Saturday’s 67th running of the $1 million Florida Derby (GI) at Gulfstream Park and the 19th running of the $2 million UAE Derby (GII) in Dubai highlight this week’s Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series as 3-year-old Thoroughbreds continue their quest for points to secure a berth in the 144th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) on Saturday, May 5 at Churchill Downs.
First up, however, is Friday’s climax on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby as Gronkowski attempts to solidify a spot in America’s greatest race with a run against nine rivals in the $135,000 Burradon Stakes at Newcastle in England.
Friday’s one-mile Burradon, which has a post time of 10:55 a.m. (all times Eastern), will award 30-12-6-3 points to the respective Top 4 finishers in the final race on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby.
Mendelssohn, non-Triple Crown nominee Saxon Warrior (JPN) and Gronkowski each have 20 points. A top four finish – especially a top two placing – would likely earn “Gronk” an invite.
At the series’ end, only one invitation to compete in the Kentucky Derby will be extended with preference given to the horses with the most points in the European Road to the Kentucky Derby series. No invitation will be extended beyond the Top 4 point earners.
Mendelssohn will attempt to qualify through the primary Road to the Kentucky by finishing first or second in Saturday morning’s UAE Derby, which goes as Race 4 at Meydan Racecourse at 9:30 a.m.
The 1 3/16-mile UAE Derby and 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby, which goes as Gulfstream Park’s Race 14 at 6:30 p.m., will award 170 points to the Top 4 finishers – 100 to first, 40 to second, 20 to third and 10 to fourth.
The Florida Derby winner has won the Kentucky Derby in three of the last five Kentucky Derby years: Orb (2013), Nyquist (2016) and Always Dreaming (2017). In fact, the South Florida race has produced 24 Kentucky Derby winners, including 15 that won both races.
This year’s renewal is headlined by Holy Bull (GII) winner Audible (10 Road to the Kentucky Derby points), Fountain of Youth (GII) winner Promises Fulfilled (52), Remsen (GII) winner Catholic Boy (14) and Fountain of Youth runner-up Strike Power (20). – Darren Rogers
AUDIBLE INSTALLED AT 9-5 FAVORITE IN NINE-HORSE FLORIDA DERBY
Audible drew rave reviews for a convincing Holy Bull (Grade II) victory earlier in the Gulfstream Park meet but has been perhaps a bit of a forgotten horse as 12 qualifiers in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series have been offered in the eight-week interim since his last appearance. But he won’t be overlooked by bettors when returning in Saturday’s $1 million Florida Derby (GI).
Installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite among nine runners, Audible will attract the lion’s share of support in the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby following a 5 ½-length decision that netted a whopping 105 BRIS Speed rating. Two-time Kentucky Derby winner Todd Pletcher, who captured last year’s edition with Always Dreaming, will send out the son of Into Mischief and Javier Castellano retains the mount.
The Florida Derby is worth a total of 170 points (100-40-20-10 scale) and Audible probably needs a top two finish after netting 10 points for winning the Holy Bull, his lone start in a qualifier. The bay colt will break from post 8 with a short run to the first turn.
“With only nine horses in the race, (the post is) fine,” said Elliott Walden, President/CEO of co-owner WinStar Farm. “Obviously there was some discussion about the 11 or the 12 going a mile-and-an-eighth here at Gulfstream Park, but he doesn’t have to worry about that so I think everything else is good.
“He's doing very well. He looks happy. We were up at Palm Beach Downs (Tuesday) and he’s very bright, very alert. He’s an average work horse but he’s been that way his whole life. The other day he worked a half in :49 1/5 and I think Todd worked 30 horses a half-mile at Palm Beach that day, and he was third of 30. We were very pleased with how he worked and looking forward to Saturday.”
Promises Fulfilled was overlooked at 18-1 when opening his sophomore season in the March 3 Fountain of Youth (GII) at Gulfstream but surprised with a powerhouse performance, dominating throughout on the front end and registering a 104 BRIS Speed rating. Conditioned by Dale Romans, who also trained sire Shackleford, Promises Fulfilled stamped his Kentucky Derby ticket with the 50-point prize last time and has been listed as the 3-1 second choice with new rider Robby Albarado.
Catholic Boy, who concluded last year with a sharp score in the Remsen (GII), brings a formidable late kick to the equation and will look to improve upon a close second in the Feb. 10 Sam F. Davis (GIII). Irad Ortiz Jr., who was up on Promises Fulfilled in the Fountain of Youth, opts for the Jonathon Thomas-trained colt and Catholic Boy is the early 7-2 third choice.
“He’s really settled in well here,” Thomas said of Catholic Boy. “I’m glad we (shipped in) when we did. He had a really nice breeze over the track and came out of it well, so we’re happy.”
Fountain of Youth runner-up Strike Power, a decisive winner of his first two starts sprinting including the Swale (GIII), comes next on the morning line at 4-1 and appears likely to show speed from his innermost post with regular rider Luis Saez.
“I think the post suits (Strike Power) well,” trainer Mark Hennig said. “He’s got the right style to be in the one hole. He’s certainly not going to get outrun by too many of them going into the turn so he’ll sort out a good trip from there. I didn’t want to be on the outside, because then we would have been forced to either sit or really gun so I think the post is perfect for him.”
The remaining five contestants are listed at double-digit morning line odds: Mississippi (12-1), Hofburg (20-1), Storm Runner (20-1), Tip Sheet (30-1) and Millionaire Runner (50-1). – James Scully, Brisnet.com
MENDELSSOHN, GOLD TOWN FACE TESTS IN UAE DERBY
In one corner is the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade I) hero with the form in the book, but venturing into terra incognita on the dirt, his leading rival’s home court. In the other corner is the dirt specialist with an affinity for the track, but venturing against far more serious opponents. That’s the basic storyline of the Mendelssohn versus Gold Town (GB), aka Coolmore versus Godolphin, heavyweight brawl in Saturday’s $2 million UAE Derby (GII), both testing their Kentucky Derby (GI) mettle with the windfall of 100 points going to the winner.
One test that the two have in common is the about 1 3/16-mile trip of the UAE Derby. Mendelssohn has seen out the mile very well on two surfaces, following up his Breeders’ Cup score at Del Mar with a workmanlike success in the March 9 Patton Stakes over the Dundalk Polytrack. Giving stablemate Threeandfourpence five pounds and a beating in his reappearance, Mendelssohn became the pro-tem points leader on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby (pending the Burradon Stakes at Newcastle on Friday). The Aidan O’Brien trainee surely will come on a bundle in this second start off the bench, where he can earn his Derby spot by scoring on the main leaderboard. If half-sister Beholder could stay 1 ¼ miles as a daughter of Henny Hughes, this $3 million son of Scat Daddy is eligible to handle the stretch-out. O’Brien noted that Mendelssohn travels strongly through his races, a quality that theoretically could imply distance limitations. But it’s at least as likely that he’s got a high cruising speed that he can carry over a classic distance.
Charlie Appleby’s Gold Town (GB) shouldn’t have stamina doubts as a son of Street Cry from the family of Dank, Eagle Mountain and Sulk. The sire can take all the credit for his dirt proficiency. Regarded highly enough to try the Coventry (GII) at Royal Ascot, Gold Town (GB) was disappointing until a gelding operation. The switch to dirt at Meydan really set him alight, however, and he’s rolled in both starts by a combined margin of nearly 15 lengths. While it’s easy to dismiss the caliber of the opposition, it’s less easy to ignore the objective evidence of the clock. Gold Town (GB)’s time of 1:37.77 for the metric mile of the UAE 2000 Guineas (GIII) is solid on this track, especially since he was geared down nearing the wire. If he can withstand pressure from classier rivals, and not just the type who gets emboldened versus lesser, Gold Town (GB) may be a match for Mendelssohn.
Of course, this boxing match could turn into a rugby scrum with several others eligible to jump up, including Kentucky Oaks (GI) contender Rayya. The Doug Watson filly threatens to reprise her front-running heroics from the course-and-distance UAE Oaks (GIII), especially after drawing the rail once again. Even if inside speed isn’t as lethal this time, her forward placement while saving ground, and getting a weight break from the boys, is her dream scenario – if she’s good enough to maximize it. Rayya will reportedly leave Dubai to take up residence stateside with Bob Baffert, so this is serving as her final stepping stone to the Kentucky Oaks.
Yulong Warrior, like Gold Town (GB) a son of Street Cry who was made a late Triple Crown nominee, has also upped his game on the Meydan dirt. But the Satish Seemar trainee rode the rail bias in his 11 ½-length conquest of the Al Bastakiya over this track and trip Super Saturday. Flashing speed from post 7, against a far deeper cast, is another matter. Well worth following in the future, he shapes as more of a place chance here.
A similar comment applies to O’Brien’s two supporting characters, Seahenge and Threeandfourpence. Seahenge, the Champagne (GII) winner at Doncaster, hasn’t had a fair chance when a troubled third behind U S Navy Flag and Mendelssohn in the Dewhurst (GI) and most recently a slow-starting third in the Patton. A clean passage can put the Scat Daddy colt in a better light. Threeandfourpence, fourth in the Dewhurst and a much-improved second at Dundalk, is uncertain to take to dirt as a full brother to juvenile turf stand-outs Hit It a Bomb and Brave Anna.
The Steve Asmussen-trained Reride provides an informative tie-in with American form, as the sixth in the productive Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) and recent hero of the Mine That Bird Derby. Typically that would have set the Candy Ride colt on the Sunland Derby (GIII) path, but he skipped it in favor of World Cup night. Reride was flattered in absentia when Runaway Ghost, the Mine That Bird Derby runner-up, rolled at Sunland. A repeat of his last would put the Winchell homebred squarely in contention.
The Japanese pair, Taiki Ferveur (JPN) and Ruggero (JPN), were dismissed by Sumahama (JPN) in the concluding leg of the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby, the Feb. 18 Hyacinth. Sumahama (JPN) has politely declined his Derby invitation as the Japan points leader. Cattleya Sho scorer Ruggero (JPN) would be next in line to receive it. He doesn’t appear the type to improve on the stretch-out, so the UAE Derby may help decide his plans. Taiki Ferveur (JPN) will be better suited to this trip than the Hyacinth, where he got rolling too late. But the one-run closer may be disadvantaged if Meydan continues to be speed-conducive, unless new rider Joao Moreira gets him into the game earlier. – Kellie Reilly, Brisnet.com
GRONKOWSKI LOOKS TO SECURE DERBY SPOT IN FRIDAY’S BURRADON
Gronkowski seeks to firm up a spot in the Kentucky Derby (Grade I) field on Friday in the Burradon Stakes, at Newcastle, England, the final prep in the European Road to the Kentucky Derby series. Currently second on that series leaderboard behind Mendelssohn, Gronkowski can secure the invitation with a top-two finish in the Burradon, a one-mile test over an all-weather surface.
Both Mendelssohn and Gronkowski have 20 points in the series, but Mendelssohn owns the tie-breaker with higher non-restricted stakes earnings. However, Mendelssohn is competing in Saturday’s UAE Derby (G2) at Meydan, a prep which is part of the regular Road to the Kentucky Derby series and will award points of 100-40-20-10 to the top four finishers.
Gronkowski earned his current 20 points by virtue of his victory in the March 7 Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions Stakes at Kempton Park, also over a mile and his third straight win. Trainer Jeremy Noseda had initially said Gronkowski would turn in his final prep in the U.S., in either the Wood Memorial (GII) or Blue Grass (GII), but instead opted to keep the son of Lonhro in England.
The Burradon awards European Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying points of 30-12-6-3 to its top four finishers. If Gronkowski finishes third or worse, the door opens for another Burradon entrant to earn the invitation with a win and the accompanying 30 Derby-point prize. As none of the other Burradon entrants are Triple Crown nominated, a $200,000 supplemental fee would be required at Kentucky Derby entry time for them to run in the Churchill Downs classic.
Fortune’s Pearl (IRE), third by two lengths to Gronkowski at Kempton last time, is owned by Qatar Racing, for whom money is generally no object and that might consider supplementing if an invitation is earned and extended. The son of Harbour Watch was twice a winner over seven furlongs on the turf last season, ran fifth in the Somerville (GIII) in his only stakes appearance, and appeared to handle his first all-weather outing well earlier this month.
Other notables in the Burradon field are Purser and the filly Nyaleti (IRE). A homebred campaigned by Juddmonte Farms and trained by John Gosden, Purser is a son of Mizzen Mast and won his only start on synthetic last fall at Lingfield. He’s one-for-three on turf, with a placing in the Autumn (GIII) at Newmarket in his most recent start in October. Interestingly, Purser’s second dam was Kentucky Oaks (GI) and Alabama (GI) winner Flute.
The Mark Johnston-trained Nyaleti (IRE) has yet to run on the all-weather, but is an established group performer with a five-length win in the Princess Margaret (GIII) at Ascot last July and narrow losses in the May Hill (GII) and Rockfel (GII) later in her juvenile campaign.
Post time for the Burradon is 10:55 a.m. (EDT) on Friday. The race can be watched and wagered on at TwinSpires.com. – Vance Hanson, Brisnet.com
TRAINERS MAKE SHIPPING PLANS FOR DERBY– Following last Saturday’s Louisiana Derby (Grade II), trainers have begun to make plans for shipping their Derby contenders to Churchill Downs. Lone Sailor, who is currently No. 9 with 42 points, is likely to be the first major Derby candidate to arrive at Churchill Downs. He is scheduled to van from Fair Grounds to Churchill Downs Sunday, April 1 or Monday, April 2, according to trainer Tom Amoss.
Louisiana Derby winner Noble Indy shipped back to Palm Beach Downs in Florida and could arrive at Churchill Downs 12-13 days out from the Kentucky Derby (April 22-23), according to trainer Todd Pletcher.
Sunland Derby (GII) winner Runaway Ghost could ship into Kentucky within the next two weeks. Trainer Todd Fincher told “At the Races with Steve Byk” that he would like to ship the colt “about a month out from the Derby.”
Churchill Downs opened for training last Saturday and several outfits have already shipped to the home of the Kentucky Derby, including Pat Byrne, Greg Foley, Michelle Lovell and Mike Tomlinson. – Kevin Kerstein
DUBAI WORLD CUP, FLORIDA DERBY ON NBCSN – NBCSN will present coverage of two live horse racing events Saturday, beginning with the $10 million Dubai World Cup (Grade I) at 12:30 p.m. ET, and continuing with the $1 million Florida Derby (GI) at 6 p.m. ET.
West Coast, who finished second in January’s Pegasus World Cup (GI) and third in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI), headlines the 10-horse field for the Dubai World Cup. The field features three additional horses from last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Classic: Gunnevera, Mubtaahij (IRE) and Pavel.
Nick Luck will host the Dubai World Cup telecast live from Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.
The Florida Derby, a crucial race for Triple Crown hopefuls, is expected to feature top Kentucky Derby contenders Audible and Promises Fulfilled at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, who won six Triple Crown races, and Randy Moss will host the action for the Florida Derby.
DOWN THE STRETCH – The Florida Derby has been the most productive Road to the Kentucky Derby race having produced 24 Kentucky Derby winners including three of the last five years: Orb (2013), Nyquist (2016), and Always Dreaming (2017). … Through 28 prep races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, post time favorites have only finished outside the Top 3 four times: 28-10-8-4. … Trainer Dale Romans reported on “At the Races with Steve Byk” that Sunland Derby fourth-place finisher Seven Trumpets and 11th-place finisher Hollywood Star would be taken off the Derby trail. Seven Trumpets could be seen next in the April 14 Lexington (GIII) at Keeneland or the May 5 Pat Day Mile (GIII) on the undercard of the Kentucky Derby. Romans’ Derby hopes remain in Florida Derby contenders Promises Fulfilled and Storm Runner; Blue Grass Stakes hopefuls Free Drop Billy and Tiz Mischief; and Wood Memorial candidate King Zachary. – Kevin Kerstein
SPOTLIGHT HORSE: QUIP
Next Saturday, a trio of Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series races headline a jam-packed day of racing from across the country. One horse who is likely already in the Kentucky Derby is Blue Grass (GII) candidate Quip for owners WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing and trainer Rudolphe Brisset. Quip garnered 50 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby following his 19-1 upset victory in the March 10 Tampa Bay Derby (GII).
· Horse information: (4-3-0-0—$282,800)
o Owner: WinStar Farm LLC (Kenny Troutt), China Horse Club (Ah Khing Teo) and SF Racing (Gavin Murphy)
o Trainer: Rudolphe Brisset
o Last Jockey: Florent Geroux
o Breeder: WinStar Farm (Ky.)
o Sire: Distorted Humor (Forty Niner)
o Dam: Princess Ash (Indian Charlie)
· Owner information: Troutt is a leading breeder and owner through WinStar Farm, located in Versailles, Ky. Troutt is a native of Mt. Vernon, Ill. and began his interest in horse racing while attending Churchill Downs in college at Southern Illinois University. Troutt was the founder of Excel Communications, a long-distance telephone company prior to establishing WinStar in 2000.
China Horse Club’s Ah Khing Teo is an acclaimed architect and entrepreneur who planned and designed many buildings and cities including: Malaysian’s government building in Putrajaya, the grandstand at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai which includes a five-star hotel, Imax theatre, and restaurants; the Meydan City Masterplan; and Bahria New Town in Pakistan. China Horse Club has won more than major Grade I races around the world including the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), Irish Derby (GI), Epsom Derby (GI) in Ireland, and the Caufield Guineas (GI) in Australia.
Murphy established SF Racing and Bloodstock in 2008. A native of Australia, Murphy moved to New York in 1992 to pursue his legal career and became a Throughbred owner and breeder in ’94. SF Racing and Bloodstock has ownership shares of many successful racehorses and stallions including 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, currently standing at WinStar Farm, Fair Grounds Handicap (GII) winner Good Samaritan, and likely Florida Derby (GI) favorite Audible.
· Trainer Information: Brisset, 34, started his training career in February, 2017 after a 10-year stint as Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott’s assistant. A former jockey, Brisset became too heavy to ride in 2002 and transitioned to a trainer in 2004. A native of France, Brisset followed the path of top jockeys Julien Leparoux and Geroux to the United States and began working for fellow Frenchman Patrick Biancone. – Kevin Kerstein
SCULLY’S KENTUCKY DERBY REPORT
NOBLE FINISH IN FIRST MAJOR QUALIFIER
Noble Indy looked beaten when Lone Sailor ran past him in upper stretch but battled back to the fore in the $1 million TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (GII), narrowly prevailing in a tight three-horse finish at Fair Grounds. The winner proved keen with the addition of blinkers, registering significantly higher BRIS E1 (108) and E2 (109) Pace numbers in the fourth career start, and Noble Indy appears likely to add speed to the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field.
Todd Pletcher trains the up-and-coming colt and Noble Indy joins a large chorus of front-running types being aimed toward the first leg of the Triple Crown.
The Louisiana Derby served as the first of seven major qualifiers, awarding a total of 170 points (100-40-20-10 scale) toward a berth in the first leg of the Triple Crown, and the Florida Derby (GI) and UAE Derby (GII) are on deck Saturday.
Blinkers were a question for Noble Indy entering the 1 1/8-mile test. In the Feb. 17 Risen Star (GII) at Fair Grounds, the bay colt didn’t make the early lead from the same starting position (post 2), stalking front-runners in an even third-place effort, and I wondered if the lightly-raced sophomore would prove tractable in a speed-laden Louisiana Derby.
He didn’t. Favored at 5-2, the son of Take Charge Indy showed new fire from the starting gate and even though John Velazquez was able to concede pacesetting duties to 141-1 longshot Marmello, Noble Indy eagerly chased the no-hope maiden through demanding early fractions that softened him up for the latter stages. His rivals weren’t able to take advantage as he displayed enormous resolve re-rallying and while Noble Indy earned a new measure of respect, the same tactics don’t look viable at Churchill Downs.
Noble Indy registered a career-best 100 BRIS Speed rating and is developing into a quality performer. But with the headgear sharpening him up, he may prove hard-pressed to deliver the necessary finishing kick after rolling along at a high cruising speed in the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby.
Lone Sailor closed fast into contention rounding the far turn and overhauled Noble Indy after straightening for home. He reached the mile mark with a one-length advantage but couldn’t sustain his momentum in deep stretch, weakening to finish a neck back. Tom Amoss had the Majestic Warrior colt ready for a much-improved performance at his home track, with a 100 Speed figure representing a 10+ point increase from previous stakes attempts, but Lone Sailor appears unlikely to factor stretching out in distance for the Kentucky Derby.
My Boy Jack rated last of 10 for the opening three-quarters of a mile and angled out ridiculously wide on the far turn while launching an eye-catching rally. He continued to take the overland route into the stretch but came up a little short in the final furlong, finishing three-quarters of a length behind Noble Indy. My Boy Jack did net career-best BRIS Speed (99) and Late Pace (106) numbers.
After switching from turf to dirt with a dull third in January’s Sham (GIII), My Boy Jack has progressed for Keith Desormeaux in the last two starts and I’m intrigued by his late kick in a potentially speed-heavy Kentucky Derby field. The son of Creative Cause must keep moving forward to run down better rivals this spring and barring extreme attrition over the next few weeks, My Boy Jack looks destined to come back for the April 14 Arkansas Derby (GI) in order to qualify. He’s currently ranked 13th with 32 points, which places him in a precarious position with seven qualifiers remaining and an international participant expected from the European Road to the Kentucky Derby.
Runaway Ghost lost ground the entire way from post 11 and launched a visually impressive move on the far turn to seize control of the March 24 Sunland Derby (GIII), scoring by 2 ¾ lengths. But he registered only a 96 BRIS Speed rating.
The 1 1/8-mile test served as the final of seven qualifiers offering a combined 85 points (50-20-10-5) and the Ghostzapper colt was favored at 7-2 following a runner-up finish in the Feb. 25 Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland. Trainer Todd Fincher will make his Triple Crown debut after recording his first graded stakes win, but Runaway Ghost wasn’t facing stiff competition at the New Mexico track.
Runner-up Dream Baby Dream, who earned a 92 Speed rating, was exiting a non-threatening third in an Oaklawn allowance.
Saturday’s Florida Derby shapes up to be an exciting race. Audible, a runaway winner of the Holy Bull (GII), is the one to beat for Pletcher and Promises Fulfilled will try to back up an upset victory in the Fountain of Youth (GII).
Fountain of Youth runner-up Strike Power yielded front-running duties to Promises Fulfilled but answered the two-turn question, finishing 2 ¼ lengths better than 2-year-old champ Good Magic. The speedy son of Speightstown draws the rail Saturday and look for Luis Saez to send him. I’ll tab a front-running win.
Catholic Boy, a convincing winner of the Remsen (GII) in his juvenile finale, disappointed backers when second at odds-on in the Sam F. Davis (GIII) at Tampa Bay Downs. However, the late-running colt registered a career-best 101 BRIS Speed rating that bodes well for his development and could be the beneficiary if a pace duel develops up front. I’ll add him to any multi-race bets.
Mendelssohn, a half-brother Beholder and Into Mischief, heads nine runners in the UAE Derby. Owned by Coolmore and trained by Aidan O’Brien, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GI) winner will make his first dirt start in the 1 3/16-mile test after opening 2018 with a victory on Polytrack.
His rivals include top local hope Gold Town (GB); Japanese invaders Ruggero (JPN) and Taiku Ferveur (JPN); and Mine That Bird winner Reride. – James Scully, Brisnet.com
APRIL 7 WOOD MEMORIAL – $750,000 Wood Memorial (GII) to be run over 1 1/8 miles at Aqueduct in Ozone Park, N.Y.: Enticed (63), Solomini (34), Firenze Fire (29), Old Time Revival (20), Vino Rosso (7), Marconi (2), California Night* (0), Demolition (0), Evaluator (0), Gidu-IRE* (0), King Zachary (0). Points to Top 4: 100-40-20-10.
APRIL 7 BLUE GRASS – $1 million Blue Grass Stakes (GII) to be run over 1 1/8 miles at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Ky.: Quip (50), Good Magic (34), Flameaway (30), Free Drop Billy (24), Blended Citizen (22), Tiz Mischief (6), Machismo (5), Sporting Chance (2), California Night* (0), Gidu-IRE* (0), Gotta Go (0). Points to Top 4: 100-40-20-10.
APRIL 7 SANTA ANITA DERBY – $1 million Santa Anita Derby (GI) to be run over 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.: Bolt d’Oro (64), McKinzie (40), Instilled Regard (19), Restoring Hope (0). Points to Top 4: 100-40-20-10.
APRIL 14 ARKANSAS DERBY –$1 million Arkansas Derby (GI) to be run over 1 1/8 miles at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.: Magnum Moon* (50), My Boy Jack* (32), Combatant (22), Gidu-IRE (0)*, Justify (0). Points to Top 4: 100-40-20-10.
APRIL 14 LEXINGTON – $200,000 Lexington Stakes (GIII) to be run 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Ky.: Greyvitos (10), Seven Trumpets* (9), Core Beliefs (0), Exclamation Point (0), Mask (0), Telekinesis (0). Points to Top 4: 20-8-4-2.
*Under consideration for multiple races.
TAKE CHARGE PAULA TOPS GP OAKS – The Road to the Kentucky Oaks Championship Series continues Saturday with the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (Grade II) that will award 100-40-20-10 points to the Top 4 finishers.
Take Charge Paula appears to be the likely favorite as she attempts to overcome her runner-up finish in last month’s Davona Dale (GII) at Gulfstream Park. The filly, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, began her 3-year-old campaign with a 3 ½-length victory in the Feb. 3 Davona Dale (GIII) at Gulfstream Park.
Thirteen horses were entered but 11 are expected to run. Heavenhasmynikki, who finished just a quarter-length behind Take Charge Paula in the Davona Dale, is expected to scratch in favor of the April 13 Fantasy (GIII) at Oaklawn Park. C.S. Incharge is likely to bypass a start and instead run in the April 7 Ashland (GI) at Keeneland. – Kevin Kerstein
“INSIDE CHURCHILL DOWNS”
“Inside Churchill Downs” will begin its fourth season on ESPN Louisville’s ESPN 680/105.7 when it returns to the airwaves Friday, April 6 at 6 p.m. The show was originally scheduled to return Friday but the show was preempted by the University of Louisville Women’s Basketball team’s appearance in the Women’s Final Four.
The weekly one-hour horse racing radio show will be co-hosted by Churchill Downs Racetrack’s John Asher, Darren Rogers and Kevin Kerstein, and deliver a wide-ranging list of interesting guests, from jockeys, trainers, owners to well-informed handicappers and other industry insiders.
PAST PERFORMANCES & HISTORY
Brisnet.com Triple Crown PPs:
· Brisnet.com Kentucky Oaks PPs: http://bit.ly/2GTwrtX
· Brisnet.com UAE Derby PPs: https://bit.ly/2J1Oyj6
· Brisnet.com Florida Derby PPs: https://bit.ly/2J5FERx
· UAE Derby History:
· Florida Derby History:
· Road to the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard: https://bit.ly/2G4K2CB
· Road to the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard: https://bit.ly/2DTB1qa
· Kentucky Derby Media Guide Information: http://bit.ly/2FbGuNP
ROAD TO DERBY VIDEO SERIES
· Episode 10: http://bit.ly/2pvhDdY
· Episode 9:
· Episode 8: http://bit.ly/2GkXUEj
· Episode 7: http://bit.ly/2HkZk31
· Episode 6: http://bit.ly/2ELeAry
· Episode 5: http://bit.ly/2odEVnI
· Episode 4: http://bit.ly/2HmXWNC
· Episode 3: http://bit.ly/2ELdZWQ
· Episode 2: http://bit.ly/2C4qsEh
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