- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
Over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride on Monday, champion LOOKIN AT LUCKY (Smart Strike) worked five furlongs in 1:01 1/5, turning in his last serious drill before Saturday's Rebel S. (G2) at Oaklawn Park.
The Bob Baffert colt, who has not raced since capturing the CashCall Futurity (G1) at Hollywood Park in December, will be trying dirt for the first time. Plans call for Lookin at Lucky to add blinkers for the Rebel, a change of equipment that Baffert decided upon after consulting with regular rider Garrett Gomez.
CALIFORNIA / CRISP REBOUNDS TO UPSET BLIND LUCK IN SANTA ANITA OAKS – A third straight Grade I stakes victory by Blind Luck In Saturday’s Santa Anita Oaks (GI) would have made the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee a near-prohibitive favorite for the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (GI), America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies, at Churchill Downs on April 30.
But the race provided another reminder of why races are contested on track and not on paper.
NEW YORK / BRITISH INVADER AWESOME ACT ROLLS IN GOTHAM – Mrs. Susan Roy and Vinery’s British import Awesome Act displayed a clear affinity for traditional dirt in his first start over the surface and placed himself in contention for a start in the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) with a stylish victory in Saturday’s Gotham Stakes (GIII) at Aqueduct.
Eskendereya Emerges As the Favored Individual, But 'All Others' Is Overall Favorite In Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager
Zayat Racing Stable’s Eskendereya emerged as the solid individual choice to win $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) on Saturday, May 1 – but the “All Others” betting interest remained the overall fans’ choice as Pool 2 of Churchill Downs’ 2010 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”) ended its three-run early Sunday evening.
She suffered a surprising defeat over the weekend, but the faith of racing fans in Blind Luck was unshaken as trainer Jerry Hollendforfer’s filly was a start-to-finish favorite in Churchill Downs’ three-day 2010 Kentucky Derby Future Wager when the betting pool concluded Sunday evening.
Trainer Bob Baffert left the door slightly ajar for 2009 two-year-old champion male LOOKIN AT LUCKY (Smart Strike) to make his three-year-old debut in Saturday's San Felipe S. (G2) at Santa Anita, but reiterated that he was more likely to ship to Oaklawn Park for the Rebel S. (G2) on the same day. Both are 1 1/16-mile events.
"I'll look at the weather at Oaklawn and if it looks like snow, I'll just keep him here," Baffert said Sunday morning. "But right now, the Rebel looks pretty firm.
The top three finishers from Saturday's Gotham S. (G3) -- AWESOME ACT (Awesome Again), YAWANNA TWIST (Yonaguska) and NACHO FRIEND (Friends Lake), respectively -- could all square off once again at Aqueduct in the April 3 Wood Memorial S. (G1).
Gotham winner Awesome Act was bright and energetic in his stall at Belmont Park Sunday morning following his successful dirt debut.
Trainer Todd Pletcher sent out a brigade of workers, including several major Kentucky Derby (G1) hopefuls, at Palm Meadows on Sunday.
Fountain of Youth S. (G2) romper ESKENDEREYA (Giant's Causeway), with jockey John Velazquez aboard, took a half-mile spin on the fast track in :49 1/5. The well-bred chestnut is likely to line up next in the March 20 Florida Derby (G1).