Things are relatively quiet at the barn of trainer Michael Matz and void of the media buzz that surrounded other such barns as Richard Dutrow and Eoin Harty leading up to Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Centennial Farms' Chelokee, on the Triple Crown trail a year ago, makes his return to graded stakes action May 2 when he faces six older horses in the $150,000 Alysheba Stakes (gr. III) on the dirt at Churchill Downs.
Michael Matz didn't expect Visionaire to sizzle in his final work before the Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I), so the trainer was satisfied when the colt breezed a half-mile in :48.40 Monday morning at Churchill Downs.
Documentary filmmakers John and Brad Hennegan announced their film "The First Saturday in May," which made its debut April 18 in approximately 20 cities around the country, has been carried over for at least one more week in six Truly Indie theaters. The film will also make its debut at several other theaters starting April 24.
Trainer Barclay Tagg sent Tale of Ekati out for a five-furlong work Wednesday morning at Keeneland, and was pleased with the colt's performance.
The Blue Grass Stakes News Minute plus interviews from the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) dinner held on April 10, 2008. Includes interviews with Michael Matz, trainer of Visionaire, Edgar Prado, jockey for Monba, Robert LaPenta, owner of Cool Coal Man and Stevil and more.
Todd Pletcher and Michael Matz will each saddle a pair of starters Feb. 3 in what looks to be an intriguing matchup of 12 fillies and mares for the $100,000 Suwannee River Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Gulfstream Park turf.
"I like the winners circle! I want to put one in my house!" - hotwalker Iain Holmes after visiting the one at Saratoga with a Michael Matz winner.
A collection of noteworthy quotes from last week's backside meanderings...
Stroll through Michael Matz's shedrow and you'll undoubtedly come across Iain Holmes. He's the only hotwalker who speaks fluent English--which is what you would hope, since he comes from that side of the pond.
- By Claire Novak
First Defence will tackle the field when six horses go postward in Saturday's Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes at Monmouth Park.
HBO's "Barbaro," a documentary exploring the triumph and tragedy of the winner of the 2006 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), will premiere June 6.
Centennial Farms' Chelokee will probably not compete in the Preakness (gr. I) May 19 but is headed to another race on the program, trainer Michael Matz said Sunday.
Hidden Creek Farm's Street Sounds left the starting gate as the 1-5 favorite, quickly spurted to the lead from her outside post, and raced on cruise the rest of the way to score an easy victory in the $60,000 Hilltop Stakes for 3-year-old fillies contested over firm turf Saturday at Pimlico.
The pill pull at the racing office for the Derby is one of the most dramatic moments of the week.
The annual Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders' trainers' dinner in Louisville brought out a mixture of memories, tears, and honors. The post-dinner interviews with trainers of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) hopefuls brought some insights into the running of Derby 133 on Saturday.
Fans traveled from around the world to pay tribute and honor Barbaro at Delaware Park on Sunday on what would have been the Kentucky Derby winner's fourth birthday.
Trainer Michael Matz was enthused with a strong gallop by Centennial Farm's Chelokee on Friday at Keeneland, but said a bid for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) had been ruled out for the third-place finisher in the Florida Derby (gr. I).
NBC's one-hour documentary, "Barbaro: A Nation's Horse," will premiere Sunday, April 29, on what would have been the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner's fourth birthday.
Street Sounds, making her first start for trainer Michael Matz since winning the Selima Stakes last November on the turf at Laurel, stayed well off the rail at Keeneland Thursday afternoon, scoring a neck victory over favorite Forever Together in the $250,000 Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (gr. II).
NBC will recount the heroic story of Barbaro in a one-hour documentary that will air on the network April 29, which would have been the horse's fourth birthday.
By Sean Clancy - In early January, I found myself at my kitchen table, trying to figure out an end to the book I was writing on Barbaro and Matz. I couldn't shake Matz' voice from my head, "How do you know that's the end? Maybe there's a lot more to the story..."
The Special Eclipse Award, which honors outstanding individual achievements or contributions to Thoroughbred racing, isn't given out every year. Not surprisingly, the award for 2006 has been bestowed upon Roy and Gretchen Jackson and the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals at New Bolton Center.
The Maryland Jockey Club has changed the name of the Sir Barton Stakes to the Barbaro Stakes. The 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds is one of eight added money races on the Preakness (gr. I) undercard.
Sangrita, running for the Kentucky Derby-winning team of trainer Michael Matz and jockey Edgar Prado, grabbed the lead approaching the top of the stretch and powered to a two-length victory over Joint Effort in the $170,250 Chilukki Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs Thursday.
The individuals associated with undefeated Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Barbaro, veterinary surgeon Dr. Dean W. Richardson and the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's New Bolton Center, and veteran racing journalist Steven Crist will be honored later this year with awards presented by the National Turf Writers Association.
Though the public has commended Dr. Dean Richardson's dedication to Barbaro's recovery from his catastrophic Preakness (gr. I) injuries and recently developed laminitis, the Landenberg, Pa. veterinarian insists he is only one of many to help the Kentucky Derby (gr. I)-winning colt throughout each day.
Trainer John Servis and owner Rick Porter, who have been together for more than 15 years, have gone their separate ways, Porter said Wednesday.
Veterinary surgeon Dean Richardson and trainer Michael Matz flashed smiles during a press briefing that followed afternoon-long surgery Sunday to repair the right hind ankle of classic winner Barbaro that was severely injured one day earlier in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico. Barbaro was standing and eating in a recovery stall following the surgery at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa.
While Barbaro was the media star during his morning gallop at Fair Hill Training Center Tuesday, two other runners-- Greeley's Legacy and Platinum Couple-- have officially tossed their names into the hat for Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico.
Back in January, before Barbaro had ever run on the dirt, Michael Matz was asked if he knew where the name Barbaro came from. He called to assistant trainer Peter Brette: "Hey, Peter, what does the name Barbaro mean?" Brette didn't hesitate with his answer: "Kentucky Derby winner."
As trainer Michael Matz savored Saturday's impressive victory by Lael Stables' Barbaro in the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), trainers of the horses that finished behind the son of Dynaformer reflected Sunday morning on what went wrong and what lies ahead.
Although he has two horses entered in the 132nd Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), with Barbaro considered one of the favorites and Showing Up more of an outsider in the 20 horse field, Roy Jackson remains a cool customer.
No horse had won the Kentucky Derby with a five-week or longer layoff since Needles 50 years ago. But Barbaro showed how special he is by remaining undefeated and winning the 132nd running of the race by a wide margin.
By Melissa Radcliffe - When I was 12 years old, something extraordinary happened to me, something that helped shape the person I have become. I met Michael Matz.
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.
Lael Stables' unbeaten Barbaro, winner of the Florida Derby (Grade I), worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 at Keeneland racecourse Sunday morning in his final preparation for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
While some top 3-year-olds were preparing for Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Barbaro settled into Barn 25 at Keeneland for some quiet relaxation before shipping to Louisville, Ky., for the May 6 Kentucky Derby.
Fresh is best. Those are the words Barbaro's trainer Michael Matz is living by. Whether he's right or wrong, you have to admire him for going against history and public opinion and sticking to his guns, much like another former equestrian rider, Tim Ritchey, did last with his unorthodox training of Afleet Alex.
Lael Stables' undefeated Barbaro was installed as the 8-5 morning-line favorite when a field of 11 3-year-olds was drawn for Saturday's Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park.
J'ray, expected to be the prohibitive favorite in the $100,000 Herecomesthebride (gr. IIIT), was scratched instead and Aunt Henny took full advantage, overcoming some early rankness to win the 3-year-old filly stakes Sunday on the Gulfstream Park turf.
Lael Stable's undefeated 3-year-old Barbaro, the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) winner who bypassed Saturday's Fountain of Youth (gr. II) in favor of a next start in the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) April 1, was in action Saturday morning at Palm Meadows, working five furlongs in 1:01 3/5.
The undefeated Barbaro showed himself to be one of the most exciting prospects for this year's Triple Crown series Saturday when he handled a sloppy strip to win the $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) in his first main track attempt at Gulfstream Park.
The first 2006 appearance of leading 3-year-old Florida Derby (gr. I) threat First Samurai in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) and seasonal debut of the promising 3-year-old Barbaro in the $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) are among the highlights on a stakes-filled card at Gulfstream Park Saturday..
Lael Stables' undefeated Barbaro was an impressive winner of Sunday's Tropical Park Derby (gr. IIIT), the first 'derby' in the nation in 2006, at Calder Sunday for his third consecutive win on the turf.
Making her first start of the season, grade I winner Intercontinental heads a stellar field of nine fillies and mares ready to contest Sunday's $200,000 Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. IIIT), going 1 1/16 miles over the Keeneland turf course.
For the second consecutive year, the winner of the Arlington Million (gr. IT) was disqualified when Powerscourt, ridden by Jamie Spencer, was taken down for starting a chain of events in the stretch that stewards ruled cost K
Grade I winner Kicken Kris, winless since October, got a perfect stalking trip from jockey Edgar Prado to win the Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Belmont Park turf Saturday.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out grade II stakes winners Limehouse and Pollard's Vision in Saturday's $350,000 Ohio Derby (gr. II), going 1 1/8 miles at Thistledown. Limehouse is listed as the 5-2 morning line favorite while Pollard's Vision will go off at 3-1.
Unforgettable Max, heavily favored at odds of 9-10, ran to a 2 1/2-length victory in Sunday's $70,000 Frisk Me Now Stakes at Monmouth Park, but disappointed his backers anyway when disqualified for causing interference on the first turn, moving Pretty Wild into the winner's circle.
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