Much of the country was covered by snow and ice during the three-day run of Churchill Downs Racetrack’s second of four pools of its 2014 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”), but fan betting produced a hot battle between six 3-year-old Thoroughbreds for the honor of favored individual horse, and trainer Shug McGaughey’s Honor Code (#8) topped that tight group by the betting equivalent of a nose.
The nomination of a 3-year-old Thoroughbred to the 2014 Triple Crown races received via “late mail” has lifted the overall total for early nominations to the coveted three-race series of American classics to 414.
Even Echo, a Kentucky-bred son of Street Hero owned and trained by Myung Kwon Cho, has been added to the roster of early nominations that was announced on Saturday, Feb. 7. The addition of Even Echo raised the number of early Triple Crown nominees produced in Kentucky to 303.
New York-breds were in the Kentucky Derby spotlight last weekend at Aqueduct. Samraat recorded a commendable one-length victory in the Withers, remaining perfect in his fourth career outing, and runner-up Uncle Sigh ran well in his first start against winners.
Unbeaten Midnight Hawk will put his perfect mark on the line Saturday when taking on six rivals in the Grade 2, $200,000 Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita Park. The 1 1/16-mile race is worth 10 points to the winner toward a berth in the Kentucky Derby starting gate, but before that it is a steppingstone to the Grade 1, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 5.
TwinSpires.com, the official advance-deposit wagering service for Churchill Downs Incorporated and the Kentucky Derby (NASDAQ: CHDN), is offering its players an opportunity to turn $20 into a $1 million prize by betting the Kentucky Derby qualifying races with TwinSpires.com.
With fewer than 90 days remaining before the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia ranks Cairo Prince, unbeaten champion Shared Belief and Honor Code as the most attractive individual horses featured in this week’s second pool of the 2014 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”).
On the morning after becoming a graded stakes winner, Wildcat Red proudly walked the shedrow at trainer Jose Garoffalo's Gulfstream Park barn following his authoritative win in Saturday's Grade 3 Hutcheson.
"He's very smart. He knows that there is something different around him," Garoffalo said. "He looks good, to tell you the truth; very good, very fresh, very full of himself. He ate up everything last night and came out of the stall this morning very nicely. It's all good."
Remsen Stakes winner Honor Code jogged at Gulfstream Park for the second straight morning on Sunday. The highly regarded three-year-old colt was transferred from trainer Shug McGaughey's division at Payson Park in Indiantown, Florida, to the Hall of Fame trainer's barn at Gulfstream Park Thursday.
"I wanted to get him off the deeper track and I wanted to be around him, too," McGaughey said.
Arnold Zetcher LLC and Michael B. Tabor's Fashion Plate handed even-money favoriteStreaming her first loss when holding that rival by a half-length to wire Saturday's Grade 1, $300,500 Las Virgenes at Santa Anita.
Ivan Dalos' Aragorn Ami survived a claim of foul from Channing Hill, rider of runner-up Euphrosyne, after coming in on that rival during the stretch run of Saturday's $100,000 Martha Washington to take her stakes debut in the one-mile race and move her record to a perfect two-for-two.
Trained by Josie Carroll and ridden by Norberto Arroyo Jr., the bay filly was sent off the 13-1 seventh choice but ran like a favorite to reward her backers with a $28.80 win payout.
WinStar Farm LLC and Twin Creeks Racing Stables LLC's Vinceremos pulled off the upset by a nose in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Sam F. Davis for three-year-olds at Tampa Bay Downs. Off as the 12-1 fifth choice, the colt paid $26.80 for the score.
The Todd Pletcher charge vied for the lead from the start down on the inside of pacesetter Cousin Stephen, who led the field through opening fractions of :24 1/5, :48 3/5 and 1:13 3/5.
My Meadowview Farm's homebred Samraat remained unbeaten and joined the Kentucky Derby trail Saturday, posting a one-length victory over fellow New York-bred rival Uncle Sigh in the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers at Aqueduct. With Jose Ortiz up, the Richard Violette Jr.-trained colt completed the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:46 1/5 on the fast inner track.
Main Line Racing Stable's Joint Return was making her stakes bow on Saturday in the $100,000 Busher at Aqueduct and rallied widest of all rounding the turn to post a 4 1/4-length victory with jockey Kendrick Carmouche aboard. The John Servis-trained miss was sent off the 7-1 fifth pick in the seven-filly field and returned $16.80 for the win.
A record-shattering army of 42 talented and promising young stars from the stable of six-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher and 2-year-old stars of 2013 headed by unbeaten champion Shared Belief and stakes winners Honor Code and Cairo Prince top a roster of 413 3-year-old Thoroughbreds – an 11.9% increase from last year – that are early nominees to compete in the 2014 Triple Crown, the coveted series of American classic races that includes the $2 milli
Daniel Lynch and Merrill Scherer's Quick Indian, one length the best in an allowance and $50,000 optional claiming mile-and-70-yard test for sophomores January 24, is now under consideration for the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes February 22 at Fair Grounds, according to trainer Merrill Scherer.
Cairo Prince, impressive winner of the $400,000 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park on January 25, may get some extra time before making his next start.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is looking at bypassing the $400,000 Fountain of Youth on February 22 and training up to the $1 million Florida Derby on March 29.
Cairo Prince and Top Billing enhanced their Kentucky Derby prospects with outstanding performances at Gulfstream Park over the weekend. The convincing victories came at least as a small surprise given the competition: Cairo Prince pounded a well-regarded group of rivals in the Grade 2 Holy Bull and Top Billing rolled home under a hand ride in a deep optional claiming event.
The next start from both is eagerly anticipated.
Streaming has yet to be defeated in two races and on Saturday will try to make it three when heading a field of eight in the Grade 1, $300,000 Las Virgenes at Santa Anita Park.
While a steppingstone on the road to the Grade 1, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks, the one-mile race for three-year-old fillies is prestigious in its own right and will award points toward a starting berth in the May 2 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.
Honor Code's scheduled 2014 debut in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park on February 22 is in serious doubt due to a minor issue discovered by trainer Shug McGaughey.
"We had a little setback. He'll go back to the track on Friday," McGaughey said Wednesday. "He bruised up his back ankles a little bit. I think he'll be fine. I wasn't sure about what was the matter with him. Now I think we have it pinpointed."