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Bargain Baby Divine Park Grabs Met Mile

Bargain Baby Divine Park Grabs Met Mile

James Barry purchased his 4-year-old Divine Park for just $20,000 at Keeneland's September yearling sale in 2005. Less than three years later, the son of Chester House became a grade I winner when he ran down the talented Commentator in the $600,000 Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park.

Lattice Loves Louisville 'Cap Length

Lattice Loves Louisville 'Cap Length

In the $150,000 Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs, Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider's homebred Lattice got an extension to the 1 1/2-mile distance, a confident ride from jockey Robby Albarado, and a soft pace to run at courtesy of Transduction Gold. Those factors were all he needed to put together a winning run.

Commentator Takes on Met Mile

Commentator Takes on Met Mile

In January, Tracy Farmer's Commentator blistered to a new track record at Gulfstream Park as he trounced an outclassed field of five allowance competitors by 14 lengths. In March, he demolished six Richter Scale Sprint Handicap (gr. II) contenders while drawing off to win by 13 3/4 lengths. But the 7-year-old Distorted Humor gelding faces his steepest test of the season this Memorial Day, when he heads a field of nine in the $600,000 Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park.

Valenzuela Eyes Louisiana Downs Return

Valenzuela Eyes Louisiana Downs Return

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, on three years' probation for a California DUI and unable to apply for a riding license in that state until Dec. 31 of this year, plans to begin riding races at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La., according to a report in the Daily Racing Form.

Brass Hat to Run in Louisville 'Cap

Brass Hat to Run in Louisville 'Cap

On May 24, while reporters trace the every move of Triple Crown contender Big Brown, a hard-knocking 7-year-old gelding will make the 25th start of his career in the $150,000 Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs. And although the racing industry looks to a 3-year-old runner to attract nationwide fans, the reality is that Fred Bradley's Brass Hat is an equally intriguing horse to follow.

Jones, Saez Capture DuPont With 'Barrel'

Jones, Saez Capture DuPont With 'Barrel'

On May 17, the jockeys at Pimlico wore patches on their boots to honor Eight Belles. Each time the television networks showed a replay of Big Brown's latest performance, the late runner's image filled the frame. And when Buy the Barrel took the $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff Handicap (gr. II) for trainer Larry Jones and jockey Gabriel Saez, we were reminded of Eight Belles once again.

Shuvee Handicap Brings Out Rite Moment

Shuvee Handicap Brings Out Rite Moment

There will be racing at other locations besides Pimlico on May 17, although most of the nation will be prone to forget it. At Belmont Park in the $150,000 Shuvee Handicap (gr. II), older fillies and mares head out a mile on the New York dirt just one hour before the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) goes off in Maryland.

Roman Emperor Gets Shot in Barbaro

Roman Emperor Gets Shot in Barbaro

That Roman Emperor likes the 1 1/16-mile distance has already been proven. Whether he'll bounce back from a seventh-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial (gr. I) remains to be seen. We'll find out when the Steve Klesaris trainee leads a field of seven 3-year-olds in the $100,000 Barbaro Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.

Jones and Saez Pair in DuPont Distaff

Jones and Saez Pair in DuPont Distaff

Just 14 days after saddling Eight Belles to a second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), trainer Larry Jones will give a leg up to jockey Gabriel Saez and the two will take Hinkle Farms' Buy the Barrel postward in the $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes (gr. II) May 17 at Pimlico Race Course.

Lantana Mob Heads Hirsch Jacobs

Lantana Mob Heads Hirsch Jacobs

Vinery Stables' Lantana Mob is the most likely choice in the $100,000 Hirsch Jacobs Stakes (gr. III) at Pimlico May 17, which is why he's been assigned the high weight of 122 pounds in a nine-horse field. But several 3-year-olds looking for graded stakes-winning status could step up to provide a challenge in this Preakness undercard event.

Buffalo Man, Shakis Vie in Dixie Stakes

Buffalo Man, Shakis Vie in Dixie Stakes

The top-weighted runner in the $250,000 Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) at Pimlico May 17 is coming off a sixth-place finish, while his closest competitor also ran sixth in his last start. That leaves a chance at graded earnings readily available to seven other runners in the 1 1/8-mile turf event on the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) undercard.

Waldens Sell Gracefield

Ben P. Walden Jr. and his wife, Elaine, prominent members of the Kentucky Thoroughbred industry, have sold their 310-acre farm near Lexington. The property, called Gracefield, was purchased by Robert and Lisa Lourie of Setauket, New York, for an undisclosed amount.

Passion Tops Miss Preakness

Passion Tops Miss Preakness

Between Pletcher, Passion, and Pimlico, there are plenty of alliterations. And here is another for the record-preference-which is what the Eclipse Award-winning trainer will be trying to pinpoint as he sends his versatile 3-year-old filly to the $100,000 Adena Stallions' Miss Preakness Stakes (gr. III).

Preakness Profile: Behindatthebar

Preakness Profile: Behindatthebar

Behindatthebar wasn't ready for a start in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) after winning the April 19 Coolmore Lexington (gr. II). But with two more weeks between races under his girth, the Todd Pletcher trainee could be one of the more legitimate contenders for the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I).

Eight Bells for Eight Belles

Eight Bells for Eight Belles

A petition urging Churchill Downs to honor Fox Hill Farms' deceased filly Eight Belles by ringing eight bells, a nautical euphemism for "finished," prior to the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), is gaining momentum among horse lovers across the nation.

Bel Air Sizzle Back in Senorita Stakes

Bel Air Sizzle Back in Senorita Stakes

The last time Bel Air Sizzle was entered in a race, it was through error. Less than 72 hours after the 3-year-old filly scored a solid 2 3/4-length allowance win at Hollywood Park, she was placed in the April 27 Melair Stakes, where trainer Barry Abrams intended to enter another starter, Lethal Heat, instead.

Pletcher Likes Big Brown, Colonel John

Pletcher Likes Big Brown, Colonel John

Trainer Todd Pletcher doesn't have the first, second, or third choice in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). In fact, his horses were assigned odds of 15-1 (Monba) and 20-1 (Cowboy Cal) on the morning line. So, after giving an update on the status of his runners, Pletcher was left to confirm Rick Dutrow Jr.'s confidence in Big Brown during a May 1 press conference at Churchill Downs.

Big Brown Gets Easy Work at Churchill

Big Brown Gets Easy Work at Churchill

Trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. sent Big Brown for an easy work over the Churchill Downs surface May 1, and the imposing colt looked every bit the Derby favorite as he took to the track under regular exercise rider Michelle Nevin. Big Brown, installed as the 3-1 morning line choice following the April 30 post position draw, went three-eighths in :35 2/5.

Sugar Swirl Could Sweeten Humana Distaff

Sugar Swirl Could Sweeten Humana Distaff

Stronach Stables' homebred Sugar Swirl has taken everything trainer Brian Lynch has thrown at her, including four back-to-back stakes races " three of them graded. Now the 5-year-old daughter of Touch Gold seeks her first grade I victory against the likes of Hystericalady, Baroness Thatcher, and Intangaroo in the $300,000 Humana Distaff Stakes (gr. I).

Derby Jockey Profile: John Velazquez

Derby Jockey Profile: John Velazquez

John Velazquez is well-known for his successful partnership with trainer Todd Pletcher, so it is extremely fitting that his Derby contender this year come from Pletcher's stable. Cowboy Cal is Velazquez's mount, and if the jockey improves off his second-place finish aboard Invisible Ink in 2001, he'll have himself a winner.

Dreaming of Anna Leads CD Distaff Turf

Dreaming of Anna Leads CD Distaff Turf

Frank Calabrese's homebred Dreaming of Anna, winner of the March 15 Hillsborough Stakes (gr. IIIT) in her last start, will be the one to beat when nine older fillies and mares heads postward in the $150,000-added Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIIT).

Derby Jockey Profile: Edgar Prado

Derby Jockey Profile: Edgar Prado

Who can forget Edgar Prado's winning ride aboard Barbaro in the 2006 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I)? The experience seemed once-in-a-lifetime, but Prado is back this year aboard the H. Graham Motion-trained Adriano seeking a second Derby win.

Pletcher's Pair Arrives at Churchill

Pletcher's Pair Arrives at Churchill

As Todd Pletcher's contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) arrived at Barn 34 from Keeneland April 30, accompanied by stakes contenders Danzon, Leah's Secret, and Garden District, the Eclipse Award-winning trainer took time to reflect upon the challenge of reaching - let alone winning - the first leg of the Triple Crown.

Name Games: Origins of Derby Monikers

Name Games: Origins of Derby Monikers

In our quest to discover the origins of names belonging to Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contenders, we discovered a diamond mine, picked up some basketball lingo, learned Indonesian, and found out what brown can do for us. Here are the stories behind the names of a few runners going into this year's first Saturday in May.

Stutts a Hit at Derby Trainers' Dinner

Stutts a Hit at Derby Trainers' Dinner

An interview with Benny Stutts Jr. was the highlight of the annual Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners' and Breeders' Association's Derby trainers' dinner, as the 70-year-old trainer expressed his delight at preparing to saddle his first Kentucky Derby starter - Mount Joy Stables' Smooth Air.

Ginger Punch Tops Louisville Field

Ginger Punch Tops Louisville Field

Frank Stronach's 5-year-old Ginger Punch heads a field packed with talent in the $300,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) day May 2. Facing the Eclipse Award winner will be grade I winner Lear's Princess, grade II winner Kettleoneup, and blacktype winner Unforgotten.

Dutrow Remains Confident

Dutrow Remains Confident

Ten years ago Rick Dutrow was living in a tack room at Aqueduct, determined to make it on his own in the racing industry. On the morning of April 28, he faced a room full of media members intent on covering the progress of his contender for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

Morning Line: Super Tuesday

Trainer Nick Zito is holding court with a ring of media members outside his barn. The two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer has two starters for Saturday's running: Cool Coal Man and Anak Naktal. Zito is talking about the subject of the year: synthetic surfaces. We have a feeling he's not a big fan.

Derby Jockey Profile: Garrett Gomez

Derby Jockey Profile: Garrett Gomez

With a nationwide network of top clients and an agent who keeps him on the country's best horses, Garrett "Go-Go" Gomez used up enough frequent flier miles last year to earn him plenty of free trips to Louisville. Now the key is finding a winner in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

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