Among the many factors that can affect a horse's performance in the Kentucky Derby, some say that post position is among the most vital. And yet other horsemen say post position doesn't matter a lick.
The truth – and the best post positions in Saturday's 20-horse field – likely lie somewhere in the middle.
Fox Hill Farm owner Rick Porter invited the Normandy veterans to attend the 2013 Kentucky Derby as his guests, and Porter will welcome the group for visit with Normandy Invasion at Churchill Downs’ Barn 42 at 8:30 a.m.
Although infield revelers are not permitted to bring personal coolers to the infield for this weekend’s celebrations of the 139th runnings of the Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) and Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI), Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”) will offer an affordable alternative to those fans once they’ve entered the infield admission gates.
A lot of factors go into handicapping the Kentucky Derby. We can analyze all the data available, watch race replays and workouts, but it’s seldom an easy process and the one thing you can’t count on is racing luck.
With that being said, I am confident Orb will win Saturday’s 139th running of the Run for the Roses.
The Kentucky Derby is America's greatest horse race, the one owners, trainers and jockeys want to win more than any other. But from a purely competitive standpoint this weekend at Churchill Downs, the marquee race on Friday – the $1 million Kentucky Oaks, Churchill's championship event for 3-year-old fillies – promises to be in a league of its own, sporting the deepest and most competitive field in the race's 139-year history. The 10-horse field includes three unbeaten fillies, and yet none of the three is expected to start as the betting favorite.
KENTUCKY DERBY UPDATE – THURSDAY, MAY 2, 2013
BLACK ONYX – Sterling Racing’s Black Onyx galloped 1 ½ miles during the Derby and Oaks session while under regular exercise rider Aurelio Gomez. Trainer Kelly Breen was concerned that with the largest throng of morning onlookers yet his Spiral Stakes (Grade III) winner might finally get fazed by all the attention. Turned out, there was nothing to worry about.
We know the contenders for the 139th Kentucky Derby through their lives on the racetrack, with their past performances and workouts being a matter of public record. But we don't really know them as individuals. To gain insight into their character, it's helpful to learn about their early life as foals.
Charles Cella’s Cyber Secret, runaway winner of the Oaklawn Handicap (Grade II) in his most recent start, and WinStar Farm and Chuck and Maribeth Sandford’s Take Charge Indy, winner of the 2012 Florida Derby (GI), head a field of nine for Friday’s 10th running of the $300,000-added Alysheba Presented by Besilu Stables (GII).
Morton Fink’s reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan and Phipps Stable’s four-time Grade I winner Point of Entry signed on for a heavyweight showdown Saturday when they were among nine entries for the 28th running of the $500,000-added Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (Grade I).
Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s Orb and the undefeated Verrazano, owned by Let’s Go Stable, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, headline a stellar field of 20 3-year-olds entered today for Saturday’s 139th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) at Churchill Downs.
BLACK ONYX (Post position 1, morning line 50-1) – Kelly Breen (trainer) – “Saturday we hope to make it the winningest post position in Kentucky Derby history. We know Oxbow isn’t the best of breakers; it’s not a bad horse to be next to. We’re going to make the best of what we can. We’re going to go back and look at all the different things, different scenarios, and we’ll put all those different things in to Joe’s head and he’s going to go out there and ride his race anyway.”
Sunrise Stable and partners’ Giant Finish, who in his most recent start finished third in the Spiral Stakes (Grade III) at Turfway Park on March 23 earning 10 points toward Kentucky Derby eligibility, will be entered in Saturday’s 139th Kentucky Derby at the wishes of his ownership group.
BLACK ONYX (No. 11) – Sterling Racing’s Black Onyx galloped 1 ¾ miles under exercise rider Aurelio Gomez during the Derby and Oaks training session.
“It was a little bit longer gallop, a little bit stronger at the end,” trainer Kelly Breen said. “He came out of it looking dynamite.”
The top 3-year-old fillies from all corners of the country, headed by Dreaming of Julia, the 21 ¾-length winner of the Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII), and Eclipse Award winner Beholder passed the entry box Tuesday morning for Friday’s 139th running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I).
BLACK ONYX (No. 11) – Sterling Racing’s Black Onyx jogged one mile under exercise rider Aurelio Gomez during the Derby and Oaks session. The Rock Hard Ten colt is officially dark bay or brown but appears black.
Churchill Downs Racetrack, home of the world famous Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, has entered into a long-term agreement with internationally renowned Swiss watchmaker Longines to serve as Entitlement Partner of the Kentucky Oaks and to retain its role as Official Watch and Timekeeper of the Kentucky Derby. As a result of its existing and expanded partnership, the Kentucky Oaks has been renamed the “Longines Kentucky Oaks,” and Longines is the Official Timekeeper of Churchill Downs Racetrack.
Sterling Racing’s Black Onyx walked the shedrow at Barn 41 the morning after working a half-mile in :48.60. Exercise rider Aurelio Gomez reported that the Spiral Stakes (Grade III) winner came out of the work “good” and likely would return to the track Monday during the portion of training hours dedicated to Derby and Oaks contenders from 8:30 to 8:45 a.m. (all times Eastern).
Perretti Racing Stable’s Forty Tales held off Capo Bastone by a diminishing neck to win the 89th running of the $201,425 Derby Trial before a crowd of 21,038 on “Opening Night” Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Forty Tales was the fourth of five winners on the night for jockey Joel Rosario.
“When we turned for home, I asked him to go and he went and put me in a good spot,” Rosario said. “I’m lucky to be here (Kentucky). Things have been going great and hopefully they’ll continue.”
BLACK ONYX (No. 12) – Trainer Kelly Breen supervised the half-mile work by Sterling Racing’s Black Onyx at 7:30 Saturday morning then headed back to New York to saddle a horse in a stakes at Belmont Park later in the day.