The deadline for owners and trainers to make their promising 3-year-old Thoroughbreds eligible to compete in the coveted races of the 2015 Triple Crown during the series’ late nomination phase will arrive just before midnight (all times Eastern) on Monday, March 23. Horses nominated prior to that cutoff time will join 429 made eligible during its early nomination phase to run in the series of American classics that includes the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), the $1.5 million-guaranteed Preakness (GI) and the $1.5 million-guaranteed Belmont Stakes (GI).
Two-year-old champion American Pharoah confirmed his status as a leading Kentucky Derby contender in the March 14 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, returning from a lengthy layoff with a smashing 6 ¼-length victory.
Unraced since September, two-year-old champion American Pharoah made a spectacular return to the races in the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park, winning as easily as jockey Victor Espinoza pleased.
March 7 featured three scoring races with serious Kentucky Derby implications.
Dortmund kept his unblemished record intact on Saturday with a wire-to-wire victory in the $401,250 San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita. Kaleem Shah's flashy chestnut led by a half-length through splits of :23 and :46 4/5, extended his lead to a length through six furlongs in 1:11 1/5, and then turned back a challenge from Bolo (Temple City) in the stretch en route to a 1 1/4-length victory as the 4-5 favorite in the 1 1/16-mile Santa Anita Derby (G1) prep.
Joe Ragsdale's Sarah Sis (Sharp Humor) drew off by a wide margin in the stretch of Saturday's $150,000 Honeybee S. (G3) at Oaklawn Park before being geared down for a 1 1/2-length victory under jockey Julio Felix.
Zayat Stables’ El Kabeir was easy to label as a front-running type entering Saturday’s $400,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct, but the gray colt displayed new tactics in rallying boldly from off the pace, posting a convincing 2 ¾-length victory.
Saturday's $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) was all about even-money favorite Carpe Diem, who stalked the early pace before stamping his authority by five emphatic lengths.
Racing fans had some difficulty in separating the major contenders for this year’s running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) during Churchill Downs’ 2015 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”), so they settled on the “Mutuel Field” (#24), or “All Others”, as a mild favorite over individual stars I’m A Chatterbox (#4), champion Take Charge Brandi (#22) and Condo Commando (#4) at Sunday evening’s conclusion of three days of betting.
Three days of brisk wagering in the third of four pools in Churchill Downs Racetrack’s (“CDRT”) Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KOFW”) drew to a close Sunday evening with the Mutuel Field (#24), or “All Others”, as a 4-1 favorite, but three-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert’s duo of American Pharoah (#1) and Dortmund (#6) were close behind the favorite in betting that reflected solid fan support for a wide-ranging group of contenders for the upcoming 141st “Run for the Roses.”
Trainer Wesley Ward has confirmed to Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”) officials that The Great War is no longer a candidate for the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) and the track has suspended wagering on the colt, listed as #21, in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”).
Stellar Wind (Curlin) cruised to a 2 3/4-length victory while making her stakes debut in Saturday's $100,500 Santa Ysabel S. (G3) at Santa Anita Park, and in the process earned 50 points toward a starting berth in the May 1 Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Willis D. Horton’s reigning juvenile champion Take Charge Brandi is the brightest star among 154 horses on the roster of early nominations to the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I), America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies scheduled for its 141st running on Friday, May 1 at Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”).
The Prep Season has concluded and the Championship Season is now in flight, with 14 scoring races remaining for Kentucky Derby hopefuls.
Streaking Champion Two-Year-Old Filly Take Charge Brandi is a narrow choice as the favored individual horse, but the ever-popular Mutuel Field (#24), or “All Other 3-Year-Old Fillies,” will again be a solid favorite in the morning line odds for Churchill Downs Racetrack’s Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”), which opens a three-day run on Friday, Feb. 27 and concludes on Sunday, March 1.
With just over nine weeks remaining until the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), uncertainty surrounds some of the Derby’s major contenders and it is reflected in the morning line odds for this week’s third of four pools of Churchill Downs Racetrack’s Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”), which launches its three-day run on Friday, Feb. 27 and concludes on Sunday, March 1.
Launching an inside move reminiscent of his winning rally in the Smarty Jones S. last time out, Far Right rolled late to get up by three-quarters of a length in Sunday's Southwest S. (G3) at Oaklawn Park.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's International Star squeezed through on the rail to capture Saturday's Risen Star S. (G2) at Fair Grounds, propelling himself to the top spot on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
The Championship Series portion of the Road to the Kentucky Derby got off to a dramatic start in Saturday's Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park, where 4-5 favorite Upstart was disqualified for impeding Itsaknockout.
Ekati's Phaeton (Tale of Ekati) gained a measure of revenge on Saturday when taking the $200,000 Davona Dale S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park by a neck over Birdatthewire (Summer Bird) after finishing fourth to that rival in the Forward Gal S. (G2) in late January.