Awesome Baby, a gate-to-wire winner of the Grade 2 Santa Ynez going 6 1/2 furlongs on January 4, heads a field of eight three-year-old fillies entered in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Santa Ysabel at 1 1/16 miles Saturday at Santa Anita.
Wildcat Red and Intense Holiday guaranteed themselves a spot in the Kentucky Derby, earning 50 points for their respective wins in the Fountain of Youth and Risen Star, and the contrast between races was extreme.
NBC Sports Group and Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) have reached a 10-year agreement extending NBCSG’s exclusive rights to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Longines Kentucky Oaks through 2025, it was announced today.
By Gary West, Special to KentuckyDerby.com
NEW ORLEANS, La. – Sometimes this venerable sport can be the simplest of games, reduced to a formula that’s no more complicated than the fastest horse wins, even if he only has to be the fastest horse for a half-mile, which seemed to be the case Saturday at Gulfstream Park in Florida, where Wildcat Red won the Fountain of Youth Stakes. Meanwhile, a more complicated formula emerged in New Orleans, where circumstances finally yielded to perseverance, as Intense Holiday won the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds.
Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Untapable (#23) has turned a dazzling romp in last Saturday’s Grade III Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds into status as the co-favorite with the always popular Mutuel Field (#24), or “All Others”, for Churchill Downs Racetrack’s only 2014 pool of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”), which opens its three-day run on Thursday, Feb. 27.
The third of four pools of Churchill Downs Racetrack’s 2014 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”) opens its run on Thursday with Cairo Prince (#3) and Top Billing (#20) sharing the role of favored individual horses, but the ever-popular ‘All Others’ (#24) figures to be the overall betting choice when three days of Derby Future betting concludes early Saturday evening.
Samraat and Uncle Sigh, the New York-bred duo who finished one-two by some distance in the February 1 Withers, will have a rematch over Aqueduct's inner dirt on Saturday in the Grade 3, $500,000 Gotham, a 1 1/16-mile test which serves as a final local prelude for the $1 million Wood Memorial on April 5.
Top Billing exited his third-place finish in Saturday's Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park in good order, according to Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey.
Bond Holder will now point for the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 8, connections reported via social media Sunday.
The California-based sophomore was scratched from Saturday's Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds after experiencing a rough plane ride to New Orleans, and additional flight woes were cited as the reason for his unexpected redirection to Tampa.
Members of Todd Pletcher's New York contingent took to the fast Belmont training track on Sunday to turn in final breezes in the lead up to Gotham Day, March 1, at Aqueduct.
Master Lightning, one of Pletcher's three sophomore colts under consideration for the Grade 3, $500,000 Gotham, breezed four furlongs in :49 2/5. Teen Pauline and Royal Lahaina, both probable for the Grade 2, $200,000 Top Flight Handicap, breezed in company and covered four furlongs in :48 3/5.
Starlight Racing and Jack Wolf's Intense Holiday got up by a nose to win Saturday's Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds, and on Sunday morning on his way out of town Wolf was looking forward to coming back with wife Laurie for the Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby March 29, especially after dining once at La Petite Grocery and once at Arnaud's during their brief but highly successful Crescent City sojourn.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Untapable looked like a winner as soon as the field of sophomore fillies entered the stretch in Saturday's Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra, and all the Steve Asmussen pupil did the rest of the way was increase her advantage.
Holy Bull hero Cairo Prince breezed over the fast dirt at Palm Meadows Saturday morning in preparation for the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby on March 29. The son of Pioneerof the Nile covered a half-mile in :49 4/5 under the watchful eye of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who offered his thoughts on the Fountain of Youth later in the day at Gulfstream Park.
Wildcat Red and General a Rod, the one-two finishers in Saturday's Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park, will likely take their nascent rivalry to the next level in the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby on March 29.
Starlight Racing's Intense Holiday utilized every inch of the long stretch run at Fair Grounds Saturday, closing furiously to catch Albano in the final strides of the Grade 2, $400,000 Risen Star. By virtue of the nose decision, the Todd Pletcher-trained colt vaulted to the top of the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard. Hall of Famer Mike Smith was in for the ride.
Add Mother Nature to the list of challenges facing the talented Harlan's Holiday colt Ami's Holiday, who is being pointed to Oaklawn's series of graded races for three-year-olds and then a potential Triple Crown campaign.
Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC's Untapable threw in a subpar eighth two starts back in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, then finished a one-paced third in the Hollywood Starlet over Hollywood Park's Cushion Track on December 7.
The January 1 Gulfstream Park Derby turned out to be the key predictor for Saturday's Grade 2, $415,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes, as Wildcat Red and General a Rod reprised their duel in what developed into a virtual match race. Only this time, Honors Stable Corp.'s Wildcat Red gained revenge in a photo-finish, and took home 50 points toward the Kentucky Derby. Top Billing, the 2-1 favorite, launched a gallant rally from far back to finish a clear third, but couldn't reach the top two on a track that was playing kindly to speed.
Onlyforyou remain undefeated from four career starts with a wire-to-wire victory in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park.
WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables' Constitution used his early speed to decisive effect in Saturday's 6TH race at Gulfstream Park, an entry-level allowance brimming with well-regarded Triple Crown nominees. Controlling the pace throughout, the Todd Pletcher pupil pulled 3 1/4 lengths clear to give jockey Javier Castellano his fourth win on the card, and remain perfect in two starts.