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Smarty Jones S. winner DRYFLY (Jump Start) exited his ninth-place effort in Saturday's Southwest S. (G3) with an injury in his left front knee and will be sidelined through the Triple Crown.
Nearly won a year ago by then unheralded Canadian juvenile champion Mine That Bird (Birdstone), who went on to capture the Kentucky Derby (G1), the $100,000 Borderland Derby at Sunland Park will be renewed Saturday and serves a stepping stone to the lucrative Sunland Derby (G3) on March 28.
The field of nine three-year-olds set to travel 1 1/16 miles does not include any entrants as decorated as Mine That Bird, however, as only three possess a two-turn win to their credit.
SOUTH / JODY SLEW ARRIVES IN TIME FOR SILVERBULLETDAY USPET – The rapidly improving Jody Slew is developing a reputation for dramatic finishes after completing a last-to-first rally under jockey Miguel Mena to notch an upset victory in Saturday’s $150,000 Silverbulletday (Grade III) at New Orleans’ Fair Grounds.
TRAINER PLETCHER RULES IN WEEKEND’S KENTUCKY DERBY PREPS – Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher’s quest for a victory in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) is well known, but the dominant performance by his sprawling stable in the weekend’s preps for America’s greatest race provided early evidence that 2010 could finally be his year.\
Richard C. Pell's FLY DOWN (Mineshaft) rallied from last to deny First Dude (Stephen Got Even) in Sunday's 3RD race at Gulfstream Park, an entry-level allowance designed as a prep for the March 20 Florida Derby (G1). Trained by Nick Zito and ridden by Jose Lezcano, the chestnut colt got up by a head while completing 1 1/8 miles in 1:49 4/5 on the fast track.
Jill Byrne analyzes the Kentucky Derby prep races from this past weekend
Multiple Grade 2 star BUDDY'S SAINT (Saint Liam) has emerged from his troubled ninth-place finish in Saturday's Fountain of Youth S. (G2) in good order, trainer Bruce Levine reported Sunday morning. The 9-5 favorite was slammed when entering the first turn at Gulfstream Park, and bounced around between Aikenite (Yes It's True) and the rail. Although regular jockey Jose Lezcano checked Buddy's Saint out of that dangerous spot and maneuvered him to the outside, he wound up well off the pace and never really recovered.
Trainer Todd Pletcher's attempt at a sweep of Saturday's four two-turn Kentucky Derby (G1) preps was stymied in the $250,000 Southwest S. (G3) at Oaklawn Park as Zabeel Racing International's CONVEYANCE (Indian Charlie) successfully invaded from California for trainer Bob Baffert, posting a wire-to-wire score under Martin Garcia in the one-mile contest that was delayed five days due to an unsafe racing surface on its previously scheduled day of Monday.
Just minutes after the Todd Pletcher-trained Eskendereya (Giant's Causeway) romped in Saturday's Fountain of Youth S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park, DISCREETLY MINE (Mineshaft) posted a quick Derby prep double for the barn in the $300,000 Risen Star S. (G2) at Fair Grounds. The E. Paul Robsham Stables homebred went straight to the front beneath new rider Javier Castellano, and he never looked back in his two-turn debut.