Thursday, March 26 2009
CHURCHILL DOWNS TO OPEN AT 9 A.M. SATURDAY FOR DUBAI WORLD CUP
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 26, 2009) – Trackside at Churchill Downs will open early at 9 a.m. (all times Eastern) on Saturday, March 28, to import the six lucrative stakes races that compromise the 14th annual Dubai World Cup program from Nad Al Sheba Race Course in the United Arab Emirates.
The $21 million extravaganza is anchored by the world’s richest race, the $6 million Dubai World Cup (Group I), which has lured North American horses such as Donn Handicap (GI) champ Albertus Maximus, Goodwood Handicap (GI) winner Well Armed, Meadowlands Cup (GII) hero Arson Squad and Pennsylvania Derby (GII) champ Anak Nakal. The Americans will face a stellar international cast that includes Japan’s Casino Drive, winner of last year’s Peter Pan (GII), and 2007 UAE Triple Crown winner Asiatic Boy, the runner-up to Curlin in last year’s World Cup.
FLORIDA DERBY PROVIDES SHOWDOWN FOR HOPEFULS DUNKIRK
Two colts considered to be among the top five Triple Crown prospects by most handicappers will square off in Saturday’s Grade I, $750,000 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park at 1 1/8 miles in a race that has produced two major players in Thoroughbred racing over the past two years.
Fountain of Youth victor Quality Road, who was not an early nominee, and super-impressive DUNKIRK, who was, headline a potentially small but quality-filled field of seven to eight. It’s a match-up that many Triple Crown trail observers have been waiting to see. It certainly will serve as a class check for the undefeated DUNKIRK, who will be making his first start in a stakes race, where he has a distinct disadvantage in seasoning, not only against stakes runners but also in his general development.
‘TWINSPIRES.COM DAY AT FAIR GROUNDS’ SET FOR SATURDAY, MARCH 28
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Ca. (March 25, 2009) – TwinSpires.com, the official advance deposit wagering service for Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN), and Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots are inviting TwinSpires.com members living in the New Orleans region to the track on Saturday, March 28 for a day of exciting live racing and prize giveaways during “TwinSpires.com Day at Fair Grounds.”
Online players through TwinSpires.com who live within 50 miles of Fair Grounds and have made a wager during the past year have been invited to spend the day at the historic New Orleans track. Those active online patrons will enjoy special seating, free food and beverage and participate in prize drawings. They will have opportunities to meet Fair Grounds racing analyst Jessica Pacheco and several Fair Grounds trainers.
Monday, March 23 2009
Kentucky Derby 135 Update (3.23.09)
MIDWEST/HOLD ME BACK ENTERS KENTUCKY DERBY PICTURE WITH LANE’S END WIN
Before Saturday it would have been safe to describe WinStar Farm’s Hold Me Back as being well below the radar of those who track the hopes and progress of contenders for the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I). But the colt’s days of relative anonymity ended Saturday when he rallied in the stretch under three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Kent Desormeaux to score a 9-1 upset in the $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes (GII) at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.
The son of Giant’s Causeway rallied from next-to-last in the field of 12 three-year-olds and rolled past 24-1 shot Flying Private in the stretch to win by a comfortable 1 ¾ lengths. It was the first start of the year for the Bill Mott-trained colt, who suffered the only loss of his career in a fifth-place finish behind Old Fashioned in the Remsen (GII) at Aqueduct on Nov. 29. Hold Me Back is unbeaten in three starts over synthetic racing surfaces and covered the 1 1/8 miles on Turfway’s Polytrack surface in 1:49.63.
Kentucky Oaks 135 Update (3.23.09)
MIDWEST/HOT CHA CHA PULLS BOURBONETTE SURPRISE, UNLIKELY FOR KENTUCKY OAKS
Nelson McMakin’s Turfway Park-based Hot Cha Cha thrived on her home course advantage as she circled the field on the turn for home and drew away for a six-length romp in the $150,000 Bourbonette Oaks (Grade (III) on Saturday at the Florence, Ky. track.
Orlando Mojica rode the winner, a daughter of Cactus Ridge who has made all five of her career starts over the Polytrack oval at Turfway Park. She won for the third time in five races after she launched her career in a pair of claiming races. Hot Cha Cha covered the one-mile distance in 1:37.22.
Friday, March 20 2009
Nine-Time Winners Ken and Sarah Ramsey Joined by Newcomers Maker, Lebron as 2008 KTM Honorees
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 20, 2009) – Perennial leading owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey will be joined by first-time honorees in trainer Mike Maker and jockey Victor Lebron when Kentucky Thoroughbred Media (“KTM”) honors the winners of its 19th annual leading owner, trainer and jockey awards presented annually to the statistical leaders on the Kentucky racing circuit.
The Ramseys will be honored for a ninth consecutive year as the leading owners in Kentucky racing, while Maker and Lebron will be presented with their first KTM awards during a special presentation at Turfway Park on Saturday, March 21 during festivities surrounding the $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes (Grade II).
Kentucky Oaks 135 Update 3.20.09
SOUTH/RACHEL ALEXANDRA LIKELY TO POINT TO FANTASY
L & M Racing’s Rachel Alexandra, a romping winner in last week’s Fair Grounds Oaks (Grade II), is likely to make the $250,000 Fantasy Stakes (GII) at Oaklawn Park her final prep for the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (GI).
Trainer Hal Wiggins sais his options for the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro are to train Rachel Alexandra up to the 1 1/8-mile Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 1 or run in the race at Oaklawn Park on April 5.
Thursday, March 19 2009
Triple Crown Productions Press Release
WEST SIDE BERNIE, BITTEL ROAD IN LINE FOR SOLID TEST IN WIDE OPEN LANE’S END STAKES AT TURFWAY PARK
WEST SIDE BERNIE, last seen finishing third in Gulfstream Park’s Holy Bull Stakes, and BITTEL ROAD, fourth in the Grade II Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita, appear likely to vie for the role of favorite in Saturday’s running of the Grade II, $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes at 1 1/8 miles at Turfway Park.
The race is rated as the Northern Kentucky track’s premier prep for the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands. It falls at a time when a winner could look ahead to another prep in three weeks or just train up to the May 2 Derby, seven weeks hence. Much has to do with the amount of graded earnings a horse would need to get into the gate for the Churchill Downs classic.
Wednesday, March 18 2009
GOSDEN-TRAINED MAFAAZ WINS KENTUCKY DERBY CHALLENGE STAKES
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The John Gosden-trained Mafaaz-GB ran down pacesetter Sochcahtoa-IRE in deep stretch and held off a late charge by Spring of Fame to win Wednesday’s inaugural running of the $115,000 Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes by a neck at Kempton Park near London.
In addition to the winner’s share of the purse, the 3-year-old colt earned an automatic spot in the starting gate for the 135th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) on Saturday, May 2 and a $100,000 bonus should the horse compete in America’s greatest race.
Tuesday, March 17 2009
14 ENTERED FOR WEDNESDAY’S KENTUCKY DERBY CHALLENGE STAKES
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A full field of 14 three-year-olds has been entered for Wednesday’s inaugural running of the $115,000 Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes at Kempton Park near London. In an unprecedented reward, the winner of Europe’s clockwise 1 1/8-mile race over Polytrack will earn an automatic spot in the starting gate for the 135th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) on Saturday, May 2 and a $100,000 bonus should the horse compete in America’s greatest race.
“I am thrilled by the quantity and quality of the horses that have been declared for the race, which has taken two years of planning,” said Brian “Barney” Clifford, director of racing at Kempton Park. “The race is unique and is the first step between establishing a long term link between Europe and American racing and I am very much looking forward to Wednesday.”
Monday, March 16 2009
Kentucky Derby 135 Update (3.16.09)
SOUTH/FRIESAN FIRE SIZZLES IN LOUISIANA SLOP
Kentucky-born trainer Larry Jones has been in an enviable spot throughout the winter while caring for a pair of stars in early Kentucky Derby (Grade I) favorite Old Fashioned and up-and-coming Friesan Fire in his barn, but the pecking order in the Jones stable could have changed in the space of just over an hour on Saturday afternoon
Shortly before Old Fashioned suffered his first loss in the Rebel Stakes (GIII) at Oaklawn Park, Friesen Fire turned in the strongest effort of his career with a 7 ¼-length victory in the 96th running of the $600,000 Louisiana Derby (GII) over a “sloppy” track at Fair Grounds.
Kentucky Oaks 135 Update (3.16.09)
SOUTH/RACHEL ALEXANDRA ROMPS FAIR GROUNDS OAKS, BUT CONNECTIONS CONTINUE FOCUS ON KENTUCKY OAKS
L & M Racing’s Rachel Alexandra scored another dazzling win in Saturday’s $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (GII), but her connections said the focus of the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro would remain on the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (GI) on May 1 at Churchill Downs – not on a meeting with males one day later in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).
Rachel Alexandra’s victory margin over runner-up Flying Spur was only 1 ¼ lengths, but jockey Calvin Borel had trainer Hal Wiggins filly geared down to a gallop in the final furlong.