Bits and pieces from around the industry...
As the road to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) gets shorter, the telecasts of premier 3-year-old Thoroughbred racing heats up in prep races televised on "Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby," the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA)-produced series on the ESPN networks.
On the eve of his Toyota Blue Grass Stakes date, Harlan's Holiday remains at the top of the leading contenders' list.
The Kentucky Derby picture may not be getting any clearer, but at least all the combatants are lined up for their final engagement to determine who goes on to the big battle.
Louisiana Derby winner Repent came out of his second-place finish in the Illinois Derby with a chip in his left front ankle, and has been taken off the Derby trail.
Time is running out for this year's Derby picture to come into focus. Heavy hitters Came Home, Repent, and Johannesburg are in the books, but the questions continue.
Illinois Derby (gr. II) winner War Emblem was shipped to Kentucky by van Sunday, but the son of Our Emblem is still not considered a likely Kentucky Derby (gr. I) starter.
Harlan's Holiday closed as the 7-1 favorite in pool three of the Kentucky Derby future wager which closed at 5:30 (EDT) Sunday. Johannesburg, who suffered his first career defeat in Ireland Sunday, was next at 8-1, just ahead of Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Came Home.
A day after Marasca upset Equality in the inaugural running of the $250,000 Aventura Stakes the connections of those horses said the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is not on their respective agendas.
Even though Take Charge Lady was an impressive winner in the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) on Saturday at Keeneland, she probably will still run in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) instead of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). But trainer Kenny McPeek, interviewed on Sunday morning, did not completely rule out a Derby start.
As pool three of the Kentucky Derby future wager offered by Churchill Downs enters its stretch run, a pair of contenders have crept closer to early leader Johannesburg. After day three of the four-day event, Johannesburg remains favored, but his odds have drifted up to 6-1, with Came Home (7-1) and Harlan's Holiday (8-1) next in line.
Johannesburg remains favored in pool three of the Kentucky Derby future wager despite drifting up to 5-1 at the close of Friday's wagering after beginning the day at 4-1.
Johannesburg is the early favorite in pool three of the Kentucky Derby future wager offered by Churchill Downs, taking in $6,549 of $40,282 wagered on Thursday. After beginning the day the 6-1 co-second choice, the undefeated Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner is currently available at 4-1.
We are well aware that the term 3-year-old analysis this year is an oxymoron. Maybe 3-year-old guesses would be more suitable a title. But the trouper that we are, we will attempt to link the word analysis with 3-year-old and try to make some kind of sense of this weekend's stakes, which actually look crystal clear compared to what is in store for us the following weekend.
Racing and breeding news from the industry
TVG will unveil a new Sportscenter-type stakes recap show Sunday, April 7 at 8 p.m. eastern time.
Harlan's Holiday remained on top as there were little changes this week in the rankings of leading Kentucky Derby contenders compiled by senior correspondent Steve Haskin.
There remains a chance Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier's Johannesburg could make his 2002 debut on the grass at The Curragh in Ireland April 7 rather than at Lingfield the previous day, trainer Aidan O'Brien said April 2. A decision must be made by the evening of April 4, he said.
Add two more names to the list of Triple Crown nominees. The connections of recent winners Puzzlement and One Tuff Box both paid the necessary $6,000 to make their horses eligible to the May 4 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), May 18 Preakness (gr. I), and June 8 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
The third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2002 Kentucky Derby Future Wager begins its four-day run on April 4 with a pair of horses trained by Churchill Downs-based Ken McPeek -- Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Harlan's Holiday and Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner Repent -- listed as its top two betting choices.
Churchill Downs has changed the conditions of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) to give preference to 3-year-old fillies with the highest lifetime earnings in graded stakes. Previously, when the race was oversubscribed, preference was given to fillies with the highest career earnings regardless of whether races were graded.
Ten horses were nominated to the 2002 Visa Triple Crown by the late deadline, which closed Saturday, March 30 at midnight. The 10 additions, each at a cost of $6,000, increased the number of nominations to a total of 415.
Racing's Holy Grail--The Epic Quest for the Kentucky Derby--Chapter 4
Racing's Holy Grail--The Epic Quest for the Kentucky Derby--Chapter 4
Sunday Break overcame an erratic stretch drive to win for the third straight time, taking a 1 1/8-mile, money allowance race at Aqueduct Wednesday. The victory keeps the Japanese-bred son of Forty Niner on target for the April 13 Wood Memorial (gr. I), and a possible stop at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) on May 4.
Horses that performed well last weekend on the Road to the Kentucky Derby moved up on the list of leading contenders compiled by senior correspondent Steve Haskin.
All 100,000-plus fans at this year's Kentucky Derby will be screened with magnetic wands when they enter Churchill Downs under beefed-up security in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
You've heard it said many times: the more things change, the more they stay the same. Well, things certainly are changing each week on the road to the Kentucky Derby, but we seem to be just about where we were when we embarked on the journey almost three months ago.
Deepak Chopra's Law of Karma has had a tremendous influence on the Kentucky Derby in the last quarter-century, starting with the great Seattle Slew.
Trainer David Hofmans said Friday that John and Jerry Amerman's Siphonic will be taken out of training due to "wear and tear" in his right, front ankle.
We all know about the Coolmore group's Johannesburg and Mayakovsky, and the obstacles they have to overcome. But what do we know about Castle Gandolfo?
TAILS OF THE CRYPT
Steve Haskin's list of leading contenders was shuffled following last weekend's prep races, with two Ken McPeek trained horses emerging on top.
Johannesburg will supply the wing and trainer Aidan O'Brien the prayer. The Coolmore trainer said the keyword is hope in their quest to get last year's champion 2-year-old to the Kentucky Derby.
Johannesburg, who is scheduled to run in a one-mile dirt race at Lingfield on April 6 as his only prep for the Kentucky Derby, was shipped to England for a work over the track Tuesday and went 6 furlongs in 1:12, according to trainer Aidan O'Brien
As usually happens in a year like this, a second wave hit the beach this past weekend, bringing with it some new goodies, while washing some of the old deposits out to sea.
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