Coolmore's Havana drew away to a large lead in midstretch but had to dig deep to withstand the fast-finishing Honor Code in the final yards of Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 Champagne at Belmont Park, scoring by a neck on the wire. An impressive debut winner in his previous start, the Todd Pletcher-trained colt remained perfect and sealed a bid for the November 2 Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita in the "Win & You're In" race.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's We Miss Artie rallied wide into contention in upper stretch and powered away to a 2 3/4-length victory in the Grade 1, $400,000 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland. Ridden by John Velazquez, the Todd Pletcher-trained colt earned a berth in the November 2 Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita for capturing the "Win & You're In" event.
Only five colts and geldings will line up in Sunday's Grey (Can-G3) at Woodbine, and the winner of the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack contest will earn not only graded credit and the winner's share of the C$150,000 purse, but also 10 points toward a starting gate berth in the Kentucky Derby on the Road to the Kentucky Derby series.
Sixteen juveniles were entered in Saturday's Grade 1, $400,000 Breeders' Futurity on Keeneland's Fall Stars Weekend, but only 14 will be allowed to line up in the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack contest. And of those 14, Solitary Ranger stands out following a 5 1/2-length romp in the Arlington-Washington Futurity on September 7.
The Breeders' Futurity is part of the "Prep Season" portion of the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series, awarding points on a 10-4-2-1 scale to the first four finishers.
Hall of Fame trainers D. Wayne Lukas and Shug McGaughey have collectively won five renewals of New York's most important race for two-year-olds, the Grade 1 Champagne, and each has had the pleasure of seeing one of their Champagne winners go on to be named champion juvenile colt and win a Triple Crown race the following year.
Reddam Racing's Bond Holder rallied to catch Dance With Fate and drew away to a 2 1/4-length victory in Saturday's Grade 1, $250,000 FrontRunner at Santa Anita, earning his first win in his fifth career start. Mario Gutierrez rode the Doug O'Neill-trained son of Mineshaft who is now headed to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
The Road to the 2014 Kentucky Derby got off to a rollicking start in Saturday night's Grade 3, $173,250 Iroquois at Churchill Downs, with a pair of longshots owned by Donegal Racing and trained by Dale Romans -- the 34-1 Cleburne and 26-1 Smart Cover -- storming past the 2-1 Tapiture in deep stretch. Cleburne just held on by a neck from Smart Cover to earn an automatic berth to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita, and 10 points toward next May's Run for the Roses.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby and Road to the Kentucky Oaks kick-off in prime time under the lights Saturday at Churchill Downs as the legendary Louisville racetrack enters into its a first foray of September racing since 1890.
A new chapter in Churchill Downs’ storied history began today (Friday) in earnest with the start of the new 12-date September Meet. The four-week flurry of weekend horse racing will mark the first time in the track’s 139 years that three race meets will be conducted in a calendar year.
The official event logos for Kentucky Derby 140 and Kentucky Oaks 140 were released Friday (Sept. 6) by Churchill Downs Racetrack, and officially licensed apparel featuring the new marks are now available for purchase online at www.KentuckyDerbyStore.com.
While it is surely fitting that the Road to the Kentucky Derby – the points-based Derby qualifying system introduced a year ago – would both begin and end at Churchill Downs, it required some heavy lifting by Churchill Downs to make it happen.
Churchill Downs will open the doors on its September meet Friday, and the stakes action at the Louisville, Kentucky, venue will get underway Saturday night as four black-type contests, including three graded, highlight the "Downs After Dark" program.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Friday, Aug. 9, 2013) – Churchill Downs Racetrack officials announced Thursday that 34 races will be included in the 2013-14 “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series, including 16 significant events that comprise the “Kentucky Derby Championship Series” over the 10 weeks that precede the first Saturday in May.
Kentucky Derby winner Orb was heavily favored to win Saturday's $1 million Preakness at Pimlico, middle jewel of the Triple Crown, but at the conclusion of the 1 3/16-mile classic it was Oxbow, another colt with legendary connections, who ended Orb's quest to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.
If the Kentucky Derby was a coming-out party for Orb, the fabulously talented winner of five consecutive races, it was also an unveiling for his rider, Joel Rosario, who in the space of just a few months has come to be recognized as the best jockey in North America.
The Kentucky Derby is the great equalizer. Sometimes the little guy wins – think Funny Cide or Mine That Bird – and sometimes the big guys get the prize. On Saturday at rainy Churchill Downs, a burgeoning star named Orb, owned by a pair of the sport's most prominent horsemen, handled by a Hall of Fame trainer, and ridden by the nation's leading jockey, splashed to a resounding and popular Derby victory.
“Sometimes I pinch myself and say, ‘Why does this happen to me?’ ” said McGaughey, noting how many talented horsemen never had the same opportunities that he has had. “When I got to really rolling, I remember many a day after we’d won a big race in New York, I’d be leaving and I’d think, ‘How lucky am I? Why is this happening to me?’ ”
Trained by Shug McGaughey and ridden by Joel Rosario, Orb covered the mile and a quarter on a sloppy main track in 2:02.89. It was the first Kentucky Derby victory for McGaughey and Rosario.
The victory was worth $1,414,800 and improved Orb’s career earnings to $2,335,850 with a record of 8-5-0-1.
Orb is a Kentucky-bred son of Malibu Moon out of the Unbridled mare Lady Liberty.
Palace Malice led the field of 19 through uncontested fractions of :22.57, :45.33 and 1:09.80 as Rosario kept Orb toward the back of the pack.
Among the more than 151,000 assembled today at Churchill Downs were some old friends of the Kentucky Derby – a mutuel clerk who's been punching tickets for half a century, an acclaimed photographer who's been a fixture since Bold Forbes upset Honest Pleasure 37 years ago, and an elevator operator who in her nine years here has made a legion of friends to last a lifetime.
Trained by Charlie LoPresti and ridden by Jose Lezcano, Wise Dan covered the 1 1/8 miles on a Matt Winn Turf Course labeled as yielding in 1:51.84.
The victory was worth $331,993 and boosted Wise Dan's earnings to $4,059,631 with a record of 22-15-1-0. Wise Dan's past five victories have come in Grade I races.
Wise Dan is a 6-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Wiseman's Ferry out of the Wolf Power mare Lisa Danielle.