McCraken 15



Whitham Thoroughbreds LLC
Ian R. Wilkes
Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.
Whitham Thoroughbreds, LLC.
Foal Date
Apr 13, 2014

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McCraken Racing News

5 Facts

  1. Named after a town near Janis Whitham’s hometown in Kansas.
  2. Trainer Ian Wilkes was once the assistant trainer to Carl Nafzger, trainer of the 1990 Derby winner, Unbridled and the 1997 winner, Street Sense.
  3. McCraken lives in the same barn and in the same stall as Street Sense did when he won the Derby in 2007.
  4. He is a “homebred” by Whitham Thoroughbreds.
  5. His owners/breeders also owned Fort Larned, the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner.

Horse Bio

A minor ankle injury suffered in training Feb. 28 has raised some questions about the Derby prospects of the highly-regarded McCraken, but he still ranks as a solid chance.

McCraken won his first four starts, and impressed in his 3-year-old debut by comfortably winning the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) Feb. 11.

The injury – described as “very minor” by trainer Ian Wilkes – kept him out of his next planned assignment, the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) March 11. He then returned to racing in the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland April 8, and though he was slightly disappointing in finishing third, he is likely to improve in what was his first race in two months.

McCraken has oozed class in every start to date. In addition, everything about McCraken’s racing style – he has the ability to settle behind the speed and finish very strongly – suggests he should stay the 1-1/4 mile Derby distance.

His stamina prospects are also backed by his pedigree: though his first two dams were stakes placed at sprint distances only, the stock of Ghostzapper have shown an ability to stay up to a mile and a half.

McCraken’s human connections should also give some confidence about his Derby prospects, as Wilkes was assistant to Carl Nafzger when he prepared 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense.

McCraken was the favorite when Pool 3 and Pool 4 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager closed. His Blue Grass defeat means his odds will probably lengthen slightly, but punters who expect him to improve on that will still feel he is one of the best Derby prospects.

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Race History

8th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands

Churchill Downs

I1 1/4 MilesDirt May 6, 2017
3rd Road to the Kentucky Derby Toyota Blue Grass Stakes


II1 1/8 MilesDirt Apr 8, 2017
1st Road to the Kentucky Derby Sam F. Davis Stakes

Tampa Bay Downs

III1 1/16 MilesDirt Feb 11, 2017
1st Road to the Kentucky Derby Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes

Churchill Downs

II1 1/16 MilesDirt Nov 26, 2016
1st Street Sense Stakes

Churchill Downs

1 MileDirt Oct 30, 2016
1st Maiden Special Weight

Churchill Downs

6 1/2 FurlongsDirt Oct 2, 2016

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McCraken Racing News