Churchill Downs and officials with the city of Louisville, Ky. have requested help from the federal government in dealing with security for the May 4 Kentucky Derby, the Kentucky Oaks, and the Pegasus Parade that is staged Derby week.
Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier's Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Johannesburg begins 2002 as the future-book favorite for both the Sagitta Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) and the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Both races will be run on May 4.
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.
While many are preparing to open their Christmas presents Tuesday morning, Kenny McPeek is already playing with his new toys. Even though the Kentucky Derby is still over four months away, McPeek is thinking more of mint juleps than egg nog.
NBC, which enjoyed solid ratings in its inaugural year of covering racing's Triple Crown in 2001, partially due to cross-promoting the races with its NBA playoff games, will no longer be televising NBA games when its current contract runs out in the spring of 2002.
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.
Amerman Racing Stables' Siphonic moves to the head of the West Coast 2-year-old class with a victory in the Hollywood Futurity.
The one trainer who seems to be establishing his niche in this year's Derby picture is Shug McGaughey. With Saarland, Maybry's Boy, and D'Coach, it's as if McGaughey is standing at the quarter pole with a slingshot and launching some speeding projectiles down the Aqueduct stretch.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Steve Haskin, an award-winning turf writer and senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse, provides his insights into the contenders and the pretenders for this year's Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown races.
Right now, the plan is simple: Johannesburg will point for the Kentucky Derby. The only question is how to go about doing it.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Carl Pollard, the owner of Hermitage Farm and Churchill Downs board member since 1985, will replace William S. Farish as chairman of the Louisville, Ky., racing conglomerate. Also on Tuesday, Churchill reported record second quarter results.
Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Monarchos will be sidelined for up to 60 days after suffering a subchondral hairline fracture of the third carpal bone of the right knee.
- By Steve Haskin
By Steve Haskin -- If the 2001 Triple Crown were a suit, you'd definitely send it back for alterations until it looked just right.
The final television ratings for the Belmont Stakes rose 61 percent to a 4.5 and 13 percent market share. The combined ratings for the Triple Crown rose 49 percent to a 6.1 rating and a 17 percent market share.
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.
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.
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.
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.
David and Jill Heerensperger's Millennium Wind, 11th in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), may make his next start in the $500,000 Swaps Stakes (gr. I), according to trainer David Hofmans.
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.
Bob Baffert confirmed on Tuesday that Jerry Bailey will replace Victor Espinoza aboard Stonerside Stable's Congaree, the third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), when the Arazi colt runs next in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) on May 19.
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.
It is ironic Jorge Chavez had to wait through an objection to win his first classic race. When he first came to the United States from Peru to ride in South Florida in 1988, a language barrier and his riding style landed him on the carpet before the stewards almost as often as he was in the winner's circle.
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.
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.
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?
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- John and Donna Ward's stable is thriving, in large part because of a team approach to their operation.
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.
How the horses that finished behind Monarchos came out of the Kentucky Derby and their future plans.
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.
Other Views of the Kentucky Derby, including NBC's telecast, Saturday's track condition, trainers, and efforts by Churchill to purchase houses near the track:
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.
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.
Trainers of horses that finished behind Monarchos in the Kentuckky Derby comment on the race.
Jockeys of horses that finished behind Monarchos in the Kentucky Derby comment on the race.
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