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Jill Byrne talks about what it takes to get a horse from the farm to the track
Eskendereya, Lookin At Lucky Favored in Final March 26-28 Pool of Churchill Downs 2010 Kentucky Derby Future Wager
Zayat Racing Stable’s Eskendereya, a dazzling 8 ½-length winner of the Fountain of Youth (Grade II) at Gulfstream Park, and Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman’s Lookin At Lucky, America’s reigning 2-year-old champion and winner of Oaklawn Park’s Rebel (GIII) in his 2010 debut, loom as the likely favorites heading into the third and final three-day pool of Churchill Downs’ 2010 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”).
Like every prolific sporting championship, the Kentucky Derby® is the culmination of months – even years – of preparation, determination and the heart-felt desire to win America’s greatest race for horses. For many, the chance to compete in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and not making the cut means saying goodbye to a dream.
In late March the “madness” sets in for college basketball fans, and that is certainly true in Kentucky. But the Bluegrass is also the horse capital of the world and the hub of Derby Nation fans.
“It (horse racing) is unlike other sports… Or, to put it in basketball terms, a 16 seed can beat the No. 1 seed,” says Kevin Woodward of Louisville, Ky., when explaining why he is a Derby fan. “For two minutes, from the infield to Millionaires Row, you see each person screaming for a horse.”
Godolphin's American Triple Crown nominee MENDIP (Harlan's Holiday), who romped in the March 4 Al Bastakiya at Meydan, will try to take another step forward in Saturday's $2 million U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2) at the same Dubai track. To do so, the Saeed bin Suroor trainee must overcome South African champion MUSIR (Redoute's Choice), a four-year-old by Northern Hemisphere reckoning.
If the Todd Pletcher-trained DISCREETLY MINE (Mineshaft) makes it to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May, he will enter the Kentucky Derby (G1) well versed in the ways of negotiating large fields. The bay defeated 11 rivals when notching his first stakes win in the February 20 Risen Star S. (G2), and will be asked to outrun 12 in Saturday's $750,000 Louisiana Derby (G2) over the same Fair Grounds track.
FLORIDA / ZITO BACK IN DERBY PICTURE AS LONGSHOT ICEBOX RALLIES TO WIN FLORIDA DERBY – Robert LaPenta’s Ice Box, regarded as the lesser of the owner’s pair of Nick Zito-trained entrants in Saturday’s $750,000 Florida Derby (Grade I), rallied from last place under jockey Jose Lezcano to edge fellow outsider Pleasant Prince by a nose in Gulfstream Park’s major prep for the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).
FLORIDA / PLETCHER’S DEVIL MAY CARE REBOUNDS IN BONNIE MISS – A pair of disappointing runs had sent Glencrest Farm’s Devil May Care tumbling from the roster of 3-year-old fillies considered major contenders for the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (Grade I), but a rebound win in Saturday’s $200,000 Bonnie Miss (GII) at Gulfstream Park has lifted her back to the top of the list of potential Oaks favorites.