Derby Contenders

Prep Race History

PDF Download Past Performances
Date Race Grade Distance Finish Chart Replay
Apr 14 2012 Arkansas Derby Oaklawn Park I 1 1/8 Miles 3 REPLAY
Mar 17 2012 Rebel Oaklawn Park II 1 1/16 Miles 8 REPLAY
Nov 19 2011 Delta Downs Jackpot Delta Downs III 1 1/16 Miles 1 REPLAY


Steve Asmussen


Asmussen was born into a racing family as his father and mother are both trainers and his brother Cash is a champion jockey. Steve has trained over 6000 winners and in 2009, shattered his own record for wins in a single year with 650 earning the Eclipse Award as the nation’s top trainer. Asmussen trained back-to-back Horse of the Year’s in Curlin and Rachel Alexandra and undefeated Eclipse Champion juvenile filly My Miss Aurelia in 2011.Other top runners include Kentucky Oaks winner Summerly, Regally Ready, Majesticperfection, Kodiak Kowboy, Haynesfield, Wilburn and Pyro.

Corey Nakatani


Corey finished second in Kentucky Derby 137 aboard Nehro in his fifteenth Derby appearance. He has ridden two Kentucky Oaks winners, Lilt Light and Pike Place Dancer. Corey was a champion wrestler in high school and had his first experience with horse racing when his father stopped at Santa Anita Park on their way home from a wrestling tournament. Intrigued by the sport he began working on the backside as a hot walker and later learned to ride. He went to jockey school and after graduating in 1988, went to ride in Mexico where he rode his first winner in a dead heat aboard Blue King. He has won nine Breeders’ Cup races with My Miss Aureli, Regally Ready, Lit de Justice, Elmhurst, Reraise, Jewel Princess, Silic, Sweet Catomine, and Thor’s Echo. Corey ranks as one of the top 75 jockeys in the United States having won riding titles at Santa Anita Park, Hollywood Park, Del Mar, and Oak Tree. On May 29, 2006 he rode four winners at Hollywood park to achieve his 3,000th career win. Besides his riding skills, Corey is also a talented golfer and carries a three handicap.

Winchell Thoroughbreds


The Winchell family won the 2005 Kentucky Oaks with Summerly, and have made five starts in the Kentucky Derby: 1981 Classic Go Go, 4th; 1994 Valiant Nature, 13th; 2004 Tapit, 9th; 2007 Zanjero, 12th; 2008 Pyro, 8th. They were represented in 2010 by their homebred stakes winner Remit and as breeder of Paddy O’ Prado who finished third in Kentucky Derby 136. Winchell has a promising Kentucky Derby contender in Tapizar who most recently won the Grade III Sham Stakes at Santa Anita. Winchell Thoroughbreds is owned by Joan and her son Ron who took over the business when his father Verne passed away due to a heart attack in 2002. Ron owns a chain of restaurants in Las Vegas called Winchell’s Pub and Grill. They have raced graded stakes winners: War Echo, Hightap, Cuvee, Olympio, Sea Cadet, and Valiant Nature. They own Corinthia Farm near Lexington, Kentucky. Joan and Ron Winchell both reside in Las Vegas.

  • Photo: Bill Denver/Equi-Photo

  • Photo: Bill Denver/Equi-Photo

  • Photo: Deja Puglisi/Equi-Photo

  • Photo: Delta Downs/Coady Photography


Bluegrass Cat--Miner's Blessing, by Forty Niner

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Son of Kentucky Derby runner-up Bluegrass Cat and grandson of Derby near-misser Forty Niner hopes to wear the roses that eluded them both.

Bluegrass Cat was among the major players of his generation, but the beautifully-bred son of Storm Cat had the bad luck of being foaled the same year as superstars Barbaro and Bernardini. He played second fiddle to the ill-fated Barbaro in the 2006 Kentucky Derby, and was also runner-up in the Belmont Stakes. Bluegrass Cat then rebounded with a record seven-length romp in the Haskell Invitational. When facing Bernardini in the Travers, he fractured his right hind pastern, but still finished a clear second. He was subsequently retired with $1,761,280 in earnings from his 11-5-4-0 record.

Bluegrass Cat, who is out of a full sister to the dam of 2010 Derby hero Super Saver, has sired two crops to hit the track so far. Sabercat is his leading earner, thanks to his score in the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot. Also from his second crop comes Big Blue Nation, the third-place finisher in last year's Hopeful. Bluegrass Cat's first crop featured two graded winners -- Kathmanblu, winner of the 2010 Golden Rod and the 2011 Rachel Alexandra, and Blue Laser, winner of the 2010 Grey Stakes.

Sabercat was produced by Miner's Blessing, an unraced daughter of Forty Niner. The champion two-year-old colt of 1987, Forty Niner rallied furiously in the 1988 Kentucky Derby, only to come up a neck short against the filly Winning Colors. The son of Mr. Prospector later fought his way to photo-finish victories in the Haskell, Travers and NYRA Mile.

At stud, Forty Niner is responsible for 1996 Belmont Stakes hero Editor's Note; Coronado's Quest, who turned the Haskell/Travers double in 1997; Ecton Park, winner of the 1999 Super Derby when it was still held at 1 1/4 miles; as well as outstanding sprinter/milers like Distorted Humor, sire of 2003 Derby winner Funny Cide.

Daughters of Forty Niner have produced classy performers of all types, from sprinters (Mass Media) and milers (Albertus Maximus and Lady of Venice) to main-track routers (Indian Vale) and long-distance turf horses (King of Rome). But Forty Niner mares have had notable success with Storm Cat-line stallions. Besides Sabercat, others bred on this cross include High Yield, winner of the 2000 Fountain of Youth and Blue Grass and 1999 Hopeful; Grade 1-winning filly Island Sand; Naissance Royale, a multiple Grade 2 victress on turf; and the tough, versatile racemare Brownie Points.

Sabercat's dam, Miner's Blessing, has had seven foals to race, and all are winners. Just one other was of stakes-quality, Olivine, a five-length winner of the 1 1/16-mile Busher Stakes in 2007.

Miner's Blessing is a half-sister to stakes queen Conquistadoress, runner-up in both the Ashland and Black-Eyed Susan. They are out of the stakes-placed Bless You, by Halo, sire of 1983 Kentucky Derby winner Sunny's Halo and 1989 Derby/Preakness star Sunday Silence.

This family has churned out several prominent stakes winners in recent years, topped by Carriage Trail, who set a new track record at Keeneland when taking the 2008 Spinster. Further back, one finds Autobiography, the ill-fated champion handicap male of 1972. The female line descends from the blue hen *La Troienne.

Sabercat has a potent pedigree pattern. He is inbred to Mr. Prospector and also has duplications of Northern Dancer, Tom Rolfe and Secretariat (with an extra dose of his sire, Bold Ruler).

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