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Jerry & Suzee Bailey

It’s Post Time!

Join our COFFEEBREAKWITHFRIENDS Table of Discussion with

2 time Kentucky Derby, Preakness,

and Belmont Stakes Winner 

Jerry Bailey, and his wife Suzee,

who will bring you up-to-date thoroughbred horseracing news

on all the big races and events throughout the HORSERACING Season!

And don’t forget to share your favorite picks or questions

in the comment area  below…

The count down begins!!!

 BREEDERS’ CUP 2016!

Congratulations to all of the participants in this years Breeders’ Cup 2016!

 It takes a year of extremely hard work and dedication,

and a little luck never hurts to compete in this great event.  

Hope to see you all back in 2017!

 Jerry and Suzee Bailey

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ARCADIA, Calif. – On March 26, California Chrome won the Dubai World Cup. Three weeks later, Arrogate made the first start of his career at Los Alamitos and lost.
Barbara D. Livingston
Arrogate and jockey Mike Smith win the Breeders’ Cup Classic by half a length Saturday.
Yet in the 6 1/2 months since that race, Arrogate came far and fast, and on Saturday, in only the sixth start of his career, he knocked off California Chrome in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita, announcing himself as the horse ready to take the mantle from California Chrome as the best dirt horse in the world in 2017.

The victory should have serious implications for year-end awards. Arrogate, with his victories in the Travers and Classic, has made a compelling case for champion 3-year-old male. And while California Chrome has the best body of work for the year, and has champion older male dirt horse locked up, there is bound to be at least some sentiment for Horse of the Year for the only horse who beat him this year.

Arrogate ($5.40), the second choice, had to be at his very best to run down California Chrome, who was favored at 4-5. California Chrome shot to the early lead in the 1 1/4-mile race and was clear of his rivals until Arrogate caught him in the closing yards to prevail by a half-length. Underscoring the quality of their performances is that California Chrome finished 10 3/4 lengths in front of third-place Keen Ice, who beat Hoppertunity by a neck.

Melatonin was fifth and was followed by Frosted, Effinex, War Story, and Win the Space. Shaman Ghost was scratched Saturday morning.

Arrogate was timed in 2:00.11 on the fast main track.

As remarkable as Arrogate’s ascension has been trainer Bob Baffert’s skill at winning the Classic. This was the third straight year he won it, and he used the exact template this year as he did last year with American Pharoah, training Arrogate straight into the Classic without another race following the Travers.

“You can only do that with a great horse,” Baffert said. “I cannot believe what he’s accomplished. He’s just a big kid, learning how to run.”

 

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Arrogate, who started from the outside post in the field of nine, was third in the early going as California Chrome led from Melatonin. California Chrome had broken like a shot from the gate and immediately took the track from his rivals, with Victor Espinoza taking him off the rail though fractions of 23.28 seconds for the opening quarter, 47.15 for a half, and 1:10.96 for six furlongs.

Just as it looked as though California Chrome might sneak away three furlongs from home, Arrogate suddenly darted inside of Melatonin and took up the chase.

“I wound up cutting the corner going into the far turn, and he really picked it up,” said Mike Smith, who rode Arrogate. “Then I got outside, and he was relentless. He’s got some stamina.”

California Chrome still led by 1 1/2 lengths a furlong out, but Arrogate steadily gained ground and caught California Chrome just before the wire, giving Smith his record 25th victory in a Breeders’ Cup race.

“I thought there was no way. California Chrome is a great horse. I didn’t think we could run him down,” Baffert said of his thoughts as the horses came through the lane. “I thought he’d get second. I’m thinking, ‘At least he showed up.’ But then I saw Mike getting down on him, and that big stride of his.

“That was an incredible race by two incredible horses.”

California Chrome had won six straight races this year coming into the Classic. In addition to the nearly $2.3 million difference in prize money between first and second, he also missed out on a $1 million bonus he would have gleaned if he’d have added the Classic to prior victories in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar and Awesome Again at Santa Anita.

“He just got outrun. No excuses. He ran his eyeballs out,” said Art Sherman, who trains California Chrome.

The figures bore that out. Arrogate got a Beyer Speed Figure of 120. California Chrome’s 119 was a career-best, but he got beat.

Sherman said California Chrome is scheduled to race once more, in the $12 million Pegasus at Gulfstream in January, before retiring to stud.

Arrogate, a son of Unbridled’s Song, did not get to the races until April owing to shin problems at age 2. Baffert, who trains Arrogate for Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms, gave him the proper time to recover, and the results in recent months have proved the wisdom of patience.

Arrogate has won five straight races since that losing debut, and the $3.3 million he earned on Saturday brought his career earnings to more than $4 million.

Garrett O’Rourke, the racing manager for Juddmonte Farms, reiterated after the race what he had said before, that Arrogate would remain in training at age 4.

If there had been doubt as to who would take California Chrome’s place at the top of the charts when he exited, there is no doubt now.

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ARCADIA, Calif. – A champion mare produced a storybook ending to an amazing five-year career Friday at Santa Anita.

Beholder, the 6-year-old making her 26th and final start in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff, wore down the previously undefeated Songbird in a stretch-long street fight to win by a nose in a race for the ages.

There were tears everywhere in the Santa Anita winner’s circle, where trainer Richard Mandella, jockey Gary Stevens, and owner B. Wayne Hughes celebrated the win by Beholder ($8.60). It was her third Breeders’ Cup win, 11th Grade 1 victory, and also her swan song.

“It’s probably the most emotional [win] of my career, knowing this was her last race,” Stevens said immediately afterward. “I just asked Mr. Hughes if he has a paddock for me next to her. I probably should be getting on the plane with her and walking out right now.”

Beholder will retire to become a broodmare at Hughes’s Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky, and there was no second-guessing by Hughes after the race. “I think it’s time for her to go the normal route to go back to Kentucky and not having to have Richard and Gary to deal with,” Hughes said.

It was good-natured kidding delivered by a man with utmost appreciation for his trainer and rider.

“I don’t think I’ll ever have another horse like this, and so I’m very grateful to have been a part of it,” Hughes said. “I mean, I really compliment Richard. I don’t know of any trainer that could have taken a horse for six years and done what he’s done. But Gary has been a big part of it.”

Beholder won at least one Grade 1 race in each of the past five years and was most effective utilizing the stalking style she employed Friday.

The race unfolded as expected, with Songbird and jockey Mike Smith shooting to the front. Stevens said Beholder “broke sharper than she ever has in her career,” but when I’m a Chatterbox went up inside to press Songbird, Stevens was happy to allow Beholder to sit third on the outside.

The fractions were modest. Songbird went the opening half-mile in 47.16 seconds and six furlongs in 1:11.14. Nearing the quarter pole, Beholder ranged outside Songbird. From the quarter pole to the wire, Stevens said, “it was a street fight.”

Songbird, a 3-year-old facing older fillies and mares for the first time after winning her first 11 starts, refused to surrender. “I didn’t know how much fight Songbird had in her,” Stevens said. “I found out. I put her away three times down the stretch.”

Beholder raced outside, Songbird battled along the rail, and the two dueled to the wire. Stevens thought he had it won late. “I saw the purple with all the banners [on the rail] down the stretch, and said … ‘We’re close!’ ”

The margin was a nose; even-money favorite Songbird finished 1 1/4 lengths in front of Forever Unbridled. Stellar Wind, the 5-2 second choice, finished fourth. The order of finish was completed by I’m a Chatterbox, Curalina, and Land over Sea.

Corona Del Inca, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge winner making her first start since May in Argentina, was injured and euthanized. She sustained a condylar fracture of her right foreleg, a sesamoid fracture, and fractured the first pastern bone.

Distaff winner Beholder goes out like the three-time champion she already is. Beholder retires having won 18 races and $6,156,600.

As for Songbird, her future is bright. She will continue to race next year at age 4 for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and owner Rick Porter.

Hollendorfer said he “could never be disappointed with Songbird. She ran great, just the other horse ran a little better.”

 

 

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Beholder did it throughout her career. She won the BC Juvenile Fillies in 2012, the BC Distaff in 2013, and won at least one Grade 1 for five years running.

“I’ve never seen a racehorse stay in peak form [that long],” Stevens said. “I know I’ll never sit on another one like her. In a way, I wonder, should I be walking out too? But I have [Saturday] to ride. Who knows what lies beyond that?”

Attendance on Friday was 45,763; the pick-six carryover into Saturday is $511,261.

– additional reporting by David Grening

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ARCADIA, Calif. – As a championship event, the 2016 Breeders’ Cup delivered, and especially in tremendous renewals of the Classic and Distaff. But while there is some important stakes racing left this year, mainly on Thanksgiving weekend, most of this year’s Eclipse Award divisions were decided by the time “official” went up on the tote board following Saturday’s Classic.

Let’s take a look at the 10 equine Eclipse Award divisions on the flat, and the impact this Breeders’ Cup had on them, with a brief comment on Horse of the Year honors at the end:

Older Dirt Male – California Chrome had this title wrapped up months ago with a compelling body of work highlighted by powerful victories in the Dubai World Cup and Pacific Classic. His narrow loss in Saturday’s Classic, without any excuse, by the way, will have no bearing on him winning this divisional championship in a landslide.

Older Dirt Female – Beholder might have temporarily ceded leadership in this division when Stellar Wind beat her for a second time in the Zenyatta after first edging her in the Clement L. Hirsch, but Beholder wrested it back Friday with her gutsy win in the Distaff. Taking nothing away from Songbird, who was gallant in narrow defeat in the Distaff after setting the pace, but the Distaff pace never really developed the way it figured to do so. In fact, the pace in the Distaff was downright moderate. Beholder ran better than her tiny win margin would suggest because she overcame a setup that wasn’t entirely favorable. So Beholder will get what will be her fourth Eclipse Award, all earned in different years, and that is quite a feat.

3-Year-Old Male – It would have been impossible to imagine a colt who hadn’t even started in a stakes race on Aug. 26 could win this championship. But on Aug. 27, Arrogate delivered an explosive performance winning the Travers Stakes, a performance so exceptional that it suddenly put him in the conversation with Nyquist and Exaggerator for divisional honors. And when Nyquist proved unable to follow up on his strong Kentucky Derby win, apparently being cooked for good in a senseless Preakness speed duel, and when Exaggerator proved that his big wins this year were entirely functions of wet tracks and perfect pace setups, the path for Arrogate became more clear. He had to win the Classic to close the deal, which he did in a performance just as impressive as his Travers, but for a different reason. To run down a loose-on-the-lead monster like California Chrome is incredible stuff. Arrogate is hands down the champion 3-year-old male, and I can’t wait to see what he does next year.

3-Year-Old Female – When she romped in the Cotillion on Oct. 1, Songbird obliterated any potential scenario that could have denied her another divisional championship this year. But her game effort in the Distaff while racing near an inside that some thought might not have been the best part of the Santa Anita main track on Friday only enhanced the case that she should be a unanimous champion. Really, shame on any Eclipse Award voter who does not have her on top of their ballot.

2-Year-Old Male – Without question, Classic Empire clinched this title by virtue of his determined victory in what felt like a very strongly run Juvenile. How strongly run was the Juvenile? Well, even after acknowledging that the Juvenile Fillies run earlier on Saturday’s card was a weak renewal, the time of the Juvenile was faster by 2.52 seconds, which is an enormous gap. Classic Empire’s resume, which also includes a victory in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity and Grade 3 Bashford Manor, and which has a solitary blemish when he wheeled after the start of the Hopeful, is considerably stronger than any of his contemporaries. However, Not This Time ran a terrific race finishing second in the Juvenile, and while he has no championship claim over Classic Empire, the two might have kindled in the Juvenile what could become a delicious rivalry.

:: Enjoy news and analysis from DRF? Get handicapping analysis, real-time coverage, special reports, and charts. Unlock access with DRF Plus.

2-Year-Old Female – At first glance, you might think Champagne Room’s $69.20 upset in what was a slow Juvenile Fillies just confused further what was already an unsettled division. And sure, going forward from this race, you would probably want Juvenile Fillies runner-up Valadorna, who was coming off just a maiden win, or American Gal, who had an even more absurd trip than she figured to get from the 12 hole. But by winning the big one, and the Grade 2 Sorrento in August, Champagne Room simply has better credentials than anyone else in her division, and it will take something out of the box for anyone to displace her from the top by season’s end.

Male Turf – This is one division where I doubt the corresponding Breeders’ Cup race will have a meaningful impact on the Eclipse Award vote. Highland Reel was a daylight winner of the Turf, beating Flintshire by 1 3/4 lengths. But everyone who watched the race (which I really hope means everyone who will vote in the Eclipse Awards) knows that Highland Reel absolutely walked on the lead in the early stages. And I mean walked, and that brings into question the conclusiveness of the result. When you couple that with the fact that this was Highland Reel’s only U.S. start of the year, well, I think the award should and will go to Flintshire. Victories in the Grade 1 Manhattan, Grade 1 Sword Dancer, and Grade 2 Bowling Green, and his seconds in the Turf and in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic give Flintshire a body of work that Highland Reel’s base on balls, somewhat fluky Turf can’t equal.

Female Turf – The scenario was somewhat clear here. Lady Eli had to do something special winning the Filly and Mare Turf, and Tepin had to do nothing against males in the Mile, for Lady Eli to have a shot to carry the vote. Lady Eli ran very well in the Filly and Mare Turf, but was nailed late. Tepin did a lot more than nothing in the Mile, finishing a rallying second to Tourist, beaten only a half-length. Tepin’s performance in the Mile was more than enough to cap a body of work on the year that included six group or graded stakes victories, led, of course, by her historic Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Male Sprinter – The infected cut that caused Lord Nelson to be scratched from the Sprint (he was also retired) might prove very costly in terms of this divisional title. In Lord Nelson’s absence, the 3-year-old colt Drefong posted a clear-cut victory in the Sprint that was impressive because he withstood being inside of severe pace pressure, which is never a good place to be. The Sprint was Drefong’s second Grade 1 victory (he won the King’s Bishop in his prior start) and second stakes win of any sort in a perfect 4-for-4 season. It should be noted that Lord Nelson, who was the division’s leader before the Breeders’ Cup, collected three Grade 1 wins this year. But fair or not, Breeders’ Cup events obviously carry importance well beyond typical Grade 1 races, and Drefong is now the likely male sprint champion.

Female Sprinter – This division might leave you feeling cold with the way no one in it really stepped up. And Finest City might not fit your ideal profile of an Eclipse Award winner with just two wins in eight starts this year. But that’s what the Filly and Mare Sprint is for, to sort these matters out when we need some guidance. Finest City’s Filly and Mare Sprint victory might have been an upset, but it came in the division’s biggest race, and at least she has a Grade 2 sprint victory earlier in the season in the Great Lady M Stakes to make you feel better about the fact that her title argument is simply better than any of her division mates.

Horse of the Year – My feeling is, instead of making a quick decision between the only two real candidates for this honor – Arrogate and California Chrome – it would be best to let the Breeders’ Cup dust settle and then think about it. California Chrome’s body of work this year is compelling, and is simply better than Arrogate’s cumulative record. However, Arrogate proved that, at least on Saturday, he was better than California Chrome. I mean, California Chrome had everything his own way in the Classic, so much so that jockey Victor Espinoza couldn’t stop looking around behind him, and Arrogate still came and beat him. That was big man stuff. So while respect for body of work is very important, it shouldn’t deny a possibly superior horse our game’s most important year-end championship. We have to let this one simmer for a while.screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-5-05-05-pm

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Santa Anita
Main track: Fast
Turf: Firm
Weather: Clear
Temp. 66

ARCADIA, Calif. – The first local appearance of trainer Aidan O’Brien’s large and imposing Breeders’ Cup contingent, led by Turf favorites Found and Highland Reel, highlighted Thursday morning’s training session at Santa Anita, which was tempered some after Suedois sustained a stress fracture in his foot. The injury occurred during a routine gallop over the turf course and will keep him out of the Turf Sprint.

The hillside turf course was open for training for the first time this week, with four members of the Turf Sprint lineup taking the opportunity to school across the main track and back to the grass to conclude the morning’s activities.

 

All of the O’Brien horses went to the main track for an extended period. HIGHLAND REEL jogged nearly a mile, then galloped about 1 1/8 miles. The Arc runner-up, Highland Reel got very warm by the time he had finished his morning’s work, although reportedly that is not uncommon for him. He’ll vie for favoritism with Arc winner Found in the Turf.

FOUND also got a little warm by the time she jogged home following her training session, as did the O’Brien-trained COUGAR MOUNTAIN, who runs in the Mile.

Several other Europeans got to really stretch their legs over the turf course Thursday, with ULYSSES (Turf) far and away the most impressive of that group. He smoked three-eighths in 34.81 while reaching out beautifully over the firm ground and galloping out with terrific energy into and around the turn. He was followed by DUTCH CONNECTION (Mile), three-eighths in 36.66, and potential Mile favorite LIMATO, who switched back to his right lead nearing the wire while completing three furlongs in 38.10.

On the main track, SHAMAN GHOST (Classic) and stablemates COLORFUL CHARADES (Juvenile Fillies) and JAMYSON ‘N GINGER (Juvenile Fillies) were also allowed to blow out down the stretch, with Shaman Ghost continuing out strongly another furlong in 12 and change into the clubhouse turn.

Among those who made favorable impressions Thursday morning were Sprint rivals LIMOUSINE LIBERAL and A. P. INDIAN, along with defending Filly and Mare Sprint winner WAVELL AVENUE. Her stablemates LADY ELI (Filly and Mare Turf) and RYMSKA (Juvenile Fillies Turf) also looked very good as the final two Breeders’ Cup horses to train over the main track.

The following are impressions of recent workouts at Santa Anita by some of the key contenders on Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup program.

Juvenile Fillies

NOTED AND QUOTED turned in two impressive drills within six days, including an eye-catching five-eighths on Oct. 25, although she did lose her focus once losing her company on the gallop-out.

CHAMPAGNE ROOM went five furlongs in 58 and change on Oct. 29 but had her work compromised after hooking up with three others, including Hoppertunity, and being floated five to six wide into the stretch.

Sprint

DREFONG looked very sharp in both his Oct. 24 and Oct. 30 drills, while MASOCHISTIC was able to harness his speed under Mike Smith, relaxing beautifully from the gate on Oct. 29.

Juvenile

NOT THIS TIME is an imposing-looking 2-year-old. He put an exclamation mark on his final preparations for the Juvenile with a big five-furlong move on Oct. 29, coming home in 23 and change while going easily over a bit of a loose track and galloping out with great energy into the turn.

Turf

ULYSSES looked absolutely brilliant blowing out three-eighths over the turf on Thursday.

:: Breeders’ Cup Challenge: Results, replays, charts, and more

Filly and Mare Sprint

TARA’S TANGO may prove a live longshot over her home course following a huge breeze here on Oct. 28. She came home her final quarter-mile in 23.31 under just a hint of urging from jockey Rafael Bejarano.

Mile

TOURIST has always been a good work horse, but he couldn’t look any better than he did coming down the lane to complete an awesome 47.89 half-mile in 23.47 while just breezing along, ears pricked at the wire. That was eye-catching, especially for a turf specialist on the dirt.

Classic

CALIFORNIA CHROME was very good at his home base of Los Alamitos on Oct. 22, even better there five days later, and has turned in a series of superstar two-mile gallops since arriving here this week.

ARROGATE hasn’t run since his monstrous performance in the Travers, but you’d never know it after watching him work here on Oct. 25 and Oct. 31. The most recent work was about as good as it gets, a five-furlong maintenance move in 59.31 in which he put his long and powerful stride on display while breezing effortlessly.

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ARCADIA, Calif. – Lord Nelson, the 5-2 morning-line second choice, had to be scratched from Saturday’s $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint after having to be treated for an infection in his right foreleg, his connections announced Thursday.

Trainer Bob Baffert said Lord Nelson nicked himself in either a recent workout or in his stall. Baffert said a little irritation developed into an infection.

“We thought we had it under control, but today it was really blown up and we had to put him on antibiotics,” Baffert said Thursday. “It’s a shame because he was doing so well. He’ll be all right in five days.”

:: BREEDERS’ CUP 2016: Odds, comments, video previews, and more

Lord Nelson, a son of Pulpit, is owned by Spendthrift Farm, which is where the horse will stand stud next year.

Lord Nelson, a 4-year-old son of Pulpit, was undefeated in four starts this year, including Grade 1 victories in the Triple Bend, Bing Crosby and Santa Anita Sprint Championship.

“It’s really disheartening,” Baffert said. “There’s a championship on the line. He was doing so well. One thing about the Breeders’ Cup, we’re always on pins and needles. I never had that happen to a horse this close to a race. It was very disappointing for all the connections because we knew we had something special there.”

Lord Nelson is the second horse to be scratched from the Sprint. Joking, the Grade 1 Vosburgh winner, was scratched Wednesday due to an illness. The Sprint field is now down to seven horses.

For more Horse Racing News Check DRF

jerrys-headshot

Jerry’s overview of the Breeders’ Cup Races…

Plus his TOP PICKS! 

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FRIDAY

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INTELLIGENCE CROSS

JUVENILES ON THE TURF 2:25pm

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     Juvenile Turf Overview

 With the Europeans having won six of the nine editions of this race, we need to start with them.

 Intelligence Cross.. this colt is a grade three winner and only several lengths behind Europe’s best two year olds which puts him among the top in this race and post position eight doesn’t hurt his chances.

Rhodaini-  was unbeaten until his most recent race in which he broke a bit poorly and seemed to be injured or something similar because he was never persevered with

Now the for the  US contingent:

Good Samaritan  would be the brightest star with two wins in as many starts and most recently in the Summer Stakes at Woodbine. With ample speed in here to set up the pace, his closing style should be effective but with post 11 he needs to avoid getting caught wide.

Oscar Performance is one of the afore mentioned speed horse with both his wins coming leading gate to wire and with post 13 he will be off and running early most likely sitting just next to or slightly behind Well Abled . If he relaxes in that stalking position he could be tough.

Big Score is also a closer with two wins in three starts, he hasn’t been as dazzling as Good Samaritan but he shouldn’t be overlooked.

Ticonderoga , another closer was a victim of Good Samaritan in their first career starts, but then won his maiden race followed by a hard luck second in the Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland in his latest race. He broke slowly in that race yet came flying to miss by just over a length and with post 14 he will likely need to ease back to the back of the pack in order to save ground into the first turn and will then be faced with a ton of traffic to either weave through or go around. Neither scenario is appealing.

Keep Quiet-broke his maiden first time turf then a game second in the With Anticipation stakes at Saratoga running wider than the winner. Followed that with a win in the Bourbon stakes at Keeneland and has yet to run a bad one on the grass.

Picks

1.-Intelligence Cross

2.-Good Samaritan

3.-Keep Quiet

4.-Oscar Performance

Suzee’s Picks!

1.- Intelligence Cross

2.-Rodaini

3.-Oscar Performance

 

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DORTMUND

LAS VEGAS DIRT MILE 3:05pm      

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LAS VEGAS Dirt Mile Overview

Keep in mind that this dirt Mile is really an elongated sprint and may be the most taxing Breeders Cup race of all because horse essentially need to run almost all out the entire race. Even the closers need to keep a good pace early in the race. Also it must be noted how front runners and closers have done in this race here at Santa Anita historically. Of the six times the race has run at Santa Anita , the last two were gate to wire winners from posts 1 and 11. There were also two winners just stalking the pace with the other two deep closers. Pretty fair overall but I would give the edge to horses running close to the pace .

Dortmund fits that bill perfectly, and is a horse that is immensely talented yet hasn’t received the attention he would have had he not been in the shadow of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah last year and California Chrome this year. He will likely sit just behind last year’s sprint champ Runhappy until the far turn then inhale the leader and win by daylight.

Vyjack comes off an amazing win in the City Of Hope mile on the grass but since he didn’t make the field of the Mile grass, he ends up here which is really not a bad thing. He won the Kelso stakes at Belmont at one mile back in 2014 and most recently he was second to Masochistic in the Pat O’brien stakes at Del Mar(only a 3 horse field) so he is effective on dirt as well and post one is great for him.

Runhappy, last year’s BC Sprint winner is a very talented horse but also maybe the most mismanaged horse in the BC. After winning the BC past year he came back to win the Malibu here then went on a 10 month vacation and changed trainers to Laura Wohlers who is the owner’s sister in-law. He had only 5 recorded workouts in those ten months leading up to the one mile Ack Ack stakes which was his prep race for this. In that race he lead until the stretch and faded badly to only beat one horse. He subsequently had an ugly one mile workout at Keeneland in which like the Ack Ack he stopped badly towards the end . He did have a good workout lately but this would be a big ask for him to beat these kind of horses with such uninspiring preparation.

Tamarkuz– the Met Mile was his first race of the year from a nine month layoff so that dismal performance can be excused, especially since he came back to run two bang up seconds against some grade one horses in stakes.

Gun Runner another that hasn’t been abe to beat the best but he is not far behind and the turn back in distance to a mile should suit him perfectly.

Picks:

1.-Dortmund

2.-Vyjack

3.-Tamarkuz

4.-Gun Runner

 

Suzee’s Picks!

1.- Dortmund

2.-Tom’s Ready

3.-Runhappy

 

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SPAIN BURG

JUVENILE FILLIES ON THE TURF 3:50pm

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 Juvenile Filly Turf Overview

So as the Europeans have dominated the Juvenile colt division of the two year old turf in the BC, the US had done so with the fillies winning six of the eight run to date, but this year may be the Euros turn.

This race has O’brien witten all over it but it may not be Aidan , but his sons Joseph and Donnacha who are the trainer and jockey respectively of the two year old filly Intricately . Joseph you may remember won the BC Turf for his father Aidan back in 2011 and is now a trainer on his own. Add to that the fact that Joseph has his little brother Donnacha riding , it makes a this race a true Irish family affair.

Intricately gave Joseph his first grade one win( grade ones are the most prestigious races followed by grade two and so on) when she beat the Aidan trained Hydrangea in the Moyglare Stud stakes in Ireland back in September by a scant nose, only catching her in the final yards. Post position seven is excellent and the young O’briens may take the whole thing.

Hydrangea, owned by Tabor, Smith and Magnier of Coolmoore is a nice filly in her own right having been runner up in her last two starts, both grade ones. Having drawn post one, jockey Shamie Heffernan will ned to use a small amount od her speed to get a mid pack position and hope for some racing luck when the running starts.

Her Stable mate Roly Polly also merits consideration as she too has two seconds in her most recent races , one a grade one and the other a grade two, but she uses her speed to be most effective and those races were at six furlongs so the mile could be a stretch for her., and from the 13 post she will need to use that speed to get over towards the rail before the turn comes up.

Spain Burg, the French invader ridden by the flamboyant Frankie Dettori shouldn’t be overlooked. She’s won four out of five including her last three and most recently a grade one at Newmarket. In fact she is the one to beat.

The two American hopes rest with La Coronel, winner of her last two including the Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland . This fill has great tactical speed and should be in a good position to run down the leaders as they enter the stretch, but with post 14 she will likely lose more ground than she can afford.

Victory to Victory, owned by Charlotte Webber of Campbells Soup fame also has a chance. The winner of the Natalma stakes at Woodbine also has a nice stalking style and with a good post position rates a chance.

 

Picks:

1.-Spain Burg

2.-Hydrangea

3.-Intricately

4.-Victory to Victory

Suzee’s Picks!

1.-Hydrangea

2.-Lull

3.-Spain Burg

4.-Victory to Victory

 

 

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SONGBIRD

LONGINES DISTAFF 4:35

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                    Distaff Overview

This may be the best Breeders Cup race of the weekend. With three reining Champions from last year , Beholder (older mare), Stellar Wind (3yo) and Songbird(2 yo) the stage is set for an epic battle.

Beholder, winner of three different BC races(2yo, 3yo and older dirt mare) is running the last race of her career. Last year she beat the males in the Pacific Classic and was considered a real thret to American Pharoah in the Classic until she was sidelined with a fever and lung infection. She rebounded this year winning her first tow however she was stunned by Stellar Wind in the Clement Hirsh at Delmar then was second to the boys in this year’s Pacific Classic then another second to Stellar Wind inn the Zenyatta. Her jockey , hall of famer Gary Stevens was of the opinion that running on the lead early in that race cost her so he will change tactics and take her off the pace and will likely stalk the speedy Songbird in the Distaff .

Songbird, last year’s two year old champion and likely this year’s three year old champ is undefeated in all 11 starts. She typically uses her speed to run the competition into submission and is likely to employ the same tactics here especially drawing the inside post. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith who is the all time leader in BC wins and earnings , will again be in the saddle.

Stellar Wind, last years three year old champion, is the likely beneficiary id Beholder and Songbird go fast up front as she is very effective coming from a ways behind . She did however beat Beholder twice this year by sticking very close toe the lead so she can do it either way.

Curalina , is also very talented and comes off a game second in the grade one Personal Ensign stakes at Saratoga and wont be far behind the top three.

Forever Unbridled is a pure closer and is fresh off a win in the grade one Beldame at Belmont. Her record of 5-3-1-1 this year is very solid but she hasn’t shown she can beat the very best.

Picks:

1.-Songbird

2.-Stellar Wind

3.-Beholder

4.-Curalina

Suzee’s Picks!

1.-Songbird

2.-Beholder

3.-Forever Unbridled

 

SATURDAY:

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YELLOW AGATE

JUVENILE FILLIES 12:05PM

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 Juvenile Fillies Overview

Although we never know what horse will become latter in their, it seems as this year’s edition of the Juvenile Fillies is not one of the best historically speaking, bit it seems very competitive. Since the last four winners(and last three here at Santa Anita) of this race have lead gate to wire, let’s start with the speed balls.

Noted and Quoted trained by two time BC Juv Fillies winner Bob Baffert was head and head for the lead throughout the grade one Chandelier stakes here a month ago and won in a long stretch duel . Baffert’s other filly, American Gal may have more speed than her stable mate but is less accomplished having broken her maiden and won an overnight stake(much easier than graded stakes) so this will be a class test for her.

Sweet Loretta from the Todd Pletcher barn is undefeated in three starts including two graded stakes and a dead heat in the Spi naway at Saratoga. She has broken slowly in her last two starts and while she has been able to overcome it so far, there is little room for slow starts in the Breeders Cup.

Another with gate issues is Union Strike. This filly by Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags broke slowly in her debut, was last early and came flying late but came up a couple of lengths short finishing second. She had the advantageous outside post in her next race, the Del Mar Debutante stakes at Del Mar, broke better and won. She then missed the Chandelier with sore shins and will come into this race on a series of works instead of a prep race. She also has a new trainer in Craig Dollace. Her former trainer Shelby Ruis, the daughter of the owner, was fired after the Del Mar race. So a lot going on with this filly.

The best closer in the field in my opinion is Yellow Agate, winner of the one mile Frizette at Belmont. This filly has two wins in as many starts and had great tactical speed but will relax not far from the pace and has a good finishing kick.

With Honors this filly was back and forth on whether she was running in the Turf or dirt but she ends up here and has a good a chance as many others. She used her speed to lead the Chandelier until the last eighth of a mile and with this inside post she may well do the same .

Picks:

1.-Yellow Agate

2.-Noted and Quoted

3.-Jamyson ’n Ginger

4.-Sweet Loretta

 

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SEVENTH HEAVEN

FILLY AND MARE TURF 12:45pm

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                    F&M Turf Overview

Even though the Euros usually dominate us on turf they have only won six of the seventeen running in the event, with many fewer horses running than the US but none the less the Americans shouldn’t be over looked as a rule.

This year however I do think the Europeans have the edge and we will start there.

Seventh Heaven would be the one to beat in here based upon her victories in the grade one Irish and Yorkshire Oaks. She was beaten in her last race but was ridden contrary to her liking and bounced around a lot during the race, so she has a plausible excuse in that one. Like most Euros she typically drops back early and comes with a fantastic late run. Like all closers early speed up front will help her cause and that will come in the form of last years front running Juvenile Filly Turf winner Catch a Glimpse who is a bit off her game having ben beaten in her last two starts , Avenge (winner of the Rodeo Drive stakes in gate to wire fashion) and even her stable mate Pretty Perfect will certainly be asked to keep the pace honest.

Lady Eli, winner of the Juvenile Filly Turf two years ago right here at Santa Anita is rounding back into form after a 13 month absence due to Laminitis. She was second in her comeback race(her only career loss) in August at Saratoga but bounced back to win the Flower Bowl a month ago. If she improves from that race she will be as tough as any in here.

For those Game of Thrones fans, Sea Calisi is in good form as well . One of two trained by Chad Brown this filly has been great in all four of her US races this year(she came from UK), winning a grade two,the grade one Beverly D, and most recently second in the grade one Flower Bowl to stable mate Lady Eli. She comes from farther back than Lady Eli and will need some racing luck through traffic in order to pull this off.

Picks:

1.-Seventh Heaven

2.-Lady Eli

3.-Queens Trust

4.-Sea Calisi

 

 

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AP INDIAN

TWINSPIRES SPRINT 1:21PM

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Sprint Overview

LORD NELSON SCRATCHED

In the thirty two running only six times has the winner lead the entire race and the reason is that many sprinters are one dimensional and running on the lead is that dimension, so consequently the speed horses burn each other up early and horse tracking behind them catch up and win. This is why I like sprinters like Lord Nelson and A P Indian who can race close to the pace but don’t need the lead to win. AP Indian is unbeaten in six starts this year and although he has won on the lead, most of his success is sitting just behind the early leaders . He has also won coming from the dreaded inside post as well as between horses, traffic has been no issue.

The Baffert trained Lord Nelson is another such stalker. The winner of four straight including three grade ones, is just as much the horse to beat as A P Indian but he however has been getting the outside stalking trip which he will likely get again today.

Masochistic , Delta Bluesman and Drefong would be the fastest of the fast in here, with Masochistic being the fastest of these and since he’s never won without leading the entire race he will be intent on getting to the front. Drefong basically the same and Delta Bluesman won one of his ten wins was from just off the early lead and that was over two years ago…something will need to give with these guys.

Three year olds have done relatively well in this event winning eight of the thirty four runnings and Drefong, Mind Your Bisquits and Noholdingbackbear are all three year olds.

Drefong is the most accomplished of the trio and his win in the grade one Kings Bishop at Saratoga was his best effort to date but it must be noted that although he won gate to wire, the pace will be much quicker in this race than it was that day so he will need to improve to win.

Picks:

1.-A.P. Indian

2.-Masochitic

3.-Limousine Liberal

 

 

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KARAR

TURF SPRINT 2:05PM

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               Turf Sprint Overview

This race may be more fun to watch than any other Breeders Cup race because of the course that it’s run over. It is six and a half furlongs in distance( a furlong is 220 yards), down hill on the turf and turns right then left while crossing over the dirt course. That partially explains why only once in the six running has a horse won with no prior experience over the course, and only one of those six won while leading the entire race.. so you need experience but you don’t need the lead.

AND, no European horse has ever won this race but that could change this year.

The race down the hill will begin with last year’s winner Mongolian Saturday and Obviously both with inside posts going straight for the early lead with number one Pure Sensation not far behind. The French invaders Karar and Suedois who have been just a notch below the very best in Europe this year will not be far behind either and will be in a position to pounce throughout, Karar closer than Suedois. The filly Celestine breaking from the outside will also have a stalking position with Ambitious Brew , with the closers A Lot and Washington DC near the back. As they turn for home the speed will likely start to weaken a bit and the closers trying to avoid going really wide or getting caught in traffic.

Picks

1.-A Lot

2.-Celestine

3.-Obviously

4.-Karar

 

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NOT THIS TIME

SENTIENT JET JUVENILE 2:43PM

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Juvenile Overview

Unlike many years in which a lot of the talented two year olds in the Juvenile are distance limited, most of the contenders in here will be a presence in next years Kentucky Derby. Horses like Not This Time who won the Iroquois going two turns at Churchill Downs and the Champagne winner Practical Joke as well as the west coast star , the undefeated Gormley. There is also Syndergaard from the Todd Pletcher barn who was nipped at the wire after leading all but the last jump of the Champagne and the Bob Baffert trained Klimpt who was a disappointing second in the Frontrunner stakes. Syndergaard from post two will almost certainly go right to the lead but will have company up front from the undefeated Florida bred Three Rules. The fact that they will likely go pretty fast up front will minimize their chances to hold on late but will help the chances of closers like Practical Joke and Not this Time. Stalkers who will be running between the speed and the closers will be Klimpt, Gormley, Classic Empire, and Theory. So you see that there is quality from front to back.

Picks:

1.-Practical Joke

2.-Syndergaard

3.-Not This Time

4.-Gormley

 

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FOUND

LONGINES TURF 3:22PM

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METABOSS SCRATCHED

 Breeders Cup Turf Overview

The story here is the presence the four year old champion mare and last year’s Turf winner Found. She seems to be quite the iron lady having run in nine races already this year, winning six and most recently a win in the Arc De Triomphe .

Last year she upset the Arc winner Golden Horn preventing him from being the first horse in history to win the Arc De Triomphe and the BC Turf in the same year. How ironic that she now is trying to do the exact same thing. She won this last year from quite far back early however with little early pace in this year’s edition, she will need to use her ability to race closer to the pace while maintaining her amazing closing kick. Her main rival is Flintshire who was the runner up in the Arc de Triomphe last year as well as second in this race here at Santa Anita two years ago. A winner of almost 10 million dollars he has three wins and a second this year with his only defeat on October 1 in the Joe Hirsh stakes at Belmont but that was on a wet turf, something he doesn’t really like.(that’s why he came to US-for firm courses)

Ectot winner of the afore mentioned Joe Hirsh stakes was really good in Europe two years ago and may be rounding back into that form. Either that or he just likes a wet , soft turf. With very little pace in this race, Highland Reel who’s runs on or close to the lead in most of his races including his win in King George stakes at Ascot in July may take this wire to wire if nobody else challenges him early. Another Euro invader Ulysses would rate a chance as well. Not nearlyu as accomplished but improving none the less.

Picks:

1.-Highland Reel

2.-Flintshire

3.-Found

4.-Ulysses

 

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CARINA MIA

FILLY AND MARE SPRINT 4:01PM

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Filly & Mare Sprint Overview

 

Like last year there are no real standouts like three time winner Groupie Doll and there are a few in here because the Distaff is much to tough this year, and this race is a bit more wide open. Also there is not a ton of early speed that you would expect in a sprint race. In the last five editions of this race held here at SA, the first half mile went sub 45 which set up for dead closers , and the only one of those five that went the first half slower , the winner was up close early. That’s why I like the ones that don’t have to come from the clouds.

Carina Mia who has been chasing the mighty Songbird this year is cutting back in distance for this. The last time she did this was Derby week in the Eight Belles at 7 furlongs and she won that race by six lengths. She followed that with a win in the Grade one Acorn at one mile. She will be very close to the lead but from post 8 she has the option to sit just touch behind and move when ready. Haveyougoneaway has won her last three races including a grade one and two and has less than perfect trips in terms traffic and wider trips that her competitors which shows she can overcome adversity. By The Moon is really on her game as well and is training like a beast here at Santa Anita.

 

Picks:

1.Carina Mia

2.Haveyougoneaway

3.By The moon

4.Paulassilverlining

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ALICE SPRINGS

THE MILE 4:40PM

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                          Mile Overview

 

One of the best races of the Breeders Cups because of the great finishes. Many times horses close furiously in the stretch to take the prize. This year may be that very scenario with the Euro invader Alice Springs ,who has never runs against males but has been superior over her own sex in Europe of late.

Another female in here is Miss Temple City who beat the males twice this year and both times at Keeneland. Limato is another European who after beating up on sprinters in the biggest race over the pond, is trying to stretch out to the mile distance and is one of the favorites and will race just behind the leaders along with last year’s mile winner Tepin who was beaten for the first time since August of 2015 in her last race. She finished second to Photo Call in the one mile First Lady stakes when that opened up a ten length lead during the race and held on for the win. With the speedy What a View in the race, the pace will be suicidal and closers should rule the day.

Picks:

1.-Alice Springs

2.-Limato

3.-Tepin

 

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CALIFORNIA CHROME

THE CLASSIC 5:35PM

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 Classic Overview

 

It appears as thought the 2014 Derby winner California Chrome is the most talented horse in the field. Arrogate is the only horse in here that can beat him, and it’s likely to be those two up front with a big separation to the rest. Chrome likes to do his running on the lead or close and Arrogate can do the same. In the history of the Classic run at SA(other then the synthetic era) in the 6 Classics, two were gate to wire, one was stalking and three were from fifth place or farther back. There seems to be no real bias in that regard.

Unless he has a problem leaving the gate, when it opens California Chrome will go directly to lead with Arrogate in close pursuit on his outside with Melatonin third and Frosted nearest him in fourth going down the stretch the first time with the others behind them.

At Some point down the backstretch Arrogate will likely put pressure on Chrome if possible and Frosted will inch closer. As they hit the far turn looks for the tempo to quicken and for both Arrogate and Frosted to try and take the fight to Chrome . Like all of his races this year, I think Chrome will be up to the task and be more than the others can handle.

Picks:

1.-California Chrome

2.-Frosted

3.-Arrogate

4.-Shaman Ghost

CALIFORNIA CHROME DUBAI WORLD CUP WIN 2016

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MORE BREEDERS’ CUP MOMENTS…

*****

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California Chrome

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ARCADIA, Calif. – The first murmurs began as the field neared the far turn in the Awesome Again Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita, the cheers grew ever louder as California Chrome began to pull away from Dortmund on the turn, and by the time California Chrome reached the eighth pole, the cheers turned into a roar of appreciation, hands clapping, arms waving, all in joyous celebration of what the fans were watching, as California Chrome cantered to the wire, best again.
Benoit & Associates
California Chrome, geared down by jockey Victor Espinoza, wins the Awesome Again by 2 1/4 lengths.
At the wire, California Chrome had won the Grade 1, $300,000 Awesome Again by 2 1/4 lengths, as jockey Victor Espinoza geared him down, cognizant that the big goal is still five weeks away, in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 5. But this was another in a series of spectacular performances by California Chrome, because this time Dortmund took it to him at the start, unlike the Pacific Classic, and California Chrome still shook him off.

“Wow,” trainer Art Sherman said as he exited his box. He then made his way through the box seat section, as horsemen and fans reached out to congratulate him. Sherman seemed almost overwhelmed by the attention, and by what he had seen from the best horse in the world.

“He’s the best I’ve ever seen,” said Sherman, who 60 years ago was the exercise rider for the great Swaps, like California Chrome a California-bred Kentucky Derby winner.

The win was the sixth in six starts this year for California Chrome, who will go into the Classic as the favorite to be named Horse of the Year, the title he won in 2014. In addition to the lucrative first-prize money in the Classic, California Chrome is eligible for a $1 million bonus if he can add the Classic to victories in the Pacific Classic and Awesome Again.

In the Pacific Classic, Dortmund’s connections – jockey Rafael Bejarano, and trainer Bob Baffert – conceded the lead to California Chrome, and California Chrome never looked back. This time, Dortmund was outfitted with blinkers, and a different strategy was employed, as he went with California Chrome early.

It didn’t matter.

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“They wanna go with me, but I was, okay, let’s roll,” said Victor Espinoza, California Chrome’s jockey, who won three Grade 1 races on Saturday’s card. “I knew what was going to happen. I knew what they’d try. But he’s on his game right now. I had the one-hole, and if he didn’t break, maybe then I try to get outside. But he broke well. It’s hard to tuck in. So I let him go.”

California Chrome ($2.80), hounded by Dortmund, went the opening quarter-mile of the 1 1/8-mile race in 22.76 seconds, and the half in 46.08 seconds. He began to draw away after six furlongs in a swift 1:09.28, was up by nearly four lengths with a furlong to go after a mile in 1:34.45, and was allowed to coast home to complete nine furlongs on the fast main track in an ordinary time of 1:48.07 that clearly was impacted by the hot early pace and Espinoza’s understandable easy ride late.

“They can’t keep up with him,” Espinoza said. “They can try, but they can’t.”

Dortmund held on to second, 4 1/2 lengths in front of third-place Win the Space. Hard Aces was fourth, and Soi Phet last in a field reduced to five following the scratches Saturday morning of Hoppertunity and El Huerfano.

“He took Dortmund’s game plan away from him,” Sherman said. “You’re looking at maybe the best horse in the world right now. I can’t say enough about him.”

California Chrome has now won 15 times in 24 starts, and the $180,000 he earned on Saturday increased his career bankroll to more than $13.4 million. His previous wins this year included the Pacific Classic and the Dubai World Cup, and that adds to a resume that includes victories at 3 in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

Now age 5, California Chrome is scheduled to enter stud next year in Kentucky at Taylor Made Farm, which owns the horse with Perry Martin; they race as California Chrome LLC. In addition to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, California Chrome has the inaugural $12 million Pegasus at Gulfstream Park next January on his agenda.

If he finishes out his career with two more wins, he’ll retire with more than $24 million in earnings. All for a horse by a $2,500 stallion out of an $8,000 mare. That deserves a round of applause.

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With the Breeders’ Cup returning yet again to California this fall, the state’s favorite son is the parasol-shaped straw that stirs the frothy drink.

California Chrome, currently ranked as the best horse in the world, is the acknowledged favorite for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 5, and his dominating victories this year – from Santa Anita to Meydan to Del Mar – have caused the connections of several of his potential rivals to adjust their prep plans, or their Breeders’ Cup plans themselves.

Beholder was a thoroughly respectable second to California Chrome in the Pacific Classic, but barring any setbacks with California Chrome, she’s being pointed to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Nov. 4.

Frosted was trounced by California Chrome in the Dubai World Cup, and though he has subsequently won two of his last three starts, his connections are debating whether to try California Chrome again going 1 1/4 miles or instead go in the $1 million Dirt Mile on Nov. 4.

Similarly, Dortmund was no match for California Chrome in the Pacific Classic, and though he’s scheduled to try again for the third straight time in the Grade 1, $300,000 Awesome Again at Santa Anita on Oct. 1, there’s a chance he could subsequently cut back to the Dirt Mile if the 1 1/4 miles of the Classic, plus the presence of California Chrome, proves too tough an obstacle course at the Breeders’ Cup.

Hoppertunity, fourth in the Pacific Classic, might end up in the Classic, but instead of prepping in the Awesome Again, he could detour to New York for the Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup on Oct. 8.

California Chrome was the Horse of the Year in 2014 despite finishing third in that year’s Classic, his title salvaged by a late-season victory on turf in the Hollywood Derby at Del Mar to remind voters of what he had done earlier in the year in the Kentucky Derby and Prekaness. This year, he has been acknowledged overwhelmingly as not only the front-runner for Horse of the Year but, since the World Cup, as the best racehorse on the planet.

And according to trainer Art Sherman, California Chrome is retaining the form that has carried him to five wins in five starts this year.

“He’s training excellent,” Sherman said Wednesday from Los Alamitos, where California Chrome is based. “I couldn’t be happier with everything. Just got to keep my fingers crossed.”

California Chrome will prep in the Awesome Again, and a victory in that race would put him in position to earn a $1 million bonus for victories in the Pacific Classic, Awesome Again, and the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which makes his potential Breeders’ Cup payoff in excess of $4 million, this on top of the record $13.2 million he’s already banked.

The major prep this week for the Classic is the Grade 2, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx, in which Derby winner Nyquist and Preakness winner Exaggerator will try to enhance their chances of being named champion 3-year-old male while also trying to raise their game before taking on elders in the Breeders’ Cup.

The best 3-year-old in terms of current form, Travers winner Arrogate, is going to train up to the Classic, with trainer Bob Baffert – who also has Classic contenders Dortmund and Hoppertunity – utilizing the same Classic itinerary he implemented a year ago with American Pharoah.

Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form’s national handicapper, has California Chrome as the current Classic favorite at 5-2, with Arrogate next at 4-1.

The Awesome Again and the Jockey Club Gold Cup are the final two races that offer fees-paid berths in the Classic through the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In program. The presence of California Chrome is expected to keep the Awesome Again field small. The Jockey Club Gold Cup is expected to include New York-based runners like Effinex, Mubtaahij, Shaman Ghost, and Watershed.

California Chrome already has earned a guaranteed spot in the Classic via his victory in the Pacific Classic. Frosted has a spot through his win in the Whitney, and Exaggerator secured a berth with his Haskell win.

Melatonin has a spot owing to his victory in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita in June, but he has not raced since then and will try to make the Classic off workouts. He went five furlongs in 1:02 on Wednesday at Santa Anita, his third drill since recovering from an illness that forced him to miss the Pacific Classic.

Bradester also earned a spot via his victory in the Stephen Foster Handicap, but he’s never raced 1 1/4 miles and is far more likely to go in the Dirt Mile, especially after his fade in the Woodward.

The Japanese-based colt Moanin has a spot based on his win in the February Stakes in Tokyo, but he has not raced since May, and Breeders’ Cup officials said this week they do not expect him.

The Classic is the last and richest of the 13 Breeders’ Cup races, worth $26.5 million, that will be run at Santa Anita on Nov. 4-5. This will be the 33rd Breeders’ Cup, and the ninth at Santa Anita, which will be playing host for the fourth time in five years and the sixth time in the last nine years.

Of the 13 Breeders’ Cup races, nine – the Juvenile Fillies, Turf Sprint, Filly and Mare Sprint, Filly and Mare Turf, Sprint, Mile, Juvenile, Turf, and Classic – are on Nov. 5, with the other four – the Juvenile Turf, Dirt Mile, Juvenile Fillies Turf, and Distaff – on Nov. 4.

In addition to California Chrome, Watchmaker’s other ante-post favorites for the Nov. 5 races are Union Strike, 4-1 in the Juvenile Fillies; Lady Shipman, 7-2 in the Turf Sprint; Cathryn Sophia, 4-1 in the Filly and Mare Sprint; Seventh Heaven, 4-1 in the Filly and Mare Turf; Masochistic, 7-2 in the Sprint; Tepin, 3-1 in the Mile; Klimt, 7-2 in the Juvenile; and Flintshire, 2-1 in the Turf.

Brad Free, DRF’s Southern California handicapper, has set the early prices for the Nov. 4 card and has tabbed as current favorites Good Samaritan (4-1) in the Juvenile Turf, Frosted (8-5) in the Dirt Mile, Lady Aurelia (4-1) in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, and Songbird (5-2) in the Distaff.

– additional reporting by David Grening

 

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Whatever the Coolmore partnership pays trainer Aidan O’Brien it is not enough.

That is the No. 1 lesson learned from a packed trans-Atlantic weekend of prep races for the Breeders’ Cup a month hence that began at Chantilly on Saturday morning and ended at Santa Anita on Sunday evening.

O’Brien’s feat of training Found, Highland Reel, and Order of St. George to finish first, second, and third in the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is unprecedented since the race’s inauguration in 1920. The fact that all three of those horses were sired by Coolmore’s great stallion Galileo merely emphasizes how much both trainer and sire are in a league of their own on the world Thoroughbred stage. All three horses also were bred by Coolmore-affiliated entities.

Found, Highland Reel, and Order of St. George all number among the incredible 61 Group 1/Grade 1 winners, 141 group or graded stakes winners, and 231 stakes winners sired by Galileo from 2,177 foals age 3 and up, and all three possess sterling pedigrees.

Found’s dam, Red Evie, by Intikhab, won the Group 1 Matron and Lockinge Stakes and was an English and Irish highweighted filly. Found’s two full sisters, Magical Dream and Best in the World, are both Group 3 winners, and Red Evie’s dam and granddam are both stakes winners.

Highland Reel’s dam Hveger, by Danehill, placed in the Group 2 South Australian Oaks and is full sister to Australian champion Elvstroem, half-sister to Australian champion Haradasun, by Fusaichi Pegasus, and out of Australian Group 1 winner Circles of Gold, by Marscay.

Order of St. George is a half-brother to American Grade 3 winner Angel Terrace, by Ghostzapper; French Group 3 winner Asperity, by War Chant; and stakes winner Sehoy, by Menifee. His second dam is 1996 champion 2-year-old filly Storm Song.

The first Group 1 of the weekend, the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday, also fell to a daughter of Galileo in Alice Springs, whose dam, appropriately enough is Aleagueoftheirown, by Danehill Dancer. Alice Springs’s second dam is a full sister to European highweight Golden Opinion, by Slew o’ Gold, whose dam, Optimistic Lass, was one of Mr. Prospector’s first big winners in Europe.

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Found, Highland Reel, and Alice Springs are all possible runners at the Breeders’ Cup meeting, but there may not be many other notable foreign entries at Santa Anita to emerge from the European trials last weekend. That is definitely not the case with the series of races at Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, and Santa Anita on Saturday and Sunday.

Ectot, who upset favored Flintshire in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont; Gallant Bloom Stakes winner Paulassilverlining, Pilgrim Stakes winner Oscar Performance, Vosburgh Stakes winner Joking, Beldame winner Forever Unbridled, and Miss Grillo winner New Money Honey are all bound for the West Coast along with a number of their conquered rivals. Also Breeders’ Cup bound is Churchill’s Ack Ack Stakes winner Tom’s Ready, who beat last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Runhappy in the latter’s first race of the year. Similarly, California Chrome, Avenge, Stellar Wind, Gormley, Noted and Quoted, and Ashleyluvssugar, winners of the Santa Anita prep races, are all likely for the Breeders’ Cup.

Interestingly, the pedigrees of the 23 winners of the Trans-Atlantic group or graded races that could theoretically have been used as Breeders’ Cup preps last weekend did not show quite as much continental variation as usual in recent years. The Danzig and Sadler’s Wells branches of Northern Dancer, which have long dominated in Europe, did just that, but they also were more prominent than usual in the American preps.

In addition to the winners of the Arc, Sun Chariot, and Group 2 Prix Daniel Wildenstein in Europe, the Sadler’s Wells branch of the Northern Dancer male line produced Ectot (by Hurricane Run, by Montjeu, by Sadler’s Wells), Pilgrim Stakes winner Oscar Performance (by Kitten’s Joy, by El Prado, by Sadler’s Wells), and Miss Grillo winner New Money Honey (by Medaglia d’Oro, by El Prado, by Sadler’s Wells).

Similarly, while the Danzig branch of Northern Dancer was responsible for major winners Shalaa and National Defense in Europe, it also was represented by Santa Anita victors Ashleyluvssugar (by Game Plan, by Danzig), Avenge (by War Front, by Danzig), and Noted and Quoted (by The Factor, by War Front, by Danzig).

Noted and Quoted, out of stakes winner Silver Cub, by City Zip, is both the first stakes winner and first Grade 1 winner from the first crop of War Front’s Grade 1-winning son The Factor and did nothing to diminish War Front’s increasing clout as a potential sire of sires.

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Espinoza’s day hard to forget, or repeat
By Jay Hovdey

“I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We ate lobster, drank piña coladas. At sunset, we made love like sea otters. That was a pretty good day. Why couldn’t I get that day over and over and over … ” – Bill Murray, “Groundhog Day”

Because you can’t, that’s why. Because it wouldn’t be good for you, just like eating steak and chocolate cake for every meal wouldn’t be good for you, or never being told no.

So, no, Victor Espinoza, you may not have a day like last Saturday over and over and over again. You had it once, so count your blessings, and thank your lucky charms that everything came up green clovers and pink hearts.

Six mounts, four wins, three of them in Grade 1 events, all three of them aboard horses who should figure big time in Breeders’ Cup races a month from now. That’s what I call dancing with the stars.

California Chrome dominated in the $300,000 Awesome Again, and Stellar Wind certainly was no surprise when she beat Beholder on the square in the $300,000 Zenyatta. Gormley, on the other hand, was a fat 10-1 when he separated himself from the West Coast 2-year-olds in the $300,690 FrontRunner Stakes while leading from start to finish to beat the heavily favored Klimt.

Gormley? Klimt? What is this, MOMA West or a horse race? Gustav Klimt everyone knows – he painted with real gold! – while the winner of the FrontRunner is named for the English artist Antony Gormley, whose imposing “Angel of the North” steel sculpture is the largest in England.

“I’ve tried to buy something of Gormley’s for years and never could get it done,” said Jerry Moss, who owns the colt with his wife, Ann. “He’s a tremendous guy, and it’s nice there’s a horse like this named after him.”

Fittingly, the FrontRunner was an exercise in abstract expressionism from the start. That’s where the Doug O’Neill-trained Secret House left the gate like a shot, but without Santiago Gonzalez, who had apparently begun to dismount just as the latch was sprung. Assistant trainer Leandro Mora, who at this time last year was recovering from a mild, stress-related stroke, was glad he took his meds.

“Before I saw the video and talked to the jock, I wanted to kill the starter,” Mora said. “The next day, I apologized to him.”

After Gonzalez debriefed him in their native Spanish, Mora got a clear enough picture to write off the incident as bad communication.

“The rider said the horse touched the doors, and once that happened, he thought the veterinarian would want to look at him,” Mora said. “But the rider never let the starter or the vet know he was getting off the horse, and just as he stepped off, the button was pushed.”

A riderless horse is like a kid waving a loaded gun: You’re lucky if nothing terrible happens.

In his first start after winning the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic, Fort Larned dropped Brian Hernandez at the start of the Gulfstream Park Handicap and led the field all the way around, then pulled up like a pro.

In the 1967 Hollywood Gold Cup, O’Hara bolted into the guide rail while leaving the chute and dumped Milo Valenzuela, after which he pestered the favored Pretense just enough to give Native Diver an uncontested lead. O’Hara ended up finishing first, a length in front of Native Diver.

The most poignant loose horse in racing history was Please Me, who went to the post at Santa Anita on a January afternoon in 1946 with George Woolf in the saddle. Woolf fell off on the first turn in a diabetic faint and was killed. Please Me continued on, as he was trained to do, and crossed the finish line first.

Secret House was not quite so disciplined. Instead of rounding the first turn with the field, he bore out, taking the speedy Straight Fire with him. With the other speed horses eliminated, Gormley found himself on an unaccosted lead – including three-quarters in 1:11.48 – and took it from there, winning by three lengths.

By contrast, the other Espinoza wins were played out with guns blazing from the start. Stellar Wind pressed Beholder through six furlongs of the 1 1/16-mile Zenyatta in 1:09.75 to win by a neck. California Chrome put a dead-game Dortmund away after six furlongs of the nine-furlong Awesome Again in 1:09.28 and won by 2 1/4 lengths, throttled down. Bob Baffert, Dortmund’s trainer, had his own take.

“You were going easy,” Baffert told Espinoza, describing California Chrome’s pace.

“Easy?” Victor replied. “In 1:09?”

“Yeah, but you had nobody behind you,” Baffert countered, referring to the distance they’d put on the rest of the field.

“Nobody?” Espinoza said. “I had Dortmund behind me!”

They were both right. California Chrome was going easily, in a fast 1:09, and kept going, the way horses like Ghostzapper, Cigar, and Precisionist discouraged opponents in the past.

So, maybe Espinoza will turn the Breeders’ Cup into his own version of “Groundhog Day” after all. With Espinoza aboard, Gormley is 2 for 2, Stellar Wind has beaten Beholder twice in a row, and California Chrome has won his last six. It just keeps happening, over and over and over again.

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SUMMER THOROUGHBRED HORSERACING NEWS…

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ARROGAT MAKES PRESENCE FELT

WITH DAZZLING TRAVERS STAKES VICTORY! 

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By Art Wilson, Correspondent

As if the race for top 3-year-old male of 2016 wasn’t already jumbled enough, along comes Arrogate to throw it further into disarray.

Who saw Arrogate’s monster 13 1/2-length victory in last Saturday’s Travers Stakes coming? I sure didn’t. I liked his stablemate, American Freedom, better, and I wasn’t surprised Arrogate won, but I was taken aback by how easily he disposed of that field.

And how about jockey Mike Smith? Like a fine wine, he’s getting better with age. Trainer Bob Baffert likes to call him “Big Money Mike,” and the results bear it out. He’s getting top mounts, i.e. Songbird, Arrogate and King’s Bishop winner Drefong, but he’s also giving these horses Hall of Fame rides.

Not only are Southern California racing fans spoiled by these great equine athletes we witness on a weekly basis, but we’re also privy to watching riders like Smith and Gary Stevens work their magic at an age when most other athletes are well into retirement.

But back to Arrogate. Just how talented is this guy? I mean, he goes from winning an optional claimer that included only three horses to setting a track record at historic Saratoga. He beat the Belmont and Haskell Invitational winners handily while running the mile and a quarter in 1:59.36.

Yeah, he was good. Very good, and he’s suddenly joined Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and Preakness Stakes and Haskell winner Exaggerator atop the leaderboard for top 3-year-old male of the year.

I’m not ready to proclaim him a match for California Chrome in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 5. Heck, he might not even be Frosted’s equal. But he certainly adds intrigue to a race that already was brimming with excitement even before he went all freakish on us in the Travers.

“I knew he was good, but I didn’t know he was really, really that kind of good,” Baffert said the morning after the Travers. “After he ran like that I was like everybody else, and thought, ‘Wow!’ I was like a fan, thinking ‘Wow! What did we just witness?’”

Steve Asmussen, who saddled third-place finisher Gun Runner, was impressed.

“We ran into a freak today,” he said. “I honestly thought (2:02) would win the race. I think that’s about where we were with Gun Runner.”

Added trainer Chad Brown, who saddled Gift Box, Connect and My Man Sam for also-ran finishes: “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a performance like that in any Travers.”

Baffert plans to follow the same path he did with Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and take Arrogate into the Breeders’ Cup Classic off workouts.
“I knew this horse (Arrogate) was a really, really good horse but we had never set him down,” he said. “He can run with those other horses (in the Classic).”

Those other horses figure to include Nyquist and Exaggerator, both of whom are being pointed toward the Grade II Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 24. It’s a race whose outcome could determine the top 3-year-old male of the year. Of course, if Arrogate wins the Breeders’ Cup Classic, that race is in the bag.

Exaggerator’s backers have to be discouraged by the fact his best races have come over wet tracks. In his last two efforts on fast surfaces, the Belmont Stakes and Travers, he’s been a non-factor, finishing 11th both times.

While he appears to be a mud freak, his handlers continue to show faith in their colt.

“There was already enough talk about him being a one-surface horse and now he’s taken some major hits,” said Julie Clark, trainer Keith Desormeaux’s Saratoga-based assistant, of the colt’s detractors. “But that’s all right. He’s good good, and we’ll carry on with him and prove people wrong next time.”

Still, if Eclipse Award voting for top 3-year-old male was conducted today, my 1-2-3 votes would go to Nyquist, Arrogate and Exaggerator, in that order. But turning for home, Arrogate is closing fast and might wind up being the best of the male sophomore class.

Now, raise your hand if you’d like to see a Songbird-Arrogate showdown. Won’t happen this year, but hey, there’s always 2017.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Mike Smith knew he was going fast early aboard Songbird in Saturday’s Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama at Saratoga. Though he had the undefeated champion a few paths outside of pacesetter Go Maggie Go, they were in virtual lockstep through the first six furlongs of the 10-furlong race run in 1:11.13.
“I can’t honestly tell you I wasn’t concerned,” Smith said.

But every so often, Smith would look down at Songbird and could see – and feel – she had no concerns whatsoever despite the rapid early pace.

Around the far turn, Songbird left Go Maggie Go behind and the rest was rather easy as Songbird cruised home a seven-length winner of the 136th Alabama before an announced crowd of 40,329 on a perfect summer afternoon.

Songbird is perfection embodied as she ran her record to 10 for 10, this being her sixth Grade 1 victory.

“I never like to say it’s easy, but she’s just got a lot of talent and makes it look easy, but it’s not easy,” said Jerry Hollendorfer, the trainer of Songbird.

What wasn’t easy Saturday was the fact owner Rick Porter wasn’t at Saratoga for the race. Instead, he is hospitalized in Delaware, making the victory even more meaningful to Hollendorfer and Smith.

“Mr. Porter is having a little bit of a hard time of it right now, but he’s a real tough guy and we expect him to come through with flying colors,” Hollendorfer said. “It was our hope and wish that we could win for him today and we did.”

Smith said he had the chance to speak briefly to Porter on Friday.

“It was extremely important we win this and lift Mr. Porter’s spirits,” Smith said. “He’s fighting. We’re hoping. We’re praying.”

Songbird had a fight on her hands as Go Maggie Go, breaking from post 4 under Luis Saez, went to the front. Songbird, breaking from post 6, took Smith right with her through a quarter-mile in 23.76 seconds, a half in 47.77, and six furlongs in 1:11.13.

“I’m a rider I’m thinking a hundred different things,” Smith said. “Who is going to make the late charge? Have we done too much soon? But I look down at her about every five steps and she’s just doing what she does. Every now and then she’d throw an ear [up] so I knew she was comfortable. Me, in my head, I’m trying to figure out what’s going on behind me.”

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Smith’s biggest fear was that Weep No More would pull a reprise of what she did in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland in April when she came from out of the clouds to nail Rachel’s Valentina and Cathryn Sophia on the wire. But no one was coming.

“I was coaxing her with the whip just a little, I wasn’t really hitting her, just stay the same, you don’t have to go no faster,” Smith said. “Then I stood up and saw she was 10 in front.”

Going for Broke, making her stakes debut, rallied from sixth to get second by 1 3/4 lengths over Family Tree. Weep No More, Flora Dora, Go Maggie Go, and Dark Nile, who was eased, completed the order of finish.

Songbird covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:03.00, running the last quarter-mile in 26.99 seconds. She returned $2.40 as the favorite.

“She was tired, but they’re supposed to be going a mile and quarter with those early fractions,” Smith said. “I’m not going to lie to you and say she came back skipping. I mean she was blowing but the sign of a champion is how she’ll recover in a couple of days.”

Songbird return to a loud ovation from the Saratoga faithful, some holding Songbird posters that the New York Racing Association gave away.

Songbird is expected to ship back to Southern California on Tuesday. But, she is expected to return east for the Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion at Parx on Sept. 24.

 

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DEL MAR, Calif. – It took a little more than two minutes for California Chrome to dominate Beholder, Dortmund, and Hoppertunity on Saturday in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar, but the ramifications of his overpowering victory may be felt for the next two months.
While California Chrome is headed to the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 5 at Santa Anita, with a possible prep in the Grade 1, $300,000 Awesome Again at Santa Anita on Oct. 1, Beholder’s year-end goal may now be the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Nov. 4, while Dortmund’s and Hoppertunity’s connections were plotting their next moves after being no match on Saturday for California Chrome.

California Chrome won the Pacific Classic by five lengths over Beholder and received a Beyer Speed Figure of 113, equaling his career best, earned when third in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“He’s so much stronger. He’s in the best part of his career now,” Art Sherman, who trains California Chrome, said at his Del Mar barn on Sunday morning. “It’s kinda awesome to watch.

“You’ve got the best horses in the country. These races are tougher,” Sherman said, comparing the current campaign to when California Chrome was 3. “I think he’s the best horse in the world, not that I might be biased.”

California Chrome left Del Mar on Sunday morning for his regular base at Los Alamitos. There is a $1 million bonus for a horse who can win the Pacific Classic, Awesome Again, and Breeders’ Cup Classic, but Sherman said that would have no impact on whether he goes in the Awesome Again.

“He’ll be ready,” Sherman said. “I’d be fine going into the Breeders’ Cup Classic fresh.

There are six weeks to the Awesome Again, then five more to the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“The timing is right. We’ll see how he recovers,” Sherman said. “He came out of the race good. He was super after the race.”

With his Pacific Classic victory, California Chrome earned a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Classic through the “Win and You’re In” program. He is 5 for 5 this year, and is the clear front-runner for Horse of the Year, a title he won in 2014.

Trainer Richard Mandella said Beholder, who finished second, came out of the race “real good.”

“No way I’m anything but proud of her,” Mandella said Sunday morning. “She beat some pretty nice horses. She ran well enough to win most Classics, but not that one. The winner ran awesome.”

Mandella said Beholder would point to the Grade 1, $300,000 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 1 as her next start. Beholder has won that race, which is restricted to females, the last three years.

Mandella said he would “decide later whether to go in the Classic or the Distaff” after the Zenyatta, but said, “as of now I’d probably be conservative and aim at the Distaff.”

Beholder won the Distaff in 2014, also at Santa Anita. She was scratched from last year’s Classic at Keeneland – in which she would have faced Triple Crown winner American Pharoah — when she took ill with a lung infection two days before the race.

Dortmund, who was third in the Pacific Classic, and Hoppertunity, who was fourth, both also were fine Sunday morning, according to trainer Bob Baffert. He said the race was “over the first eighth of a mile,” when jockey Victor Espinoza aggressively sent California Chrome from his rail draw and secured the lead.

“Victor put the shock and awe at the beginning. That was it,” Baffert said.

Baffert said he’d wait a bit before deciding on a race schedule for Dortmund and Hoppertunity this fall.

“My horses fired,” Baffert said. “The other horse was too good. He was the better horse. Sometimes you’ve got to say you got your ass beat.”

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The $1.6 million Travers Stakes (gr. I), headed by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah , will be televised by NBC network during a two-hour program Aug. 29.

The 4-6 p.m. EDT broadcast will also include the $1 million Sword Dancer (gr. IT) and Forego Stakes (gr. I) on the stakes-laden card at Saratoga Race Course.

The Travers is the fifth of 10 telecasts that are part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series leading into the World Championships Oct. 30-31 at Keeneland.

Laffit Pincay III hosts live coverage from Saratoga, joined by analysts Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey, reporter Donna Brothers, analysts/handicappers Eddie Olczyk and Bob Neumeier, and race caller Larry Collmus. Daily Racing Form’s Matt Bernier will also serve as handicapper.

“I can’t wait to see American Pharoah deliver another breathtaking performance in the Travers at Saratoga this Saturday,” said Bailey, the Hall of Fame jockey, five-time Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) winner, and three-time Travers winner. “I may never see another one like him in my lifetime.”

The Travers telecast will include an interview with the colt’s Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, a feature on the history of past champions running at Saratoga, and Bailey’s look at what makes American Pharoah perhaps the greatest horse of all time.

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The status of Exaggerator for next Saturday’s Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes is up in the air, after the Preakness winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up received a “C” grade for his workout this morning from trainer Keith Desormeaux.

Exaggerator, the beaten favorite in the Belmont Stakes, went to the main track shortly before 9:00 a.m. with Junior Alvarado aboard and proceeded through a six-furlong drill in fractions of 24.20, 35.80, 48.20 and 1:13.80, with an unofficial gallop-out in 1:30 for seven-eighths. There was a loose horse on the track as he was completing the work, which did not appear to affect things.

“I asked him a little bit, but he didn’t really gallop out much,” said Alvarado, who rode Exaggerator to victory in last year’s Grade 2 Saratoga Special before the Curlin colt was paired with Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux. “But he was stretching his legs and I think he did very good. He went good, relaxed, settled, finished up nice.”

Keith Desormeaux was lukewarm about the workout, which had been preceded by a bullet five furlongs last Saturday.

“I got him in 1:14, galloped out 1:30, so he slowed up pretty quickly,” said Desormeaux. “He was clipping off 12-and-changes pretty easily the first half, but he slowed down pretty good; he went the last quarter in 25 and change. It wasn’t a perfectly planned work – I wanted the first part of the work to go, like in 13, and finish up, but he was pretty aggressive, and after an eighth or so, Junior did say he settled, so that was good.

“I would have liked to see him finish with more vigor – but that’s okay, sometimes they need a work – that’s his second work over this surface, he worked a minute and change last week…as you can see, as we speak I’m processing what he did last week and this week, and the predominating thought is that he’s not finishing as good as I want him to. Now, as a trainer, is that because he’s not fit enough, or is he struggling with the track?”

Desormeaux, who sent out Texas Red to win last year’s Jim Dandy, is unsure whether Exaggerator will run in that 1 1/8-mile race as well, or perhaps train up to the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers on August 27.

“That’s what I’m going to have to struggle with during the week – off of that work, it doesn’t seem like he’s tight enough, or he’s struggling with the track,” he said. “It’s making me leery on running him in the Jim Dandy – should I give him a couple more works – what’s the rush – the Travers is the real goal. So we’ll see what the next couple of days brings, but there is the chance I might skip the Jim Dandy, because he didn’t finish with the vigor I wanted to see.

“Exaggerator is the type that usually finishes with vigor not only in his works but in his races. I would rate today’s work a C or a C-plus. It wouldn’t be a problem to train up to the [Travers], but you can’t do in the morning what a race does for a horse. I would much prefer to have the [Jim Dandy]… but what if I got him beat in the Jim Dandy, what would the perception be? I know we’re not supposed to, as horseman, worry about how our horses are trained, but in this horse’s case it’s a little different – I don’t want him to be perceived as not the horse that he is, just because he might not run to par in the Jim Dandy.”

Desormeaux will return to California tomorrow, relying on assistant trainer Julie Clark to brief him on Exaggerator’s progress early next week.

“Very interesting decision here,” said Desormeaux. “We want to do what’s best for the horse; that’s going to lead to the ultimate decision.”

* * *

Moonlight Song will make his first start since winning the 2015 John Morrissey at Saratoga Race Course when he runs in this year’s edition of the New York-bred stakes July 28.
Trained by Charlie Baker for Albert Fried Jr., the 9-year-old Moonlight Song impressed in a Friday work, completing five furlongs in a bullet 59.30 over Oklahoma’s training track.
While Baker was pleased with the move, he said he wished Fried’s homebred had a couple of works longer than five furlongs under his belt for the $100,000 Morrissey, which will be run at 6 1/2 furlongs.
“It was a decent work. He’s always been a good work horse,” Baker said Saturday morning outside his Saratoga barn. “He’s a horse that runs well fresh, but you still have to get him to the point where he is fit enough to go. Last year, I had him really ready coming into the race off a layoff [with longer works]. Pretty much he is ready to run, but not quite where I would want him to be coming back off a layoff going into this race.”
When the son of Unbridled’s Song won last year’s Morrissey in the slop, a track condition he relishes, it was following a near nine-month layoff. Plagued by physical issues throughout his career, Moonlight Song’s latest setback was a suspensory tear. Although the tear was small, it kept Moonlight Song sidelined an entire calendar year.
Over the next few days, Baker will be schooling the quirky Moonlight Song in the paddock – and probably more than once. The gelding has always had the propensity to become agitated and is high strung. His trips to the paddock are as much about taking an edge off that nervous energy, as they are to reacquaint him with the Saratoga paddock.
“He’s a character, for sure,” Baker said. “We’re going to school him in the paddock today, tomorrow, and maybe Monday, just to get him to the race in one piece. He gets really sweaty in the paddock, no matter what. We get him over there and then cool him off [with water].”
Baker reports that Joking, who provided the trainer with the first graded stakes win of his career when he won the Grade 2 True North Handicap at Belmont Park in June, is recovering nicely from a popped splint bone that necessitated him being scratched from the Belmont Sprint Championship July 9.
Joking, who is owned by Baker, is currently at Belmont Park and will resume training shortly with an eye on a fall campaign.
“I haven’t picked a race out yet for him, but I know we will be ready to run in the fall,” Baker said.

* * *

Hot City Girl is being pointed toward the fourth running of the listed $100,000 Shine Again on August 3, trainer Linda Rice said on Saturday morning. The 4-year-old chestnut filly is coming off a third-place showing in the Dancin Renee last out on July 3 at Belmont Park and was a possibility for the Grade 2 Honorable Miss.
But Rice said the Shine Again, for 4-year-old fillies and mares who have not won a graded race in 2016, could offer class relief.
“The distance [of seven furlongs] suits her a little better,” Rice said. “She’s doing well. She came out of her last race well. I wasn’t thrilled with the set up in her last race. She went too fast early.”
Hot City Girl, who ended her 2015 campaign with a second-place showing in the Grade 1 La Brea at Santa Anita, will be making her Saratoga Race Course debut in the Shine Again.
Championofthenile will likely not start in Saratoga until the end of the meet as he recovers from a foot abscess suffered during a third-place finish last out in the listed Ontario County on June 27 at Finger Lakes, said Rice. The 3-year-old gelding is 2-1-3 in seven career starts.
Rice said her stable of 2-year-olds are all training well. Modest Maven, who was purchased for $1 million by Chester Broman and Pike Racing, is a daughter of Uncle Mo, who was the sale-topper at the Timonium sale of 2-year-olds in training.
“We got a couple of nice breezes in,” Rice said. I’m thinking she’ll be ready to run mid-August. I don’t want to push her.”
Littlefirefighter, a daughter of Into Mischief and Firey Glow; could be the first 2-year-old Rice runs in the Saratoga meet.
Kid Cruz, the winner of the Grade 3 Excelsior on April 9 at Aqueduct, could be pointed toward the Birdstone on August 10, though Rice said she is leaving her options open.
“I don’t know yet,” Rice said. “I’m not sure. We’ll fiddle around with it.”

* * *

Spending his first full meet riding at Saratoga this summer, jockey Florent Geroux picked up his first win at the historic race course on Friday in his second of five mounts for the day aboard LNJ Foxwoods first-time starter, 2-year-old filly Bowie for trainer Steve Asmussen in Race 6.
Born in France, the 30-year-old jockey first made a pair of starts last summer at Saratoga, finishing second aboard I’m a Chatterbox in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks and Grade 1 Alabama. Geroux finished 2015, his most successful year, with victories in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on Catch a Glimpse, Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint with Mongolian Saturday and a victory in the Grade 1 Arlington Million on The Pizza Man.
Geroux’s success has continued in 2016 where he was the leading rider at Fair Grounds, and notched a victory on the NYRA circuit earlier this month in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks riding Catch a Glimpsefor trainer Mark Casse and owner Gary Barber.
Content after his first full day of riding at the Spa, Geroux was looking forward to the rest of the meet.
“I’m very excited about the weeks ahead here at Saratoga,” said Geroux. “I have a lot of opportunities coming up and obviously, I’m hoping for more winners.”
Already the regular rider for multiple graded stakes winner Catch a Glimpse, Geroux also is the main rider for multiple stakes winner Gun Runner for Asmussen who is possible to make a start in the Grade 1 Travers on August 27. Although he will travel to California on Saturday to ride at Del Mar in the Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap, Geroux will return to ride at Saratoga on Sunday.

* * *

The fields for next weekend’s stakes are beginning to take shape, anchored by the 53rd running of the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy on Saturday, July 30.
As the traditional local prep for the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers on August 27, the Jim Dandy will feature a rematch of the one-two finishers of the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, Creator and Destin. Creator, owned by WinStar Farm and Bobby Flay and trained by Steve Asmussen, won the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park this spring and finished a troubled 13th in the Kentucky Derby prior to outgunning Destin late to win the Belmont by a nose.
Todd Pletcher-trained Destin owns a pair of graded stakes wins this spring at Tampa Bay Downs, including a game one-length score in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby. Owned by Twin Creeks Racing Stables and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, the gray Giant’s Causeway colt was sixth in the “Run for the Roses” before his gutsy bid in the Belmont.
Also probable for the Jim Dandy is multiple Grade 2 winner Mohaymen, set to make his first start since his fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby for Kiaran McLaughlin. Governor Malibu and Race Me Home are under consideration. Exaggerator is unlikely to start after his
breeze on Saturday.
Next weekend’s stakes action will get underway with the $100,000 Curlin for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on Friday, which is expected to attract last-out winners Connect, Dolphus and Gift Box, as well as multiple graded stakes-placed Swipe. Forever d’Oro and Majesto are also probable, while Flash McCaul and Voluntario are possible.
On tap for Thursday’s $100,000 John Morrissey for New York-breds is Weekend Hideaway.The Philip Serpe-trained 6-year-old is no stranger to the winner’s circle at Saratoga, with three wins at the track in the past and will be looking to make it 2-for-2 following his victory in the race last year.
Todd Pletcher trainee Ostrolenka, a half-brother to stakes-placed Great
Gracie Dane,is another confirmed runner for the John Morrissey. The bay colt will be up against Weekend Hideaway again having finished fourth in the Affirmed Success at Belmont last month.
Other notable confirmed contenders for the race are Notacatbutallama, Moonlight Song, Love That Jazz, Eye Luv Lulu, Drama King and Crackerjack Jones.
On Saturday, the Jim Dandy will be supported by a trio of graded stakes, the Grade 1, $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt, the Grade 2, $200,000 Amsterdam and the Grade 2, $250,000 Bowling Green.

On tap for the six-furlong Vanderbilt is Grade 3 Westchester winner and Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap runner-up Anchor Down for the Pletcher barn; last summer’s Amsterdam winner Holy Boss; Requite; Chublicious; and Delta Bluesman. A. P. Indian, All Star Red, Limousine Liberal, No Hiding Place and Viva Majorca are possible.

The Amsterdam for 3-year-old sprinters at 6 ½ furlongs is likely to draw back-to-back winner Maniacal for owner-trainer Wesley Ward; Gold Fever victor King Kranz; Counterforce, winner of the Bachelor this spring; New York-bred Mind Your Biscuits; Quijote and Threefivindia. Cashel Rock is questionable.
Grade 1 Manhattan hero Flintshire remains on target for the Bowling Green, at 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf, for trainer Chad Brown. Likely to take on the multiple Grade 1 winner are Grand Tito, Smooth Daddy and Twilight Eclipse.
Sunday’s live racing program will be highlighted by a pair of stakes, the Grade 3, $200,000 Shuvee Handicap and the $100,000 Caress. Stakes winners Carrumba, Curalina, Joint Return and Sweetgrass are expected for the 1 1/8-mile handicap for fillies and mares, while Innovative Idea is possible to start.
Probable for the Caress are Forest Funds, Harp N Halo, Miss Ella, Miss Matzoball, Richies Sweetheart and Unbridled Courage. Disco Barbie, Everything Lovely, Joya Real, Monster Sleeping and Rumble Doll are possible.
Week 2 of the summer meet will wrap up on Monday with the featured race for sprinting fillies on the grass, the $100,000 Coronation Cup. Ava’s Kitten, Brinkley, Coco as in Chanel, Miss Katie Mae, Quick Release, Ruby Notion and Tizanillusion are likely. Elegant Supermodel is questionable.
Source: NYRA Communications

 

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – If there were any doubt about whether Exaggerator would run in next Saturday’s Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers Stakes, it was removed after the three-time Grade 1-winning 3-year-old put in a solid five-furlong workout over Saratoga’s main track Saturday.

Exaggerator, in his only breeze since he won the Grade 1 Haskell on July 31, worked in 1:00.97, getting his final quarter in 24.17 seconds. He then galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.65. The time was less important to his connections than how the work was done.

Unlike his two breezes here in mid-July, Exaggerator showed interest in finishing and galloping out and did not need to be pushed on by the rider, which in this case was Dylan Davis.

“I wanted to see that he didn’t have his head up and that the rider wasn’t pushing on him. I didn’t see either of those things,” said Julie Clark, assistant to trainer Keith Desormeaux. “He came through there nicely, and I think if Dylan asked him to pick things up, he could have gone faster. But it’s his first time on him; he didn’t want to push him. He could have gone a lot faster than that, but he definitely didn’t need to.

“I loved his gallop-out,” Clark added. “In those previous two [workouts], he was not interested, but this time, he was.”

Exaggerator’s two subpar workouts here in July prompted his connections to ship the horse to Monmouth for the Haskell, which he won by taking advantage of a hot pace and a sloppy track.

Exaggerator, the Preakness winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up, is the likely favorite in what is shaping up to be a full Travers field. The field is limited to 14 starters, but there could be 15 horses in the box when entries are made and post positions finalized Tuesday. If that comes to fruition, Forever d’Oro would be relegated to the also-eligible list due to insufficient earnings in 2016.

Four other definite starters and one possible entrant worked Saturday: Jim Dandy Stakes winner Laoban, Curlin Stakes 1-2 finishers Connect and Gift Box, Blue Grass Stakes runner-up My Man Sam, and Florida Derby runner-up Majesto, who is possible for the Travers.

Laoban worked five furlongs in 59.74 seconds in a move that turned into a mini-race. Trainer Eric Guillot put the unraced 2-year-old Blue Xanadu several lengths in front of Laoban. Under Jose Ortiz, Laoban went in splits of 12.62 seconds and 24.16 while chasing Blue Xanadu.

Laoban, equipped with blinkers, went outside of Blue Xanadu approaching the quarter pole, drew on even terms at the three-sixteenths, and was in front by the eighth pole.

In the final sixteenth, Laoban spotted a horse from John Kimmel’s barn who was finishing up a slow workout, and he rallied inside of him to finish in front by the wire. Laoban got his last quarter in 24.11 seconds.

Laoban continued to gallop out sharply, going six furlongs in 1:12.27, seven furlongs in 1:25.11, and pulling up a mile in 1:39.85.

“I thought that work was incredible,” Guillot said. “I think that might have been his best work to date. I knew he was going to work good; he’s doing good.”

After the 8:45 a.m. renovation break, trainer Chad Brown put his trio of Travers contenders through five-furlong workouts.

Gift Box, working by himself under Javier Castellano, went in 1:02.49 and then galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.38. Castellano has yet to commit to Belmont Stakes runner-up Destin or Gift Box for the Travers.

Connect, with John Velazquez up, worked in 1:01.11 outside of Skill Not Luck. Connect galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.59.

My Man Sam went in 1:02.48 in company with Kerjillion. They galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.67.

“I broke them all off at the half-mile pole,” Brown said. “I expected the track to be very busy after the break. I felt like we had more control over what they do on the gallop-out the way we had the works set up.”

Brown said he worked Connect and My Man Sam in company because “both horses seem to work a little better with a target.”

Majesto went six furlongs in 1:15.49 under Castellano.

Trainer Gustavo Delgado was noncommittal regarding the Travers. Majesto, sixth of seven in the Curlin, is also eligible for an allowance race on Thursday, entries for which were due Sunday.

The draw for the Travers will be held Tuesday evening at the downtown restaurant Druthers. Other horses expected to enter include American Freedom, Anaximandros, Arrogate, Creator, Governor Malibu, Gun Runner, and Mohaymen.

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch

 

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Creator, the Belmont Stakes winner who finished last in the Jim Dandy in his most recent outing, completed preparations for his scheduled start in Saturday’s Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers by working a half-mile in 49.36 seconds by himself Sunday morning over Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track.

Under exercise rider Abel Flores, Creator went in relatively even quarter-mile splits of 24.59 seconds and 24.77.

The work was the third for Creator since the Jim Dandy and in all of them he seemed more energetic and willing than in his breezes prior to that race.

Trainer Steve Asmussen said he was pleased with “how comfortable he is, how good he’s moving, his energy level is excellent. How sharp of a half-mile does the Belmont winner generally work? It was really nice. I like how he’s done since the Jim Dandy.”

With the threat of rain Sunday night that could make for wet tracks Monday morning, Asmussen moved Creator’s work up a day. By doing that, he believes, Creator will be sharper come race day. Conversely, Asmussen said if the tracks are wet Monday, he may delay Gun Runner’s work until Tuesday, hoping that working closer to the race will take away some of that colt’s pent-up energy.

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“At a mile and a quarter Creator, especially off his dull Jim Dandy, needs to be as sharp as possible,” Asmussen said. “I think Gun Runner needs to settle early better than he did in the Haskell. I felt if I worked Gun Runner today he’d just be on fire next week.”

It is possible that 15 horses could be entered for the Travers, a race that is limited to 14 starters. Though Mohaymen has been re-routed to the Grade 1 King’s Bishop, the connections of Majesto and Seeking Blame have expressed interest in the race, according to Andrew Byrnes, the stakes coordinator for the New York Racing Association.

If 15 enter, Seeking Blame, fifth in the Indiana Derby last time out, would be relegated to the also-eligible list, based on having the least amount of earnings in 2016.

The 13 confirmed Travers starters, with riders, are: American Freedom (Rafael Bejarano), Anaximandros (Leonel Reyes), Arrogate (Mike Smith), Connect (John Velazquez), Creator (Irad Ortiz Jr.), Destin (Javier Castellano), Exaggerator (Kent Desormeaux), Forever d’Oro (Luis Saez), Gift Box (no rider), Governor Malibu (Joel Rosario), Gun Runner (Florent Geroux), Laoban (Jose Ortiz), and My Man Sam (Manny Franco).

Post positions for the Travers will be drawn on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Druthers, a downtown Saratoga restaurant.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Rachel Alexandra posted a series of historic victories during an audacious sophomore campaign. Steve Asmussen, who saddled her for the majority of those, is one of the winningest trainers in the history of racing. The duo were seeming no-brainers for election to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame this year despite being on one of the deepest ballots in recent memory.

However, the road to the Hall of Fame wasn’t smooth – and both responded to their challenges like champions. Asmussen has continued to achieve at a high level while weathering a series of professional and personal challenges. Meanwhile, Rachel Alexandra nearly lost her life, bouncing back from a veterinary emergency with the courage she displayed on the racetrack.

“To be able to go in with Rachel is quite special,” Asmussen said. “She’s amazing and then some. She’s indescribable is what she is.”

Asmussen is a two-time Eclipse Award winner, earning those accolades as his Hall of Famers Curlin and Rachel Alexandra, both campaigned in majority by the late Jess Jackson and wife Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Farm, were consecutive Horse of the Year honorees. Asmussen saddled Curlin, who retired as North America’s leading money winner, to win eight Grade 1 events, including the Preakness, Breeders’ Cup Classic, Dubai World Cup, and two editions of the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

That set the table for the tremendously popular Rachel Alexandra, who lit the world on fire by winning the Kentucky Oaks by 20 1/4 lengths under a hand ride from Hall of Famer Calvin Borel. The Medaglia d’Oro filly was subsequently purchased by Jackson from owner-breeder Dolphus Morrison and transferred from trainer Hal Wiggins to Asmussen. Her take-no-prisoners season continued less than two weeks after the purchase when she defeated Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird in the Preakness, becoming the first filly since 1924 to win the classic.

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Rachel Alexandra decimated her own division again in the Mother Goose Stakes, winning by 19 1/4 lengths in another hand ride, then defeated eventual champion Summer Bird by six lengths in the Haskell Invitational. Jackson elected to conclude her season against older males in the Woodward Stakes. Pressured throughout while on the lead, she held on for a game head victory, “raising the rafters” at Saratoga, according to Tom Durkin’s call, and becoming the first female to win the Woodward. Her 8-for-8 campaign earned her Horse of the Year honors over Zenyatta.

Rachel Alexandra, who also was a graded stakes winner at ages 2 and 4, retired following the 2010 season with a record of 19-13-5-0 and earnings of $3,506,730.

“She set standards and records that no filly before her ever achieved,” Jackson said at the time of her retirement. “And I suspect it will be quite a while before a 3-year-old filly ever equals or surpasses her achievements. Although her fans were thrilled by a series of spectacular victories, I believe they, as we, were simply awed time and again by her sheer beauty, courage, and athleticism.”

Before his death in early 2011 following a long battle with cancer, Jackson had planned the mating of Curlin and Rachel Alexandra; the resulting colt, delivered in January 2012, was thus christened Jess’s Dream. Rachel Alexandra delivered her second foal, a Bernardini filly with a heart-shaped marking on her forehead, during Valentine’s Day week in 2013, prompting the name Rachel’s Valentina.

But the day after delivering the filly, the mare began to exhibit signs of distress and was rushed to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. She underwent surgery to repair a life-threatening injury to her small colon suffered during the delivery, battled a bacterial infection, and overcame other complications, including an internal abscess. The mare remained at the clinic for more than six weeks before returning home to Stonestreet. Throughout her ordeal, Rood and Riddle issued regular updates on her condition, with one noting that her attending veterinarians were “inspired by her strength.” Banke said the mare is unlikely to be bred again as a precaution.

The recently retired Rachel’s Valentina went on to become a Grade 1 winner at Saratoga and contested the Kentucky Oaks shortly after this year’s Hall of Fame announcement, making it a heady spring for Stonestreet.

“It’s a very exciting time for us,” Banke said. “Obviously, she is out of a mare very dear to my heart.

“It’s also special to me how excited and engaged race fans have been about following Rachel Alexandra.”

Classic winners Rachel Alexandra and Curlin have highlighted a career in which Asmussen has climbed to second in North American history with 7,379 wins and fourth in earnings with $244,994,807 through Tuesday. He saddled Creator to win this year’s Belmont Stakes and has won two editions of the Kentucky Oaks, with Summerly (2005) and the champion Untapable (2014), the latter also winning the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Asmussen’s other Breeders’ Cup victories came in the 2011 Juvenile Fillies with the champion My Miss Aurelia, the 2012 Dirt Mile with Tapizar, and the 2011 Turf Sprint with Regally Ready. He has led the nation in wins nine times and earnings thrice, ranking in the top 10 in both categories every year since 2000.

Asmussen was a finalist for the Hall of Fame in 2014, the year Curlin was inducted. But that March, a bombshell dropped as the animal-rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, based on video obtained by one of its employees who worked undercover in the Asmussen barn, filed complaints about the trainer alleging animal abuse, misuse of drugs, and fraud related to stable employees. The New York State Gaming Commission and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission launched investigations into the allegations, and the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame decided to table the trainer’s nomination, removing him from the ballot.

Asmussen was cleared by the Kentucky commission in January 2015, with the commission stating that the allegations “had neither a factual or scientific basis.” The New York commission took even longer before declaring last November that the most serious allegations were “unfounded.” And thus Asmussen, who was kept out of Hall of Fame consideration while the process was pending, was declared eligible for the ballot this year and was promptly voted in alongside his greatest filly.

The PETA upheaval wasn’t the only turmoil the Asmussen family has faced in recent years as Julie, the trainer’s wife of two decades with whom he has three sons, was diagnosed with neck and throat cancer last September. Asmussen prioritized staying by her side as Gun Runner and Creator targeted the spring classics, entrusting the majority of their care to assistants Scott Blasi and Darren Fleming. In March, after months of radiation, chemotherapy, and therapy, Julie Asmussen’s scans were clear.

And thus the Hall of Fame induction becomes even more of a celebration for Asmussen, who is a family man with deep connections to the industry.

“It’s a great celebration of family and friends,” Asmussen said. “I’m an extension of [my parents], and this is their accomplishment as well. I think what is beautiful about it is it is such a shared thing with the barn and with everyone who is involved in it.

“To to be able to celebrate and share that with your family means everything. Everything,” he said. “Racing for me is a family affair. I grew up in my parents’ barn, and they’re still a huge part of it.”

Asmussen has earned a reputation for developing difficult horses – particularly the famously talented but high-strung offspring of the Winchell family and Gainesway Farm’s supersire Tapit, such as Untapable and Creator. The Winchells have been loyal Asmussen clients for more than two decades; Tapit was, in fact, broken by his father, Keith, in Texas, as was Untapable.

“Very proud of her being a Winchell homebred and getting early training at my parents’ place,” Asmussen said.

Creator was the first horse WinStar Farm sent to Asmussen, with its president, Elliott Walden, a former trainer, complimenting Asmussen’s horsemanship.

“Steve’s done extremely well with some Tapits. They can be a little difficult,” Walden said. “I know Steve loves me saying this because he wants to train every Tapit in the world. He did extremely well with Untapable. [Creator] was a little fiery as a 2-year-old.”

Untapable spent the past two summers in the stall once occupied by Rachel Alexandra at the Asmussen shed row at Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track. She recently left the barn for retirement, but don’t think things have gotten any less busy around the stable. There will be a pause between training hours and afternoon racing to celebrate and reflect Friday, but then it’s right back to work for Asmussen, who describes himself as not “even halfway done” with his career.

“If you’re in racing, you’re a dreamer,” he said. “If you’re going to chose to do this every day, you’re a dreamer.”

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National Museum of Racing announces 2016 contemporary Hall of Fame inductees

Champion racehorses Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta, multiple Eclipse Award-winning jockey Ramon Dominguez and multiple Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen have been elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in the contemporary category. The electees will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Friday, Aug. 12 at 10:30 a.m. at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion.

Rachel Alexandra (Medaglia d’Oro—Lotta Kim, by Roar) was named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Filly in 2009 and posted a career record of 13-5-0 from 19 starts and earned $3,506,730. Bred in Kentucky by original owner Dolphus Morrison, Rachel Alexandra was trained by Hal Wiggins until a private sale to Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stables and Harold McCormick following her 20¼-length victory in the 2009 Kentucky Oaks. From then on, she was trained by fellow 2016 Hall of Fame inductee Asmussen. After being ridden by Brian Hernandez early in her career, Rachel Alexandra was piloted by Hall of Famer Calvin Borel for her final 14 career starts.

As a 2-year-old in 2008, Rachel Alexandra broke her maiden in her second career start at Churchill Downs, added an allowance win at Keeneland and returned to Churchill to conclude her season with a win in the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes (setting a stakes record) in her first pairing with Borel. She posted a record of 3-2-0 from six starts and earnings of $201,440 as a juvenile.

As a 3-year-old in 2009, Rachel Alexandra delivered a perfect record in eight starts. She won at seven different tracks that year, starting with a victory in the Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park. She then won the Fair Grounds Oaks and Fantasy Stakes prior to her 20¼-length win in the Kentucky Oaks. Asmussen and her new ownership then entered Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness, in which she became the first filly to win the second jewel of the Triple Crown since 1924 when she defeated Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. Rachel Alexandra then romped by 19¼ lengths in the Mother Goose, defeated Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird in the Haskell Invitational by six lengths and topped older males in a dramatic Woodward victory at Saratoga to conclude her undefeated campaign. Her sophomore ledger was 8-0-0 from eight starts with earnings of $2,746,914. She was named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Filly.

Rachel Alexandra returned as a 4-year-old in 2010 and finished second in her first two starts, the New Orleans Ladies Stakes and the La Troienne. She then won the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap and the Lady’s Secret Stakes before finishing second in the Personal Ensign, her final career start. She finished the season with a record of 2-3-0 from five starts and earnings of $558,376.

Zenyatta (Street Cry—Vertigineux, by Kris S.), who posted a career mark of 19-1-0 from 20 starts and earnings of $7,304,580, was named Horse of the Year in 2010 and won a total of four Eclipse Awards in her career. Bred in Kentucky by Maverick Production, Ltd., Zenyatta was a $60,000 purchase by Jerry and Ann Moss at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sales. Trained throughout her career by John Shirreffs and ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith in 17 of her 20 starts, Zenyatta was named Champion Older Female in 2008, 2009 and 2010 along with her 2010 Horse of the Year honor.

Zenyatta arrived at the races late in 2007 as a 3-year-old, winning both of her starts at Hollywood Park. From that point on, she competed exclusively in graded stakes events, winning 17 consecutive such races to run her record to wins 19 without a defeat. At 4, Zenyatta won the El Encino Stakes, Apple Blossom Handicap, Milady Handicap, Vanity Handicap, Clement L. Hirsch Handicap, Lady’s Secret Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic. She finished the season with a record of 7-0-0 from seven starts and earnings of $2,090,580, winning the first of three consecutive Eclipse Awards as Champion Older Female.

In 2009, at age 5, Zenyatta repeated in the Milady, Hirsch and Lady’s Secret and defeated the likes of Gio Ponti, Summer Bird, Twice Over and Colonel John to become the first filly or mare to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic and earn her second straight Eclipse for Champion Older Female with a record of 5-0-0 from five starts and earnings of $3,330,000.

As a 6-year-old in 2010, Zenyatta won the Santa Margarita Invitational, her second Apple Blossom, and third Vanity, Hirsch and Lady’s Secret. She was undefeated in 19 career races before suffering her lone defeat to Blame in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in what was her final career start. With a record of 5-1-0 from six starts and earnings of $1,830,000, she was named Horse of the Year and earned her third consecutive Champion Older Female award. Overall, Zenyatta won a total of 17 graded stakes, including 13 Grade 1s.

Dominguez, 39, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, won 4,985 races (23 percent) and $191,620,277 in his career and won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He led all North American riders in earnings each of those years, setting a record of $25,639,432 in 2012. Dominguez led all jockeys in wins in 2001 and 2003 and was second in wins on seven other occasions. He won a total of 20 individual meet riding titles on the New York Racing Association circuit, including a record 68 wins at Saratoga in 2012.

The overall leading rider in New York in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, Dominguez won a total of 44 Grade 1 races in his career, including 25 from 2010 through 2012. He won three Breeders’ Cup races: the 2004 Turf (Better Talk Now), 2011 Juvenile (Hansen) and 2012 Turf (Little Mike). Dominguez was the regular rider of 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace and his other top mounts included champions Gio Ponti and Hansen, as well as Alpha, Stay Thirsty, Fabulous Strike, Eight Belles, Better Talk Now, Haynesfield and Bluegrass Cat. Dominguez won multiple editions of the Man o’ War, Manhattan Handicap, Beldame, Remsen and Arlington Million, as well as single runnings of the Travers, Sword Dancer, Wood Memorial, Hollywood Derby, Suburban Handicap, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Apple Blossom and Woodward, among others.

Prior to settling in New York, Dominguez was the leading rider at Delaware Park from 2004 through 2007 and won multiple meet titles at Laurel Park and Pimlico in Maryland. He won a total of 160 graded stakes and currently ranks 17th all time in earnings and 32nd in wins.

Asmussen, 50, a native of Gettysburg, S.D., ranks second all time in career wins (7,286 through April 21) and fourth in earnings ($241,026,551) in a training career that began in 1986 after a brief stint as a jockey. The Eclipse Award winner for Outstanding Trainer in 2008 and 2009, Asmussen has led all North American trainers in wins nine times and earnings three times. He has ranked in the top 10 in both wins and earnings every year since 2000. In 2004, Asmussen won 555 races to surpass the single-year record of 496 that had been held by Jack Van Berg since 1976. Asmussen broke his own record in 2008 with 621 wins and topped it once again with 650 wins in 2009.

Asmussen trained Curlin to Horse of the Year honors in 2007 and 2008 and Rachel Alexandra to the Horse of the Year title in 2009. With Curlin, Asmussen won the Preakness, Breeders’ Cup Classic, Dubai World Cup, Woodward, Stephen Foster, Arkansas Derby, Rebel and two editions of the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He won a third Jockey Club Gold Cup with Haynesfield. Asmussen’s key wins with Rachel Alexandra included the Preakness, Woodward, Haskell Invitational and Mother Goose. Asmussen has also trained the champions Kodiak Kowboy, My Miss Aurelia and Untapable.

Asmussen has five Breeders’ Cup victories: the 2007 Classic (Curlin), 2011 Turf Sprint (Regally Ready), 2011 Juvenile Fillies (My Miss Aurelia), 2012 Dirt Mile (Tapizar) and 2014 Distaff (Untapable). Other major wins include multiple editions of the Kentucky Oaks, Saratoga Special, Mother Goose, Woody Stephens, Woodward, Dwyer, Alfred G. Vanderbilt, Cotillion, Frizette and Schuylerville, as well as single runnings of the Spinaway, Futurity, Cigar Mile, Vosburgh, Ballerina, Test, Apple Blossom and Pimlico Special, among others.

Asmussen earned his record 17th leading trainer title at Churchill Downs in the 2015 fall meeting. He has won 13 training titles at Fair Grounds, 11 at Remington Park, 11 at Lone Star Park, eight at Sam Houston and six at Oaklawn Park. He was the first trainer to surpass 1,000 wins at Lone Star. Asmussen has won a total of 190 graded stakes. He has two prospects for this year’s Kentucky Derby in Gun Runner (winner of the Louisiana Derby) and Creator (winner of the Arkansas Derby).

The contemporary electees were chosen from a nationwide voting panel comprised of 188 racing writers, broadcasters, industry officials and historians from a group of 10 finalists selected by the Hall of Fame’s 16-member Nominating Committee.

 

 

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Racing officials continued to clash on the need for federal legislation that would seek to nationalize the sport’s medication policies during a panel Tuesday morning at a conference in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., underlining the persistence of an issue that has polarized large racing constituencies for several years.

The subject at the center of the debate Tuesday at the annual Equine, Racing, and Gaming Law Conference was federal legislation that would appoint a private, non-profit company, the United States Anti-Doping Agency, as the overseer of racing’s medication and drug-testing policies. The kernel of the legislation, which has been introduced to the House but has not been scheduled for a hearing, has been a topic of controversy for nearly five years, creating seemingly unbridgeable fissures in the racing industry.

Two of the officials on the Tuesday panel have been at the forefront of the controversy since it erupted, but the two other panelists have only recently emerged as front-line advocates. Those newcomers – Joe De Francis, the former Maryland racing executive who is now the head of a racing committee of the United States Humane Society, and Joe Gorajec, the former head of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission – both outlined their own arguments for support of the legislation, drawing rebukes from the other panelists.

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De Francis, whose family owned Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park, said that racing needed to demonstrate a much stronger response to medication use because of the rapidly changing shift in attitudes regarding animal-welfare issues, even if perceptions of widespread cheating in racing “may be fair, or they may be unfair.” He said that the best way to demonstrate that commitment would be to support the federal legislation.

“We are in the middle of an absolute revolution in public attitudes about the welfare of animals,” De Francis said, citing recent policy changes at marine parks and circuses. While acknowledging that racing states have made progress in recent years in adopting stricter rules and tougher penalties, he also said that without passage of the federal legislation, the racing industry “is headed into a downward spiral in which there will be no recovery.”

Earlier this year, the U.S. Humane Society announced the launch of the advisory council headed by De Francis, stating that it intended to make lobbying for the legislation a major focus of its public-policy pushes. Gorajec, who was fired by the Indiana racing commission last year after he refused to step down amid complaints about his aggressive pursuit of medication violations, was named as a member of the advisory council at the time it was launched.

Gorajec on Tuesday was critical of the ongoing state-by-state effort to adopt a set of uniform rules, stating that the problem with the effort was not in what it was pursuing, but rather what it was not. He said the effort falls short, for example, by failing to press for the much wider use of out-of-competition testing, which is considered the best method to catch cheaters using sophisticated, hard-to-detect designer substances. And like, De Francis, he said racing’s biggest problem was public perception, citing the results of a survey last year conducted by Daily Racing Form in which two-thirds of the respondents said they did not believe that states were doing an effective job catching cheaters.

“Simply stated, our fans don’t trust the integrity of our product,” Gorajec said.

Alan Foreman, the chief executive officer of the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, countered that the federal bill likely violates provisions in the Constitution that prohibits the delegation of regulatory powers to a private company, a legal argument that has been increasingly vocalized by opponents of the legislation in the last several months. Foreman also defended the state-by-state effort that he has aggressively pushed in the Mid-Atlantic region, stating that it has resulted in meaningful progress throughout the industry.

“Do we need the federal government or a private authority do what we do as an industry better than we have ever done before?” Foreman said.

Like Foreman, Ed Martin, the president of the American Association of Racing Commissioners International, an umbrella group for state racing commissions which recommends model rules to its members, defended the current state-by-state approach, including the RCI’s efforts to expand out-of-competition testing. Martin also continued to criticize supporters of the federal legislation for mischaracterizing the extent of the use of illegal medications in racing, citing the use of the term “doping” by some supporters when referring to furosemide use.

“Everyone at this table is well-meaning,” Martin said. “Everyone at this table loves this sport. But this sport is killing itself. It’s killing itself with a political divide.”

******************

OUR CONGRATS

TO BELMONT STAKES 2016 WINNER

CREATOR!

=

CREATOR WINS THE BELMONT STAKES!

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There was no Triple Crown winner this year due to different horses taking the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but the 1 1/2-mile Test of the Champion is always worth a watch and that was no different on Saturday. Creator, the winner of the Arkansas Derby, came from behind to win the race by a nose, the fourth nose finish in the race’s history.

Creator narrowly beat out Destin for the win, as close as can be. Destin was considered an early front-runner and chased Gettysburg for most of the race before taking the lead down the stretch. But Creator stalked him down for the victory.

The top three was Creator, Destin and Lani. Through much of the pre-race buildup, Lani was considered one of the biggest challengers for Exaggerator, the favorite for much of the pre-race buildup. But while Exaggerator kept with the pace for much of the race, the horse couldn’t finish and was soon passed by the top finishers, and eventually most of the pack.

Gettysburg threw a wrench into the odds when he was entered into the race. A late entrant, Gettysburg became the new pace setter and was just that, taking an early lead in the race before fading late. Gettysburg is owned by WinStar Frams, same as Creator. Many felt that it was a strategy move to put Gettysburg in to set the pace for Creator, a notable closer who did just that: closed, and he did it well.

The hype this year was obviously a lot less than 2015, when American Pharoah entered the Belmont with a chance at a Triple Crown on the line. American Pharoah did eventually win the Belmont to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed did it in 1978. But after Nyquist took home the win in the Kentucky Derby this year, Exaggerator played spoiler by taking the Preakness Stakes.

We were denied the all-important rubber match when Nyquist was pulled from this year’s race due to a fever and a high white blood cell count. Exaggerator was then considered the prohibitive favorite in the race and held that through the pre-race buildup and into race day. Cherry Wine, Suddenbreakingnews and others moved up and down the odds, but Exaggerator held firm up top.

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OUR CONGRATS TO EXAGGERATOR!

WINNER OF THE PREAKNESS!

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Updated on 05/24/2016 5:24PM
Exaggerator finally beats Nyquist,

wins Preakness
By Jay Privman

BALTIMORE – On a cold, rainy, dreary afternoon, the wattage from the smiles of those connected to Exaggerator could have lit up the town, from the Inner Harbor to Camden Yards, to Fells Point, and all the way to Pimlico Race Course.

Exaggerator had given futile chase to Nyquist at Santa Anita, Keeneland, and just two weeks ago in the Kentucky Derby when finishing second, but on Saturday, in his fifth try, he had finally, memorably prevailed in the 141st Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown.

In Charm City, the fifth time was the charm.

“This is the only time when we’re part of the mainstream media,” said Keith Desormeaux, Exaggerator’s trainer. “It’s an American classic for a reason. To finally get to win one, it’s kind of hard to describe. What I’m feeling now is awesome confirmation of a lifetime of dedicating myself to finding and getting the best out of a horse.”

 

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Desormeaux won the race in concert with his brother, jockey Kent Desormeaux, who gave Exaggerator a flawless ride. He won it with the backing of Matt Bryan, who races as Big Chief Racing and has given Keith Desormeaux the financial wherewithal to pick out more-expensive yearlings. Desormeaux’s girlfriend, Julie Clark, works tirelessly as his assistant trainer. This was a victory for perseverance.

It was Exaggerator who persevered most of all. This was his 11th lifetime start and his fifth start of the year. He has raced in California, New York, Louisiana, Kentucky and now Maryland and has fired almost every time, with five wins and nine finishes in the money. But until Saturday, he had never defeated Nyquist. By winning the Preakness, Exaggerator sent Nyquist to his first defeat and allowed American Pharoah – who swept the Triple Crown last year – to retain his title as the only horse to have won the Triple Crown since 1978.

Exaggerator has a powerful late kick, but he moved to the leaders on his own, then turned on the jets down the lane and won by 3 1/2 lengths. Cherry Wine, 10th early in the 11-horse field, closed stoutly to nose out Nyquist for second. Stradivari was another half-length back in fourth, then came Lani, Laoban, Uncle Lino, Fellowship, Awesome Speed, Collected, and Abiding Star.

Uncle Lino was taken by van from the track with inflammation in his left front tendon, but he was “bearing weight on all four limbs,” according to Dr. Keith Latson, the on-call veterinarian for the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

Exaggerator, the second choice at 5-2 to Nyquist’s 3-5, paid $7.20 for a $2 win ticket. He completed 1 3/16 miles on sloppy, sealed track in 1:58.31.

“The most important thing is his ability to recover from his efforts. And he recovered from the Derby quickly,” said Keith Desormeaux, who said Kent’s first comment to him when he got back to the winner’s circle was, “Keith, he’s cooled out already.”

“Most horses that run that effort, they’re sweating, bug-eyed,” Keith Desormeaux said. “He was totally calm.”

The race, and the weather, were in Exaggerator’s favor. It rained much of the day, producing a surface similar to what Exaggerator thrived over when winning the Santa Anita Derby on April 9. And then the race unfolded at a scalding pace that left Nyquist vulnerable.

Nyquist was sent hard from the gate to outrun Uncle Lino to his inside and Awesome Speed to his outside, but he and Uncle Lino sped the opening quarter in 22.38 seconds – the fastest opening quarter-mile in the race’s history – and Nyquist was in front after a half in 46.56 seconds and six furlongs in 1:11.97. He was slowing down, and the others were gaining, most notably Exaggerator, who had saved ground from the start and was ready to pounce.

 

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“I had an absolute dream ride,” Kent Desormeaux said. “I was able to inch forward and gain on the leaders slowly and quietly. From the three-eighths to the quarter, I was slowing him down, waiting. He felt like King Kong. When I pitched him out, he exploded.”

Up in the stands, Keith Desormeaux admitted he was initially worried when Kent chose an early path along the rail that other riders ignored, but Kent – whose first taste of the success that brought him to the Hall of Fame began in Maryland – said his familiarity with the track was beneficial.

“Welcome to my house!” he bellowed at the post-race press conference.

“That’s why he’s in the Hall of Fame – those kinds of decisions,” said Keith Desormeaux, who also started his career in Maryland as an exercise rider before advancing to training.

Nyquist ran well in defeat, but the early pace and relentless charge from Exaggerator proved hurdles too high to overcome.

“He still ran a great race,” said his trainer, Doug O’Neill, who won his only Preakness in 2012 with his Derby winner of that year, I’ll Have Another.

Kent Desormeaux was winning the Preakness for the third time, but this was Keith’s first in a classic race. Their relationship is a complicated one, and they failed to toe the sentimentality line after the race.

“Brotherly love – is that different from any other kind of love?” Keith Desormeaux said. “When you have that love, you don’t need to show it outwardly.”

“I looked at him, he looked at me, and I got a fist pump. That was it,” Kent Desormeaux said.

Exaggerator is a son of Curlin, who won the Preakness in 2007 after finishing third in the Derby. Exaggerator earned $900,000 from the gross purse of $1.5 million to bring his career total to just shy of $3 million.

Matt Bryan and Ron Ortowski – who races as Rocker O Ranch – were the original partners in Exaggerator. Head of Plains Partners, run by Sol Kumin, bought in before the Santa Anita Derby. After the Santa Anita Derby, WinStar Farm acquired the breeding rights to Exaggerator. As with the Desormeaux brothers, their belief in Exaggerator was rewarded on Saturday.

Keith Desormeaux immediately committed to the third leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, on June 11 in New York. O’Neill said “maybe we’ll try again” in the Belmont with Nyquist but was not as emphatic as Desormeaux.

The score is still 4-1 in favor of Nyquist, but in the Triple Crown, they’re all tied up. And that’s no exaggeration.

SEE JERRY’S TOP PICKS BELOW…

CONGRATS TO TEAM

GO MAGGIE GO!

WINNER OF

THE BLACK-EYED SUSAN

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BALTIMORE – Trainer Dale Romans has been in a bit of pain the last two weeks, the result of injuries suffered in a car accident the night of the Kentucky Derby.
Michael Amoruso
Go Maggie Go tops a one-two finish in the Black-Eyed Susan for trainer Dale Romans. Longshot Ma Can Do It finished second to her stablemate.
The pain was nothing that a Black-Eyed Susan win couldn’t cure.

Rebounding from a troubled-trip fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks two weeks ago, Go Maggie Go broke sharply Friday, sparred on the lead with Kinsley Kisses, then drew away from that rival to win the Grade 2, $250,000 Black Eyed Susan by 2 1/2 lengths.

Making it even better for Romans was his other filly in the race, Ma Can Do It, a 50-1 longshot, got up for second by a head over Kinsley Kisses. She was followed, in order, by Dothraki Queen, Mom’s On Strike, Land Over Sea, She’s a Warrior, Downdraft, Flora Dora, Midnight On Oconee, A P Majetstic, and Double Entendre. In the Navy Now and CCed were scratched.

It was the second straight year Romans won the Black-Eyed Susan. Last year, he won it with 15-1 Keen Pauline.
Go Maggie Go has accomplished a lot in 10 weeks. Three weeks after winning a maiden race on March 13, she won the Grade 2 Gulfstream Oaks. In the Kentucky Oaks, she broke slowly, was seventh early, and made a good run to be fourth, beaten a head and neck for second.

“This is a special filly,” Romans said. “This is something special and she’s just going to get better. The plan was to break sharp. I didn’t know she’d go right to the lead. She broke so awkwardly at the Oaks.

In the Black-Eyed Susan, Go Maggie Go broke better under Luis Saez and found herself on the lead entering the first turn. She basically dueled inside of Kinsley Kisses through a quarter in 23.49 seconds, a half-mile in 48.83, and six furlongs in 1:13.54.

Turning for home, Go Maggie Go spurted away from Kinsley Kisses, and though she drifted out in the stretch, she was well clear.

Go Maggie Go, a daughter of Ghostzapper owned and bred by Mike Tarp, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.13 and returned $5.60 as the second choice.

“In the Oaks we got bothered a little bit,” Saez said. “Today she broke good and she was right there. I know when we came to the half-mile I had a little pressure outside, but I know I had horse. When we came to the stretch I just asked her and she kept going.”

Romans said that Tarp, an owner who has been with him for 15 years, “is one of the best guys in Thoroughbred racing.”

“He’s had a little bout with illness,” Romans said. “I’m sure this will help him feel better.”

It certainly made Romans feel better. He suffered injured ribs in a serious car accident on May 7, and several of his passenger suffered more serious injuries.

“I wasn’t doing good then, I wasn’t doing good about an hour ago – I was having a lot pain,” Romans said. “And for some reason it went away.”

Romans will try to go for the Black-Eyed Susan-Preakness double on Saturday when he sends out longshot Cherry Wine against Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist.

Nyquist is trained by Doug O’Neill, who on Friday sent out Land Over Sea as the Black-Eyed Susan favorite. Land Over Sea was steadied by Mario Gutierrez into the first turn and never recovered, finishing sixth.

“Rough trip,” O’Neill said. “Thank God it looks like her and Mario came back in one piece. That’s all we can ask for. Tomorrow’s a big day.”

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The 92nd running of the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes is set to take place on Friday, a prelude to Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, and it features a full, 14-filly field. The field will be highlighted by a pair of 3-year-olds who finished second and fourth, respectively, at the Kentucky Oaks two weeks ago in Land Over Sea and Go Maggie Go.

Post time from Pimlico is set for 4:50 p.m. ET, and the action can be seen on TV starting from 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN as part of the day’s 14-race schedule. Streaming is available via NBC Sports Live Extra.

Land Over Sea (2-1 odds) and Go Maggie Go (5-2) will enter as two favorites for the mile-and-an-eighth contest, with each doing so on short rest after the Kentucky Oaks. Land Over Sea rallied from the middle of the pack at the Oaks for a late-charging, second-place finish. She won’t have to beat out Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia on Friday or Songbird, whom she has finished second to multiple times previously.

Go Maggie Go also made a good late run at the Oaks in Louisville to finish fourth, but only a neck behind second-place Land Over Sea. She has shown previously that racing on short rest is not a problem, as she broke her maiden in March and came back just over two weeks later to win at the Gulfstream Park Oaks in Florida. Go Maggie Go is the daughter of former Breeders Cup champion Ghostzapper, so she has the pedigree to go along with her performances.

Despite not registering a win yet, She’s A Warrior (6-1) comes in with good odds to challenge on Friday as well. She’s not long removed from a nice showing in the Santa Anita Oaks, where she was beaten by the aforementioned Songbird by four lengths in a third-place finish. Kinsley Kisses (6-1) joins She’s a Warrior as the only other horse in the field with odds smaller than 15-1.

The action will begin on Friday from Pimlico at 3 p.m. on NBCSN, and you can watch the accompanying live stream via NBC Sports Live Extra. The $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes will round out the two-hour broadcast, as the fillies will post just about 10 minutes before 5.

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Jerry’s Picks!

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Black Eyed Susan
1. Go Maggie Go
2. Land Over Sea
3. She’s A Warrior

Suzee’s Picks!

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1-Dothraki Queen

(Game of Thrones Fan…Need I say more..:)

2.-She’s A Warrior

3.-Land Over Sea

***********

PREAKNESS NEWS…

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BALTIMORE – Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist’s final gallop before Saturday’s $1.5 million Preakness Stakes got a little interesting Thursday morning when one of his rivals – the Bob Baffert-trained Collected – got a little too close for comfort.

Nyquist was scheduled to gallop a strong mile Thursday, going at what is known as a two-minute clip – each eighth at approximately 15 seconds.

Nyquist was going to start at the six-furlong pole. As Nyquist was getting moving under exercise rider Jonny Garcia, Collected, under Jorge Alvarez, came up along the inside. Nyquist got a little tough, forcing Garcia to take a bit of a hold.

After a few strides, Alvarez eased Collected back and maneuvered him outside, a few paths away from Nyquist.

When Collected first came up inside Nyquist, Garcia “gave me a dirty look,” said Alvarez, who was the exercise rider for 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. “He asked me to back off. I’ve been in that situation before. We’re rivals, but you have to be a gentleman. I helped him out. I backed off, and he went on.”

Alvarez said he thought Nyquist got aggressive when Collected was in front of him, but that Nyquist got better when he let him go.

Garcia declined comment.

Coming to the top of the stretch, Garcia was seen looking behind him a couple of times to locate Collected, who was basically finishing up his gallop by the time Nyquist came into the stretch. From the quarter pole to the wire, Nyquist went in 28.91 seconds and then went another eighth of a mile in 13.80 seconds, for a three-furlong gallop in 42.71 seconds.

Trainer Doug O’Neill and owners Paul and Zillah Reddam watched the training session from the porch on the press-box level. When O’Neill was asked about Alvarez keeping Collected in close proximity, he said: “That’s okay, he can gig at him all he wants. We’ll be okay.”

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Nyquist was expected to jog on Friday. He is not expected to train Saturday morning.

A horse got loose on the track just moments after Nyquist came on following the renovation break. The loose horse never got near Nyquist, who stood at the quarter pole alongside a stable pony, and he was apprehended by the outrider. Nyquist then continued on his way, backing up to the seven-furlong pole.

Also on track following the renovation break was Cherry Wine, who visited the starting gate and then found himself galloping alongside Collected before those two caught up with Nyquist at the end of the clubhouse turn. Cherry Wine had completed his exercise before Nyquist and Collected got into their game.

– additional reporting by Jay Privman

 

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BALTIMORE – Nyquist, the Kentucky Derby winner, drew post 3 when a field of 11 was assigned their stalls Wednesday night for the 141st Preakness Stakes on Saturday at Pimlico.

Nyquist has won all eight of his starts and will be a prohibitive favorite in the Preakness. Both Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form’s national handicapper, and Keith Feustle, who makes the line at Pimlico, installed Nyquist as the odds-on favorite at 3-5. If that holds, it will mark the fourth time that Nyquist has been odds-on.

Exaggerator, who finished second in the Derby and looms as the main rival again for Nyquist, drew post 5. He is 7-2 on Watchmaker’s line and 3-1 on Feustle’s line. Both Watchmaker and Feustle have Stradivari the race’s third choice at 8-1.

There were no surprises at entry time, as the 11 earmarked as definite for the race on Tuesday were the ones entered.

From the rail out, the field lines up as follows: Cherry Wine, Uncle Lino, Nyquist, Awesome Speed, Exaggerator, Lani, Collected, Laoban, Abiding Star, Fellowship, and Stradivari.

Of the 11, only Nyquist, Exaggerator, and Lani – ninth in the Derby – ran in the first leg of the Triple Crown. The other eight entrants skipped the Derby to run here.

Of particular interest is that there are speed horses on either side of Nyquist, so it will be interesting to see if Nyquist is sent away from the gate or if jockey Mario Gutierrez elects to sit just off the leaders, as he did in the Derby.

“With his speed, post position is not as important,” said Doug O’Neill, who trains Nyquist. “It’s in Mario’s hands. We have a lot of faith in him.”

O’Neill is seeking his second Preakness win, having won it four years ago with I’ll Have Another, who also won the 2012 Derby.

By contrast, last year’s Derby-winning trainer is only a character actor this year.

As the colt Collected made his way back to the stakes barn at Pimlico on Wednesday morning, his trainer, Bob Baffert, came walking up, trailed by a media throng of exactly one, a journalist who is working on a book on Baffert. It’s a far cry from last year, when he had brought in the popular American Pharoah following a Derby win, along with Dortmund.

“Different feel?” Baffert said, responding to a question. He looked around. His media throng had doubled.

He’s not bothered by it. More like bemused. Cool, calm, and Collected. Baffert knows he’s not playing with the strongest hand this year.

“Last year, I just stepped back and watched – let’s see what you got now, boy,” he said of American Pharoah.

“Nyquist is a really good horse,” Baffert said. “Eight wins in a row. It’s like with California Chrome. After he won the Derby, people went, ‘Oh, he is for real.’ He has a winning attitude. He reminds me of Smarty Jones. Explosive. He ran a pretty fast Derby. He kept running. He was pretty impressive.”

Baffert pointed Collected to the Preakness after his victory in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 16. Collected would not have had enough points to make the 20-horse Derby field anyway, but Baffert had decided to keep him out of the Derby following a fourth-place finish in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn on Feb. 15.

Collected has won two straight since the Southwest, having captured the Sunland Festival of Racing – this year’s substitute for the Sunland Derby – prior to the Lexington.

“He’s getting better,” Baffert said. “I think campaigning him like that helped him get better. He’s been hanging on the lower branches.”

Baffert has won the Preakness six times, including with all four of his Derby winners – Silver Charm, Real Quiet, War Emblem, and American Pharoah. Those six wins – from just 17 starters – tie him for second with D. Wayne Lukas for the most Preakness wins among trainers. They trail only R.W. Walden, who won the Preakness seven times between 1875 – the third running of the Preakness – and 1888.

Baffert’s record in the Preakness with horses who skipped the Derby is not as strong. Of his 17 prior Preakness starters, only three – Senor Swinger in 2003, Govenor Charlie in 2014, and Bayern in 2014 – did not run in the Derby, and the best any of them has done is a fifth by Senor Swinger.

“I think he’ll step up,” Baffert said of Collected. “I think he’ll be very competitive. I felt like he deserved a chance, the way he ran last time. He brings it every time.”

Collected arrived here on Tuesday, as did Baffert, who on Wednesday morning was beginning to recover from a post-Derby cold that was at its worst last weekend.

Laoban also arrived on Tuesday, traveling with Collected from Kentucky. Laoban has a patch on the inside of a hoof, which trainer Eric Guillot said was needed after Laoban stepped on himself and tore off a shoe. Laoban was entered as blinkers off for the Preakness.

Uncle Lino was on a flight that began early Tuesday in California and stopped in Kentucky to pick up Collected and Laoban. Because of the length of the trip, Uncle Lino merely walked the shed row at the stakes barn Wednesday.

Nyquist and Exaggerator have been here longer than any Preakness entrants, more than a week in the case of Nyquist. He jogged two miles Wednesday with exercise rider Jonny Garcia, alongside a pony ridden by assistant Jack Sisterson.

“Very nice, papa,” Garcia said to O’Neill upon returning to the barn.

At Belmont Park, Lani was officially timed in 1:01.50 for a five-furlong work Wednesday. He was slated to be sent by van to Pimlico on Thursday.

All Preakness horses were required to be on the grounds by noon Thursday.

 

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Jerry’s Picks!

jdb1

   2016 Preakness Top Five

1-Nyquist

2-Exaggerator

3-Lani

4-Stradivari

5-Cherry Wine

This year’s Preakness is a rematch of the Derby between Nyquist and Exaggerator with the other nine horses running for third place. There will however be some differences from the race two weeks ago in Louisville. There is most certainly going to be rain so the track will likely be sloppy and the first half of the race will look a little different but the result should be the same. Since there are more front running type horses in this race, Nyquist may be in the middle of several horses rather than running clearly stalking the leader but my feeling is that his jockey Mario Gutierrez will figure a way to break free before the top of the stretch and Nyquist will again beat his competitors to the finish wire. Exaggerator will again launch his patented late run but will again fall a touch short.

Suzee’s Picks!

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1.-Nyquist

2.-Stradivari

3.-Collected

4.-Exaggerated

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CONGRATULATIONS TO TEAM NYQUIST!

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05/07/2016 10:07PM
Nyquist stays perfect

with Kentucky Derby victory
By Jay Privman

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – When it comes to winning the Kentucky Derby, trainer Doug O’Neill, owner Paul Reddam, and jockey Mario Gutierrez said they’ll have another.
Four years after teaming to win with the longshot I’ll Have Another, they won the 142nd Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs with Nyquist, who remained unbeaten after eight starts and put his name alongside Seattle Slew as the only horses to have won their divisional championship at age 2 and remained unbeaten through a victory in the Kentucky Derby.

Nyquist ($6.60), the favorite, stalked the hot early pace set by Danzing Candy, seized the lead from Gun Runner heading into the lane after Danzing Candy faded, opened a large margin at midstretch and had plenty left to hold off the late run of Exaggerator to win by 1 1/4 lengths before an announced crowd of 167,227, the second-largest crowd in Derby history.

Exaggerator never got past Nyquist on the gallop out.

 

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Gun Runner finished another 3 1/4 lengths back in third, a head in front of Mohaymen, who rallied for fourth after breaking poorly and finding himself farther back earlier than anticipated. The first four finishers were the top four betting choices in the race, and they finished in order of the bettors’ preference.

Suddenbreakingnews was fifth and was followed, in order, by Destin, Brody’s Cause, Mo Tom, Lani, Mor Spirit, My Man Sam, Tom’s Ready, Creator, Outwork, Danzing Candy, Trojan Nation, Oscar Nominated, Majesto, Whitmore, and Shagaf, who was eased a furlong from the wire but walked off under his own power.

Nyquist covered 1 1/4 miles on the fast main track in 2:01.31. There was a brief, strong storm about 90 minutes before the Derby, but it had no impact on the surface on a day where temperatures had risen into the low-80s.

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The first two finishers are both based in California at Santa Anita.

This marked the third straight Derby win for horses based in California –

following California Chrome and American Pharoah –

and the fourth win for a California-based horse in the last five years.

Nyquist thus becomes the only horse this year who can try to emulate what American Pharoah accomplished last year and sweep the Triple Crown. O’Neill, Reddam, and Gutierrez got close four years ago with I’ll Have Another, who won the Derby and Preakness but was scratched on the eve of the Belmont with a career-ending injury.

“You’ve seen what happened last year. It shows it can happen with a special horse,” O’Neill said.

Nyquist certainly is proving to be very special. He won all five of his starts last year at age 2, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and this year beat Exaggerator in the seven-furlong San Vicente at Santa Anita before sending Mohaymen to his first defeat in the Florida Derby. Nyquist has won his eight races at five different racetracks in three states.

Next up, the Preakness at Pimlico on May 21, marking track number six and state number four on the Nyquist Tour.

Reddam named Nyquist for Gustav Nyquist, a forward on the Detroit Red Wings, a National Hockey League team Reddam has been a fan of since growing up just across the river from Detroit in Windsor, Ontario.

Nyquist, a son of the red-hot first-year sire Uncle Mo, was purchased by O’Neill’s brother, Dennis, on behalf Reddam for $400,000 14 months ago in Florida at the Fasig-Tipton sale. He made his debut in June, going five furlongs at Santa Anita, and by year’s end had won four more races as well as the Eclipse Award.

After the Breeders’ Cup, those associated with Nyquist had a meeting and decided to have a sprint comeback to start the year following a break, then to go to the Florida Derby, where Nyquist was eligible for a $1 million bonus. The five-week timeline from the Florida Derby to the Kentucky Derby also had appeal, and it certainly became a factor when Nyquist had a slight case of shipping fever after first arriving at Keeneland following the Florida Derby. This gave him more time to recover.

O’Neill also trains Nyquist a lot easier than I’ll Have Another, jogging him more often than he did I’ll Have Another and working him less aggressively. That resulted in a horse that was fresh and ready for a top performance Saturday.

Nyquist broke cleanly from stall 13, was in front a furlong into the race, then Gutierrez made the first of several smart, tactical moves. First, he allowed Danzing Candy to clear him just after an opening quarter in 22.58 seconds, then he took up a stalking position through a half-mile in 45.72.

“When he was able to grab a hold and let Danzing Candy go, I said okay,” Reddam said. “When I saw 45, that was a little quicker than I liked. We were hoping for a much more moderate pace. But when he got to the far turn, I thought, I like this.”

As the field advanced to the far turn, Gun Runner was keen to go on and Gutierrez let him go, without asking Nyquist to move too soon. After six furlongs in 1:10.40, Nyquist was third, just off the leaders, ready to advance, and it looked as though Gutierrez had plenty of horse under him.

“You could see he was going to go by those two,” Reddam said, referring to Danzing Candy and Gun Runner. “Then it was a question of the stretch-runners.”

Those three pulled away from their rivals around the far turn, and just outside the quarter pole Danzing Candy dropped away, leaving Nyquist and Gun Runner up top through a mile in 1:35.61. Nyquist put away Gun Runner in upper stretch, was up by 2 1/2 lengths with a furlong to go, and went strong to the wire, showing neither the desire to drift out nor change to his incorrect lead, which he had done when the Florida Derby was put away five weeks ago.

It was a thoroughly professional performance from horse and rider, and a testament that the plan mapped out by the team had been executed to perfection by O’Neill.

:: Full list of Kentucky Derby mutuel payoffs

O’Neill, as is his wont, deferred to the team in general, but Nyquist specifically, for this Derby win.

“He’s such a special horse,” O’Neill said. “You see it in his eye on a daily basis.”

“We felt quietly confident coming in,” said Reddam, who has had O’Neill as one of his trainers for 12 years. “We were feeding off the trainer.”

O’Neill said Nyquist is “the best horse I’ve trained.”

He’s certainly the best of this crop, which he has proven over and over and over again. He’ll get a chance to add to his legacy in the Preakness, and if he does that, it’s back to the Belmont, with a chance for redemption for his connections after the I’ll Have Another setback. Improbably, it would come just one year after American Pharoah ended a 37-year Triple Crown drought, marking a chance to for the first back-to-back Triple Crowns since Seattle Slew and Affirmed in 1977 and 1978.

“He’s the real deal,” Reddam said.

 

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DRF.Com ›
05/06/2016 7:29PM
Cathryn Sophia scores impressively

in Kentucky Oaks
By Marty McGee

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – She wasn’t even supposed to be in this race.
Yet there she was on a brilliant May afternoon at Churchill Downs, a Maryland-bred filly named Cathryn Sophia dominating the 142nd Kentucky Oaks before a record crowd in a manner that another filly presumably would have done

if not for an untimely hiccup.

“It’s funny how these things work,” said John Servis, who trains Cathryn Sophia for the Cash Is King partnership based out of Philadelphia.

Before a throng of 124,589, Cathryn Sophia got a perfect trip and ride under Javier Castellano in winning the Grade 1, $1 million Oaks by 2 3/4 lengths over the late-closing Land Over Sea. Lewis Bay was another neck back in third, with Go Maggie Go another head behind in fourth in a field of 14 3-year-old fillies.

The winner paid $11.40 as the second choice after finishing 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.53 over a fast track.

Without equivocation, Servis ruled Cathryn Sophia out of the Oaks shortly after the filly incurred her first career defeat April 9 in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland. Expressing doubts about her abilities around two turns, Servis said he would instead run Cathryn Sophia in the Grade 2 Eight Belles, a seven-furlong race on the Oaks undercard.

But after Songbird – who had dominated this division in winning all seven career starts – was declared out of the Oaks on April 17 because of an untimely fever that has since subsided, Servis and Chuck Zacney of Cash Is King reconsidered their options.

Amid perfect weather, Terra Promessa set the pace after breaking sharply from the inside post, with Rachel’s Valentina, the 5-2 favorite, giving closest chase to her outside and Lewis Bay getting a perfect trip when saving ground from just behind them. In the meantime, Cathryn Sophia had settled into a beautiful tracking trip from just outside the top trio.

At the quarter pole, Lewis Bay and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. got through along the rail and appeared to have an edge, but when Castellano let Cathryn Sophia loose while widest of the four front-runners, it was all over. She had about five lengths on Lewis Bay leaving the eighth pole.

“What a filly,” said Castellano.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Nyquist is named for someone who plays in the cold, but it seems that racing has been relatively lukewarm to Nyquist.

Despite a perfect record of seven wins in seven starts, he heads into the 142nd Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs as the acknowledged favorite, but with 19 others lined up against him.

Nyquist, named for the hockey player Gustav Nyquist, has been favored in four of his seven starts, so to say he lacks respect would be hyperbole. Yet he was not favored in his two biggest victories – the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Florida Derby. And there has been a widespread perception that the Derby’s 1 1/4 miles might be beyond his range.
Nyquist is the 3-1 favorite on the morning line set by Mike Battaglia of Churchill Downs, and he’s the 7-2 favorite on the line set by Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form’s national handicapper. Both have Exaggerator the distant second choice at 8-1. Of the 25 DRF selectors, eight picked Nyquist – which would make him about 2-1 if those 25 all bet equally into a closed pool. The other 17 cast their lot elsewhere.

On speed figures, Nyquist does not stand out. His career-best Beyer Speed Figure is a 101, earned sprinting in the San Vicente Stakes. His best two-turn figure, a 94 earned in the Florida Derby, is no better than many others in here – of his 19 rivals, nine have run at least that fast in a two-turn race. But all he does is win. Nyquist is the only undefeated horse in this field, and he is the first undefeated Derby contender who also was the champion of his division at age 2 since Seattle Slew in 1977.

“Everyone has to be careful to call this a wide-open race,” cautioned trainer Todd Pletcher, who sends out Destin and Outwork. “In fairness to Nyquist, he’s undefeated, taken his show on the road, and won at multiple distances. He deserves more respect and credit than he’s getting. Based on what I’ve seen, he’s still a little underrated.”

Bob Baffert, who sends out Santa Anita Derby runner-up Mor Spirit, said Nyquist “should be the favorite.”

“He’s the most accomplished horse in the race,” Baffert said.

Nyquist’s trainer, Doug O’Neill, is seemingly quite Zen over how Nyquist is perceived.

“That’s the beauty of all sports, to knock the favorite, whether it’s a team or a horse on a roll,” O’Neill said. “A lot of these horses, you’re splittin’ hairs on talent.”

Nyquist will try to give the team of O’Neill, owners Paul and Zillah Reddam, and jockey Mario Gutierrez their second Derby victory this decade, following I’ll Have Another in 2012.

Baffert won the Derby for the fourth time last year with American Pharoah, who went on to sweep the Triple Crown. He is realistic about his chances this year. After Mor Spirit’s final work on Monday, he said he felt confident he could “hit the board.”

Pletcher is the only other trainer in the race with a Derby victory. Destin comes off a win eight weeks ago in the Tampa Bay Derby. Outwork captured the Wood Memorial. Pletcher is one of three trainers, along with Steve Asmussen and Chad Brown, who have two runners in this race.

Asmussen has the late-running Creator, the winner of the Arkansas Derby, and Gun Runner, the winner of the Louisiana Derby. Less than two weeks ago, Asmussen was voted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, and in the past two months, his wife, Julie, was pronounced cancer-free by doctors after extensive treatment for neck and throat cancer first diagnosed in September.

Brown sends out My Man Sam, the Blue Grass Stakes runner-up, and Shagaf, seeking to rebound from his first career defeat in the Wood Memorial.

Shagaf is one of two entrants owned by Shadwell Stables, which also has Mohaymen, who lost for the first time last time out in the Florida Derby. For the first three months of the year, Mohaymen was considered no worse than the second choice for the Derby and was ranked by many over Nyquist. If he gets back to that form, his win mutuel will look like a gift.

Tom Benson, the owner of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, and his wife, Gayle, also have two entrants – Louisiana Derby runner-up Tom’s Ready and Mo Tom, who had a nightmarish trip in the Louisiana Derby and figures to get significant play from trip handicappers.

Whitmore, third last time out in the Arkansas Derby, will try to give jockey Victor Espinoza an unprecedented third straight Derby win, following California Chrome in 2014 and American Pharoah.

Exaggerator, the Santa Anita Derby winner, teams up brothers Kent (jockey) and Keith (trainer) Desormeaux. Kent has won the Derby three times. This is Keith’s first Derby starter.

Dale Romans, born in Louisville and practically raised at Churchill Downs, tries to capture the race he’s long dreamed of winning with Brody’s Cause, the winner of the Blue Grass.

Danzing Candy, the likely speed of the race, will motor out of stall 20 and try to repeat his front-running victory in the San Felipe Stakes.

Suddenbreakingnews, the Arkansas Derby runner-up, will try to give jockey Luis Quinonez, 49, a Derby win in his first Derby mount.

Majesto, the Florida Derby runner-up, is the first Derby starter for trainer Gustavo Delgado, who two years after arriving in the United States after an accomplished career in his native Venezuela has become a force in south Florida.

:: Kentucky Derby Day 2016 previews, analysis, and plays

Oscar Nominated, the Spiral Stakes winner, will try to get back some of the $200,000 supplementary fee owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey had to put up to run, being as he wasn’t originally nominated to the Derby.

Trojan Nation, the Wood Memorial runner-up, is trying to win the first race of his career. No maiden has won the Derby since Brokers Tip in 1933.

Lani, the winner of the United Arab Emirates Derby, will try to become the first Japanese-raced horse to win the Derby. He needs to be watched before the race, for he has been an absolute menace going to and from the track, often displaying his studdish qualities and hollering at any horse near him. Just seeing him walk over from the stable area – passing bourbon-fueled fans on the clubhouse turn – could be an adventure.

The walkover “looks like one of those Trump rallies; it’s crazy,” Baffert said.

Both Laoban and Cherry Wine were relegated to the also-eligible list because they had the fewest points of the 22 entered, and when none of the 20 in the main body of the race were withdrawn by scratch time Friday at 9 a.m., Laoban and Cherry Wine were officially scratched from the Derby.

If 20 start, the purse will be $2,391,600, and the winner will get $1,631,600.

The Derby is the 12th race on a 14-race card, with first post scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Eastern and the last race for 8:05 p.m., more than 9 1/2 hours later. Post time for the Derby is listed as 6:34 p.m.

The Derby will be shown live on NBC during a 3 1/2-hour telecast that begins at 4 p.m. Coverage of the day’s events at Churchill Downs begins on NBCSN from noon to 4 p.m.

There are six other graded stakes races preceding the Derby, and they feature some of the best horses in the world, headed by Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Tepin in the Distaff Turf Mile (race 6) and Wavell Avenue, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, in the Humana Distaff (race 8).

The National Weather Service calls for a high of 83 degrees on Saturday, with a 20 percent chance of rain.

 

 

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05/04/2016 7:28PM
Nyquist draws post 13, favored

at 3-1 in Kentucky Derby
By Jay Privman

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Gustav Nyquist wears No. 14 for the Detroit Red Wings, but his namesake will be No. 13 on Saturday when Nyquist starts as the favorite in the 142nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Nyquist, undefeated in seven starts, landed post 13 on Wednesday night when posts were drawn in the Aristides Lounge at Churchill Downs.

Nyquist usually races on or near the lead, and much of the other anticipated speed in the race landed outside stalls. Mohaymen is right alongside Nyquist in 14, Outwork has 15, and Danzing Candy drew the far-outside post, 20.

“The most interesting thing is Danzing Candy in the 20 hole,” said Doug O’Neill, who trains Nyquist. “Is he going to send hard to try and clear? If he does, that may affect his energy late. If he doesn’t send hard, is that going to make us make the lead?

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“Prior to this, we kind of wanted to be outside all these horses,” O’Neill added. “We’re not, but still, the 13 hole is a great hole.”

Nyquist was installed as the 3-1 favorite on the morning line set by Mike Battaglia of Churchill Downs. He has Exaggerator as the distant second choice at 8-1, with Creator, Gun Runner, and Mohaymen co-third choices at 10-1.

Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form’s national handicapper, has Nyquist favored at 7-2, Exaggerator next at 8-1, and Mohaymen the third choice at 10-1.

Oftentimes trainers want to avoid inside stalls with horses who have early or tactical speed, but in this case, the first four slots went to horses who are all deep closers – Trojan Nation, Suddenbreakingnews, Creator, and Mo Tom.

Lani, the Japanese-based horse who has been a poor actor all week, landed post 8, with Oscar Nominated to his inside and Destin to his outside.

Destin and Outwork are trained by Todd Pletcher, who along with Chad Brown (My Man Sam, Shagaf) and Steve Asmussen (Creator, Gun Runner) has two runners in this year’s Derby. With his 44th and 45th Derby starters this year, Pletcher is edging ever closer to the record held by D. Wayne Lukas, under whom Pletcher apprenticed before beginning his own decorated career.

Pletcher has won a record seven Eclipse Awards as champion trainer, while Lukas has amassed four. At the Derby though, Lukas – who does not have a horse in this year’s race – owns four wins from his record 48 starters, while Pletcher has one, with Super Saver in 2010.

Pletcher’s 1-for-43 record looks ugly on the surface, but considering that he usually has multiple runners in the Derby each year, he’s actually had starters in 15 Derbies. If he wins this year, 2 for 16 wouldn’t sound all that bad. And just to get to the Derby, Pletcher’s horses have earned their way by winning significant stakes races.

To win this year, though, either Destin or Outwork will have to outrun 18 others. A total of 22 horses were entered Wednesday morning in the Derby, but since a maximum of 20 horses – based on points earned in 34 designated Derby prep races – can start, the two with the fewest points, Laoban and Cherry Wine, were placed on the also-eligible list, in that order.

In order for Laoban or Cherry Wine to get into the race, horses in the main body of the race must scratch before scratch time at 9 a.m. Eastern on Friday. Scratch time is a full day before the Derby to facilitate early betting. Laoban would be the first horse in if one horse scratches. If two horses come out by Friday, both would get in. They would occupy the outside posts in the starting gate.

If anyone in the main body of the race is withdrawn after 9 a.m. Friday, the also-eligibles are out of luck.

Laoban and Cherry Wine were ranked 23rd and 25th on the points list as of Wednesday morning but moved up the list when Fellowship (21st), Adventist (22nd), and Dazzling Gem (24th) were not entered.

Destin and Outwork safely earned their slots in the Derby through victories in important prep races. Destin defeated Outwork in the Tampa Bay Derby, and then Outwork won the Wood Memorial. They figure to be among the many horses in this race who will be midpriced runners.

Outwork, a hulking specimen who Pletcher estimates weighs nearly 1,300 pounds, has won three of his four starts. He was under a tight deadline to make the Derby, considering that he went nearly 10 months between starts before his 3-year-old debut. He has won two of his three races this year, his lone loss coming to his stablemate.

“Essentially, everything had to go perfectly for him to get to this point,” Pletcher said. “I never felt like we were rushing. Fortunately, we never had any setbacks.”

Outwork has made a positive impression all week, as has Destin, who has not raced since the Tampa Bay Derby, meaning he will come into this race off an eight-week layoff. That is uncharted waters for the Derby but not a schedule with which Pletcher is unfamiliar. Generally speaking, he prefers plenty of time between starts.

Destin has won three times in five starts and blossomed at Tampa Bay Downs, where he won the Sam F. Davis Stakes and Tampa Bay Derby in succession, earning career-best Beyer Speed Figures both times. He’s had five works since his last race March 12, four at Palm Beach Downs and then a final drill here last Friday in which he went five furlongs in 1:01.40.

“I think he’s coming up to the race as well as he can,” Pletcher said. “I liked his breeze here.”

The Derby will be televised live by NBC in a three-hour-plus telecast beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern on Saturday. The day’s coverage begins at noon on NBCSN with a four-hour telecast.

The Weather Channel is calling for warming temperatures as Derby Week progresses, with a high of 85 on Saturday after highs of 65 on Thursday and 73 on Friday.

– additional reporting by David Grening

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Jerry’s  Top Picks!

jdb1

THE DERBY

1. Nyquist

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 6.16.44 PMThis undefeated son of Uncle Mo has distance limitations on paper but he just keeps on winning. Still undefeated and winner of the Florida Derby in his last start, he has yet to run fast enough in any of his wins to make him the overwhelming favorite but most of his competitors are on the slow side as well. His ratability displayed in the Breeders Cup Juvenile last fall leads me to believe that he may indeed be able to negotiate the mile and a quarter of the Derby and also on his side is the fact that his connections teamed up to win the Derby and Preakness in 2012 with I’ll Have Another.

In the FL Derby he averaged 35.6 mph during

the final furlong vs Exaggerator’s 34 mph.even though exag looked like the faster finisher

2. Brody’s Cause

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This is a small leap of faith ranking him this high but I think he is five lengths better than his win in the Bluegrass showed. He was third in the BC Juvenile last fall and didn’t race again until March 12 in the Tampa Derby where he totally flopped running eighth and got basically nothing out of the race so the Bluegrass could be considered his only start in 2016. He seems to have tremendous acceleration through the middle of his races, which will help him get through traffic in the Derby. He also beat Exaggerator last fall in the Breeders Futurity, and he is a proven winner over the Churchill surface. His last work at Churchill Downs was pretty good so he seems to be holding his form.

                      

3. Mor Spirit

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The beaten favorite in the sloppy Santa Anita Derby but he seemed to struggle over the surface so I will forgive him on that one because of the track. Yes he did run a good second last fall on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs but the two surfaces are very different. He was also too close to a torrid pace up front and my guess is that his jockey Gary Stevens will take a lesson from that and adjust accordingly in Kentucky. This son of Eskendereya has a huge stride and seems well suited to the Derby distance and we all know how good trainer Bob Baffert is on the first Saturday in May. My one concern is how poorly he finished in his next to last Derby workout at Churchill Downs last week.

 

4. Danzing Candy

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Okay so he fizzled in the Santa Anita Derby, but I am willing to forgive that one because no horse can run those fractions and win. I give him a chance at Churchill because I think without as much confirmed early speed to force Mike Smith into suicidal fractions, this colt will run more like the San Felipe where he went fairly quick the first half mile but then got enough of a breather through the third quarter mile that he had plenty of gas left for the finish. He will be on the lead but the only other truly speed oriented competitors are Nyquist and Outwork with both of those wanting to rate in a stalking position.

  

5.  Mohaymen  

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  1. . Based upon what he accomplished earlier this spring and his recent works at Churchill Downs since arriving from Florida, he rounds out the top ten. He was the Derby favorite until he fell victim to Nyquist(and others) in the Florida Derby, which in itself wasn’t such a shocker , but the fact he finished fourth beaten over eight lengths was. He is training well here at Churchill Downs and I do think he will bounce back from that dull effort, but not enough to win.

6. Creator

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I have a hard time choosing between the closers, but since this fellow has better mid race acceleration which allows his jockey to take advantage of holes that open and closed quickly, I went with him. His trainer Asmussen was just elected into the Hall of Fame and this horse is really improving at the right time. I’m not real excited about any closers this year because I don’t think the pace will be that fast but this is the one I landed on.

 

7. Exaggerator

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Just when I decided he has distance limitations, he jumps up and finishes the last half mile in the Santa Anita Derby like a champion. Before that he has never been able to finish off his competition in major stakes…he runs right up to them as if he will win easily then stops his momentum, but not so in the Santa Anita Derby. The question is why the sudden transformation. The answer could be that the pace was torrid, or it could be that he seems to excel on wet tracks but it could also be that the Desormeaux brothers (Kent the jockey and Keith the trainer) have figured out what strategy to use so that this this horse runs his best, and that strategy would be to take him way back in the pack early and don’t make a move until late in the race. Then only question that remains is whether or not he can repeat this race. Was this performance because he had a meltdown pace in front of him and he is exceptional on a wet track. Also the question remains…Did he run the best race of his life four weeks too soon? I think he did and for that reason I moved him down the list.

 

8. Outwork 

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Because his latest win in the Wood Memorial was so slow I was tempted to move him out of the top ten but his work at Churchill Downs was so impressive to many that I left him here. Also he will get the perfect stalking trip for jockey John Velazquez and trainer Todd Pletcher, who each have won one Derby albeit not together. Another question, will he be as effective at a mile and a quarter.

9. SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS

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This son of Mineshaft is a dead closer and without the typical hot Derby pace expected, his job will be much harder, but he never runs a bad race. He has trained as good as any horse over the Churchill Downs surface since arriving from Arkansas.

10.MY MAN SAM

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This son of Trappe Shot(grandson of Tapit) is improving rapidly and gets into the Derby field on the basis of his fast closing second place finish in the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland on April 9. In that race he broke from the far outside fourteen post, dropped back to last then circled six wide on the far turn . He showed a lot of gameness to win a photo for second and should improve from that effort. Like other closers in here he could be a victim of average pace up front and traffic while trying to make up ground in the later stages

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Gary’s Picks! 

Trojan Nation

Entered the Derby picture when running a bang up 2nd in the Wood after catching a very favorable pace scenario. I’ve always thought there was talent here and bet on him a couple of times early in his career but he’s unlikely to catch the same set up today and draws the dreaded 1 hole. Good luck to him, he’ll need a miracle.

Suddenbreakingnews

Another deep closer that will need a faster pace than is projected, his work here was terrific when a shadow roll was added. His post won’t help him but I can definitely see this guy hitting the board and causing some big payoff in the exotics. He will get the distance

Creator

Yet another colt that comes from “downtown”, his work for the race was typical of a final drill for his Hall of Fame trainer. His gallops since have been picture perfect and he is by no means a throwout in this wide open Derby.

Mo Tom

Lanky colt has encountered much publicized traffic in his last 2 runs. The work I witnessed at CD was just ok but the video of his previous one was good. He also would be aided by a fast pace and obviously, he’s due for a clean trip. I can’t toss him, but would have liked to seen a better drill in his final prep.

Gun Runner

The other Assmussen entrant has a much better style than his stable mate and figures to be mid pack or closer in the first half of the race. The final work was strictly a maintenance drill. If I had to choose between the two for Steve

I’d lean to Craetor, but not by much.

My Man Sam

Another one that comes from the clouds, he closed well in the Blue Grass to get second. He too, would appreciate a faster pace than many expect. He galloped out well in his last work.

Oscar Nominated

We are not at Turfway today and this race is not on synthetic. Next!!

Lani

Has seemingly logged more miles than my first car in the last week. He may cause the walk over to become like “the running of the bulls”, and could scatter a few people in the paddock. The UAE Derby was not a pretty race visually and I can’t see him being a factor.

Destin

Comes in off an 8 week layoff by design. He outworked a highly regarded colt of the Godfathers in his work for the race while looking decent. He’s supposedly not the greatest work horse and if you like him, don’t let that deter you as he often gets sweaty. Horses are like people, some perspire more than others.

Whitmore

Another guy that will try to be “dropping from the clouds”, his local work was good while best in company. There is definite talent here but the way he finished in his 3 Oaklawn preps is concerning when it comes to the Derby distance.

Exaggerator

Ultra impressive SA Derby winner had an easy work over the track and has followed that with some positive gallops. He should get the 1 1/4 mile trip and appears to be able lay closer than some of the other late runners. Is he as good on dry land as wet/ That is the question that will be answered today.

Tom’s Ready

Trained by a man that has triggered many huge exacta/trifecta payoffs recently, I think he will get hot and dirty today.

Nyquist

Many people have been looking for a reason to go against him, and though he won’t be my top pick, it’s strictly because he is 2-1 as I type this report. His work was normal for him and the fact he jogs instead of gallops on some mornings is as well. If there was a gun to my head and I had to choose the winner it would be him but there isn’t and I’ve made my living betting prices.

Mohaymen

Has relaxed somewhat since having a figure 8 added to his equipment lately but does not seem

to have a Derby winner look to him.

Outwork

A massive beast, his work was as good as anybody and his subsequent gallops have been very positive as well. The Wood was not a visually impressive stretch run but he was the only pace horse anywhere around at the wire.

He was close to being my pick.

Shagaf

Much heralded colt won his first 2 races as a 3 year old in workmanlike fashion then came up empty in the Wood. Just when I was ready to toss him, he came here and trained terrific. It’s put up or shut up day in some respects for him.

Mor Spirit

To see him gallop on wet tracks since I’ve been at CD it’s a wonder he ran 2nd twice on them. He seems very tentative on them. He will not have to be concerned with that today. His final work here was “lights out!” Over the past 25 years I’ve seen many Baffert horses work like he did in their final work and, trust me, they fire many more times than not.
On a personal note, he is ridden by Gary Stevens who is a close personal friend of mine and has been since he came to California in 1984 and went straight to the top of a jockey colony I’m certain the likes of which will never be seen again. Not here. Not anywhere. We woke up on Derby morning 22 years ago today convinced we were going to win a Derby together. Then they sprung the latch and he got left 5 lengths. We will go to our graves haunted by that day,convinced that edition had our name on it and fate did not smile on us.
We will never see any athlete, in any sport, take 7 years off and compete at the level he has since his return. Not a chance.
Nevertheless, as Charles Barkley says, father time is undefeated and one does not need an abacus or degree in higher mathematics to realize this might be his last Derby. All this has nothing to do with making him my pick, but if you don’t think it’d be cool to see him get one more Derby on his way off into the sunset, you don’t have my values. Let’s roll Hick.

Majesto

No

Brody’s Cause

Another deep closer, his work for the race was good.

The question about how strong his winning prep for the Derby will be answered today.

Danzing Candy

Ultra impressive in his races leading up to the SA Derby,he dropped the ball that day and those that observed him before the race could see it coming. He was mad at the world the day before the race when he paddock schooled and threw a fit in the gate right before the man sprung the latch. He has acted composed since he made Louisville and will be on the lead. If,and it’s a big IF, he is allowed to set a slow pace and he relaxes he could be a major player. Michael Earl Smith has not won a ton of major races by accident.

1) Mor Spirit
2) Nyquist
3) Outwork

suzee

Suzee’s Picks!

1.-Mohaymen

2.-Nyquist

3.-Danzig Candy – Creator

 

DERBY NEWS

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READ MORE…CLICK HERE

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As a little drizzle began to fall, major Kentucky Derby contenders Exaggerator and Brody’s Cause turned in five-furlong works to complete their major preparation for next Saturday’s $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).

Big Chief Racing, Head of Plains Partners and Rocker O Ranch’s Santa Anita Derby (GI) winner worked five furlongs in 1:02.60 with three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard for his brother, trainer Keith Desormeaux.

Albaugh Family Stable’s Brody’s Cause, winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (GI), worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 under Tammy Fox for trainer Dale Romans.

Working shortly after the track opened at 5:45, Steve Landers Racing’s Dazzling Gem, 24th on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, worked five furlongs in 1:00.40.

Ashbrook Farm’s Weep No More, winner of the Central Bank Ashland Stakes (GI) in her most recent start, worked a half-mile in :49.60 before 6 o’clock with jockey Corey Lanerie aboard for trainer Rusty Arnold.

OTHER KENTUCKY DERBY NOTES

BRODY’S CAUSE/CHERRY WINE – Albaugh Family Stable’s Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (GI) winner Brody’s Cause put in his final serious work for the May 7 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) going five furlongs in 1:00.20, which was the fourth best of 57 workouts at the distance. Churchill Downs’ clockers caught the son of Giant’s Causeway in eighth-mile splits of :11.60, :23.40, :35.40, :50.40, galloping out six furlongs in 1:15.60 and seven furlongs in 1:29.60.

“I think Brody’s Cause worked great,” trainer Dale Romans said following the work in which Tammy Fox was in the saddle. “He came back great and looked like he had never done anything. It’s a great sign, he’s ready. All the heavy lifting is over. We just have to keep him happy and fresh until next weekend. This is what we were looking for this morning. He galloped out nice and relaxed and went fast even though he was relaxed and came back like he had never done anything.”  READ MORE>>

MORNING WORKS…

From Bloodstock Agent Gary Young…

To hear more from Gary, check out his website at:

Garyyoungthoroughbreds.com

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Gary Young is the prophet who failed to profit.

The California racetrack clocker was among the first to grasp the greatness of American Pharoah and became an early source of his Triple Crown buzz, but he never did cash a ticket on the horse he compared to the young Michael Jordan.

If that seems odd, consider the odds.

“He was 2-to-1 the first time he ran and I have a rule: I don’t take less than 5-2 on a horse, and I don’t take less than 3-1 on a first time starter,” Young said. “There’s just too many ways to lose and only one way to win.”

In more than three decades of professional gambling, the 54-year-old Young has played the percentages well enough to make a living beating the house and to market his expertise as a bloodstock agent. By his own estimate, Young has had a piece of close to 200 winning Pick Six tickets and a hand in the purchase of 17 Grade I stakes winners.

Yet Young neither claims nor deserves credit for discovering American Pharoah. His role in the narrative was to help hype him.

Prior to the 2015 Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs’ publicist Darren Rogers believed American Pharoah to be a transcendent thoroughbred, but without “the buzz that the horse deserved.” Recalling Young’s enthusiasm for the colt based on close observation at Santa Anita and Del Mar, Rogers asked the clocker for some comments to enliven a press release distributed six days before the Derby.

“I have been doing this for 35 years,” Young said, “and he might be the best horse I’ve ever seen.”

As George Halas discovered while promoting his startup Chicago Bears, “editors like superlatives.” Young’s quote quickly gained wide circulation, appearing in the Wall Street Journal as well as many mainstream newspapers and trade publications. And there was more.

“He’s simply like Michael Jordan and stays in the air like he did in his rookie year,” Young said. “He stays in the air longer than any horse, and you get the feeling that there’s not one gear left, but he may have two, three or four gears.”

Young has clocked thousands of horses during his career. Many have matched the times of American Pharoah’s workouts. A few have run faster. But a discerning clocker can see things that don’t show up on a stopwatch. When a colt of American Pharoah’s caliber comes along, though, even a novice will take notice.

“It was nice to predict that he would do what he did,” Young said. “But in my mind it wasn’t that difficult a puzzle to figure out. … He just moved different. There was just an effortless glide to the way he did it.”

This is not something you see every day at the racetrack. Or every year. And not, so far, in 2016.
“Horses like Pharoah are not going to come around every year,” Young said. “It might be a long time before we see one that is his equal. This crop to me, going in, on a scale of 1-to-10 would be about a five. Last year, Pharoah made it a 10, but even if you take Pharoah out of the equation, last year’s crop was about a 7 of an 8.”

In Young’s estimation, Firing Line and Dortmund, second and third in last year’s Derby, were better than any of this year’s field.

“They’re probably saying, ‘Damn it, why couldn’t we have been born one year later?’” Young joked.

Young remembers calling Jerry Bailey, the Hall of Fame jockey turned race analyst, to rave about American Pharoah’s running style, then watching him fade to a fifth-place finish in his debut at Del Mar. But when trainer Bob Baffert brought him back for the Grade I Del Mar Futurity, this time with more attractive odds, Young was “salivating,” poised to pounce.

“I know Baffert,” Young said. “Bob wouldn’t run him in the Del Mar Futurity if he didn’t have confidence in him. I was sitting there thinking about betting him and in the second to last (tote board) flash he went from 6-1 to 5-2, something like that. That was (owner Ahmed) Zayat. You didn’t need to be Dick Tracy to figure out who that was.”

 

American Pharoah would pay $8.40 to win on a $2 bet that day, the largest payout of any of his nine victories. The only other time he would pay better than 2-to-1 on a winning ticket was for the Kentucky Derby. By the end of his 3-year-old campaign, his buzz could have drowned out a foghorn.

Before embarking for Arkansas and the March 14 Rebel Stakes, Baffert ordered a workout from the gate at Santa Anita. He asked rider Martin Garcia to take American Pharoah 7/8 of a mile, then watched him keep going with startling speed and an effortless stride. He then sought out Young to confirm what his eyes had seen.

“I told Gary, have you ever anything seen like that?” Baffert recalled. “I’ve never seen anything like that. All the years, I’ve never seen anything like that.”

“Bob gets good horses,” Young said. “To this day, when he has a horse work good out of the gate I’ll say, ‘It was good but it wasn’t like THE gate work.’ He looks at me and says, ‘We’re not going to see THE gate work again. We’re not going to see anything like that.’”

Young considered placing a future bet on an American Pharoah Triple Crown but concluded the odds were too short for a three-race parlay.

“He was like 10- or 12-1,” Young said. “If I’m going to bet a horse in the future book, he’s going to be like 25- or 30-1. … You can have the best horse by lengths and if he gets a tummy ache the day before or a foot abscess, you’re out of luck.”

Damon Runyon was so sure “All horse players die broke” that he published both a poem and a short story with that title. Gary Young’s goal is to get out both solvent and sane.

“It’s not meant for everybody, both from a stress standpoint and a sanity standpoint,” he said. “It’s not something I would advise for people to do, especially with the proliferation of the workout information these days.

“I’m not sure how much longer I’m going to do it on a daily basis. I’ve been doing it 35 years and to be quite honest, there’s no secrets anymore. The days of me finding $70 and $80 first-time starters, they’re way back on the freeway now.”

To find another American Pharoah, that could take decades.

Tim Sullivan can be reached at (502) 582-4650,

tsullivan@courier-journal.com or @TimSullivan714 on Twitter.

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TOP RACES LEADING UP

TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY…

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Creator, Suddenbreakingnews, and Whitmore, the first three finishers in the Arkansas Derby here at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, all emerged from the race in good order and, with sufficient points for all safely tucked away, will take up three of the 20 spots in the Kentucky Derby field at Churchill Downs on May 7.
Creator got a Beyer Speed Figure of 96 for his victory in the Arkansas Derby. He was one of three sons of Tapit in the race – the others being Cupid and Gray Sky – but while the other two grew anxious in the minutes before the race, Creator composed himself well, and trainer Steve Asmussen said that was due to the on-site care of his assistant, Darren Fleming.

“Darren has done a wonderful job with him,” Asmussen said. “He brought him over for schooling. It showed. He was focused, very confident.”

Fleming was based all winter and spring at Oaklawn, which closed Saturday. Prior to arriving here, Creator had spent the winter at Fair Grounds, where Scott Blasi is Asmussen’s assistant.

“Very proud of the whole team,” Asmussen said Sunday.

Creator flew to Kentucky on Sunday and went directly to Churchill Downs.

Suddenbreakingnews is scheduled to be sent by van to Churchill Downs on Tuesday, his trainer, Donnie Von Hemel, said at his Oaklawn barn Sunday morning.

“He’s good,” Von Hemel said. “He ran a good race. He was a little late to get going, but he made a good run.

“The mile and a quarter,” Von Hemel said, referring to the Derby distance, “is certainly something he can do.”

Whitmore, who finished third, is scheduled to fly to Kentucky on Monday. His trainer, Ron Moquett, said Whitmore likely would go to Kesmarc – an equine rehab facility in Lexington, Ky. – “to receive oxygen,” Moquett said, in a hyperbaric chamber before heading over to Churchill Downs on Wednesday.

Those who use hyperbaric chambers believe it helps a horse recover faster. All the Arkansas Derby horses will be running back in the Kentucky Derby in 21 days.

SANTA ANITA DERBY 2016

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04/09/2016

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Exaggerator carries Desormeaux

brothers to Kentucky Derby

By Jay Privman

ARCADIA, Calif. – The winner’s circle photos had all been taken, everyone was about to walk away, when jockey Kent Desormeaux yelled to the track photographer to take one more.
Holding the Santa Anita Derby trophy, he called over his brother, Keith, and together, with each holding one arm of the trophy, they lifted it aloft.

Click.

If this was something they had dreamed of while running around as kids in Maurice, La., it had now come true in the gloaming of a rainy April day at Santa Anita.

They had won the Grade 1, $1 million Santa Anita Derby, and were headed, together, to the Kentucky Derby.

“It’s extra special to be with Keith,” Kent said.

The 3-year-old colt who will take them to Louisville is Exaggerator, who splashed through the sloppy, sealed going to a 6 1/4-length victory on Saturday in the West’s final major prep for the May 7 Kentucky Derby. The victory atoned for a third-place finish last month in the San Felipe, in which Danzing Candy and Mor Spirit beat him.

Mor Spirit finished second on Saturday, 2 1/4 lengths in front of third-place Uncle Lino. Danzing Candy, who set a sharp early pace, tired from his efforts and wound up fourth, beaten more than 13 lengths.

Diplodocus was fifth and was followed, in order, by Denman’s Call, Smokey Image, and Iron Rob.

Exaggerator earned 100 points, Mor Spirit 40, from the 170 on offer for this race. Both will head to Louisville.

Exaggerator ($8.80), the third choice, completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.66. He has now won 4 of 9 starts, with four of those losses coming in races where he faced Nyquist, the unbeaten, current favorite for the Derby.

Asked what gave him confidence he could beat Nyquist in four weeks, Keith was honest.

“Nothing,” he said. “We’ve tried him [four] times. I respect Nyquist. We’ll have fun trying.”

Nyquist was not in this race, having run one week earlier in the Florida Derby. Ten were entered in the Santa Anita Derby, and the field was reduced to eight when Dressed in Hermes and Rare Candy were scratched.

Danzing Candy, the second choice at 8-5, flew out of the gate and set a brisk pace of 22.15 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 45.24 for a half-mile, with Uncle Lino in closest attendance. Mor Spirit, the 7-5 favorite, was fourth early, as Exaggerator dropped well back. Midway through the race, he was seventh.

As the field went around the far turn, Uncle Lino put more pressure on Danzing Candy, and eventually wrested the lead from him. Mor Spirit kept grinding away. But Exaggerator, as he did in the San Felipe, turned in a furious rally. Last time, he flattened out and wound up third. This time, he kept on motoring. He roared past Uncle Lino and bounded clear. Mor Spirit kept to his task and reeled in Uncle Lino for second.

“It’s easy to say I was full of confidence, but I had doubts. He had a quick middle quarter, but not enough to explain how he finished,” Keith said of the San Felipe. “The only way to rectify that was to do what he did today.

“He was on point today,” Keith said.

Both Keith and Kent Desormeaux said the one thing they were convinced to do was again have Exaggerator drop back and make one run.

“Thank God we didn’t change tactics,” Keith said.

Exaggerator, a son of Curlin, is owned by a partnership that includes Matt Bryan’s Big Chief Racing, the Head of Plains Partners run by Sol Kumin, and Ron Ortowski, a long-time friend of Bryan’s.

Exaggerator has now won two million-dollar races, having captured the Delta Jackpot last year. He also won the Saratoga Special last year, and finished second in the Breeders’ Futurity and fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

This year, he was second in the seven-furlong San Vicente to Nyquist before finishing third in the San Felipe.

Keith was impressed with Exaggerator’s pre-race demeanor. He saddled well, went through the post parade professionally, and never got warm. Sure, it was a chilly, rainy day, but the conditions did not cause Exaggerator to show any stress before the race.

“Now the question is can he relax in front of 150,000 screaming Kentuckians and a nervous trainer,” Keith said.

Keith never has won the Kentucky Derby. Kent has won three.

It’s old hat for Kent. “For me, it’s surreal,” Keith said.

******

THE BLUE GRASS STAKES 2016

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04/09/2016

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Brody’s Cause rebounds strongly

in Blue Grass Stakes
By Marty McGee

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Brody’s Cause took lengthy strides toward the Kentucky Derby when rebounding off a poor 3-year-old debut and posting an emphatic 1 3/4-length victory Saturday under Luis Saez in the 92nd running of the Grade 1, $1 million Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.
My Man Sam was along late to get second by a head over Cherry Wine in the Keeneland spring showcase, while Laoban finished fourth and Zulu, the 2-1 favorite, faded to 12th in a field of 14 3-year-olds. The first- and third-place finishers are trained by Dale Romans.

Brody’s Cause returned $10.40 to win as second choice after finishing the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:50.20 over a fast track.

The triumph by Brody’s Cause not only marked the second time in four years that Romans has completed a sweep of the Breeders’ Futurity and Blue Grass with the same horse – he did it in 2011-12 with Dullahan – but more importantly, put Romans squarely in the picture for the May 7 Derby at Churchill Downs with Brody’s Cause, a colt with an affinity for distance.

“We’re on to the Kentucky Derby with a real chance,” said Romans.

Brody’s Cause was the only previous stakes winner in the Blue Grass lineup. A son of Giant’s Causeway, Brody’s Cause won a maiden race last September at Churchill before winning the Breeders’ Futurity in his next start. He then finished third behind Nyquist and Swipe in the Oct. 31 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland.

On an unseasonably cold spring day, and with 20,848 in attendance, Laoban set fractions of 23.44 and 46.75 seconds over a fast track while Brody’s Cause and Saez lagged near the back of the pack. Nearing the quarter pole, Star Hill went to a momentary lead after a sustained run through the final turn, but then the closers unleashed their rallies.

Brody’s Cause swung out and was swiftest of all, clearing off inside the eighth pole en route to earning 100 Derby qualifying points and a $600,000 check for his owners, the Albaugh Family Stable of Dennis Albaugh.

“When I put him outside, he kept going,” said Saez.

Brody’s Cause was coming off a weak race in his lone start since the Breeders’ Cup, a seventh-place finish in the March 12 Tampa Bay Derby.

“He’s a horse that needs a race,” said Romans. “The Tampa race did him a lot of good. We got him back where he needed to be, and he showed what he can do. This is the second biggest race in Kentucky, in my opinion, and it feels great to win it.”

Bred in Kentucky by the partnership of Gabriel Duignan, William Arvin Jr., and Petaluma Bloodstock, Brody’s Cause was a $350,000 purchase at the 2014 Keeneland yearling sale.

My Man Sam, who broke from the 14-hole with Julien Leparoux up, closed resolutely on the far outside after being rank on the first turn. He had three prior starts, all on the inner track at Aqueduct.

“For him to go as wide as he did from as far back as he did and still
get up for second shows what a remarkable race he ran,” trainer Chad Brown said from New York. “Hats off to the winner; the winner ran terrific, but I think everyone would agree that My Man Sam ran the best race.”

With a points distribution of 100-40-20-10, the top four Blue Grass finishers all could make the Derby field – including the Eric Guillot-trained Laoban, still a maiden after five starts.

After the top four, the full order was Star Hill, Goats Town, Lookin for a Kiss, Donegal Moon, Crescent Drive, Cards of Stone, Zapperini, Zulu, American Dubai, and Twizz. The two also-eligibles, Pinson and Hint of Roses, were early scratches.

The $2 exacta (6-14) paid $67, the $1 trifecta (6-14-3) returned $153.10, and the 10-cent superfecta (6-14-3-7) was worth $152.01.

Attendance clearly was compromised by the frigid weather, as temperatures never got out of the 40s. The Keeneland record crowd of 40,617 showed up four years ago for the Blue Grass.

The Blue Grass, the last of five graded stakes on an 11-race card, ended a two-track wager that combined stakes from Aqueduct and Keeneland and attracted handle of $423,679. A winning 50-cent ticket in the Big Apple-Blue Grass pick four (5-2-8-6) was worth $322.10.

 

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Grade 1, $1 million Wood Memorial; 1 1/8 miles; Aqueduct; April 9, 2016
(100 Derby qualifying points for a win, 40 for second, 20 for third, 10 for fourth)

Winner: Outwork, by Uncle Mo

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Jockey: John Velazquez

Owner: Repole Stable

Beyer Speed Figure: 93

On paper, this was an intriguing edition of the Wood, with horses shipping in from Florida and California to take on good group of locals, including SHAGAF, winner of the Gotham, as well as the late-developing MATT KING COAL.

But the result was disappointing for most of the runners. The final time of 1:52.92 was the slowest Wood at the current 1 1/8 miles, and did not compare favorably with the final time recorded by the 3-year-old filly Lewis Bay two races earlier in the Gazelle. The off track certainly contributed to the time, and the Beyer Figures reflect a belief that the track was worsening as the day progressed, but the runners crawled home, with the final three furlongs taking 40.61 seconds.

OUTWORK gets extra credit for being part of a hot pace and lasting to win. I find fewer excuses for the runners who had an advantageous race shape – like Shagaf and ADVENTIST – and couldn’t make more of an impact. But the biggest indictment is that TROJAN NATION, a maiden who was well beaten by the likes of Cupid and Hoffenheim at Santa Anita and came into the Wood with a career-best Beyer of 74, very nearly won.

Other than perhaps Outwork, who had the race shape against him and still prevailed, there’s no one out of this race I’m interested in for the Derby.

Outwork, a giant colt, benefited by drawing an outside post, so he had a clear run into the first turn. He and Matt King Coal went into the turn together, with Outwork on the outside. He stayed in that spot all the way down the backstretch and into the far turn, edged to the front midway on the turn without being asked, drifted toward the inside after clearing Matt King Coal, and was all out to hold off Trojan Nation, who rallied along the rail.

Trojan Nation, who was second, had no early speed and was last along the inside into the first turn. He closed on the leaders on the far turn while continuing to hug the rail, squeezed through a narrow opening between the rail and Matt King Coal a furlong out, was on Outwork’s hip with a sixteenth to go, inched closer in the final yards, but couldn’t quite get by in time.

Adventist, who was third, broke well but tossed his head about heading into the first turn when TALE OF S’AVALL crossed over in front of him, raced in the clear in sixth around the first turn and down the backstretch, was angled four paths wide on the far turn, was outrun in upper stretch, then closed anew late, but I think that was far more a function of Outwork and Matt King Coal slowing down than Adventist finishing.

Matt King Coal, who was fourth, broke half a step slowly but then was sent between horses to make the top around the first turn, with Outwork shadowing him. He led narrowly down the backstretch and into the far turn, tried to stay with Outwork as the field neared the top of the stretch while appearing to want to slightly drift out, looked spent when Outwork tightened things up on him in midstretch, but only lost third in the closing yards.

Shagaf, who finished fifth, broke a bit slowly, checked slightly behind the erratic Adventist into the first turn, then settled into seventh as the leaders sped away. He closed a big gap into the far turn while inside, had to await room ever so slightly midway on the turn before a clear path opened right in front of him, bumped with Tale of S’Avall in upper stretch while securing room, but was outrun by Trojan Nation and Adventist in the closing yards while unable to get past Matt King Coal. He also switched to his wrong lead near the finish, but that might have been from shying from the tire tracks where the starting gate had been placed. He had a few minor incidents in the race, but he just doesn’t seem to be progressing.

Tale of S’Avall, who was sixth, was guided toward the rail during the run into the first turn and was mid-pack, along the rail, around the first turn. He followed Matt King Coal down the backstretch, started to be niggled at with a half-mile to go, drifted a bit off the rail nearing upper stretch to get a clear run at the leaders, bumped with Shagaf in upper stretch, and was outrun through the lane.

FLEXIBILITY, who was seventh, raced between and just in front of Tale of S’Avall and DALMORE around the first turn and down the backstretch, started to be asked to hold his position into the far turn, but had no response and yielded without a fight.

Dalmore, who finished last of eight, looked a bit uncomfortable when Outwork crossed over in front of him going into the first turn, took up a position three paths wide, outside of Tale of S’Avall and Flexibility, around the first turn and up the backstretch, entered the far turn three paths wide, was outrun midway on the turn and faded.

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Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby; 1 1/8 miles; Fair Grounds; March 26, 2016
(100 Derby qualifying points for a win, 40 for second, 20 for third, 10 for fourth)

 

GUN RUNNER followed up his victory in last month’s Risen Star with a 4 1/2-length victory in this race, which brought his career record to four wins in five starts. Again in this race, Gun Runner showed the ability to sit close to the pace and have instant acceleration when needed, both of which will be assets in the inevitable bulky field for the May 7 Kentucky Derby, which will be his next start.

I’m a big fan of this colt for those reasons, but my enthusiasm is tempered because he’s yet to run fast compared to some of the other leading Derby contenders; the Rebel, Fountain of Youth, Tampa Bay Derby, San Felipe, Southwest, Lewis, and Holy Bull winners all got faster figs. Gun Runner got a Beyer Figure of 90 in the Risen Star. This was one point better. And the fig is rock solid. A moderate group of older horses earlier on the card went exactly one second faster for 1 1/8 miles in the New Orleans Handicap. No one is confusing the winner of that race, S’maverlous, with California Chrome.

But Gun Runner is lightly raced, with five starts overall and just two this year, so he’s certainly got plenty of room to improve, and many, many horses in races everywhere, every day do their best third start off a layoff. I expect him to run his best race yet in the Kentucky Derby. I’m just not convinced right now that his best is going to be good enough in the current prospective field.

In the Louisiana Derby, Gun Runner broke well from the inside and went into the first turn hugging the rail, in third, right behind front-runner CANDY MY BOY and inside DAZZLING GEM. He stayed in that spot all the way down the backstretch, but when a seam developed between Candy My Boy and Dazzling Gem three furlongs out, he quickly accelerated to secure an attacking position outside Candy My Boy. He put away Candy My Boy in upper stretch and quickly opened daylight on his rivals, swapped over to his left lead a sixteenth out, but had the race in control.

TOM’S READY, who was second, raced near the back of the pack while three paths wide on the first turn, split horses on the far turn and advanced, had to sit a bit in some traffic a quarter-mile out, followed Gun Runner into the lane and got clear racing room in upper stretch, but lost ground to Gun Runner through the lane and swapped over to his left lead about 50 yards from the wire.

Dazzling Gem, who was third, went into the first turn in second, just outside of Candy My Boy, while under a bit of restraint. He stayed in that spot down the backstretch, came out just enough with three furlongs to go to allow Gun Runner a spot to get out, took a couple of solid bumps from FOREVAMO in upper stretch, but kept to his task and just held on to third from hard-luck MO TOM.

Mo Tom, who finished fourth, lacked early speed per usual and was last early, moved a bit closer nearing the far turn while saving ground, continued to advance without urging, was guided inside for the stretch run, started what looked like a strong rally, but ran up on the heels of the fading Candy My Boy and checked, then a few strides later almost came to a complete stop inside Candy My Boy. He somehow regathered himself and made a belated bid, though the cause was lost. The trouble was significant, and he deserved a better fate, but he has now run seven times and has a career-best Beyer of 88.

Forevamo, who was fifth, broke from the outside and went into the first turn in the second flight of horses, about three paths wide. He remained wide down the backstretch, could not drop in, was caught four to five paths wide on the far turn, bumped a couple of times with Dazzling Gem in upper stretch, and lacked a sufficient rally.

Candy My Boy, who was sixth, had the most speed leaving the gate and led into the first turn. He continued to lead to the far turn, was engaged by Gun Runner midway on the turn, then began to yield in upper stretch, becoming the bane of Mo Tom.

GREENPOINTCRUSADER, who was seventh, was outrun during the early going and was near the back of the pack, along the rail, into the first turn. He was angled off the rail midway down the backstretch to move outside horses, went into the far turn about four paths wide, was completely outrun at that point when the late runners began their rally, then passed a couple tired rivals in the lane. In my analysis of his last race, the Holy Bull, I theorized that he was a one-run, one-turn horse, and that he was not going to improve with more distance. I was stunned he was the second choice in the Louisiana Derby. This effort was further evidence he’s not cut out for these longer races right now.

CONQUEST WINDYCITY, who was eighth, was very green through the lane the first time, repeatedly swapping leads, and was in front of only Mo Tom into the first turn. He dropped back to last entering the far turn, and never showed any spark at any point.

UNCLE WALTER, who was ninth, was forwardly placed between horses into the first turn, tried to rally three to four paths wide on the far turn, was even with Dazzling Gem and Forevamo a quarter-mile out, but faded.

BATTERY, who finished last of 10, was climbing early, seemingly resenting the spray of dirt in his face. He saved ground while mid-pack into the backstretch, was in a good spot heading into the far turn, but gave way readily beginning with three furlongs to go in a poor effort.

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OLDSMAR, Fla. – Destin and Outwork were impressive winners for trainer Todd Pletcher at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 13, with Destin prevailing in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes and Outwork scoring in a first-level optional $75,000 claiming race. They both impressed again here Saturday in the Grade 2, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby, but this time, only one could win, and after a thrilling duel that lasted the length of the stretch, it was Destin who scored the biggest victory of his young career.
Tom Keyser
Destin, ridden by Javier Castellano, sets a track record for 1 1/16 miles in winning the Tampa Bay Derby.
Destin set a track record of 1:42.82 for 1 1/16 miles in taking the Tampa Bay Derby by a length over Outwork, besting the mark set by Bolt Start in the 2010 Challenger Stakes by .01 of a second. Destin, a son of Giant’s Causeway owned by Twin Creeks Racing Stables, has won three of his five starts and earned $390,700.

“I thought both horses ran terrific,” Pletcher said. “For Outwork to dig in like he did in only his third start and second start this year was great. And I think Destin now continues to move forward and shows the Sam Davis was legit. It seems like he’s getting a little more professional each time and learning how to polish off his races. I’m proud of both of them.”

Destin gave Pletcher a record fourth win in this important Kentucky Derby prep and will try to become the third horse to win the roses after racing in the Tampa Bay Derby. Street Sense won the 2007 Kentucky Derby after taking the Tampa Bay Derby, and 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver ran third in the Tampa Bay Derby.

Destin earned 50 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby on May 7 at Churchill Downs and is virtually assured of a spot in the starting gate. Outwork earned 20 points, while third-place finisher Star Hill got 10 and fourth-place finisher Rafting earned five.

Pletcher said Destin and Outwork each probably will run one more time before the Kentucky Derby, possibly in either the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, or the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.

“We’ll get them back home. All the possibilities are open,” said Pletcher.

Brody’s Cause, the 2-1 favorite in the field of nine 3-year-olds, trailed far back for much of the race and could only finish a nonthreatening seventh. It was his first start since winning the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity and finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland last October.

Outwork was ridden Saturday by John Velazquez, who had piloted Destin to victory in the Sam F. Davis, while Javier Castellano got the mount on Destin. Outwork was the quickest out of the gate but was tracked closely by Riker in the No. 2 path and Destin in the No. 3 path through a quarter-mile in 24.04 seconds, a half-mile in 47.88, and six furlongs in 1:11.43.

Riker began to drop back on the final turn, leaving Outwork and Destin to slug it out on the front end. The two battled all the way to the wire, with Destin, weaving inward and outward slightly, surging clear late. Destin paid $9.20 as the second choice in the field.

“I think this was a really tough field, and he really impressed me,” said Randy Gullatt, manager of Twin Creeks Racing. “He ran better than I thought he would run. I think he’s learning a lot, so I’m very, very happy. I thought it was amazing. The horse has come a long ways and is ahead of where even we thought he would be. He’s making big jumps.”

“I had a beautiful trip,” Castellano said. “He broke sharp and put me in a good spot, tracking those two horses. The way he sat off of it in third was beautiful. Turning for home, I asked him to go forward, and he responded so well. He finished good, and the way he galloped out was phenomenal.”

After Outwork, it was seven lengths back to the sharp maiden-race winner Star Hill, who was followed by Rafting, Tale of S’avall, Riker, Brody’s Cause, Awesome Banner, and Economic Model.

Outwork hadn’t raced beyond six furlongs in his two prior starts, both wins for owner Mike Repole. Velazquez credited the horse for his gutsy effort in defeat.

“It was a great performance for a horse whose third race was today,” he said. “It was a lot to ask, and he ran a great race. He was trying the best he could.”

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch

 

 

No one has ever been able to make the trip there…win this race …then make the trip back,…and win the Derby…but you never know…???

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Lani became the first Japanese horse to win the Group 2, $2 million UAE Derby and for his next trick will try to become the first Japanese horse to win the Kentucky Derby.

Lani overcame a wide trip Saturday and beat the favored Polar River by three-quarters of a length in the 1 3/16-mile dirt fixture for Northern Hemisphere 3-year-olds and Southern Hemisphere 4-year-olds. Lani is a nominee to the Kentucky Derby, will easily make the field for the race with the 100 qualifying points he earned by winning the UAE Derby, and his connections have every intention of running in the race.

Trainer Mikio Matsunaga said through an interpreter after the race that plans already had been laid for Lani to travel to Churchill Downs, and that the colt would depart Dubai for the U.S. in less than one week.
Lani, a bulky, gray son of Tapit and out of Heavenly Romance, by Sunday Silence, is a temperamental colt, and he was slow away from the gate Saturday, racing well behind the second-to-last horse into the first turn of the UAE Derby. But in a move reminiscent of Mirco Dimuro’s ride on Dubai World Cup winner Victoire Pisa, jockey Yutaka Take guided Lani six or seven paths off the rail turning into the Meydan backstretch and let Lani race up close to the leaders, Vale Dori and Yu Change.

Lani got into the 2 or 3 path around the far turn and still had work to do 1 1/2 furlongs out as Yu Change continued to lead, but Yu Change weakened late while Lani stayed on, passing the leader in the final 100 yards and holding clear Polar River. His time on a fast track of 1:58.41 was 0.06 seconds slower than Mubtaahij’s clocking in his blowout win in the race last year. Mubtaahij would go on to finish eighth in the Kentucky Derby.

Polar River, taking her first loss after four wins, had a tough trip. She was trapped in behind Vale Dori for most of the race, finding herself in an uncomfortable position for the first time in her career. Jockey Pat Dobbs waited and waited for room and said he didn’t have the horse to get through a seam that opened at the three-sixteenths pole, instead swinging wide, making some headway in the final furlong, but falling short in the end.

Yu Change finished a neck behind Polar River, with Vale Dori another half-length back in fourth. The California shipper Frank Conversation finished last of seven.

Lani won for the third time in six starts and scored for the first time at the group level and at a distance beyond one mile. He was bred in Kentucky by the North Hills Co. and is owned by Yoko Maeda.

MEMORY LANE…

Don’t tell me he’s coming out of retirement??? LOL..
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CONGRATULATIONS TO THE AMERICAN PHAROAH TEAM

TRIPLE CROWN WINNERS:

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SUMMER RACING SEASON STYLES AND TRENDS!

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Need a little assistance finding that perfect hat?…

or Wonder which tie works best with your favorite suit???

Why not let our Personal Stylist team be your

Winning Ticket to helping you look your Personal Best!

personalstylin@gmail.com

coffeebreakwithfriendswebsite@gmail.com

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Women
One of the truly unique characteristics of the Kentucky Derby, and its sister event, the Kentucky Oaks, is that they are sports parties that showcase the finest in spring fashions. Both female and male attendees pull out all of the stops when selecting their Kentucky Derby and Oaks apparel.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to Derby dressing, in part because what you wear has much to do with where you plan to spend the day. In the reserved seating areas (grandstand, clubhouse, suites and corporate hospitality areas), ladies typically wear spring dresses, pastel-colored suits, or bold separates that coordinate with their Derby headwear and accessories.

The Kentucky Derby is a chance for every female to express her inner Southern Belle so take note and don’t hold back when planning your Kentucky Derby wardrobe!

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When selecting your dress for the Kentucky Derby the recommended practice is to keep it simple, so it doesn’t take away from your hat. You can also let the color and excitement of spring inspire you and select a dress full of color, or floral or equine patterns. Vineyard Vines, the official style of the Kentucky Derby, has created a line of dresses just for the Kentucky Derby. And remember to dress in layers, the Kentucky Derby is an outdoor event and the weather can be hard to predict.

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Shoes
No Kentucky Derby outfit is complete without the spring heel or sandal. But remember, Churchill Downs historic grounds can be tricky to maneuver and the day is long, so remember to pack a backup pair of flats, just in case!

Looks and Comfort…

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Spring Trend…Strappy…

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Accessories

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Jewelry
Since the hat is the focus of Derby fashion, there’s not much need for large, statement jewelry. Let your hat be the attention grabber as your primary accessory and keep the jewelry simple. You can also celebrate the day with Kentucky Derby themed jewelry.

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Bags

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The Kentucky Derby is a long day, with a lot of walking, so pack accessories accordingly. We recommend a large bag (but be sure to stay within the size limit) to carry a pair of shoes, a bottle of water, your program, sunglasses, sunscreen, a poncho, and anything else you might need during the day. In that bag, pack a smaller clutch or over-the-shoulder bag for your cash, wagers, phone, and essentials that you can grab to go make a wager or snap a quick picture of the celebrities on the Red Carpet.

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Hats
What sets the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks apart from other sports and entertainment events? Is it the world-class horses? The Hollywood stars? The romantic Twin Spires? Well, first and foremost, it’s the hats! Part Southern tradition, part spectacle, the Kentucky Derby hat parade is much of what makes “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” one of the greatest people-watching events in the world! From the fantastic to the sublime, there are no rules or limits when it comes to choosing your Derby hat.

Wearing a hat to the Kentucky Derby is believed to bear good luck! The long-established fashion was started by the women, however, over the last few years, many men have taken part in the tradition as well. Wearing a hat is much like getting into costume, you might be pleasantly surprised to see what type of character you become. From the fantastic to the sublime, there are no rules or limits.

Within the seated sections of Churchill Downs, you will find hats of elegance and style. Generally speaking, women wear wide-brimmed, “Southern Belle” inspired Kentucky Derby hats. The hats can be decorated with flowers, feathers, bows and ribbons of any color to express creativity and individuality.

In the Churchill Downs Infield, hats are a bit more eccentric! You will see hats in all shapes and sizes, as well as some hats exuding humorous themes!

HOW TO CHOOSE A HAT THAT SUITS YOUR FACE TYPE…

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Dress or Hat – Which Comes First?
You can exhale – there are two answers here!

Some will say that you absolutely get the outfit first. Then you design your hat to go with the outfit. (The argument here is that it’s easier to custom design a hat than to “make” an outfit to go with a hat!)

Then there are those who say that you must definitely purchase, create or design your hat before picking out the outfit.

Most often in this case, matching the dress (or outfit) to your hat involves personal preference, however keep a few things in mind in getting dressed:

If your hat is having a pattern party, keep the dress design simple.
If the hat is simple and elegant, keep the outfit simple also for a classy look.
If you want a funky outfit, keep it consistent and accent the hat most of all!
If you have long hair, showcase a ponytail slightly to side or keep it down to one side to highlight the color on your face.
You will find lots of debate on this subject &emdash; so finally the NO answer is THE answer!

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Hat or Fascinator?

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A more recent trend in Kentucky Derby headwear is the fascinator. Smaller than a traditional hat and just as stylish, this piece of headwear has become more popular among Kentucky Derby attendees over recent years. Recently popularized by Kate Middleton, these chic, headpieces are made from a woven disc topped with feathers and netting and secured to your head via a comb or headband. They can be simpler to wear than a hat, and won’t give you hat hair!

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Derby Hat on a Budget
Sure you can have a custom hat created if you want to splurge, but you can also make an elegant hat using materials from around the house and garden. Not to mention make a visit to your local craft shop for your decorating needs.

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Men
The Kentucky Derby provides a splendid excuse for men to get just as dressed up and decked out as the ladies! The modern Derby man possesses an unparalleled color palette. Sun-drenched, tropical colors in bold stripes or busy plaid and bright pastels steal the limelight. Although, if you want a more polished look, a classic navy or seersucker blazer is always in style.

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Starting with the pants  because it is the eye-catcher from a distance, gents should turn to sun drenched pants in vibrant colors like Key Lime, Ocean, Bermuda Pink, and Citron. Any one of these colors paired with the right shirt and blazer will make you stand out like no one else.

Now that you have the pants you know that you’re going to have some fun with the shirts. A great dress shirt in a complimentary color will go a long way. Don’t be afraid to grab a fun gingham or striped shirt to turn it up. This is the one day of the year that more is better. One option that is a must for some is the monogram on the shirt!

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The jacket  is what brings everything together and you can’t go wrong with the classic navy blazer. If you want to have a little fun on top though, a nice chalk stripe can really make the ladies’ big hats turn. As far as 2- button or 3-button it’s a person preference but we recommend sporting the 3- button side vent for a more polished look.

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Next is the tie.  Most gentlemen wear a necktie, but a bow tie is always a great option. If you never wear bows, try it out and you may like it. As the official style for the Kentucky Derby, Vineyard Vines offers an assortment of Derby-themed ties and bowties that will make every man look dapper and distinguished.

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For shoes,  there are many types of horse bit loafers out there and everyone has their idea of who makes the best ones. The most important thing you need to know is that they should be worn sockless.

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Top it all off with a fedora or bowler hat for the complete Kentucky Derby look. Men’s Derby hats are generally solid in color and inspired by the style from the 1920s.

Now you are ready to throw back some bourbon and tie on a bowtie. The most important thing about your Derby outfit for men is to be confident. No matter what you wear, it’s how you wear it gentlemen.

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Security Information
Read This Before You Head to the Track!

As you plan your trip to Churchill Downs for Kentucky Derby weekend, be sure to review the list of items that are permitted and those that cannot be brought into the racing facility.

All patrons are subject to magnetic wand scans before entry to the track on both days. Oaks and Derby patrons are advised to arrive early to accommodate search procedures at all admission gates. Admission gates (1, 3, 10 and 17) will be open on Oaks (May 1) & Derby (May 2) days at 8 a.m. (all times Eastern). First post is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on both days.

Prohibited items and items determined not to be appropriate for entry into Churchill Downs will be the responsibility of the ticketholder and cannot be accepted or checked by Churchill Downs. We urge patrons to secure these items in their vehicles or discard them. Churchill Downs and its security partners will not store prohibited or excluded items for patrons. There is no re-entry after exiting the facility; patrons are not permitted to leave Churchill Downs and return on the same ticket. Re-admittance will be allowed only in case of emergency.

General Admission guests who use GATE 3 will need to have their general admission tickets in hand before they approach Gate 3. Gate 3 entrants can purchase tickets at the Box Office on Fourth Street, directly across from the Gate 3 Admission entrance. General Admission guests without chairs may enter through Gate 10, Gate 17, and Gate 1.

Patrons are reminded: “If you see something, say something.”

If you see something unusual please immediately call 502-636-4526 to report it.

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Look like a Winner throughout the Thoroughbred Racing Season!

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Men’s  Derby Attire:

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THE ART OF THE POCKET SQUARE…

51A250FB-9994-4271-B2CC-352C9DE7DEF6

READ MORE>>

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Womens  Derby Attire:

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The Kentucky Derby is a chance for every female to express her inner Southern Belle

so take note and don’t hold back when planning your Derby fashion!

YOUR DERBY MUST HAVE…

THE HAT!

Wearing a hat to the Kentucky Derby is believed to bear good luck! The long-established fashion was started by the women, however, over the last few years, many men have taken part in the tradition as well. Wearing a hat is much like getting into costume, you might be pleasantly surprised to see what type of character you become. From the fantastic to the sublime, there are no rules or limits. In the clubhouse and paddock, women of grace and taste sport classy, fashionable styles. In the infield, the headwear has tendancy to take on a zanier character.

Within the seated sections of Churchill Downs, you will find hats of elegance and style. Generally speaking, women wear wide-brimmed, “Southern Belle” inspired Kentucky Derby hats. The hats can be decorated with flowers, feathers, bows and ribbons of any color to express creativity and individuality. Men’s Derby hats are generally solid in color and inspired by the style from the 1920s.

In the Churchill Downs Infield, hats are a bit more eccentric! You will see hats in all shapes and sizes, as well as some hats exuding humorous themes!

Sure you can have a custom hat created if you want to splurge, but you can also make an elegant hat using materials from around the house and garden. Not to mention make a visit to your local craft shop for your decorating needs. This will create a buzz with your friends and family, perhaps even win a contest!

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Dress or Hat – Which Comes First?
You can exhale – there are two answers here!

Some will say that you absolutely get the outfit first. Then you design your hat to go with the outfit. (The arguement here is that it’s easier to custom design a hat than to “make” an outfit to go with a hat!)

Then there are those who say that you must definitely purchase, create or design your hat before picking out the outfit.

Most often in this case, matching the dress (or outfit) to your hat involves personal preference, however keep a few things in mind in getting dressed:

* If your hat is having a pattern party, keep the dress design simple.
* If the hat is simple and elegant, keep the outfit simple also for a classy look.
* If you want a funky outfit, keep it consistent and accent the hat most of all!
* If you have long hair, showcase a ponytail slightly to side or keep it down to one side to highlight the color on your face. Or opt for a French Twist,..pull out a few trendles!

You will find lots of debate on this subject– so finally the NO answer is THE answer!

(And remember ladies…you will get Hat Hair…especially after a Long Hot Day!…Do prepare!

Unless you wear a fascinator …see below)

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Party Idea – Best Dressed Hat Contest

If you’re having a Kentucky Derby Party, consider having a Best Dressed hat contest. Celebrate your guests efforts with the following categories:

* Biggest Hat
* Best Derby Inspired
* Best Men’s Hat

STAR STYLE:

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For help with your Derby Style

click here

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Did You Know?

1874-1899
Kentucky and Louisville’s early racing history

Racing in Louisville dates back to 1783 when local sources reported that races were held on Market Street in the downtown area. To alleviate the problems associated with racing on the busy city thoroughfare, a course was developed at the now abandoned Shippingport Island in 1805. Racing was cond1ucted on the island in the Ohio River at what was called the Elm Tree Gardens.

By 1827, a new track, known as the Hope Distillery Course, was laid out on what is presently Main and 16th Streets. Racing was also held on a number of private tracks located on farms throughout the local area. One of the more prominent of these was Peter Funk’s Beargrass Track which was located in an area now bordered by Hurstbourne Lane and Taylorsville Road.

The Oakland Race Course was opened in the fall of 1833 and brought racing back to a formal site with the track, complete with clubhouse, located at what is now Seventh and Magnolia Streets in “Old Louisville”. This was followed in 1858 by the opening of the Woodlawn Course on the Louisville and Lexington railroad lines just outside of today’s St. Matthews, east of Louisville. The site closed in 1870, but the Woodlawn Vase, the track’s premier trophy, has been used in the presentation to the winner of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico since 1917.

Harness racing was also a significant part of Louisville’s early racing history with a number of tracks in existence. One of the most prominent was Greeneland, a racecourse for trotters was built just east of Churchill Downs in 1868.

The Founding of Churchill Downs

While traveling in England and France in 1872-1873, 26-year-old Col. M. Lewis Clark, devised the idea of a Louisville Jockey Club for conducting race meets. Clark toured and visited with a number of prominent racing leaders, including England’s Admiral Rous and France’s Vicompte Darn, vice president of the French Jockey Club.

Upon his return from Europe, Clark began development of his racetrack which would serve to showcase the Kentucky breeding industry. The track would eventually become known as “Churchill Downs.” The first reference of the name Churchill Downs came in an 1883 Kentucky Derby article reported by the former Louisville Commercial.

“The crowd in the grand stand sent out a volume of voice, and the crowd in the field took it up and carried it from boundary to boundary of Churchill Downs.”

The track was incorporated as Churchill Downs in 1937.

The first public notice of establishment of the track was reported in the May 27, 1874 edition of the Courier-Journal. The notice was met with some objections because another track had already been proposed by the Falls City Racing Association for a site near the river just east of downtown Louisville. Clark and a group of prominent Louisville gentlemen met at the Galt House on June 18, 1874 to prepare articles of incorporation with the actual filing for the Louisville Jockey Club and Driving Park Association taking place on June 20.

To fund the construction of the track, Clark raised $32,000 by selling 320 membership subscriptions to the track at $100 each. Eighty acres of land, approximately three miles south of downtown were leased from Clark’s uncles, John and Henry Churchill. A clubhouse, grandstand, porter’s lodge and six stables were all eventually constructed on the site for the opening of the track.

For his inaugural race meet, Clark designed his three major stakes races, the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks and Clark Handicap, after the three premier races in England, the Epsom Derby, Epsom Oaks and St. Leger Stakes, respectively. These events have each been held continuosly at Churchill since their debut in 1875. However, in 1953, the Clark was moved from the spring to the fall meet. The Falls City was also offered during the inaugural meet and after four interruptions, the race continues to be held.

The track formally opened May 17, 1875 with four races scheduled. The winner of the first race was Bonaventure, however the winner of the day’s featured race, the Kentucky Derby, was a three-year-old chestnut colt, Aristides. Owned by H.P. McGrath, Aristides was trained by and ridden by two African-Americans, Ansel Williamson and Oliver Lewis, respectively.

Despite the success of the first Kentucky Derby, the track was not financially successful and on November 24, 1894 the New Louisville Jockey Club was incorporated. William F. Schulte was appointed president and

Clark was retained as presiding judge for the track.

Under Schulte, a new grandstand was constructed during fall 1894 – spring 1895 on the opposite side of the track for a reported cost of $100,000. The grandstand was complemented by two spires constructed atop the roof. The twin spires, a simple architectural element, would become the symbol of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.

1874 — Col. M. Lewis Clark begins rescue of Kentucky’s declining stock farm. Develops Louisville Jockey Club on land secured from his uncles John and Henry Churchill.

1875 — An estimated 10,000 watch the first Kentucky Derby on May 17, the opening day of the meet.

1883 — The name “Churchill Downs” is first used in a report on the ninth Derby by the Louisville Commerical newspaper.

1889 — Pari-mutuel machines discarded at demand of bookmakers who tell Col. Clark machines are cutting into their business.

1894 — Group headed by W. F. Schulte purchase the track and incorporate as the New Louisville Jockey Club. They build a 285-foot grandstand on the other side of the track.

1895 — A new grandstand, topped by the Twin Spires, greet the May 6 Derby crowd.

1896 — Derby shortened from 1 1/2 to l 1/4 miles. The reasoning, distance is too long for 3-year-olds so early in the spring.

1899 — Founder Clark is a pistol suicide in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 22, just 12 days before 25th Kentucky Derby.

*******

ROYAL ASCOT ATTIRE…

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