The third-generation Kentucky horseman was a stark contrast to the emotions that poured freely around him. Assistant trainer Yvonne Azeff, who dreamed of winning the Derby when she was 10 years old, was overcome with tears as she hugged her mother and exercise rider Bryan Beccia. When lifelong dreams come true, the only words the mind can muster are, "Oh my God!" It was as if a part of Azeff would not let her believe this was really happening.

Derby TV Ratings Show Marked Increase

With help from a later start, the final hour-plus of the Kentucky Derby telecast outdrew last year's by about 40 percent. NBC Sports' debut broadcast under a five-year, $51.5 million deal to air thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown series produced a 9.2 national rating from 5:30 to 6:42 p.m. EDT Saturday.

Derby Winning Owners Strike Mother Lode

They don't call the major producers "gushers" at Oxley Petroleum. In the natural-gas exploration business, they're known as "high-flowing wells," exploding like the stride of John C. Oxley's Monarchos as he gobbled up the hallowed ground of the Churchill Downs stretch the first Saturday in May.

Murray Smith Hits Home Run With Monarchos

Florida pinhooker Murray Smith was looking for a quick profit when she bought Monarchos privately as a yearling for $100,000 in the spring of 1999. But the big payoff didn't come until two years later, when the gray colt charged down the Churchill Downs stretch to win the Kentucky Derby.

Buying Culled Mare Pays Off For Breeder Squires

No one likes to use the word "cull" when talking about broodmares. But everyone does it. In fact, if you don't, you never improve your stock. When he "retired" to Kentucky and decided to become a horse breeder 10 years ago, Jim Squires went out looking for "culled mares." They weren't hard to find. But who would have thought they included the dam of a future Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner?

Derby Dreams

By Ray Paulick -- John and Donna Ward's stable is thriving, in large part because of a team approach to their operation.

Monarchos Races For Charity

Monarchos' victory in the May 5 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) will provide the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation with a donation of $8,120 from owners John and Debby Oxley, and another $8,120 from the syndicate that owns the colt's sire, Maria's Mon.

Haskin's Derby Dozen: It's Still Point Given

Steve Haskin, the award-winning turf writer and senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse, updates his top Kentucky Derby contenders weekly. During his 29 years with the Daily Racing Form, Haskin became known for his insightful coverage of the Triple Crown races. Haskin won the Red Smith Award for Kentucky Derby writing in 1997, 1999, and 2000.and received the David Woods Award for best Preakness story in 1997. In 1999, he co-authored "Baffert: Dirt Road to the Derby" with trainer Bob Baffert and wrote the book, "Dr. Fager" for Eclipse Press' "Thoroughbred Legends" series in 2000.

Ratings Up 26% in NBC's Initial Kentucky Derby Telecast

NBC, which paid a reported $51.5 million to telecast the Triple Crown for five years and end a 26-year run for ABC, saw a 26% increase in the overnight ratings for Saturday's Kentucky Derby. In figures compiled by the A.C. Nielsen Co., the Derby garnered an 8.3 rating in 51 television markets nationwide and a 20% share. That's up from the 6.6 rating and 17 share the Derby received in 2000 on ABC.

Trainer Ward on Derby Win: Faith in Horse Justified

After checking on the horses at his Keeneland-based stable near Lexington, Ky. trainer John Ward arrived at Churchill Downs Sunday morning to reflect on the significance of winning his first Kentuckky Derby with Monarchos on Saturday. "As far as having any euphoria about winning the race, I was happy that we won the race and everything...I guess the feeling is it is a reinforcement that everything you believe isn't just a myth," Ward said.

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