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In order for BACKTALK (Smarty Jones) to become the latest son of a Kentucky Derby (G1) winner to capture the Run for the Roses, good things need to happen in Saturday's $500,000 Illinois Derby (G3) at Hawthorne. In addition to last year's Sanford S. (G2) and Bashford Manor S. (G3) winner, the nine-furlong feature has attracted seven others including a pair of California-based colts who will make their dirt debut at the suburban Chicago oval.
What do skydiving into the desert, seeing the sunset over the Grand Canyon, driving a stock racecar at 165 miles per hour, making a debut on the silver screen, running a marathon, and backpacking through Europe all have in common?
Jill Byrne analyzes the Kentucky Derby prep races from the previous weekend
SOUTH / PLETCHER ADDS ANOTHER CONTENDER AS MISSION IMPAZIBLE SURPRISES IN LOUISIASNA DERBY – Twin Creeks’ Racing Stable’s lightly-raced Mission Impazible wore down pacesetter A Little Warm in the long Fair Grounds stretch to win Saturday’s $750,000 Louisiana Derby (GII) by three-quarters of a length.
SOUTH / QUIET TEMPER GRINDS OUT VICTORY IN FAIR GROUNDS OAKS – Mark Stanley’s Quiet Temper wore down stubborn front-runner Champagne d’Oro in the final yards to win Friday’s $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (Grade II) and become a leading contender for the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (GI) on April 30 at Churchill Downs.
Gem, Inc.'s HARISSA (Afleet Alex), a Southern California-based filly, rolled to a 3 1/2-length triumph in her dirt debut in Sunday's $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks.
ENDORSEMENT (Distorted Humor) entered Sunday's $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3) owning just one win, having broken his maiden on February 20 at Oaklawn Park. He exited his stakes bow in the 1 1/8-mile test with enough graded earnings to now make it into the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 1, and according to Bill Casner of owner WinStar Farm, the chestnut colt will be given his shot at the Run for the Roses.
Lookin At Lucky, Eskendereya Are Top Horses, But 'All Others' Is Future Favorite In Wide-Open Kentucky Derby
There is no surprising information in the news that reigning American 2-year-old champion Lookin At Lucky and runaway Fountain of Youth (Grade II) winner Eskendereya were the favored individual horses in the third and final pool of Churchill Downs’ 2010 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”) when the bet concluded it’s three-day run early Sunday evening. But an eyebrow or two will surely be raised by word that the overall bettor’s choice in this early search for the winner of the 136th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum!
Bob Baffert said late Sunday morning he is "90 percent sure" that multiple Grade 1 victor LOOKIN AT LUCKY (Smart Strike) will run in Saturday's $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (G1) rather the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park on April 10. The champion colt worked six furlongs on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride in 1:12 under Martin Garcia.
Once again, the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) is likely to serve as a preview of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) five weeks later on April 30.
On Saturday morning, the connections of the first four horses under the wire in Friday's 44th running of the Fair Grounds Oaks all admitted that the Kentucky Oaks is their next planned target, and the fact that four of the last five Fair Grounds Oaks winners have gone on to win the Kentucky Oaks underlines the strong connection between the two events.