As a bright morning sun broke through the darkness, all was quiet on the backside of Churchill Downs Saturday. And on the heels of a record crowd for Friday's Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), track officials were expecting another banner day for Saturday's Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
My latest rankings have Afleet Alex number one, followed by Bellamy Road and Bandini. But, let's face it, we're talking the three favorites, and anyone can come up with the same three horses. There are question marks surrounding most of the horses in what looks to be as strong and deep a Derby field as we've had in a long while.
- By Dan Liebman
Granted, the pool is still small, but the bettors on Kentucky Oaks day pushed more than $380,000 into the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) win pool on Friday. And they made Afleet Alex the favorite over program pick Bellamy Road.
Jimmy Winkfield, an African-American jockey who won back-to-back editions of the Kentucky Derby, has been honored in a resolution passed by the United States House of Representatives May 5.
Everyone likes to talk about the Derby gods. Their impact on racing this weekend at Churchill Downs is unknown, but they certainly have blessed the Louisville, Ky. area with nice weather.
In both the good times and the bad times, 1990 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Unbridled would let his trainer, Carl Nafzger, know everything was all right.
Today's Headlines: California Arrivals Visit Track; Andromeda's Hero Here from Keeneland.
One year removed from capturing the hearts of a nation following wins in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I), Smarty Jones remains as popular as ever. It's because of his popularity that the Smarty Jones Foundation was established.
Seventeen of the 20 horses in this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) field were offered at public auction.
Jockey Mark Guidry took the overland route to get back to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Forget about going seven-wide on the final turn, Guidry went about 2,000 miles out of his way to find the mount that would bring him back to Louisville the first Saturday in May.
In spite of some adversity this year, rags-to-riches Jeff and Amy Mullins, who start their fourth longshot in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) Saturday in Buzzards Bay, hope they will some day be remembered with other great husband-wife Derby teams.
Middle to outside places were in vogue Wednesday when the connections of 20 starters selected post positions for Saturday's $2-million Kentucky Derby (gr. I), for which Bellamy Road was installed as the 5-2 favorite.
As expected, the names of 20 3-year-olds were dropped into the entry box for Saturday's $2-million Kentucky Derby (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
Kentucky Derby 131 Headlines: High Limit, Greeley's Galaxy work; Giacomo, Buzzards Bay scheduled to arrive.
Officials of Churchill Downs, the Maryland Jockey Club, and the NBC Network Wednesday discussed the new contract under which the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) will be televised.
A disgruntled Bobby Frankel told reporters Wednesday morning he may reconsider Ramon Dominguez as the jockey for High Limit's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) run Saturday. Frankel said after reading a quote from the rider in a Louisville Courier-Journal, it seemed the jockey may lack confidence in High Limit to go forward Saturday.
The son of a National Thoroughbred Racing Association executive follows the Churchill Downs chaplain in a handicapping contest against TV Games Network commentator Todd Schrupp.
Two contenders for Saturday's Kentucky Derby (gr. I), Illinois Derby (gr. II) winner Greeley's Galaxy and Louisiana Derby (gr. II) victor High Limit, went through their final paces following the track maintenance break at Churchill Downs Wednesday.
Youbet.com and CBS SportsLine.com announced an agreement May 3 making Youbet the exclusive horseracing content provider for the Internet sports media Web site.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - The "new" Churchill Downs will provide a spectacular setting, and the Thoroughbred foal crop of 2002 has brought forth an intriguing group of candidates...
Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day will host a live Kentucky Derby online chat with Theyareatthepost.com and WHAS.com at 8 p.m. on May 5.
There isn't much more to say about Afleet Alex that hasn't been said before. Well, come to think of it, maybe there is. Alex was the star of the morning, being the only worker. He also was the center of attention at an informal auction to benefit cancer research.
Cash is King Stable's Afleet Alex completed his major preparation for the 131st Kentucky Derby by working a half-mile in :48.40 under Derby rider Jeremy Rose this morning.
Continuing a relationship that began in 2001, NBC Sports has reached an agreement with Churchill Downs Inc. and Magna Entertainment/Maryland Jockey Club to telecast the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes an additional five years, from 2006 to 2010.
"Come on six! Stay up three! Get out of there 12! Where's the four? Who's that?" These may sound like the common shouts of an overzealous, exotics-playing railbird, but on Saturday, it just might be something you hear from as esteemed a place as the Churchill Downs box of New York-born trainer Nick Zito.
Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey said he is excited about his mount on Florida Derby (gr. I) winner High Fly for what could be the rider's last trip in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) May 7.
Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Afleet Alex was the only contender for Saturday's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) to put in his final workout Tuesday, and the son of Northern Afleet again showed his fitness by breezing a half-mile in :48 2/5 at Churchill Downs.
All horses foaled in the Northern Hemisphere have the universal birth date of Jan. 1 as their official age of racing, but not all of this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contenders are actually 3-year-olds as of yet. Who's the oldest? Who's the youngest? Whose birth date is actually Derby day, May 7?
There were three Kentucky Derby (gr. I) works Monday morning, but the biggest revelation came a little after 6 o'clock when Bandini strolled onto the track, the day after working five furlongs in 1:00 4/5. Although he was only out for a jog, it was enough to convince me that the colt is sitting on another huge effort on Saturday.
Kentucky Derby 131 Headlines: Consolidator injured; out of Derby 131; Buzzards Bay works 1:11.40 at Santa Anita; Afleet Alex scheduled to go half Tuesday.
Fog City Stable's Buzzards Bay, surprise winner of the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), tuned up for his engagement in Saturday's 131st running of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) with a bullet six-furlong workout in 1:11 2/5 Monday morning at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.
Trainer Bob Baffert admitted his lone Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contender Sort It Out is no Bellamy Road, one of the favorites for Saturday's classic, but said the colt's workout at Churchill Downs Monday morning was the best he's ever seen of the horse.
Todd Pletcher sent out one of his equine triumvirate Monday morning as expected when Coin Silver breezed five furlongs in 1:01 flat. With morning conditions in Louisville cool, dry, and clear, the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) winner's effort was a relief for last year's Eclipse Award-winning trainer.
Mother Nature continued to give horsemen a break Monday as three contenders for Saturday's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) breezed under sunny skies at Churchill Downs.
A beautiful, cloudless sky; Nick Zito and Todd Pletcher working five Kentucky Derby (gr. I) horses; what more could you ask for? Zito and Pletcher dominated the morning's activity, sending out Bellamy Road, High Fly, Noble Causeway, Bandini, and Flower Alley for strong five-furlong works.
Today's Headlines: Seven Derby horses work at Churchill Sunday; Jose Valdivia, Jr. to ride Going Wild; Buzzards Bay to work at Santa Anita Monday.
Trainer Patrick Biancone confirmed Sunday morning at Churchill Downs that Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor's Spanish Chestnut is bound for the May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr. I). The French-born trainer said jockey Joe Bravo would ride the speedy son of Horse Chestnut.
Trainer Todd Pletcher was all smiles at Churchill Downs Sunday morning after watching two of his three Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contenders record their final works for the May 7 Run for the Roses.
Three of trainer Nick Zito's five Kentucky Derby (gr. I) starters drilled Sunday morning at Churchill Downs and all three "went exceptionally well" for the two-time Derby-winning trainer. All three worked under blue skies and cool weather with exercise rider Maxine Correa aboard.
With the inclement weather that had set in over Louisville, Ky. finally out of the area, seven contenders for Saturday's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) breezed at Churchill Downs Sunday morning.
It was another routine morning, with Nick Zito electing to put his works off until Sunday, due to the wet track. So, let's take a break and turn our attention to the California horses, who are being talked about by most everyone at Churchill Downs as if they had leprosy, even by people from California.
Kentucky Derby 131 Headlines: Wilko works 5/8 in :59.80 at Hollywood; Blanc named to ride Sort It Out; Five horses to work Sunday.
With the Churchill Downs track soaked from overnight rains, trainer Nick Zito called off the works for three of his five Kentucky Derby (gr. I) candidates Saturday morning and moved them to Sunday – weather permitting. Scheduled to breeze tomorrow are Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) winner Bellamy Road and the one-two finishers in the Florida Derby (gr. I): High Fly and Noble Causeway.
Pletcher says Bandini doesn't need a rabbit to do well in Run for the Roses.
Sort It Out hasn't won since February's Whirlaway Stakes, but don't count him out of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) just yet.
In the days leading up to the Kentucky Derby two years ago, all the action swirled around Barn 43, where trainer Bobby Frankel gave daily press conferences that were only a chorus or two of "Hail to the Chief" short of presidential.
Kids to the Cup, the national non-profit charitable organization that educates young racing fans, with the support of John E's Restaurant in Louisville, will auction off halters worn by participants in this year's 131st Kentucky Derby (gr. I) on eBay. Proceeds from the auction will benefit Kids to the Cup.
An ugly, rainy morning, and no Kentucky Derby (gr. I) works made for a funky Friday. The Derby lost one prospective starter when it was announced General John B will not run due to a tendon injury to his left front leg. On the jockey front was the announcement that Pat Valenzuela will ride Coolmore Lexington (gr. II) winner Coin Silver.
Friday's Top Stories: Injury Takes General John B Out of Derby 131; Works by Zito Trio Depend on Weather; Don't Get Mad Prepares for Derby Trial.
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