The Godolphin Racing duo of Desert Party and Regal Ransom finished first and second Feb. 12 in the Two Thousand Guineas (UAE-III) at Nad al Sheba in Dubai as both colts continued on the road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Hosted by Lenny Shulman and Steve Haskin, "And They're Off" is a bi-monthly online video series sponsored by Darby Dan Farm. In this Valentine's Day edition, Lenny and Steve evaluate the recent Derby preps, discuss the Preakness infield experience, touch on Nicanor's debut, celebrate the 96th Birthday of John Nerud, and more.
So, 23 "elite" 3-year-olds have been chosen to make up the first Kentucky Derby Future Wager field. Well, several of those who didn't make the cut are up in arms over the selections and are offering a challenge to the so-called leading Derby contenders.
Churchill Downs' 2009 Kentucky Derby Future Wager begins its 11th year when the first of its three betting pools opens Feb. 12. And for the 11th time with the first pool, the mutuel field, or "all others," is the morning line betting favorite.
It was an excellent weekend on the old trail, with some first-class performances, not only by the winners, but several of the losers as well. The latest Top 15 follows the column.
Triple Crown contender Pioneerof the Nile, overcoming traffic problems on the final turn, charged from the back of the pack to win the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) in the final strides over 17-1 shot Papa Clem at Santa Anita Feb. 7.
Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farms' Friesan Fire stamped himself as a legitimate Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contender by winning his second consecutive graded stakes race at Fair Grounds. This time, the A.P. Indy colt posted a two-length victory in the $200,000 Risen Star (gr. III) Feb. 7.
Bigger things await Haynesfield after the 3-year-old colt outclassed five rivals in the $107,600 Whirlaway Stakes Feb. 7 for his third consecutive win on Aqueduct's inner track.
Triple Crown Talk blog, with host Jason Shandler, and a Kentucky Derby Fantasy with
We have an interesting assortment of 3-year-old stakes this weekend, even though the Whirlaway and WEBN Stakes came up pretty thin. Will the Derby winner be in the Robert Lewis (gr. III) or Risen Star (gr. III)? We could have a much better idea once certain questions are answered.
This week, Jason and Tom analyze the Risen Star (gr. III) at Fair Grounds on Saturday, February 7. Also Brisnet's handicapping expert The Wizard's Spotlight Play is Race 3 at Fair Grounds on Saturday.
The Maryland Jockey Club announced Feb. 5 it is redefining the infield experience on Preakness Day, May 16 with three rock performances.
Paul Reddam's Square Eddie, winner of the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) and runner-up in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), will be sidelined for about 30 days with a sore left shin, Reddam said Thursday.
Midshipman and Vineyard Haven, the two leading juveniles of 2008, are both making excellent progress in Dubai and are nearing their 3-year-old debuts, said Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford, who added that it's possible one of them will return to the U.S. to prep for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
LeComte Stakes (gr. III) runner-up Patena, will make his first start for new majority owner IEAH Stables in the March 14 Louisiana Derby (gr. II), IEAH co-president Mike Iavarone said.
Shaun Bridgmohan, who's been riding all three of the Steve Asmussen entries in the Risen Star--Dumar (Worth Watching), Soul Warrior (Worth Watching) and Uno Mas (Worth Watching)--has chosen to get on board Dumar, who's a 20-1 morning line.
Triple Crown Talk blog, with host Jason Shandler, asks, 'Where Will This Year's Derby Winner Come Out Of?' Plus, workouts for Derby hopefuls.
Because the Top 30 list took up a great deal of Monday's column, we'll go double duty this week and catch up on some updates and ramblings and look at the Risen Star Stakes.
Saratoga Sinner, winner of the Jan. 31 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III), didn't get to spend much time as a Triple Crown contender. He exited the race with a chip in his left knee.
Virginia Tarra Trust's Giant Oak, runner-up in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs as a 2-year-old, was installed as the 3-1 favorite among 13 sophomores entered for the Feb. 7, $200,000 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds.
Either tracks like Gulfstream and Oaklawn are getting noticeably slower or the horses are. From all indications, it is the tracks, which is fine if they keep horses sounder. (See end of text for first official Top 30)
Bob Baffert, an old hand at getting horses ready for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), starts heading down the Triple Crown path once again when he saddles Pioneerof the Nile for the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita on Feb. 7.
Saratoga Sinner, shadowing pacesetter Bear's Rocket from the start, took control in the final furlong to post a 12-1 upset in the $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 31.
Triple Crown Talk blog, with host Jason Shandler, looks at the Hutcheson and the Holy Bull.
The first Derby Dozen comes out next week, but we'll get a jump on it with a more comprehensive look before this weekend's stakes. Then we'll make any adjustments based on the results. So, this is more of a speculative list, with a great deal riding on the Hutcheson and Holy Bull Stakes.
With Big Drama sitting this one out, the $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 31 will highlight the return of graded stakes winners Beethoven and West Side Bernie, as well as a gate full of new 3-year-old prospects.
Break Water Edison and Hello Broadway, the first two finishers in last fall's Nashua Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, kick off their 3-year-old campaigns in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 30.
Triple Crown Talk blog, with host Jason Shandler, asks, 'Which Jockey Would You Like to See Win Their First Kentucky Derby?'
Dunkirk, a $3.7 million yearling purchase owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, made that price look like a potential bargain when he overcame traffic problems and blew his opposition away in his career debut.
This Ones for Phil, making his first start for Rick Dutrow Jr., took over at the top of the lane from 6-5 favorite You Luckie Mann and drew away for a 2 1/4-length victory in the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Dash for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park Jan. 24.
IEAH Stables is back on the Kentucky Derby trail after purchasing majority interest in LeComte Stakes (gr. III) runner-up Patena from John and Glen Sikura and Dominic Dilalla.
No prominent 3-year-old races this weekend, but plenty of action on the worktab. Triple Crown Talk blog, with host Jason Shandler, looks at this week's works for Derby contenders.
High-profile Kentucky Derby (gr. I) hopefuls Old Fashioned, Silver City, and Flat Out are all likely for the Feb. 16 Southwest (gr. III) at Oaklawn, and now it seems there's a new contender coming from Southern California by the name of Square Eddie.
What do the following horses have in common? Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Spectacular Bid, Affirmed, Alydar, Damascus, Buckpasser, Easy Goer, Riva Ridge, Holy Bull, Spend a Buck, and Swale?
Triple Crown Talk blog, with host Jason Shandler, asks, 'Which Trainer Would You Like to See Win Their First Kentucky Derby?'
Before we get to this past week's races, including Monday's Smarty Jones Stakes, there is a pedigree pattern developing this year that you don't normally see to this degree.
Jason and Tom analyze the San Rafael Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita on January 17. The Wizard's Spotlight Play is Fair Grounds Race 10 on Saturday, January 17.
Hosted by Lenny Shulman and Steve Haskin, "And They're Off" is a bi-monthly online video series sponsored by Darby Dan Farm. This weeks topics include: an early look at the Derby Trail, Joe Hirsch, and Toussaud.
Stakes winners Chocolate Candy, Gallant Son, and undefeated Merus Miami top a group of seven 3-year-old colts entered for the $100,000 California Derby at Golden Gate Fields Jan. 17.
Triple Crown Talk blog, with host Jason Shandler, looks at recent works for some Derby Hopefuls.
Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) winner and Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) runner-up Square Eddie makes his highly-anticipated 3-year-old debut Jan. 17 at Santa Anita when he takes on seven rivals in the $100,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita.
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