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Archive Pages: MINUTES TO POST…Road to the Triple Crown 2012








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from Jerry and Suzee Bailey

With the most exciting 2 Minutes of Sports just a little over a month away…

Join our COFFEEBREAKWITHFRIENDS Table of Discussion with

Hall of Fame Jockey, Jerry Bailey,…

who will offer his in depth look and top choices for all of the


and his wife Suzee, who will bring you up-to-date news and

happenings in the exciting world of Horse Racing!

Watch for Jerry this Friday and Saturday on ESPN and NBCSports network!

And don’t forget to leave us your comments below…we’d love to hear from you!

ELMONT, N.Y. – A little more than an hour after I’ll Have Another completed his usual morning gallop Tuesday at Belmont Park, he was safely tucked away in his stall in Barn 9, groom Inosencio Diaz standing alongside him. Doug O’Neill, the trainer of I’ll Have Another, had earlier that morning decided to delay by 24 hours I’ll Have Another’s relocation to the detention barn in which all the horses in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes needed to be moved by Wednesday. As someone who is closer to I’ll Have Another than anyone else, Diaz thought I’ll Have Another would be just fine.

[BELMONT STAKES: Video updates, expected field, early odds]

“Everything is relaxed, not crazy,” said Diaz, who has worked for O’Neill for nine years. “All the time, he’s not nervous, nothing. He’s never crazy, takes a siesta.”
No one has been caught snoozing around I’ll Have Another as he prepares for the 144th Belmont Stakes, and a bid for the Triple Crown. O’Neill likes to refer to the team he has around I’ll Have Another, the winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but it’s more like a small army. Paul Reddam, the owner of I’ll Have Another, rented a house in nearby Old Westbury where 10 members of O’Neill’s staff are making due in sweet digs that have a swimming pool and a hot tub.

[I’LL HAVE ANOTHER: Derby, Preakness winner runs for Triple Crown]

People like O’Neill, assistant Jack Sisterson, chiropractor Larry “Thumper” Jones, and exercise rider Johnny Garcia may have become better known during this Triple Crown odyssey, but there’s a large entourage with I’ll Have Another that also includes people like Diaz, and Benjamin Perez, O’Neill’s foreman. READ MORE>>

Barbara D. Livingston
I’ll Have Another schools Sunday on a beautiful morning at Belmont Park. He followed with a strong one-mile gallop for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Jockey Javier Castellano was walking Dullahan back to trainer Dale Romans’s barn after having just worked the third-place finisher in this year’s Kentucky Derby a half-mile Sunday morning at Belmont Park when he stopped briefly to ask the gap attendant how fast he’d gone.

“The man said ‘45’ and I said no way, that can’t be right, it’s too fast,” said Castellano, who had never been on Dullahan prior to Sunday’s work and who’ll ride the Blue Grass winner for the first time in the Belmont Stakes.

In actuality, Dullahan completed a half-mile in an eye-catching 45.82 seconds, according to Daily Racing Form, following an opening quarter mile in 22.20.  Dullahan galloped out five-eighths in 58.91 while easily the most impressive of five prospective Belmont starters to work over a fast track on a picture-perfect morning at Belmont Park.

Overall, seven of the 11 horses listed as probable starters for the Belmont worked on Sunday, including Union Rags at Fair Hill in Maryland and Ravelo’s Boy at Calder. READ MORE>>


Maggie Kimmitt
Union Rags and John Velazquez work alongside Roddickton at Fair Hill on Sunday. Union Rags went five furlongs in 58.50, impressing Velazquez.

ELKTON, Md. – As John Velazquez galloped a strong Union Rags through the stretch of the near-empty Fair Hill training center dirt track Sunday morning, he thought to himself ‘Oh my God, what is this thing?’ ”

About a minute later he found out. Sitting on Union Rags for the first time, Velazquez guided the powerhouse 3-year-old through a five-furlong workout that Daily Racing Form timed in 58.50 seconds. Michael Matz, the trainer of Union Rags, caught him in 59 seconds. Matz was aboard a stable pony on the far turn.

[BELMONT STAKES: Video updates, expected field, early odds]

Whether from a time standpoint or a visual perspective, the work – conducted under bright blue skies and over a freshly harrowed surface – was most impressive and served to confirm Union Rags as a legitimate threat to I’ll Have Another’s Triple Crown hopes in next Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.

Velazquez, who is replacing Julien Leparoux in the irons, drove from Long Island to Fair Hill Saturday night after the races at Belmont Park. Velazquez worked a horse for trainer Graham Motion earlier in the morning at Fair Hill – where conditions were pristine – and then climbed aboard Union Rags at around 8:45 a.m.

After a couple of tours of the shed row, Union Rags and Velazquez followed Matz out to the freshly manicured main track. Velazquez and workmate Roddickton, a 6-year-old four-time winner with exercise rider Peter Brette aboard, came on the track at the three-quarter-pole gap and backed up to the middle of the far turn of the track.

After turning around, Velazquez kept Union Rags galloping behind Brette and Roddickton as they came through the stretch and around the first turn. READ MORE>>

O’Neill consults with Billy Turner, Seattle Slew’s trainer

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Doug O’Neill brought I’ll Have Another to Belmont the day after the colt’s Preakness victory.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Doug O’Neill wasn’t so much interested in talking to the connections of the recent horses who attempted – and failed – to win the Triple Crown. Instead, O’Neill wanted to talk someone who actually accomplished the feat.

So on Tuesday morning, about two hours after watching I’ll Have Another gallop a strong mile at Belmont Park, O’Neill had a little sit-down with Billy Turner, the trainer of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew.

[BELMONT STAKES: Video updates, expected field, early odds]

Sitting at a table outside Barn 9 for approximately 40 minutes, O’Neill picked Turner’s brain about his experiences some 35 years ago.

“He’s done what I’m hoping and dreaming of doing,” O’Neill said later in the day. “The one thing he said, which we’re already doing, was getting him here early and training over the track. He said, ‘That’s the biggest suggestion I would have given you had you asked me.’ He was such a class act, just very complimentary to the whole staff.”

[I’LL HAVE ANOTHER: Derby, Preakness winner runs for Triple Crown]

“The most important thing about Belmont is training on the track,” said the 72-year-old Turner, who still trains a few horses on this circuit. “Woody [Stephens] proved it time and time again. You go back and try to find somebody that’s done something surprising in the Belmont that didn’t train on the track and you can’t find it.” READ MORE>>

I’ll Have Another captures Preakness Stakes

By Bob Velin, USA TODAY

  • I'll Have Another ridden by Mario Gutierrez, left, beats Bodemeister, ridden by Mike E. Smith at the finish line to win the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Saturday.

    By Patrick Smith, Getty Images

    I’ll Have Another ridden by Mario Gutierrez, left, beats Bodemeister, ridden by Mike E. Smith at the finish line to win the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Saturday.

I’ll Have Another ridden by Mario Gutierrez, left, beats Bodemeister, ridden by Mike E. Smith at the finish line to win the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Saturday.

I’ll Have Another became the first horse since Big Brown in 2008 to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

Barring an unforeseen problem, the son of Flower Alley, who was purchased for just $35,000, will go on to theBelmont Stakes in three weeks in an attempt to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978, a span of 34 years.

Owner J. Paul Reddam says they will take their Preakness winner to Belmont in the next few days.

I’ll Have Another became just the fourth horse to win the Preakness from the No. 9 post, and first since Funny Cide in 2003.

Bodemeister finished as the runnerup again, thwarting trainer Bob BafS-fert‘s try for his sixth Preakness victory. Creative Cause, who had beaten both the winner and runnerup in previous races, was third.

“I can’t even put it into words, it’s just incredible” said I’ll Have Another’s trainer Doug O’Neill. “What a ride. (Jockey) Mario (Gutierrez) was so patient. We’re thinking Triple Crown, baby. Come on, why not. READ MORE>>



Preakness Top Five

 1.  I’ll Have Another…


He gets another stalking trip, this time right near the front running Bodemeister. He has enough tactical speed to be close in the early and middle stages of the race and will need to be close because there is likely no other horse with enough early speed to pressure Bodemeisterr early as was the case in the Derby.

 2.  Bodemeister


    Again runs second even though he sets a more moderate pace early, he will not shake off the persistent presence of the Derby winner and is eventually worn down in deep stretch.

3.  Went the Day Well

Will get a closer position than in the Derby because he will better luck leaving the gate and with  9 fewer horses to navigate through, he won’t have as much ground to make up and his finish should be very effective.

 4.  Creative Cause


Had a wide trip in the Derby and if his jockey Joel Rosario uses just a bit of his horses early speed to gain a position in third or fourth early, he will be able to run closer to the rail saving valuable ground and improve his chances by a couple of lengths.

 5.  Tiger Walk


    Is the bomb longshot here folksIHe had a fairly good effort in the Wood Memorial ( his last prep race) and is owned by Under Armor CEO Kevin Plank, a Maryland native. He will be back in the pack early and if the pace is reasonable up front he could get a piece of the pie.


05/17/2012 1:11PM

Bodemeister looks best –

again – in Preakness

Alysse Jacobs
Bodemeister (right) and Creative Cause (left) ran strong races in the Kentucky Derby
despite adversity. I’ll Have Another (second from left) had a perfect trip.

When I’ll Have Another defeated Bodemeister in the Kentucky Derby, many handicappers (including me) thought it was obvious that the loser had run the better race after setting an extraordinarily fast pace.

But this opinion was not unanimous. Sagacious observers such as Daily Racing Form columnist Jay Hovdey and TVG Network analyst Todd Schrupp argued that the winner was the best horse. Hovdey maintained that racing fans always tend to glamorize failed efforts in the Derby, a phenomenon he described as the “cult of the noble loser.” Moreover, the blogosphere was filled with nasty comments suggesting that members of the pro-Bodemeister camp were making alibis after losing a bet.

[PREAKNESS STAKES: Get PPs, contender profiles, video updates]

The popular reasoning was: I’ll Have Another won, so he’s the best horse; he’s the best horse, so he’ll win the Preakness.

Many of these people appear not to understand the rudiments of handicapping. When serious bettors evaluate what has happened in a race, they don’t necessarily focus on who won and who lost. They understand that outcomes are determined not only by horses’ talent, but also by race dynamics – pace, traffic trouble, ground loss, all the things that constitute a horse’s “trip.” They try to consider all of these factors in order to judge after the fact who ran best, because that conclusion may be the key to betting a future race – such as Saturday’s Preakness. READ MORE>>


05/05/2012 6:57PM

Kentucky Derby 2012:

I’ll Have Another comes on late to win


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Paul Reddam namedI’ll Have Another for his nightly reply when his wife, Zillah, asks him if he’d like another cookie. He got the sweetest treat of all on Saturday, when his colt I’ll Have Another scored a 15-1 upset in the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, giving trainer Doug O’Neill and rookie jockey Mario Gutierrez, as well as Reddam, their first Derby victories.

In a roughly run race, it was the skilled handling of Gutierrez that likely made the difference. After breaking from post 19 in the 20-horse field, he was able to keep I’ll Have Another ($32.60) out of trouble throughout, and ran down pacesetter Bodemeister in the shadow of the wire.

I’ll Have Another prevailed by 1 1/2 lengths, with Bodemeister second by a neck over Dullahan, who rallied strongly after a traffic-filled first six furlongs. Went the Day Well, compromised as well by severe traffic early in the race, rallied belatedly for fourth and was followed, in order, by Creative Cause, Liaison, Union Rags, Rousing Sermon, Hansen, Daddy Nose Best, Optimizer, Alpha, El Padrino, Done Talking, Sabercat, Gemologist, Trinniberg, Prospective, Take Charge Indy, and Daddy Long Legs.

I’ll Have Another completed 1 1/4 miles on the fast main track in 2:01.83. He earned a first prize $1,459,600 from a total purse of $2,219,600.

It was a hot, humid day here, more like a sweltering summer afternoon at Ellis Park than springtime for the Derby, but an announced record crowd of 165,307 still stuffed itself into this historic racetrack, fueled by a compelling Derby field and frothy mint juleps. The previous record was set last year, with an announced crowd of 164,858. The people in the crowd who yelled “I’ll have another” were likely requesting something stronger than a cookie.

[KENTUCKY DERBY: Chart, order of finish, post-race videos from Churchill Downs]

I’ll Have Another was in sixth place through the first three-quarters of a mile, but was always in the clear and poised to pounce. As in the Santa Anita Derby, Gutierrez – who last year was riding at Hastings in British Columbia – was cool despite the magnitude of the moment, and he timed his READ MORE>>

The Road to the Kentucky Derby 2012 …

Jerry’s Kentucky Derby Top Ten


With the sever storms we had yesterday the track is labelled SLOPPY this morning…already upgraded to MUDDY,…should dry out by Post Time,…if we don’t get more rain…

If it is sloppy…Union Rags loves it…Gemologist is okay with it…and Daddy’s never run in it…???



Last year’s juvenile runner up in the Breeders Cup juvenile has returned in 2012 even bigger and better. He was arguably best in last years Breeders Cup and without such a wide trip that day he would be undefeated. His comeback win in the Fountain of Youth stakes at Gulfstream Park was very impressive but he was a bit of a disappointment in the Florida Derby finishing a troubled third . He was bottled up in traffic for most of the race and came with his big run too late, however I believe he overcame more trouble than that in the Champagne stakes last fall at Belmont. In any event, I still like him to win the Derby. He has now had a brilliant workout over the Churchill Downs surface last Saturday and he remains the one to beat. He drew post 4 and that will not hinder hi chances. As of Thursday, he continues to impress in his morning training.


This undefeated son of Tiznow and winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club stakes last fall at Churchill Downs looked every bit of a derby contender while winning an allowance race at Gulfstream Park earlier this spring..He has now followed that up with a rousing win in the Wood Memorial over a dead game Alpha. He has great tactical speed for position and has learned to rate off a fast pace which makes him even more dangerous. He has won all of his races in a fairly sanitary manner (no adversity) and we still don’t know if he can overcome adversity in a race, which often happens in the Derby. Of course, with his talent and style, we may never find out, as he seems to keep himself out of any possible trouble. Trainer Todd Pletcher kept him in Florida to avoid the rain that plagued his train schedule last year but the rain followed him causing Gemologist to work in the mud Sunday morning. The work was just average, but that is the only negative in his last few weeks up to the Derby. He drew post 15 which should allow him a stalking trip from the outside.



Although very talented as a two year old he wasn’t in the same league as Union Rags..distant second to that one in the Champagne and beaten badly in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, however he has progressed nicely as a three year old, winning his fist two starts in New York. On paper he is a bit slower than some of his rivals however I believe he is being brought along slowly by his trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, and will peak on Derby day. He has a very troubled second in the Wood Memorial and even though some think Gemologist was the better horse because he won with something left, I believe that without trouble, Alpha may have beaten him. I also believe that This horse is being brought along as to peak on Derby day and he will improve another few lengths off this race. Add that to the fact that we now know Alpha can take dirt in his face, take some trouble and keep coming. The one negative is his minor shin injury which occurred in that troubled first turn of the Wood, and although superficial it did cause him to miss a workout. Last Saturday he did put in a sparkling work but we won’t know if it’s enough until he turns for home in the race. A lot to like here.



Winner of the San Felipe stakes he came back to take the Santa Anita Derby last Sat. His only bad race was in the Hopeful Stakes last summer in Saratoga but that was on a sloppy track. Like Gemologist, he has speed but has learned to rate a bit and should help his rider get a good trip in Kentucky. Drew the 19 post but even though it sounds bad, it could work out ok. But I must tell you that no horse has ever won the Derby from post 19.




He was third in the Breeders Cup juvenile last year behind Hansen and Union Rags. His first race of 2012 at 7 furlongs left a little to be desired but he came roaring back with a win in the San Felipe at a mile and a sixteenth which put him back on track. His train Mike Harrington took the blinkers off for his race in the Santa Anita Derby  and after a perfect inside trip, he came up a head short to San Felipe winner I’ll Have Another . Although still a good effort, it was a bit disappointing. He worked a decent hlf mile on Monday but didn’t show up on the track for two days after(one day absent is normal). Could be trouble..


Well he did it!! He took down the mighty Union Rags, albeit the latter got a suspect ride and Indy took advantage of a speedy track with lead horses running well, you still must give him his due. Also a ballsy move by trainer Pat Byrne to scratch from the Tampa Derby a week earlier to run at Gulfstream. He has trained awesome since the Florida race and stands a very good chance ,especially with Calvin Borel in the saddle. Good choice at a price. Drew the 3 post which is good . Jockey Calvin Borel will likely sit on the rail , 6 or 7 lengths back off the early pace and make his run at the far turn.



Last years Breeders Cup juvenile winner and champion two year old has had mixed results as a three year old. His comeback race in t he Holy Bull stakes at Gulfstream was uninspiring but he shipped to NY to win the Gotham stakes but the competition was pretty weak. He has learned to harness his speed and in that last race was able to lay off the early pace and come strong late. That versatility will help his cause but I still believe that the Derby distances of a mile and a quarter may be too far for him. With that being said, I still believe he is a very talented colt. His race in the Blue Grass stakes was just about what I expected…, he went to the lead and just couldn’t hold off the fast closing Dullahan and if he couldn’t hold off that one at a mile and an eighth , then he shouldn’t be expected to be effective at a mile and a quarter. He drew post 14 and though that will help, he will need more than that to win.


He has only run 4 times, and has only 2 wins, but his dazzling performance in the Arkansas Derby brings him up to the fourth spot and may likely vie for favoritism in the Derby with Rags. This son of Empire Maker certainly has the talent, he has the pedigree, and he has the right team (Baffert &Smith) but he never raced as a two year old, he has never faced any adversity in a race but he is by far the fastest horse in the race according to speed figs. The  post position draw will be crucial to his success in Kentucky. He had an awesome workout over the Churchill Downs surface on Sunday and is ready to go. He drew post 6  and that will likely be a problem because it is inside the other speed horses


This Dale Romans trainee was certainly impressive winning the Blue Gras stakes in a dramatic come from behind fashion, reminiscent of his win last fall in the Breeders Futurity(also at Keeneland). He is either really fond of the Lexington track or he is really starting to bloom. His 3 races at Churchill Downs are ordinary at best and my guess is that he will make a slow steady run through the stretch at Churchill, but won’t threaten the top few. His workout over the Churchill Downs surface was only marginal . Post 5 is fine.


He makes the top ten because he has trained the best of all the horses at Churchil Downs this week. He was on the bubble for quite a while so now he is in. He comes off wins in his last two races and will race mid pack. He gets Garrett Gomez which is a huge plus.





 from  Bloodstock Adviser…

Gary Young

*Gary Young has been clocking horses for nearly 35 years after getting his start for trainer Arnold Winick in Florida in 1978. Young is now based on the West Coast but serves as a bloodstock adviser on private and public auction purchases at tracks and sales throughout the country, having been involved in such recent Grade 1 winners as Evening Jewel, Midnight Lute, Line of David and Life At Ten. 

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

5/5/12…Race Day!
Well, if you’re in the biz and your engine doesn’t get revved up today, you might as well check out. I fell asleep at halftime of Laker game(around midnight) and sometime between then and when I got up around 6;00 the skies emptied so check to see how the track is and how it’s playing.Let’s rank the Derby picks.
Take Charge Indy-has trained great since he made town. My friend Todd Pletcher said he watched this horse train all winter at Palm Meadows and he’s improved tons SINCE his Fla. Derby win. He should get a great trip right behind the speed and Calvin knows how to win this race.
Union Rags-his work last Saturday was off the charts. There have ben some issues trying a tongue tie this week that concern me slightly but he is a real race horse. I may be outsmarting myself going against him with “Indy” but if I am it won’t be the first time, and it won’t be the last
Bodemeister- most every “sheet” player in the land thinks he’ll bounce to the moon. Maybe he will. The thing that concerns me about this theory is he’s trained by Baffert and when he won the Ark. Derby, Mike was not full throttle down the stretch. He does not have the smoothest way of going but this is a horse race,not a figure skating event
Gemologist-trained by the Godfather(Todd Pletcher). This guy might make it one day. He has galloped well in his short time here and how can you knock a well bred undefeated colt?
That is my top four for this years Derby
I wish everybody luck and enjoy the day
                                                                      Gary C. Young
It’s Oaks day or Derby Eve, however you look at it. In either case, let’s look at entrants from both;
Grace Hall hasa galloped like a cougar since she hit town. As much as I love to play “beat the chalk” I can;t go against her. There are some viable longshots in here, Karlovy Vary has trained great and is a live price filly despite runing poorly in her only dirt race. Eden’s Moon missed some trainign for the SA Oaks and has trained good at SA. Her work her was so so.
Now on to the Derby,the closer it gets to the big one the more I am narrowing it down to Union Rags, Take Charge Indy, Gemologist and Bodemiester as my 4th.
Union Rags-continues to train well and seems to appreciate the tongue tie being removed as is has been for the last few days
Take Charge Indy-this jet black beast continues to impress. Trainers watch other trainers train and know some of their horses. Yesterday I was sitting around with Todd Pletcher and he remarked how Indy has improved in his training since the Florida Derby. Enough said.
Gemologist-trained by the afore mentioned TAP, this horse does nothing wrong and is a beast in his stall.
I wish everybody luck on this Oaks day and I’ll talk to you tomorrow!
Thursday  produced some added clues to the puzzle and in some ways make the race more contenscious as some of the late arrivals have galloped well in their short time here.
Union Rags…-the tongue tie was not part of the equipment today and he galloped like he meant it. Much has been made of how this colt gets hot. He does sweat more than his counterparts. So did Patrick Ewing, it didn’t keep him from dominating his oponents. And, like Ewing, this sweat does not appear to come from a case of nerves. Horses are like people, some sweat more than others. For those of you that make it to the gym, you know what I mean.
Bodemeister…– he jogged the same , and galloped the same as he has all week. No changes. Much has been made of how this horse starts off in the morning. He starts out a little stiff. So did Spectacular Bid and Secretariat, that didn’t keep them from winning nthe Derby. The two positives about this issue is that he goes the same way every day and this situation isn’t just recent.
Creative Cause…-well, he showed up today!!! Once again, I did not care for the way he jogged to warm up. His gait did improve in his gallop which I rated average. He too, got rather perspired today(not unusual for him). This horse has ran well in the past off average drills but I’m not thrilled with the week he’s had for the Okie.
Unfortunately, some major pieces to the puzzle arrived late this year and we have not had much to judge them on however, some observations on those colts follows:
Hansen…-so so on the jog in his first day here. He was pulling like a fat man seeing a dessert tray in his gallop today. Needs to chill in his gallop tomorrow. On the bright side, his tail wasn’t blue.
Gemologist…-very impressive in his gallops his only 2 days on the track here.His connetions know how to win and you can’t accuse Todd of coloring his hair for the Derby this year. I’m not so sure about some of his peers.
Take Charge Indy…– I never knew this horse was such a specimen. Gorgeous horse. Training well.


Before they run the Derby on Saturday, they run the Oaks on Friday.  Lets take a look at some of the contenders in that renewal:

On Fire Baby...-her final work came the day before I got to Louisville but it looked good on tape and anytime you finish a seven furlong work in less than 24 seconds, it has to be respected. She has been trained stiffly for this but she is coming off a 2 month break since her last race so that is to be expected. Her jogs and gallops have been very good
Grace Hall...-was a late arrival in town but looked excellent galloping today.  It is common knowledge that Tony Dutrow(Babe Jr) is pointing to the fence in this race!
Broadway’s Alibi...-the Godfather(Todd Pletcher) brought his toys out today and guess what, he has some nice looking animals for this weekend. Shocking!!!! This filly looked good and its only fitting Todd gets a good Vindication baby as he so admired that sire
As with the Derby, this years Oaks favorites look rather strong, but I have lived my life searching for long shots so here goes
Karlovy’s Vary…-I know she’s by Dynaformeer and I know she got blown away in her only dirt race(at CD by ON Fire Baby) but she has trained terrific all week here. Good luck Rusty, you deserve one of these for carrying me one day I couldn’t have golfed worse.
Jemimas Pearl...-has been a workmate for Bodiemiester since she got here and ,though second best, has been working well. I has last years Oaks to 2 fillies and went against Baffert. I remember that.
Now, on to the Derby.
Union Rags…-he galloped like a freight train this morning. Period.
Bodiemiester…-warmed up the same as usual, galloped the same as usual.
Creative Cause…-didn’t come to the track today. This is not good. His trainer Mike Harrington(The Big Okie) says this is normal for him. Look here Okie, some of us may have been born at night, but not last night. His warm up for his work Monday was stiff and his work was average(normal for this colt) but to not train for 2 days the week of your biggest race is not normal.
Gemologist and Alpha both had their first days on the track and looked fine. In a perfect world they would have .worked over Churchill so we could get a better gauge on them but that is not the case.
There has been a flurry of activity leading up to the Derby since I arrived here Friday night so lets look at some of the players
Union Rags…-worked as good as a horse can work Saturday morn. I caught him from the 1/2 pole in 46;3 and an eighth past the wire 59;3 without nthe least bit of urging, galloping out another furlong in 1.13;2. Great work. This colt does have a perpensity of getting warm,as have some of his chief rivals and with temps predicted near 90 Saturday he probably will be foamy, but as long as he does it in a non-nervous way, it should not be taken as a negative…
Bodiemiester,…-Just when you thought you could start inscribing the Derby trophy for “Rags,’ up stepped the Californian.  Oaks filly Jemmima’s Pearl was his company, and it was clear throughout that Bodie was cruising… 36 the first 3/8 then cruised a 23 final quarter for 59, galloping out in 1.11;4 and doubling out in 1.25.He too, has gotten warm in the past(see his second race as he loads in gate) and he does not have the most fluid gate while galloping and especially jogging, but this was an eye catching drill…he could make Papa Bear and Baby Bear dance like the bears in the Charman tv ad!
Creative Cause…-has been here less time than the most but did work a decent half in 24 47;1 Monday. Another colt who, at times in the past, can get a little perspired,he took a while to warm up then responded to mild urging to throw a good final 2 furlongs. I didn’t think it was as good as the top two listed, but this is a quality colt that fires everey time and gives the Big Okie his one chance to make the top of the mountain.
Dullahan-worked 1.00;3 Saturday. Nice colt, moves like a turf horse. Owned, trained, and ridden by the Paddy O’ Prado team he has nany of ththat colts attributes, he got a great ride to thake the Blue Grass but I still contend, he moves like a turfier…
I’ll Have Another-...another Californian,has came frrom obscurity to throw his name in the hat. His main work looked acceptable on tape from Hollywood Park. His trainer does much more open ngallops than most and this colt has been clipping right along in his exercise heree. No knocks .
Two longshots that have caught my eye are Prospective and Daddy Nose Best.  Though I have trouble seeing them win they could hit the superfecta or High 5 and add some value.


TAKE CHARGE INDY:  -(I like the way he is training for this big day…also has a very Kentucky Derby Lucky jockey)

BODEMEISTER:  -(Like the trainer and the jockey…and what mom wouldn’t root for a horse named for  such a cutie as their son!)

Union Rag and Alpha have great connections, but my third choice is HANSON...(What female doesn’t root for a beautiful White Horse!!)

Hope you have a Winning Day!

2012 Kentucky Derby Post Positions:

Odds, Preview

and More…


LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 05:  Jockey Ramon Dominguez rides Hansen #5, far right, ahead of jockey Javier Castellano and Union Rags #10 to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile during the 2011 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs on November 5, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

A total of nine horses from last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, including the top three pictured above of Hansen, Union Rags, and Creative Cause, are back under the Twin Spires for the 138th Kentucky Derby.
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Equine stars collide on horse racing’s biggest stage over 1 1/4-miles in the 138thrunning of the $2 million Kentucky Derby (Grade I) presented by Yum! Brands with 12 of the 21 3-year-olds entered coming in off a win or runner-up effort in their last start.

The greatest two minutes in sports can be seen live on NBC this Saturday at 6:24 p.m. ET / 3:24 PT as part of a 3-hour telecast that begins at 4 p.m. ET / 1 PT and you can catch all of America’s Best Racing through the Triple Crown and leading up to the Breeders’ Cup at

Bodemeister is the 4-1 morning-line favorite for 3-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert and drew post No. 6 off the most impressive win in a prep race when he romped home by nearly ten lengths in the Arkansas Derby (Grade I). Last week, owner Ahmed Zayat sold a 40% share in the lightly-raced son of Empire Maker to Mike Moreno’s Southern Equine Stable for a sum well into seven figures.

“I’m looking for something middle to outside. Once you get your post you just have to deal with it,” said Baffert before the draw with Bodemeister trying to become the first horse in 130 years to win the Derby after being unraced as a 2-year-old. “Ideally, you want to be outside the other speed, but whoever’s inside will set the tempo.”

With four wins from six starts by a combined 18 ¼-lengths, Union Rags drew post No. 4 and was made the 9-2 second choice despite entering off a third-place finish in the Florida Derby (Grade I). Trained by Michael Matz, who won the Derby in 2006 with Barbaro, the son of Dixie Union was stuck inside horses throughout the Florida Derby after being hung wide in his only other defeat when second best to Hansen in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Grade I) here at Churchill Downs.

98786046_crop_340x234Todd Pletcher has two chances to win his second Kentucky Derby in three years with Gemologist and El Padrino.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

“Our post looks like it’s ok. We just have to come away running from the gate a little bit and Julien (Leparoux) has to have a nice position,” said Matz.

Hansen was honored as champion 2-year-old for 2011 after making every pole a winning one in the Juvenile to cap a perfect campaign, but he’s had to settle for a pair of runner-up finishes this year. The sparkling white son of Tapit trained by Michael Maker will break from post No. 14 at 10-1 after getting run down on the lead in both the Blue Grass Stakes (Grade I) and Holy Bull (Grade III). His only win of 2012 came in the Gotham Stakes (Grade III), where he raced from just off the pace for the only time in his career.

“I was wanting 14 or 15 from the start so we could stay outside and keep our eye on Trinniberg and Bodemiester,” said Hansen’s owner Dr. Kendall Hansen, who had attempted to paint his horses mane and tail blue and yellow in previous races. “We’re going to calm it down and let the horse do the talking, but we’re going to party really hard afterwards.”

The one doing the running from well of the pace past Hansen in the Blue Grass was Dullahan, who drew a loud applause from those in attendance after drawing post No. 5 for Dale Romans and was made 8-1 with both of his career wins coming in similar fashion in Grade I’s over Keeneland’s Polytrack. However, the son of Even the Score has been well-beaten in all three tries over the main track at Churchill Downs including a fourth-place finish beaten six lengths in the Juvenile.

Another pair of Grade I events send their one/two finishers to the big dance, with the undefeated Gemologist (post No. 15 at 6-1) and Alpha (post No. 11 at 15-1) shipping west from New York after the Wood Memorial, and I’ll Have Another (post No. 19) and Creative Cause (post No. 8) traveling from the West as 12-1 shots after hitting the wire noses apart in the Santa Anita Derby.

Who will go off favored in the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby?

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Daddy Long Legs ships across the Atlantic Ocean for the second time and will break from the dreaded post No. 1 in his second try on dirt after beating just one runner in the Juvenile. The son of Scat Daddy trained by Aidan O’Brien was made 30-1 off a win in his only start of 2012 in the $2 million UAE Derby (Group 2) in Dubai.

Beginning at 4 p.m. ET / 1 PT, NBC Sports Network provides two hours of coverage on both Thursday and Friday, which includes the live running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) for 3-year-old fillies on Friday at 5:45 ET / 2:45 PT. Additionally, they will air five hours of coverage on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. ET / 8 PT.

Below is the complete field for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, including post position, morning line and a brief comment.

PP Horse (Morning Line Odds) Comment

1. Daddy Long Legs (30-1) Hard to overlook flop in Juvenile over this strip.

2. Optimizer (50-1) Triumph in potential swan song for “The Coach” unlikely.

3. Take Charge Indy (15-1) Borel factor cannot be taken lightly aboard Florida Derby winner.

4. Union Rags (9-2) Might need 20-horse field to get good trip.

5. Dullahan (8-1) Tries to make it consecutive “turf/synth” horses from off the pace.

6. Bodemeister (4-1) Massive price tag for Derby dream.

7. Rousing Sermon (50-1) California-bred can pick up some pieces late.

8. Creative Cause (12-1) Big grey needs to put mind on serious running through stretch.

9. Trinniberg (50-1) Winner if finish line was on other side of the track.

10. Daddy Nose Best (15-1) Consistent improvement accentuated by perfect pair as 3-year-old.

11. Alpha (15-1) Rajiv gets the nod over Rosie in the irons.

12. Prospective (30-1) 4-time winner proved out-classed in Juvenile.

13. Went the Day Well (20-1) Déjà vu all over again for Animal Kingdom connections?

14. Hansen (10-1) Repeat of stalking effort in Gotham is key to victory.

15. Gemologist (6-1) Luster of perfection is enticing.

16. El Padrino (20-1) Bejarano seeks back door score with 8th Derby mount on “other” Pletcher.

17. Done Talking (50-1) Nobody’s talking like long shot winner of Ill. Derby has a chance.

18. Sabercat (30-1) Not sold on path of success through Monmouth and Delta.

19. I’ll Have Another (12-1) Barn struggles with shippers. Keeps faith in inexperienced jock.

20. Liaison (50-1) Needs major reversal back to 2-year-old form.

AE. My Adonis (50-1) Waits until Friday to find out if in or out.

Marc Doche is a Contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.



Updated on 05/05/2012 10:09AM

Kentucky Oaks:

Believe You Can enables Napravnik to earn historic victory

05/04/2012 1:16PM
Tom Keyser
Rosie Napravnik (orange cap) becomes the first female jockey to win the Kentucky Oaks when she guides Believe You Can to victory by three-quarters of a length over Broadway’s Alibi.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – On a day dedicated to ladies, how appropriate that it was Rosie Napravnik who became the first woman jockey ever to win the Kentucky Oaks.

Napravnik, riding Believe You Can for former Kentucky Gov. Brereton C. Jones and trainer Larry Jones, gave several joyful waves of her whip when her mount crossed under the wire a three-quarters-of-a-length winner over a gritty Broadway’s Alibi on Friday in the 138th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Oaks at Churchill Downs.

Believe You Can, a 13-1 shot, returned $29.60 after finishing the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:49.50 over a fast track. Broadway’s Alibi was another 2 1/2 lengths before Grace Hall, the 5-2 favorite, with Summer Applause fourth and On Fire Baby fifth in a field of 14 3-year-old fillies.

Napravnik, one of the rising stars in the game, wiped away tears of joy as she jogged her mount back toward the winners’ circle. The 24-year-old native of New Jersey barely missed winning the Oaks last year when St. John’s River fell a neck short of catching Plum Pretty.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Napravnik. “I couldn’t even tell you what I’m feeling. It feels like when your dreams are coming true. The filly is all talent and all heart and she certainly showed that today.”

[KENTUCKY OAKS: Video updates from Churchill Downs]

No woman had won either the Derby or Oaks until Napravnik pulled her feat Friday. She was scheduled to ride in the Derby for a second straight year, but the Joneses (no relation) declared Mark Valeski from Derby contention earlier this week. READ MORE>>


Smith enters 19th Kentucky Derby still on top of his game

By Jay Hovdey

Jeff Coady/Coady Photography

Mike Smith knew something was wrong the second the music stopped. It was Derby Day 1994, and as far as Smith was concerned the 120th running of America’s most famous horse race was Holy Bull’s to lose. Only trouble was, as the gray colt took his place in the post parade in front of 100,000 fans, he clearly was not the keen, looking-for-trouble Holy Bull who blew away his opposition in the Florida Derby and the Blue Grass.

“I was extremely high on him that day,” Smith said, the disappointment still palpable. “I thought this was it – if I’m ever going to win one it’s today. My main concern was actually staying on him in the post parade, because he was very difficult. He liked to play so much that I knew when they got through singing ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ and the crowd went wild I’d better really be tied on.”

Then the music stopped.

“He didn’t even move,” Smith said.

And that was that. Holy Bull left the gate spinning his wheels over the cuppy Churchill Downs track, never picked up the bit, and finished a distant 12th to Go for Gin.

At the time Smith was the leading rider in the land, winner of Eclipse Awards in 1993 and 1994 and a dozen years into what was becoming an exemplary career. But even the most successful jockey understands that a colt like Holy Bull is a rare beast. With Smith on board, Holy Bull swept through the rest of 1994, winning the Met Mile, the Travers, the Woodward and Horse of the Year. Rewarding, yes. But the Derby still hurt. It’s the Derby every jockey wants to win.

Which is why it will surprise absolutely no one to know that in this day of instant access to all manner of digital delights, Mike Smith carries a recent photo of the gray stallion Giacomo on his iPhone, a handy reminder of the day Holy Bull’s most famous son carried Smith to victory in the 2005 Kentucky Derby, at odds of 50-1. READ MORE>>

2012 Kentucky Derby:

Hansen dodges bullet at post-position draw

By David Grening

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Hansen’s name had yet to be called and there were only two slots left in the starting gate when post positions were assigned late Wednesday afternoon for Saturday’s 138th Kentucky Derby.

There was a big cheer from the Hansensection of the audience when the nameDaddy Long Legs was assigned the dreaded rail post, leaving 2011 juvenile champion Hansen to start from No. 14.

::KENTUCKY DERBY: Get PPs, watch analysis video, read latest updates

In a case of be careful what you wish for, post 14 hasn’t won the Kentucky Derby since Carry Back in 1961.

Mike Maker, the trainer of Hansen, said he wasn’t nervous about it, but his two owners – Dr. Kendall Hansen and Dr. Harvey Diamond – were.

“I had two doctors to my left and they were shaking like a leaf,” said Maker, referring to Dr. Kendall Hansen and Dr. Harvey Diamond, the co-owners of Hansen. “I said ‘boy, I’m glad they don’t operate on me.’ ”

The rail, which has not produced a Kentucky Derby winner since Ferdinand in 1986, could have been a detriment to Hansen, who might have had to use his speed earlier than necessary to secure a decent position early in the race.

Instead, the majority of the speed – Bodemeister (post 6) and Trinniberg (post 9) is drawn inside of Hansen. While Hansen won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in gate to wire fashion, he showed in winning the Grade 3 Gotham at Aqueduct that he can win from just off the pace.

“He was going to get away good anyway, but I’m happy to have the speed to our inside and that little extra space by the gate,” said Maker, noting that post 14 is the last spot in the main gate and there is a few feet between him and Gemologist in post 15.

As Maker spoke to the press, trainer D. Wayne Lukas, for whom Maker worked as an assistant, walked past, patted him on the back and said, “You’re the luckiest son of a [gun].”

To which Maker retorted: “I learned from you.”

Hansen vanned over from the Churchill Downs trackside training facility to Churchill on Wednesday. He was to school in the paddock during the fifth race on Thursday, Dr. Hansen said.

Dr. Hansen said he thought all along his horse would draw post 14 and said he felt the anxiety made the process fun for him and his fellow connections.

“The adrenaline kicks are why a lot of us are in this,” Dr. Hansen said. “To have an adrenaline rush when little peas are coming out of a bottle is fun.”

Dr. Hansen, who attempted to paint his colt’s tail blue at the Blue Grass, said he plans to bring little rubber white horses to the track on Saturday.

“I have a pain clinic, I do injections on spines, we have little squeeze toys our patients squeeze,” Hansen said. “We’ve had brown horses for years, we had some white ones made and we’ll try to hit people in the head with them. That’s all we got planned though.”

Hansen was made the 10-1 fifth choice on Mike Battaglia’s track morning line.

“I think if Mike Maker was doing the odds we’d be 1-1, if I was doing the odds we’d be 3-1,” Dr. Hansen said. “Everybody else will find out why we think that later.” READ MORE>>

Barbara D. Livingston
Bodemeister (left) begins to close ground on stablemate Jemima’s Pearl, a Kentucky Oaks contender, during Sunday’s workout at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – One day after Union Rags turned in a sharp workout at Churchill Downs, the other potential favorite for the 138th Kentucky Derby next Saturday, Bodemeister, threw down the gauntlet with a brilliant piece of work over a muddy surface.

Bodemeister worked five furlongs in 59.48 seconds, according to Daily Racing Form, then continued boldly on the gallop out for another three furlongs and completed one lap around the track in 1:40.26. The track was rated muddy, after a fierce storm Saturday night, but it had a very firm bottom.

Jockey Martin Garcia was aboard for the drill, but Mike Smith has the mount in the Derby.

Bodemeister will be coming back on three weeks’ rest following his dominating victory in the Arkansas Derby, but his trainer, Bob Baffert, said he has not “seen any regression.”

“So far, so good,” Baffert said. READ MORE>>

Kentucky Derby workouts:

Union Rags finishes strongly in five-furlong drill

By Mike Welsch


Barbara D. Livingston
Union Rags works five furlongs under Julien Leparoux in 59.97 seconds at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – After a relatively quiet week, activity picked up to a frenetic pace at Churchill Downs on Saturday morning with four Kentucky Derby hopefuls working within a five-minute span immediately after the renovation break. Overall, seven of the prospective 20-horse Derby field breezed around the country on Saturday, including Hansen at the nearby Trackside training center, Alpha at Belmont Park, and Done Talking at Laurel Park. Two other horses, Gemologist and El Padrino, had their scheduled works postponed Saturday at least one day due to a sloppy track at the Palm Meadows training facility in south Florida.

KENTUCKY DERBY WORKOUTS: Latest updates, Mike Welsch’s video reports

There was no such problem with the weather at Churchill Downs despite predictions for rain late Friday and early Saturday morning. That threat may have been, in part, responsible for the racetrack being somewhat on the “cuppy” and slower side during training hours on Saturday, an observation validated by several trainers and jockeys, including Bob Baffert and Julien Leparoux.

Union Rags (five furlongs in 59.97 seconds; all workouts timed by Daily Racing Form unless otherwise noted): Leparoux dropped Union Rags down on the rail approaching the five-furlong pole, easing him into a work which officially began at the half-mile pole. Moving effortlessly and with long, efficient strides, Union Rags completed his opening quarter in 23.37, switched leads on cue at the head of the stretch, and just cruised to the wire in 47.27 without need of urging and while holding a straight and true course throughout. After switching back to his left lead right at the wire, Union Rags continued very willingly into the bend with Leparoux remaining motionless in the saddle, completing his drill at the seven-eighths pole before galloping out an impressive six furlongs in 1:13.34.

“I’m glad we went immediately after the break because the track was on the slow side this morning,” Leparoux said afterwards. “Both previous times I’d breezed him, we went easily. Today, Michael wanted a more serious work and when I asked him at the eighth pole, he responded very well.”

After making an awesome appearance on Friday, Union Rags followed with easily the most impressive workout  I have witnessed here this past week, suggesting he has been brought along in a manner that should result in a peak performance on Derby Day.

Other workouts

Prospective (five furlongs in 1:01.08): Prospective was eager to go long before arriving at the five-furlong pole to begin his drill in company with stablemate Moon Traveler, jockey Shaun Bridgmohan having his hands full getting the Tampa Bay Derby winner to finally settle a length behind his partner approaching the end of the backstretch.  But once able to relax, Prospective looked very sharp, drawing even with his mate in early stretch then readily drawing three lengths clear after completing his final quarter in 24.19 without even a hint of urging from his rider. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.02.

“I told Shaun to go in 1:01 and he hit it right on the money,” said trainer Mark Casse. “Shaun said he had to slow him down the first part or he was going to go way too fast.”

Prospective has made a nice impression all week and his work Saturday was an extension of what  I have been seeing here in recent mornings.

Dullahan (five furlongs in 1:00.99): With Tammy Fox aboard, Dullahan breezed through his opening quarter in 23.95 and while never really asked down the lane, he did not appear to level off or finish up nearly as strong as he did in his final, brilliant work over the artificial surface at Keeneland before the Blue Grass Stakes. He also shut down a little quick once passing the wire, galloping out six furlongs in just a tick less than 1:16.

Dullahan has trained well, for the most part, all week although Saturday’s work was somewhat reminiscent of his breezes earlier this winter at Gulfstream Park and re-enforces the notion that he may just be a better horse on synthetics and grass than over dirt.

Went the Day Well (five furlongs in 1:00.80): Equipped with blinkers for the first time in a work, and with regular rider John Velazquez up, Went the Day Well began about a length behind his regular partner, Crimson China. The pair entered the stretch on even terms while floating about four paths off the inner rail. Went the Day Well appeared to lean in just a bit on Crimson China while urged slightly by Velazquez nearing midstretch, eventually edging three lengths clear at the wire under some mild pressure. Went the Day Well galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.42.

Saturday’s work was a major improvement over a similar move, without blinkers, last Saturday at Keeneland when Went the Day Well struggled a bit to match strides with Crimson China coming to the wire. His gallop out was also much improved.

“This was the first time he’s kicked on from another horse like that,” said trainer Graham Motion. “He waited on the same horse in their work last week.”

Hansen (five furlongs in 1:01.20 according to clocker at the Trackside training center): Hansen appeared a bit headstrong breaking off alone at the half-mile pole over the six-furlong Trackside training center strip. He posted early fractions of 12.20, 24.60 and 36.40 before joining up with stablemate Derby Kitten at the eighth pole while hugging the inner rail. Hansen completed his final quarter, under what appeared to be some mild urging, in 24.80 and reportedly galloped out three-quarters of a mile in 1:15.20. READ MORE>>

04/30/2012 7:59AM

Kentucky Derby workouts:

Sabercat and Daddy Nose Best

get in easy breezes at Churchill Downs

By Mike Welsch

Barbara D. Livingston
Sabercat, here with trainer Steve Asmussen, breezed a half-mile in 48.02 Monday morning at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Trainer Steve Asmussen provided the early show Monday morning at Churchill Downs, sending out his two Derby hopefuls Sabercat and Daddy Nose Best for easy half-mile works.

Sabercat breezed first, shortly after the track opened at 5:45 a.m., going a half-mile in 48.02 seconds, completing his final quarter in 23.92 before galloping out five-eighths in 1:01.04 and pulling up six furlongs in 1:15.45.

Daddy Nose Best came out 30 minutes later and went off at a much more leisurely pace, posting early splits of 13.36 and 25.70 before finishing strong, his final quarter in 23.53, to complete his half-mile drill in 49.23. Daddy Nose Best galloped out five-eighths in 1:02.45 before pulling up three-quarters of a mile in 1:16.80.

Union Rags visited the racetrack shortly after dawn, jogging an easy mile before schooling briefly in the paddock with his regular exercise rider Peter Brette aboard. READ MORE>>

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Graham Motion equipped Vinery Spiral winner Went the Day Well with blinkers for Saturday’s workout and plans to use them in the Kentucky Derby.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Why mess with success? Graham Motion and Michael Matz both have won the Kentucky Derby, Motion last year, Matz in 2006, and they are back this year at Churchill Downs with runners whose final works on Saturday were almost carbon copies of what the trainers did with their Derby winners.

When Motion won with Animal Kingdom, he worked that horse one week in front of the Derby, in company, just as he did on Saturday with Went the Day Well, who, like Animal Kingdom, won the Vinery Spiral Stakes in his last start. Went the Day Well wore blinkers, which Motion intends to use for the first time in the Derby.

Barbaro gave Matz his Derby win six years ago, and that colt touted his readiness with a sharp workout the weekend before the Derby in which he started at the half-mile pole but galloped out strongly another quarter-mile past the wire. Union Rags did the exact same thing on Saturday morning in a move that, combined with his popularity, might propel him to favoritism by next Saturday’s race.




Bodemeister will try to become the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to win the Derby without having a start as a 2-year-old.


Kentucky Derby:

Scouting the top horses and key prep races


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Take Charge Indy upsets Florida Derby; Union Rags third





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Grade 2, $400,000 at 1 1/16 miles (Feb. 26 at Gulfstream)
Winner: Union Rags
Beyer: 95
Time: 1:42.68
Next likely race: Florida Derby (Saturday at Gulfstream)



Grade 2, $300,000 at 1 1/16 miles (March 10 at Santa Anita)
Winner: Creative Cause
Beyer: 102
Time: 1:41.84
Next likely race: Santa Anita Derby (April 7 at Santa Anita)




Grade 2, $500,000 at 1 1/16 miles (March 17 at Oaklawn)
Winner: Secret Circle
Beyer: 92
Time: 1:44.55
Next likely race: Arkansas Derby (April 14 at Oaklawn)





Looking for the next Triple Crown star

By Andrew Beyer

Thoroughbred racing badly needs a 3-year-old star. The sport’s popularity – as everybody knows – has been declining for years. Racing gets minimal attention on network television, and it has disappeared from most sports pages during most of the year. And yet one part of the game remains remarkably strong: the Triple Crown series. The Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes still attract huge crowds and widespread media coverage. They can stir the interest of the public at large – particularly when a charismatic horse such as Rachel Alexandra, Funny Cide, or Smarty Jones is involved in the competition. Will there be such a horse in 2012? Racing fans will be scrutinizing the key prep races over the next three weekends and looking for Derby candidates, but it is by no means certain that any worthy 3-year-old will emerge from them. READ MORE>>

TOP 10 contenders ranked by graded stakes earnings

[DERBY WATCH: Top DRF TOP10 contenders |

Barbara D. Livingston
Jockey Javier Castellano has opted to ride Algorithms in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – After agonizing over the decision for several days, jockey Javier Castellano and his agent, Matt Muzikar, have chosen to ride Algorithms, not Union Rags, in Gulfstream Park’s Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on Feb. 26. Union Rags will be ridden by Julien Leparoux in the Fountain of Youth. Castellano has been the regular rider for both Algorithms and Union Rags throughout their brief and already successful careers. Castellano most recently guided Algorithms to an impressive victory in the Grade 3 Holy Bull. He was aboard Union Rags for victories last season in the Grade 1 Champagne and Grade 2 Saratoga Special as well as his second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Algorithms and Union Rags are two of five highly regarded Kentucky Derby prospects that Castellano has been riding regularly along with El Padrino, Discreet Dancer, and Gemologist. Four of the five are trained by Todd Pletcher. Algorithms, Union Rags, and Discreet Dancer are all pointing to the Fountain of Youth, although Pletcher has already announced that John Velazquez would be aboard Discreet Dancer in the race. “Javier rides five top Derby prospects, four of which are with one trainer,” Muzikar said. “This was a very tough decision, but Javier and I thought it was the right decision. Both of us have the utmost respect for both Michael Matz and Mrs. Wyeth. They are both very classy people, and we wish all the connections of Union Rags the best.” Union Rags is owned by Phyllis Wyeth’s Chadds Ford Stable. Matz wasted little time lining up Leparoux for the Fountain of Youth. He also said Leparoux would breeze Union Rags on Monday morning at Palm Meadows. “Julien is a top rider, he’s ridden for us before, and he’s here in Florida,” Matz said.





2011 Eclipse Awards

Havre de Grace

HORSE OF THE YEAR Havre de Grace

Havre de Grace on Monday night joined Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta by becoming the third straight female to be named Horse of the Year, a feat never before accomplished in American racing.Read Full Article »
Votes: Havre de Grace, 166; Acclamation, 26; Game On Dude, 10


2-year-old male Hansen

On Nov. 5, in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Hansen played the national stage for the first time and registered his most courageous win, holding off the heavily favored Union Rags by a head. View Full Profile »
Votes: Hansen, 194; Union Rags, 52; Secret Circle, 1

My Miss Aurelia

2-year-old female My Miss Aurelia

The good ones – the real good ones – have the uncanny knack of revealing themselves early. Such was the case with My Miss Aurelia. If My Miss Aurelia’s debut was promising, her next victory in the Adirondack Stakes proved she was for real. View Full Profile »
Votes: My Miss Aurelia, 247; Stephanie’s Kitten, 1

Animal Kingdom

3-year-old male Animal Kingdom

Despite being sent off at 20-1 in the Derby, Animal Kingdom won like a 2-1 shot, scoring an emphatic 2 3/4-length victory under John Velazquez that was so impressive he was favored in the next two legs of the Triple Crown. View Full Profile »
Votes: Animal Kingdom, 114; Caleb’s Posse, 111; Shackleford, 12

Royal Delta

3-year-old female Royal Delta

After looking sensational in capturing the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Churchill Downs, everyone could plainly see what a truly great performer Royal Delta was. View Full Profile »
Votes: Royal Delta, 243; Awesome Feather, 2; Plum Pretty, 2


Older male Acclamation

On turf, Acclamation was virtually unbeatable in 2011. In five appearances on turf, all in California, Acclamation won four consecutive graded stakes. On the main track, he won Del Mar’s biggest race for older horses, the Pacific Classic. View Full Profile »
Votes: Acclamation, 95; Game On Dude, 70; Tizway, 52

Havre de Grace

Older female Havre de Grace

Havre de Grace had a championship quality 2011 season that combined attributes of towering predecessors, Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta, plus a few grand flourishes of her own. View Full Profile »
Votes: Havre de Grace, 245; Blind Luck, 2; Awesome Maria, 1

Cape Blanco

Male turf Cape Blanco

Cape Blanco was already a multiple Group 1 stakes winner when he made his first trip to the United States in July 2011. Less than three months later, by Oct. 1, he had won three consecutive Grade 1 stakes to outdo his previous accomplishments and earn a nomination as finalist for champion turf male of 2011. View Full Profile »
Votes: Cape Blanco (IRE), 172; Acclamation, 55; St Nicholas Abbey (IRE), 16


Female turf Stacelita

Expectations were high for Stacelita upon her arrival to the United States, and she more than met them, earning the Eclipse Award for top female turf runner. View Full Profile »
Votes: Stacelita (FR), 158; Perfect Shirl, 28; Never Retreat, 25


Male sprinter Amazombie

A mere throw-in in a $5,000 two-horse deal as a yearling, Amazombie turned back all comers in winning the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs to cap an unforgettable season for his trainer, Bill Spawr. View Full Profile »
Votes: Amazombie, 201; Caleb’s Posse, 42; Regally Ready, 2

Musical Romance

Female sprinter Musical Romance

Musical Romance had 14 starts and 5 wins capped by a decisive victory in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint that boosted the filly from anonymity to Eclipse Award winner as outstanding female sprinter. View Full Profile »
Votes: Musical Romance, 131; Hilda’s Passion, 53; Sassy Image, 46

Black Jack Blues

Steeplechase horse Black Jack Blues

In three weeks, Black Jack Blues did more than any other 2011 American steeplechase starter. He won his only two starts, both stakes, earned $171,000, and laid waste to the best field of the season. View Full Profile »
Votes: Black Jack Blues (IRE), 137; Tax Ruling, 80; Decoy Daddy (IRE), 1

Bill Mott

Trainer Bill Mott

The key to Mott’s good performance this year is that he came on very strong late in the year with six of his 15 graded stakes wins earned in November,including the BC Ladies’ Classic.View Full Profile »
Votes: Bill Mott, 83; Bob Baffert, 60; Todd Pletcher, 57

Ken and Sarah Ramsey

Owner Ken and Sarah Ramsey

Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s decision to breed many of their mares to 2004 Turf Male Champion Kitten’s Joy has paid off, and in 2011 they enjoyed their biggest successes with homebreds by the stallion Ken Ramsey has called “the family stallion.” View Full Profile »
Votes: Ken and Sarah Ramsey, 66; Midwest Thoroughbreds, 60; Team Valor International, 25

Adena Springs

Breeder Adena Springs

Frank Stronach’s far-flung breeding operation continued to dominate North American racing in 2011, ending the season well ahead in every category. View Full Profile »
Votes: Adena Springs, 151; Ken and Sarah Ramsey, 62; Ocala Stud, 5

Ramon Dominguez

Jockey Ramon Dominguez

As rewarding as 2010 was, 2011 proved even more lucrative for the 35-year-old Dominguez. He was the second-leading rider in North America by victories, and he again led in money won, with his mounts earning more than $19.4 million. View Full Profile »
Votes: Ramon Dominguez, 197; John Velazquez, 30; Javier Castellano, 14

Kyle Frey

Apprentice jockey Kyle Frey

Frey began working with horses just three years ago but won 153 races in his first full season of riding in 2011 to earn recognition as the Eclipse Award winner for champion apprentice jockey. View Full Profile »
Votes: Kyle Frey, 77; Ryan Curatolo, 57; Rosario Montanez, 19

Award of Merit and Special Award

Award of Merit – Cot Campbell Special Eclipse Award – Rapid Redux

Media Eclipse Awards

Photography – Bob Mayberger, Sports Illustrated Snapshot; “A.P. Smithwick Memorial Stakes,” August 4, 2011. Writing – Feature/Commentary – Claire Novak,; “Pressure off Durkin at Belmont,” June 10, 2011. Writing – News/Enterprise – Jennie Rees, Louisville Courier-Journal; “Breeders’ Cup 2011: Jockeys Rein in Their