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Spiral Champ Black Onyx is First Kentucky Derby Contender to Arrive at Churchill Downs
Spiral Stakes winner Black Onyx arrived at Churchill Downs on Wednesday and became this year’s first major Kentucky Derby contender to be stabled at the historic Louisville racetrack.
Sterling Racing’s Black Onyx, ranked No. 4 on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by TwinSpires.com” Leaderboard, passed through the Churchill Downs stable gate at 9:30 a.m. EDT after vanning from Turfway Park, where he won the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Racing Spiral (GIII) by 1 ½ lengths at odds of more than 15-1. The Kelly Breen-trained colt earned 50 points, which likely assures him a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate based on Churchill Downs’ new point-based eligibility system.
The dark bay or brown son of Rock Hard Ten arrived in good order and was bedded down in Stall 12 of Barn 41. Breen’s assistant Phil Threewitt, nephew of the late legendary trainer Noble Threewitt, traveled with the colt along with groom Jose Orantes and an exercise rider.
“He shipped well and he’s doing well,” Threewitt said. “We love him. He’s a neat horse. We’ve only had him for his last two starts and he’s won both times.”
Black Onyx, who originally was trained by Carl Domino, was transferred to Breen’s barn following his third start. Breen, who was not in attendance Wednesday, said via text that he was unsure when he would join Black Onyx in Louisville.
Serious training plans have not been finalized, but Threewitt said he expects Black Onyx to visit the Churchill Downs oval for the first time Thursday morning for light training.
The Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands will be staged for the 139th consecutive year in 38 days on Saturday, May 4 – the First Saturday in May.
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 4, 2013 and its 2013 Spring Meet is scheduled for April 27-June 30. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.ChurchillDowns.com.
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