KENTUCKY DERBY UPDATE – SUNDAY, APRIL 21
BLACK ONYX – Sterling Racing’s Black Onyx (No. 12) walked the shedrow at Barn 41 a day after clockers caught the Spiral (Grade III) winner in 1:25 for six furlongs in a strong gallop.
It was a busy Saturday morning at the Todd Pletcher barn at Churchill Downs as Dreaming of Julia (ranked No. 4 on the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” Leaderboard), Unlimited Budget (No. 3), Silsita (No. 10) and Princess of Sylmar (No. 7) all worked for the two-time Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) winning trainer.
Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”) will strengthen security and hospitality policies and expand screenings for patrons, employees and vendors who will enter the track for the 139th runnings of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) on Saturday, May 4, and the Kentucky Oaks (GI) on Friday, May 3.
Arkansas Derby (Grade I) runner-up Frac Daddy, ranked No. 15 on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by TwinSpires.com,” arrived at Churchill Downs on Wednesday morning at 4 a.m. (all times Eastern) and will be prepped for Kentucky Derby 139 beneath the Twin Spires.
Ciao Bella Luna bid her rivals "hello and goodbye" in Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 Beaumont over Keeneland's Polytrack with jockey Joel Rosario aboard. The Jerry Hollendorfer pupil came running on the outside to sail past pacesetter Magical Moon for the 2 1/2-length victory.
Churchill Downs Racetrack has added pop up and other patron tents and metal poles and stakes to its list of items that cannot be carried by patrons into the track on Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks Days.
Renee's Titan, winner of the Santa Ynez in which she defeated Eclipse Award winner Beholder, tops a field of 11 three-year-old fillies entered for Sunday's 28th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Beaumont to be contested over Keeneland's Beard Course of seven furlongs, 184 feet.
Kathleen Amaya and Raffaele Centofanti's Rose to Gold easily captured her final prep for the May 3 Kentucky Oaks when wiring Wednesday's Grade 3, $400,000 Fantasy at Oaklawn Park over a sloppy, sealed track. With jockey Calvin Borel aboard, the Friends Lake miss ran to her odds as the 3-5 favorite and paid $3.40, $2.40 and $2.10 for the 4 1/2-length score.
“Dawn at the Downs,” the popular Louisville tradition that gives visitors an opportunity to enjoy breakfast in Millionaires Row while watching Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders during morning workouts, returns to Churchill Downs on Tuesday, April 30 through Thursday, May 2.
Dreaming of Julia, 21 ¾-length winner of the Gulfstream Oaks (Grade II), and undefeated Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) winner Unlimited Budget arrived at Churchill Downs on Monday at 6:50 p.m. EDT and will continue their preparations for the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (GI) beneath the Twin Spires.
The only graded winner entered in Wednesday's Grade 3, $400,000 Fantasy at Oaklawn Park is Rose to Gold and she certainly will be the one to catch as she gets a final tune-up before the $1 million Kentucky Oaks next month. The chestnut filly is entered with six others in the 1 1/16-mile contest, which will award points on a 100-40-20-10 scale toward qualification of the Oaks.
In less than an hour Saturday, two three-year-old fillies owned by Juddmonte Farms and trained by Bill Mott won graded stakes and secured enough points to compete in the Kentucky Oaks on May 3 at Churchill Downs. The first was Close Hatches, who won the Grade 2 Gazelle at Aqueduct. The second was homebred Emollient, who captured Keeneland's Grade 1 Ashland by nine lengths.
Juddmonte Farms' homebred Emollient finished a disappointing fifth in last Saturday's Gulfstream Park Oaks, beaten 30 lengths by the winner, but trainer Bill Mott never lost faith in his Empire Maker filly.
Instead, the Hall of Fame trainer wheeled her right back off the seven-day rest for the Grade 1, $500,000 Ashland at Keeneland on Saturday, and Emollient rewarded that faith with a dominating nine-length wire job in the 1 1/16-mile contest.
Spendthrift Farm's Beholder continued on her quest for Kentucky Oaks glory with an easy 2 3/4-length victory in the Grade 1, $300,250 Santa Anita Oaks at Saturday at the Arcadia, California, track.
Juddmonte Farms' Close Hatches successfully passed the stakes test on Saturday when holding off Princess of Sylmar to take the Grade 2, $250,000 Gazelle by 3 1/4 lengths. The 1 1/8-mile Aqueduct affair carried 100 points for the Kentucky Oaks, guaranteeing Close Hatches a spot in the starting gate of that May 3 contest if trainer Bill Mott decides to send her on to Churchill Downs.
Though his filly Rose to Gold remains at Oaklawn Park in advance of Wednesday's Grade 3 Fantasy, co-owner Alex Centofanti was at Calder Saturday morning to discuss his Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks hopeful, winner of last year's Brave Raj and Lindsay Frolic Stakes at Calder and most recently the heroine of the Grade 3 Honeybee at Oaklawn.
Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”), working with the Louisville Metro Police Department (“LMPD”) and other law enforcement and public safety partners, has developed a new plan for taxi cab and bus drop-off and pick-up of Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks Day patrons designed to create a more convenient and efficient environment for fans traveling to-and-from the track via those means of transportation on its biggest days.
Winner of the Grade 1 Alcibiades last October, Spring in the Air will return to Keeneland's Polytrack for Saturday's Grade 1 Ashland. The Mark Casse-trained filly is scheduled to face 13 rivals in the 76th running of the $500,000 event, which also drew two also-eligibles, and the 1 1/16-mile race will award points on a 100-40-20-10 scale toward qualification for the $1 million Kentucky Oaks on May 3.
Reconstituted as a Kentucky Oaks prep this season following its demotion from Grade 1 to Grade 2 status, Saturday's $250,000 Gazelle at Aqueduct attracted a field of six to go 1 1/8 miles.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will have the favorite in this one as Princess of Sylmar seeks to build on a resume that includes blowout wins in the Busanda and Busher in her last two starts over the inner dirt at the Big A.