Zayat Stables' American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) took the next step toward racing immortality when romping by seven lengths in Saturday's 140th running of the Preakness S. (G1) at Pimlico.
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Zayat Stables’ homebred American Pharoah, ridden by now three-time Derby winner Victor Espinoza and trained by now four-time Derby winner Bob Baffert, collared leaders Dortmund and Firing Line at the head of the stretch and drew clear for a one-length victory in the 141st running of the $2,178,800 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) on a sun-splashed afternoon before a record crowd of 170,513.
Victor Espinoza, jockey of American Pharoah, winner – “I feel like the luckiest Mexican on Earth. He has been a special horse since the first time I rode him. He has a lot of talent and is an unbelievable horse. Turning for home I started riding a little harder. At the eighth pole, I just couldn’t put that other horse (Firing Line) away, but he got it done.”
Bob Baffert, trainer of American Pharoah, winner/Dortmund, third – “We were ready to rumble. Since their last works I was hearing how good they were and I was hoping it would come true. I felt very confident going in.”
Simon Callaghan, trainer of Firing Line, second – “It is disap
Zayat Stables’ homebred American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) tracked the early pace during Saturday’s 141st running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) and provided a thrilling stretch-long duel with Firing Line (Line of David) and fellow Bob Baffert trainee Dortmund (Big Brown) before prevailing on the wire.
The bay colt, who was honored with an Eclipse Award as the 2014 champion juvenile, finished 1 1/4 miles in 2:03.
Donegal Racing’s Finnegans Wake made the last run count as he got up in the final strides to win the 29th running of the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI) for 4-year-olds and up.
Good Friends Stable’s Private Zone put away longshot Nates Mineshaft at the eighth pole and drew off to post a 4 ¼-length victory and ruin the 2015 debut of Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) winner Bayern in the 81st running of the $500,000 Churchill Downs (GII) Presented by Twinspires.com for 4-year-olds and up.
Robert Masterson’s Tepin took the lead out of the gate and cruised to a 1 ½-length victory over defending race champion Coffee Clique to win the 30th running of the $300,000 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (GII) Presented by Longines for fillies and mares.
Bobby Flay’s Dame Dorothy outlasted Judy the Beauty and Moonlit Stroll after a stretch-long battle to win the 29th running of the $300,000 Humana Distaff (GI) for fillies and mares by a neck.
Gunpowder Farms’ Divisidero rocketed past the bulk of the field in the stretch to win the 24th running of the $250,000 American Turf (GII) Presented by Ram Trucks for 3-year-olds by three-quarters of a length over A Lot.
Trained by Buff Bradley and ridden by Rafael Hernandez, Divisidero covered the 1 1/16 miles on a firm Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:41.59.
Nancy Favreau, Kathy Psoinos and Michael Tabor’s undefeated Competitive Edge romped to a 4 ½-length victory in stakes record time to win the $200,000 Pat Day Mile (GIII) Presented by LG&E and KU for 3-year-olds, the first of seven graded stakes on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs. The race was formerly known as the Derby Trial that dates to 1924.
Brereton Jones’ Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) winner Lovely Maria did not stick around Churchill Downs long to rest on her lilies as she and Grayson Farm’s I’m a Chatterbox, the Oaks’ third-place finisher vanned to Keeneland shortly after the Oaks that was viewed by a record crowd of 123,763.
Owner Ken Ramsey on the scratch of International Star from the Kentucky Derby: “The state vet got there this morning to check him out and did not like the way he jogged down the shedrow. Our blacksmith took the left-front shoe off and there was definitely some heat on the inside quarter of the left-front foot. Something’s brewing in there, probably an abscess. There’s nothing major wrong with the horse whatsoever. We think we’ll probably have him ready to come back for the Preakness but time will tell.
The Jones boys struck again in the Kentucky Oaks.
Owner-breeder Brereton Jones and trainer Larry Jones (no relation) combined to win their Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) when Lovely Maria charged to a 2 ¾-length victory over Shook Up to win the 141st running of the $1 million race for 3-year-old fillies before a record Oaks Day crowd of 123,763 on a mild, sunny afternoon.
It was a record-breaking 141st running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) at Churchill Downs Racetrack which culminated as 123,763 fans, the highest attendance of all time, watched a memorable win by Lovely Maria. The prior attendance record was 116,046, set in 2010, during the 136th running of the Kentucky Oaks.
Larry Jones, trainer of Lovely Maria (winner)/I’m a Chatterbox (third) – “She did good. She sure did. Very similar going into the Keeneland race. She's a filly just doing good. She worked so well here. I knew she didn't have to carry her track with her. Chatterbox came closing. She came closing. She got squeezed back a little bit early, but she came closing. ... Third in the Kentucky Oaks. We can live with that.''
Kerwin Clark, jockey of Lovely Maria, winner – “I’ve been riding for 40 years and I won my first Grade I last month at Keeneland (in the Ashland) with this horse. Then we won this race today. I am very blessed. Blessed to have this horse; to have (trainer) Larry Jones in my life and believing in me, and to have Mr. (Brereton) Jones believe in me and stick with me.”
Robert Luttrell’s homebred Promise Me Silver kept her record perfect with an eighth straight victory in taking the 60th running of the $200,000 Eight Belles (GIII) Presented by Twinspires.com for 3-year-old fillies.
Lovely Maria (Majesticperfection) played second fiddle to stablemate I’m a Chatterbox (Munnings) all winter long, but trainer Larry Jones kept reporting that the bay lass was improving every day.
On Friday, the three-year-old miss lived up to her conditioner’s faith when taking the 141st running of the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs under jockey Kerwin Clark.