- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
- Derby Experience
- Plan Your Visit
Robert V. LaPenta's DIALED IN (Mineshaft) got the fast pace he wanted to set up his late kick in Sunday's $1 million Florida Derby (G1), but the deep closer had to pull out all the stops to catch the 68-1 longest shot on the board, Shackleford (Forestry). Patiently ridden by Julien Leparoux, the Nick Zito trainee got up in time to capture the season's deepest and most contentious Kentucky Derby (G1) prep.
JAYCITO (Victory Gallop) joined the lineup for Saturday's Santa Anita Derby (G1) when Bob Baffert announced that the winner of last year's Norfolk S. (G1) and runner-up to Premier Pegasus (Fusaichi Pegasus) in the March 12 San Felipe S. (G2) would be entered Wednesday in the $1 million race.
The Hall of Fame trainer had been considering the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct the same day, but opted to keep the stretch-running son of Victory Gallop, the winner of the Belmont S. (G1) in 1998, at his home base for the 1 1/8-mile race.
E. Paul Robsham Stables' homebred TRAVELIN MAN (Trippi) made his move to the lead at the top of the stretch and drew clear to a comfortable two-length victory in Sunday's $147,000 Swale S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park. Ridden by John Velazquez, the Todd Pletcher-trained colt was heavily-favored at 2-5 among five three-year-old rivals and earned his first graded stakes win in the seven-furlong event. A 7 1/4-length debut winner on January 6, Travelin Man was exiting a second in the February 26 Hutcheson S. (G2) and has now earned $143,100 from a 3-2-1-0 career line.
Fans of unbeaten 2-year-old champion Uncle Mo (#22) showed their support for the early favorite for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) at the betting windows on Saturday and the Todd Pletcher-trained colt finished the day as a solid 5-2 favorite with one day to go in the third and final pool of Churchill Downs’ 2011 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”).
PREMIER PEGASUS (Fusaichi Pegasus) enhanced his role as the favorite for next Saturday's Santa Anita Derby (G1) with a sizzling five-furlong workout Saturday morning at the 8 a.m. (PDT) break on Santa Anita's fast main track. The impressive winner of the San Felipe S. (G2) was timed in a bullet :59 1/5 under regular rider Alonso Quinonez.
The move was the fastest of 17 recorded works at the distance.
E. Paul Robsham Stable's homebred R HEAT LIGHTNING (Trippi) dominated Saturday's $300,000 Gulfstream Oaks (G2) under jockey John Velazquez, romping by 8 1/4 lengths under her own power to finish 1 1/8 miles on the fast Gulfstream dirt in 1:49 1/5.
Two candidates for next Saturday's 74th running of the $400,000 Ashland S. (G1) at Keeneland tuned up for the 1 1/16-mile contest with works on a cool Saturday morning at the Lexington, Kentucky, track.
WYOMIA (Vindication), with jockey Freddie Lenclud aboard, covered a half-mile in :47 4/5 while posting fractions of :11 3/5 and :24. The dark bay miss galloped out five furlongs in 1:01 1/5.
"It was a little quicker than I wanted, but it was OK," said trainer Curtis Garrison, who never has had a starter at Keeneland.
ALTERNATION (Distorted Humor) pleased his connections Saturday morning with an under-control workout at Oaklawn Park as the three-year-old colt attempts to prove his meltdown in the gate of the Rebel S. (G2) is behind him. If so, he could take another swing in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on April 16.
TO HONOR AND SERVE (Bernardini) was widely touted as the horse most likely to pose a danger to Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie) this spring, but his popularity took a considerable hit after fading badly to finish a distant third in the Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park February 26.
How is the Bill Mott-trained colt going to challenge the unbeaten Eclipse Award champion if he couldn't put up a stronger showing against less acclaimed three-year-olds?
"It is quite noticeable that a lot of people jumped off the bandwagon -- and that's their prerogative," Mott said.
Nick Zito has proudly matriculated at the old school of Thoroughbred training, and the traditional way of conditioning horses has served him well during his Hall of Fame career. Yet, he was smart enough to reject convention while training DIALED IN (Mineshaft) and acknowledge divine intervention.
"He's a gift from God," Zito said with a measure of reverence in his voice.