- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
“I love pink.” Those three words were printed across the chest of Jodie Nelson as she paddled her surfboard from Catalina Island to the California coast to raise money for breast cancer research. The 40-mile adventure, recently covered by NBC’s “The Today Show,” was not only admirable, but also a magical experience celebrating one woman’s determination to raise money and awareness for a disease that affects millions worldwide.
Got pink? Churchill Downs and Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the world’s largest breast cancer organization, are issuing the people of Louisville a challenge to “Get Your Pink On!” each Friday leading up to the 136th running of the Kentucky Oaks to honor breast cancer survivors.
From Keeneland's notes:
Tampa Bay Derby (G3) winner ODYSSEUS (Malibu Moon) and multiple Grade 1-placed AIKENITE (Yes It's True) arrived at Keeneland Sunday afternoon, six days ahead of their clash in Saturday's Blue Grass S. (G1). Both had wintered at Palm Meadows in South Florida.
Following multi-length victories in the Wood Memorial and Illinois Derby, Eskendereya (pronounced “ess-ken-DRAY-uh”) and American Lion are now safety positioned on the Top 20 Graded Stakes Earnings list that determines the prospective field for Kentucky Derby 136 on Saturday, May 1 at Churchill Downs.
The $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) has been restricted to 20 starters since 1975. Graded stakes earnings accumulated in major races on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” have determined the field for the 1 ¼-mile classic since 1986.
From Oaklawn Park's notes:
Honeybee S. (G3) heroine NO SUCH WORD (Canadian Frontier), who was beaten nine lengths into third in Friday's Fantasy S. (G2) at Oaklawn Park, will not go on to the April 30 Kentucky Oaks (G1), trainer Cindy Jones said.
"She ran well, she just needed to be a little faster to run with those two," she said, referring to winner Blind Luck (Pollard's Vision) and runner-up Tidal Pool (Yankee Gentleman). "That winner's the real deal. When Rafael Bejarano said she (Blind Luck) was better on dirt, he was right.
Jill Byrne analyzes the Kentucky Derby prep races from the previous weekend
SOUTH / OAKS FUTURE FAVORITE BLIND LUCK WINS FANTASY, NOW LIKELY FAVORITE FOR KENTUCKY OAKS 136 – Blind Luck, the favorite in this year’s lone pool of Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, probably erased any doubts that might have arisen in an upset loss in the Santa Anita Oaks (Grade I) when she charged from off the pace to score a sharp 2 ½-length victory in Friday’s $300,000 Fantasy Stakes (GII) at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.
ESKENDEREYA NOW LIKELY KENTUCKY DERBY FAVORITE AFTER DOMINATION OF WOOD MEMORIAL FIELD – Questions about the role of favorite in the 136th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) on Saturday, May 1 at Churchill Downs were largely put to rest this past Saturday at New York’s Aqueduct – and fans did not have to wait for the finish line to identify the likely bettor’s choice.
From Sunday's NYRA notes:
A little more than 12 hours after his smashing 9 3/4-length victory in Saturday's $750,000 Wood Memorial S. (G1), ESKENDEREYA (Giant's Causeway) was on his way back to Florida, where he will spend the next couple of weeks preparing for his likely role as the favorite for the May 1 Kentucky Derby (G1).
"I like the surface at Palm Meadows, as does he," trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday morning. "And, the weather will be more reliable there."
From Sunday's Santa Anita notes by Ed Golden:
It was all quiet on the Western front Sunday morning after the most eventful Santa Anita Derby (G1) in recent memory Saturday. It was on to the Kentucky Derby (G1) for front-running winner SIDNEY'S CANDY (Candy Ride [Arg]), and ditto for third-place finisher LOOKIN AT LUCKY (Smart Strike), the 4-5 favorite who, after troubled trips in three of his last four races, perhaps should be called Lookin at Unlucky.