Racing News

Smith talks Derby

  • Mike Smith (Benoit Photos)

Soon after Mike Smith rode War Academy in last Saturday's Arkansas Derby, in which the three-year-old son of Giant's Causeway broke stride and was pulled up, the Hall of Fame jockey was able to land a Kentucky Derby mount on Palace Malice, who finished second by a neck in the Blue Grass at Keeneland moments after the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.

Garrett Gomez was aboard Palace Malice, but had a previous commitment on Vyjack for the Derby, so a door was opened for Smith, who is optimistic that fate might be in his corner for the Run for the Roses on May 4.

"I've seen a lot of guys pick up a horse at the last minute and win a Derby," Smith said. "(Chris) McCarron picked up Go for Gin two days before (in 1994), so I mean, it happens."

Not that winning the Derby is easy. When Smith captured his only victory in 2005, it was on 50-1 shot Giacomo. On the other hand, he still feels pangs of bewilderment over that one's sire, Holy Bull, who finished 12th in 1994 as the favorite prior to going on to be named Horse of the Year.

"It's a tough race to win," Smith asserted. "The best horse hardly wins the Derby. It's a mile and quarter for the first time, there's a lot of traffic and a lot of fans, things that the horses just aren't used to.

"There's a lot of energy in the air. Some horses pretty much run their race before it even starts. It's got to be in the cards. Everything's got to fall right, and you've got to have a talented horse on top of it.

"Holy Bull just wasn't himself that day, for whatever reason. Giacomo was a horse that had a lot of talent just to get the mile and quarter and the race really set up for him. There was a lot of speed in there and they went extremely fast and they paid for it. It certainly helped us.

"This year's crop seems to be real good. We'll know more as it goes on. There seem to be some very talented horses in there."

In other Derby news, Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents walked Thursday after working four furlongs on Santa Anita's fast main track Wednesday in :48 2/5.

"He worked great," trainer Doug O'Neill said. "He walked today. He had a day off. He'll work a week from today and if he comes out of it well, he'll fly out a week from Saturday (to Kentucky)."

California Chrome Cruises to Victory in 140th Kentucky Derby before Crowd of 164,906

Steven Coburn and Perry Martin's favored California Chrome, ridden by Victor Espinoza, took command at the head of the stretch en route to a 1 3/4-length victory over Commanding Curve to win the 140th running of the $2,202,800 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I). A sun-splashed crowd of 164,906, the second-largest attendance in Kentucky Derby history, watched California Chrome give jockey Victor Espinoza a second Derby victory to go with his triumph on War Emblem in 2002.

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

Derby Week Concludes with Memorable Kentucky Derby 140 as California Chrome Wins America’s Greatest Race

164,906 fans pack historic Churchill Downs

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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.
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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

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