Racing News

Baffert Duo of Chitu, Bayern; Zito's Spot Top "Opening Night" Derby Trial

| Churchill Downs | 04/24/2014 #
  • The Bob Baffert-trained Chitu and Bayern head a field of 10 in "Opening Night's" Derby Trial (Reed Palmer, Churchill Downs)

  • Two-time Kentucky Derby winner Nick Zito will saddle Spot in the Derby Trial (Reed Palmer, Churchill Downs)

Curtis Green’s Spot, winner of the Swale Stakes (Grade II) and the Bob Baffert-trained duo of Tanma Corporation’s Chitu and Kaleem Shah’s Bayern headline a field of 10 horses entered Wednesday for the 90th running of the $150,000-added Derby Trial (GIII) on Saturday’s Opening Night Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka at Churchill Downs.

The one-mile Derby Trial highlights the opening night of the 38-day Spring Meet, the centerpiece of which comes the following weekend with the 140th running of the $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) on Saturday, May 3 and the 140th running of the $1 million guaranteed Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) the day before.

Scheduled as the eighth race on Saturday’s 10-race program, post time for the Derby Trial is 10:01 p.m. (EDT) with first post being 6 o’clock.

Conditioned by two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Nick Zito, Spot finished seventh in the Florida Derby (GI) in his most recent start. John Velazquez has the mount on Spot, who will break from post position nine.

Chitu, winner of the Sunland Derby (GIII) in his most recent start, has won three of four starts with his lone setback coming in a runner-up finish in the Robert B. Lewis (GII). Joel Rosario will ride Chitu, who will break from post position two.

Bayern won his first two starts at Santa Anita before finishing third as the favorite in the Arkansas Derby (GI) in his stakes debut. Rosie Napravnik will ride Bayern and break from post position one.

The field for the Derby Trial, from the rail out, is as follows: Bayern (Napravnik, 118 pounds), Chitu (Rosario, 123), Big Sugar Soda (Ricardo Santana Jr., 118), Friendswith K Mill (Kent Desormeaux, 118), Matador (Julien Leparoux, 118),Embellishing Bob (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118), Laddie Boy (Stewart Elliott, 118), Bitters ‘n Bourbon (Corey Lanerie, 118), Spot (Velazquez, 120) and Myositis Dan (Joe Rocco Jr., 118).

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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.

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