Racing News

Florida Derby, Louisiana Derby, UAE Derby Kick Off Second Leg of Championship Series

| Brisnet Editorial | 03/28/2013 #

The First Leg of the Championship Series on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by” concluded last weekend and now it’s on to the Second Leg, which is composed of the seven most meaningful springboard events in advance of America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby.

Three Championship Series races are on tap for Saturday: the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (Grade I) at Gulfstream Park, the $1 million Louisiana Derby (GII) at Fair Grounds and the $2 million UAE Derby (GII) at Meydan. The Top 4 finishers in each race will be awarded points on a scale of 100 for first, 40 for second, 20 for third and 10 for fourth.

The Florida Derby, a race that has produced 21 winners of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI), is headlined by the trio of Holy Bull (GIII) winner Itsmyluckyday (ranked No. 20 on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by” Leaderboard), juvenile champion Shanghai Bobby (No. 12) and Fountain of Youth (GII) winner Orb (No. 5).   

Itsmyluckyday and Shanghai Bobby will be making their first starts since running 1-2 in the Holy Bull, the fastest 1 1/16-mile prep on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” with a final time of 1:41.81. The Holy Bull also is notable for being the first graded stakes victory for Itsmyluckyday and the first loss for Shanghai Bobby, who entered the race a perfect 5-for-5.

Should Shanghai Bobby make it to Louisville and win the Kentucky Derby, he would become the first juvenile champion to wear the roses on the First Saturday in May since Street Sense in 2007. A total of 19 juvenile champions have won the Derby; however, they have a record of just 1-2-2 from 17 starters since 1980.

The leading contender to knock off the top two morning-line favorites is Orb, who will be seeking his fourth straight win on Saturday. Orb, who likely already has enough points to earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate with 50, is trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, who is seeking his first Derby victory. McGaughey, who has not had a Derby starter since 2002, finished second behind Sunday Silence in the 1989 Derby with Easy Goer.

The full field of 14 entered in the Louisiana Derby is headed by Withers (GIII) winner Revolutionary (No. 24). Revolutionary is out of the A.P. Indy mare Runup the Colors, winner of the 1997 Alabama (GI) and three races at Churchill Downs. The Alabama at Saratoga is run at 1 ¼ miles, the same distance Revolutionary will run should he earn his way to the Kentucky Derby.

Revolutionary is owned by WinStar Farm LLC, who won the 2010 Kentucky Derby with Super Saver. WinStar is ranked seventh in all-time Kentucky Derby starters with 13 and has started a horse in the “Run for the Roses” in six of the last seven years.

Other top contenders in the Louisiana Derby include Code West (No. 17), Palace Malice (No. 26), Departing and Titletown Five.

Code West, trained by three-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert, finished a nose behind Ive Struck a Nerve in the Risen Star (GII) at Fair Grounds last month. Code West is a full-brother to multiple Grade II winner Charitable Man.

Palace Malice also exits the Risen Star and finished a half-length back of the Top 2. A bay son of Curlin, Palace Malice is trained by 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Todd Pletcher, who also trains Revolutionary.

Departing, a late Triple Crown nominee who is owned and bred by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, enters the Louisiana Derby with a perfect 3-for-3 record. Claiborne Farm, who won the 1984 Kentucky Derby with Swale, bred Kentucky Derby winners Johnstown (1939), Jet Pilot (1947) and Swale and a record 38 Derby starters overall.

Titletown Five, co-owned by football legends Paul Hornung and Willie Davis, scored a nine-length victory in a maiden special at Churchill Downs in October. After missing some time due to surgery to remove a chip from his left knee, Titletown Five returned in the Gazebo at Oaklawn Park and finished second. The Louisiana Derby will be the first graded stakes race for Titletown Five, who is trained by four-time Kentucky Derby winner D. Wayne Lukas

The field of 12 entered for the UAE Derby on the Dubai World Cup undercard includes two Triple Crown nominees: He’s Had Enough and Lines of Battle.   

He’s Had Enough comes from the same connections as 2012 Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another: Reddam Racing LLC and trainer Doug O’Neill. The last owner to win back-to-back runnings of the Derby is Meadow Stable, who achieved Derby glory with Riva Ridge and Secretariat in 1972-73.

In his most recent start, He’s Had Enough finished fifth in the Fountain of Youth. In his best race to date, He’s Had Enough finished just a head behind Shanghai Bobby in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI).

Lines of Battle, co-owned by 1995 Kentucky Derby winner Michael Tabor, was bred in Kentucky by Joseph Allen, but has raced the majority of his career in England and Ireland. A half-brother to Group II winner Homebound, Lines of Battle is trained by Aidan O’Brien, who has a record of 0-0-0 from four Derby starters.

The Second Leg of the Championship Series also includes the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park on April 6 and the Toyota Blue Grass at Keeneland and Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on April 13.

The “Road to the Kentucky Derby” will conclude with two Wild Card races: the Coolmore Lexington at Keeneland on April 20 and the Derby Trial on “Opening Night” at Churchill Downs on April 27. Points in Wild Card races will be awarded to the Top 4 finishers on a 20-8-4-2 scale.         

 Taking Shape

The possible fields for Kentucky Derby Championship Series races are fluid as horsemen vie for points on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by” Below are known horses mentioned to be under consideration for each race based on published news reports and other sources with their Road to the Kentucky Derby point totals in parenthesis Again, the shape of these fields is fluid and some horses are considered “possible” in multiple races:

UAE DERBYEntered: He’s Had Enough (6) and Lines of Battle (0). Not Triple Crown Nominated: Dice Flavor (10), Elleval-IRE (0), Keiai Leone-JPN (0), Law Enforcement-IRE (0), Now Spun (0), Secret Number-GB (0), f-Shuruq (0) and Snowboarder (0). Southern Hemisphere 3-year-olds (Ineligible): Emotif-ARG (0) and Zahee-NZ.

FLORIDA DERBYEntered: Orb (50), Shanghai Bobby (24), Itsmyluckyday (10), Frac Daddy (4), Are You Kidding Me (0), Indy’s Illusion (0), Merit Man (0) and Narvaez (0). Not Triple Crown Nominated: Pick of the Litter (0) and Pontiff (0).

LOUISIANA DERBYEntered: Code West (20), Palace Malice (10), Revolutionary (10), Golden Soul (4), Mylute (2), Brazilian Court (0), Departing (0), Ground Transport (0), Hip Four Sixtynine (0), Proud Strike (0), Sunbean (0), Titletown Five (0) and Whiskey Bravo (0). Not Triple Crown Nominated: Nina’s Dragon (4).

WOOD MEMORIAL – Verrazano (50), Vyjack (50), West Hills Giant (20), Elnaawi (10), Normandy Invasion (4), Always in a Tiz (2), Quinzieme Monarque (1), Freedom Child (0), Mr Palmer (0).

SANTA ANITA DERBY – Hear the Ghost (50), Flashback (30), Goldencents (29), Power Broker (10), Super Ninety Nine (10), Tiz a Minister (10), Cerro-IRE (0), Storm Fighter (0).

ARKANSAS DERBY – Oxbow (36), Den’s Legacy (20), Falling Sky (20), Overanalyze (10), Texas Bling (9), Dewey Square (2), Heaven’s Runaway (2), Demonic (0) and War Academy (0).

BLUE GRASS – Will Take Charge (60), Uncaptured (30), Java’s War (22), West Hills Giant (20), Dynamic Sky (13), Speak Logistics (11), Tiz a Minister (10), Taken by the Storm (5), Dewey Square (2), Balance the Books (0), Bambazonki (0), Charming Kitten (0), Crop Report (0), Demonic (0), Footbridge (0), Noble Tune (0), Rydilluc (0) and Undrafted (0). Not Triple Crown Nominated: Up With the Birds (0).

10 Things to Know This Weekend

1. The Second Leg of the Championship Series on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by” begins Saturday. Points will be awarded to the Top 4 finishers in the Florida Derby, Louisiana Derby and UAE Derby on a 100-40-20-10 scale.                   

2.   Itsmyluckyday, who has not raced since winning the Holy Bull in January, will make his return in Saturday’s Besilu Stables Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. A Top 3 finish could put him in the Derby (a third-place finish would give him 30 series points and a lofty $493,600 in non-restricted stakes earnings, which breaks all ties).      

3.   Juvenile champion Shanghai Bobby, who suffered his first defeat in the Holy Bull, looks to bounce back in the Florida Derby. The last juvenile champion to win the Kentucky Derby is Street Sense in 2007. Shanghai Bobby likely needs a Top 4 finish to crack the Derby lineup.                 

4.   Orb, No. 5 on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” Leaderboard, will seek to complete the Fountain of Youth – Florida Derby double for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, who is seeking his first Kentucky Derby victory.         

5.  Revolutionary, from the connections of 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, makes his first start since overcoming traffic to win the Withers in Saturday’s Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds.                                

6.   The full field of 14 entered in the Louisiana Derby also includes Risen Star runner-up Code West, undefeated late Triple Crown nominee Departing and Titletown Five, who is co-owned by football legends Paul Hornung and Willie Davis.                                                   

7.   He’s Had Enough, from the connections of 2012 Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another, will seek to earn his way to Louisville on the First Saturday in May in Saturday’s UAE Derby at Meydan in Dubai.              

8.   Flashy Gray, the favorite in the lone Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pool, faces undefeated Unlimited Budget in Saturday’s Fair Grounds Oaks. Five of the last eight winners of the Fair Grounds Oaks went on to win the Kentucky Oaks.      

9.  A competitive cast of fillies of Dreaming of Julia, Live Lively, Emollient and Cue the Moon among others headline the Gulfstream Park Oaks.

10. The registration period for “Road to the Roses Presented by,” Churchill Downs’ free Kentucky Derby online fantasy game, concludes Thursday (today) at 5 p.m. and scoring will begin Saturday. Players can sign-up online at

 Click here for the complete Championship Series Weekly Update.


Los Alamitos Futurity Added to 2014-15 'Road to the Kentucky Derby' Series

The $500,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (Grade I) has been added to the list of races that comprise the 2014-15 “Road to the Kentucky Derby.” The series of 35 select races – 19 “Prep Season” races and 16 “Championship Series” races – will determine which horses qualify to the 141st running of the $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby.

Global View Nips Storming Inti at Wire to Win 23rd Running of Grade II American Turf

Glen Hill Farm's Global View caught Storming Inti in the closing strides

Midnight Lucky Romps in 28th Running of Grade I Humana Distaff

Midnight Lucky, making her first start in more than 11 months, took the lead out of the gate

Coffee Clique Catches Dame Marie Late to Win 29th Running of Grade II Churchill Distaff Turf Mile

Coffee Clique squeezed through an opening along the hedge

California Chrome Wins America’s Greatest Race

164,906 fans pack historic Churchill Downs

Updates Powered by

Visit for expert handicapping, picks and analysis Derby Week and all year long

Derby Stories

Lindsay & Els Chicago, IL

First time at the Oaks so that's why we have these crazy hats on, shaped like cheese hats and painted pink in honor of Bright Pink, which is a great charity.
Paula's picking California Chrome

Kentucky Derby 140 presented by Yum! - The Race

Kentucky Derby 140 - Road to the Derby

Kentucky Derby 140 Intro

Around the Downs - The Stables

The Race

54 Photos


California Chrome is attempting to become only the fourth California-bred, Kentucky Derby winner in history and the first since Decidedly in 1962.