Morton Fink's two-time reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan will seek to become the second two-time winner of the $500,000-added Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (Grade I) on Saturday when he faces nine foes in the 29th running of the 1 1/8-mile race.
The Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, along with the 28th running of the $300,000-added Humana Distaff (GI), anchors a five stakes undercard leading up to the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) on Saturday's 13-race program. First post Saturday is 10:30 a.m. (all times Eastern).
The Woodford Reserve Turf Classic will go as the 10th race on Saturday's program with a 4:44 p.m. post time.
Trained by Charlie LoPresti, Wise Dan took the Maker's 46 Mile (GI) at Keeneland in his 2014 debut on April 11. A winner of 20 of 28 career starts for earnings of $6,473,610, Wise Dan will try to join Einstein (BRZ) as the only two-time winner of the race. Einstein won the 2008 and 2009 renewals.
A six-time Eclipse Award winner and two-time winner of the Breeders' Cup Mile (GI), Wise Dan will be ridden by John Velazquez and break from post position one.
Chief among Wise Dan's rivals are Juddmonte Farms' Seek Again, Gary Barber's Boisterous and Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Admral Kitten.
Seek Again began his career in Europe and in his U.S. debut won the Hollywood Derby (GI) in what was his most recent start. Now trained by Bill Mott, Seek Again will break from post position 10 and be ridden by Joel Rosario.
Boisterous counts the 2013 Man o' War (GI) among his second graded stakes victories. Now trained by Todd Pletcher, Boisterous will break from post position seven and be ridden by Javier Castellano.
Julien Leparoux will be aboard 2013 Secretariat (GI) winner Admiral Kitten for trainer Mike Maker and break from post position four.
The field for the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, from the hedge out, is as follows: Wise Dan (Velazquez, 124 pounds), Bright Thought (Victor Espinoza, 120), Guys Reward (Corey Lanerie, 120), Admiral Kitten (Leparoux, 120), Kaigun (Alan Garcia, 118), Moro Tap (Rosie Napravnik, 118), Boisterous (Castellano, 120), Finnegans Wake (Mike Smith, 118), Skyring (Joe Rocco Jr., 122) and Seek Again (Rosario, 122).
Wesley Ward's Judy the Beauty, a 2 ½-length winner of the Madison (GI) at Keeneland in her most recent start, tops a field of eight fillies and mares that will line up for the Humana Distaff at seven furlongs on the main track.
Now a millionaire, Judy the Beauty also is trained by Ward. John Velazquez, who was aboard for the Madison victory, will be aboard Saturday and break from post position three.
Prime challengers to Judy the Beauty figure to be Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman's Midnight Lucky, Peachtree Stable's Heart Stealer and West Coast invader Scherzinger.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Midnight Lucky has won three of four starts and finished fifth in last year's Kentucky Oaks (GI). Rosie Napravnik will be aboard Midnight Lucky, who will break from post position eight in her first start since winning last year's Acorn (GI) in May.
Heart Stealer, trained by Marty Wolfson, has won the Inside Information (GII) and Sugar Swirl (GIII) this year. Heart Stealer will break from post position two and be ridden by Joel Rosario.
Mark DeDomenico, Jerry Hollendorfer, Jason Litt and Alex Solis II's Scherzinger enters the Humana Distaff off a victory in the Santa Monica (GII). Trained by Hollendorfer, Scherzinger will break from post position five and be ridden by Mike Smith.
The field for the Humana Distaff that will go as the seventh race with a 2:08 p.m. post time, from the rail out, is as follows: Street Girl (Julien Leparoux, 118 pounds), Heart Stealer (Rosario, 120), Judy the Beauty (Velazquez, 123), Saturday Nthe Park (Robby Albarado, 118), Scherzinger (Smith, 120), Iotapa (Victor Espinoza, 120), Speedinthruthecity (Ricardo Santana Jr., 120) and Midnight Lucky (Napravnik, 118).
Maggi Moss' Delaunay will attempt to become the fifth repeat winner of the Churchill Downs (GII) when he faces 10 rivals in the 80th running of $400,000-added race at seven furlongs on the main track.
The most recent runner to win the sprint in consecutive years was Sovereign's Ace in 1986-87.
An eight-time stakes winner, Delaunay is trained by Tom Amoss and will be ridden Saturday by Rosie Napravnik. Delaunay will break from post position 10.
Grade I winners in the field include Dennis Cardoza and Mike Pegram's Shakin It Up, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' Capo Bastone and Jerry Hollendorfer and Sweetwater Stable's Sahara Sky.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Shakin It Up won the Malibu (GI) to close out 2013 and then won the Strub (GII). Mike Smith has the mount on Shakin It Up, who will break from post position 11.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Capo Bastone will be making his 2014 debut. Winner of the King's Bishop (GI) and runner-up in the Derby Trial (GIII) here last year, Capo Bastone will break from position one and be ridden by John Velazquez.
Sahara Sky, trained by Hollendorfer, is a two-time winner of the San Carlos (GII) and last year won the Metropolitan Handicap (GI) at Belmont Park. Joel Rosario will be aboard Sahara Sky and exit post position four.
The field for the Churchill Downs that will go as the ninth race with a 3:46 p.m. post time, from the rail out, is: Capo Bastone (Velazquez, 118 pounds), Clearly Now (Javier Castellano, 118), Broadway Empire (Gary Stevens, 118), Sahara Sky (Rosario, 120), Quiet Force (Julien Leparoux, 118), Laugh Track (Miguel Mena, 118), River Bear (Tim Thornton, 118), Falling Sky (Luis Saez, 118), Central Banker (Corey Nakatani, 118), Delaunay (Napravnik, 118) and Shakin It Up (Smith, 123).
G. Watts Humphrey Jr.'s Centre Court, undefeated in three starts on the Matt Winn Turf Course, heads a field of nine fillies and mares in the 29th running of the $300,000-added Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (GII).
Trained by Rusty Arnold, Centre Court returned to the races after a nearly eight-month layoff and won the Honey Fox (GII) at Gulfstream Park. In her most recent start, she finished fifth beaten less than two lengths after a wide trip in the Jenny Wiley (GI) at Keeneland.
Julien Leparoux will ride Centre Court and exit post position nine.
Patsy Symons' Effie Trinket, who finished third in the Honey Fox, makes her return to Churchill Downs where she was second in last fall's Mrs. Revere (GII) for trainer Rick Violette. Effie Trinket will break from post position eight and be ridden by Luis Saez.
Other contenders of note include Grade III winners Tapicat, Miz Ida, I'm Already Sexy and Coffee Clique.
The field for the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile that will go as the sixth race with a 1:19 p.m. post time, from the hedge out, is as follows: Tapicat (Joel Rosario, 118 pounds), Coffee Clique (Javier Castellano, 118), Miz Ida (Shaun Bridgmohan, 118), Dame Marie (Irad Ortiz Jr., 118), Absolute Crackers (IRE) (Alan Garcia, 118), I'm Already Sexy (Florent Geroux, 118), Ready Signal (Joe Bravo, 120), Effie Trinket (Luis Saez, 118) and Centre Court (Leparoux, 120).
Woodfield Springs, Storming Inti and Global View, the 3-4-7 finishers in the off-the-turf Transylvania (GIII) at Keeneland on April 4 will get a rematch as part of a field of 11 for the 23th running of the $250,000-added The American Turf Presented by Ram Trucks (GII) for 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
The Transylvania was the stakes debut for Woodfield Springs, who is owned by G. Watts Humphrey Jr., and trained by Rusty Arnold. He will be ridden by Julien Leparoux and break from post position 11.
Santa Rosa Racing Stables' Storming Inti won the Kitten's Joy at Gulfstream this winter and was the favorite in the Transylvania. Trained by Chad Brown, Storming Inti will break from post position eight and be ridden by Javier Castellano.
Glen Hill Farm's Global View won the Generous (GIII) in November at Hollywood Park. Trained by Tom Proctor, Global View will be ridden by Gary Stevens and break from post position five.
The field for The American Turf that goes as the afternoon's eighth race with a 2:59 post time, from the hedge out, is: Cleburne (Mike Smith, 118 pounds), Chief Barker (IRE) (James Graham, 118), Quotient (Victor Espinoza, 118), Long On Value (Joel Rosario, 118), Global View (Stevens, 120), Craftsman (IRE) (Corey Nakatani, 118), Big Bazinga (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118), Storming Inti (Castellano, 120), General Jack (Rosie Napravnik, 118), Picozza (John velazquez, 118) and Woodfield Springs (Leparoux, 118).
Churchill Downs, the world's most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America's greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on May 3, 2014. The 2014 Spring Meet at Churchill Downs is scheduled for April 26-June 29. The track has hosted the Breeders' Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.ChurchillDowns.com.