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.
The New York-bred colt’s inclusion in the field for the Run for the Roses makes him the 20th horse on the Derby leaderboard for the 1 ¼-mile classic and knocks Frank Irvin’s Fear the Kitten, who was believed to be the final entrant with six leaderboard points.
The connections for Giant Finish contacted Churchill Downs officials Tuesday and indicated their desire to run. Under the new qualifying system for the race, their point total was 20th best on the Derby list and made them eligible to fill the last spot in the field.
Trainer Tony Dutrow, who has handled Giant Finish for the Sunrise group, told Churchill officials that he “has agreed to support my owners’ decision to run in the Kentucky Derby.”
“I am so surprised at all of this,” Dutrow said. “I was pleasantly surprised and happy to see he ran as well as he did (in two Kentucky starts during March). We’ve kept an eye on him since and have made sure he’s had good energy since those races.”
Prior to his third in the Spiral, the chestnut colt had finished second in the March 2 Battaglia Memorial, also at Turfway Park.
Dutrow noted that – prior to the surprising Derby inclusion – he had been pointing Giant Finish toward an allowance race at Belmont Park in early May.
The trainer said the horse would ship by van from Fair Hill Wednesday and arrive at Churchill Thursday morning, in time to meet the requirement for Derby horses to be on the grounds in advance of the race. He said the owners were trying to line up a rider for the race and that he would have someone other than himself saddle the horse Saturday.
Sunrise Stable ownership is listed as Andrew Cohen, who is also the breeder of Giant Finish.
Fear the Kitten was fifth in the Blue Grass Stakes in his most recent start. He is trained by Mike Maker and is currently stabled at the nearby Trackside Training Center.
Additionally, the partnership group that now owns Carving is considering a run in the Derby. The horse is based at Emerald Downs with trainer Mike Puhich, who told Churchill Downs officials that a Thursday morning flight to Louisville is on standby should there be any defections. He is ranked No. 22 on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by TwinSpires.com” Leaderboard with two points. The new ownership group is headed by Dr. Mark Dedomenico, who was co-owner of 2010 Kentucky Oaks winner Blind Luck.
- END -