Racing News

Plesa proud, and disappointed, following Itsmyluckyday's Florida Derby second

Itsmyluckyday was "110 percent" Sunday morning back in his stall in trainer Eddie Plesa Jr.'s Calder barn following his game runner-up effort as the 8-5 favorite under jockey Elvis Trujillo in Saturday's Grade 1 Florida Derby.

"I really wanted to win the Florida Derby," sighed Plesa, who trains Itsmyluckyday for the Trilogy Stable and his wife, Laurie. "I expected him to win and he didn't. Am I disappointed? Yes, but I'm also proud of him too. He's done everything we've asked.

Orb captures Florida Derby

Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable's homebred Orb bided his time in midpack before moving up on the outside of the dueling Merit Man and Itsmyluckyday in the lane of Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby to take command and draw off for a 2 3/4-length win.

The Shug McGaughey trainee continued jockey John Velazquez's stellar afternoon at Gulfstream Park, handing his rider a fifth win on the day as he paid $7.80, $3.80 and $3.40 as the near 3-1 third choice.

Revolutionary wins Louisiana Derby battle

WinStar Farm's Revolutionary gamely fended off a stretch challenge from 19-1 longshot Mylute to land the centennial running of the Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby on Saturday, giving trainer Todd Pletcher a third graded stakes win on the day at Fair Grounds and fifth overall on what was a tremendous day for the multiple Eclipse Award-winning conditioner.

Lines of Battle hands O'Brien second straight U.A.E. Derby

Lines of Battle, one of only two American Triple Crown nominees in Saturday's Group 2, $2 million U.A.E. Derby, drove to a 1 1/2-length victory to earn 100 points toward the Kentucky Derby. Owned by breeder Joseph Allen in partnership with Coolmore principals Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, the War Front colt gave Irish champion trainer Aidan O'Brien his second straight score in the classic.

Goldencents drills three-quarters ahead of Santa Anita Derby

On a picture-perfect Friday morning, dual Grade 3 star Goldencents had his final major drill for the Grade 1, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 6 when going six furlongs on the fast main dirt at the Arcadia, California, track in a bullet 1:14.

It was the fastest of nine moves at the distance, the average time of which was 1:16 1/5. Exercise rider Jonny Garcia was aboard the bay son of Into Mischief, who looks to improve on his disappointing fourth-place finish last out in the Grade 2 San Felipe on March 9.

Verrazano, Vyjack top prospective Wood field

Undefeated three-year-olds Verrazano and Vyjack are expected to head the field for the 89th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Wood Memorial on April 6, Aqueduct Racetrack's final major prep for the May 4 Kentucky Derby.

Unraced as a two-year-old, Verrazano won his first two starts at Gulfstream Park by a combined margin of 24 lengths, and heads into the 1 1/8-mile Wood off a commanding three-length victory on March 9 in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the More Than Ready colt will again have the services of Hall of Famer John Velazquez in the Wood.

Florida Derby, Louisiana Derby, UAE Derby Kick Off Second Leg of Championship Series

The First Leg of the Championship Series on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by TwinSpires.com” concluded last weekend and now it’s on to the Second Leg, which is composed of the seven most meaningful springboard events in advance of America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby.

Points and pride at stake as Road to the Kentucky Derby hits high gear

After more than three decades in the Thoroughbred racing and breeding business, Evelyn Benoit isn’t shy about her convictions. Ask her about her star 3-year-old, Sunbean, who is scheduled to compete Saturday in the $1 million Louisiana Derby, and Benoit, a Louisianan through and through, offers that her horse is good enough to run in another, more prestigious Derby – the Kentucky Derby.

Itsmyluckyday, Orb square off in Florida Derby

They've been able to avoid each other all winter while racking up wins at Gulfstream, and are conveniently stabled in different areas of South Florida, but the inevitable crossing of paths between Itsmyluckyday and Orb finally arrives Saturday as the two classic prospects head a field of 10 for the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby over 1 1/8 miles.

The final Kentucky Derby prep for the two protagonists, this Florida Derby clash also has a blue collar vs. blue blood feel to it.

Revolutionary 3-1 favorite in full Louisiana Derby field

Revolutionary, who overcame severe traffic problems to win Aqueduct's Grade 3 Withers in his last start on February 2, has been installed as the lukewarm 3-1 morning-line favorite in the 100th anniversary edition of the Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on Saturday.

Spiral Champ Black Onyx is First Kentucky Derby Contender to Arrive at Churchill Downs

Spiral Stakes winner Black Onyx arrived at Churchill Downs on Wednesday and became this year’s first major Kentucky Derby contender to be stabled at the historic Louisville racetrack.

Kentucky Derby Report -- Mar. 28

A couple of horses staked their claim last weekend, with Black Onyx upsetting the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park and Govenor Charlie posting an easy win as the Sunland Derby favorite. Black Onyx's connections made him a late Triple Crown nominee after the Spiral and Govenor Charlie continued to enhance his reputation in a deep Bob Baffert stable.

Kentucky Derby 139 Trophy Arrives Safely at Churchill Downs

The priceless solid gold trophy that will be presented to the owner of the 3-year-old Thoroughbred that wins the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) has arrived safely at Churchill Downs exactly 40 days before the big race on the first Saturday in May.

Black Onyx Heads 13 Late Triple Crown Nominations

The roster of 3-year-old Thoroughbreds eligible for the 2013 Triple Crown has grown to 382 with the addition of 13 late nominations (pending late mail) to the coveted series of American classic races that includes the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), the $1 million Preakness (GI) and the $1 million Belmont Stakes (GI).

Derby points up for grabs in Dubai

The Kentucky Derby Championship Series kicks into high gear with Saturday's Group 2, $2 million U.A.E. Derby at Meydan, the first race in the new scoring system to offer a 100-point bonanza to the eligible winner. American rooting interests revolve around He's Had Enough and Dice Flavor, while Aidan O'Brien dispatches Lines of Battle from Ireland, and Godolphin's Secret Number tops the local squad.

He's Had Enough and Lines of Battle are the only American Triple Crown nominees in the field, however, and therefore they are the only two eligible to pocket points on Saturday.

Conflicted Derby 139 Fans Favor 'All Others' in Tight Final Futures Pool

For most of three days of betting in the third and final pool of Churchill Downs Racetrack’s (CDRT) 2013 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”), fans flirted with making unbeaten Verrazano (#20) the overall betting favorite.  But, in the end, those fans could not commit to an individual horse as their favorite to win the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) and settled on the always popular Mutuel Field (#24) to be the people’s choice.

Govenor Charlie draws off in track-record time in Sunland Derby

Not long after Midnight Lucky routed the Sunland Park Oaks, Govenor Charlie made it a track record-setting double for owner Mike Pegram, trainer Bob Baffert and young sire Midnight Lute when opening up in the Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Derby. Govenor Charlie, sent off as the 6-5 favorite off a gutsy maiden score at Santa Anita last out, thrust himself into the Kentucky Derby picture by earning 50 points.

Shanghai Bobby readies for Florida Derby

Champion Shanghai Bobby breezed five furlongs at Palm Meadows Sunday morning in preparation for a scheduled start in the Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Saturday.

Working in company with stablemate Palace Malice, the 2012 Eclipse Award-winning juvenile champion was timed in 1:00 4/5, and the pair tied for the sixth fastest of 34 works recorded at the distance on the fast main track.

Verrazano gallops out powerfully after half-mile breeze

Leading Kentucky Derby hopeful Verrazano breezed a half-mile in :49 3/5 at Palm Meadows Sunday, recording his first work since his three-length conquest of the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 9. The Grade 1 Wood Memorial on April 6 is next for the undefeated colt.

"Huge work from Verrazano this morning," co-owner Let's Go Stable tweeted, citing his "huge gallop-out."

Louisiana Derby contenders turn in works

Todd Pletcher sent his candidates for Saturday's Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, Revolutionary and Palace Malice, out for works at his Palm Meadows base on Sunday morning.

Revolutionary, last seen landing the Grade 3 Withers in his stakes debut February 2, sped a half-mile in :48 1/5 on the fast main track. The War Pass colt worked in company with multiple Grade 2 scorer Overanalyze, who also clocked :48 1/5.

"I thought he went super -- he was well in hand," Pletcher said of Revolutionary. "He's coming up to the race in good order."