Friday, April 17 2009

Likely Kentucky Oaks Favorite Rachel Alexandra Zips

LOUISVILLE, KY. (April 16, 2009) – Trainer Hal Wiggins was looking for an easy work on Thursday for L & M Racing’s Rachel Alexandra, the likely favorite for the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) at Churchill Downs on May. But ‘easy’ is a relative term when it comes to describing the training activity of the star of Wiggins’ stable.

Rachel Alexandra zipped five furlongs in :59.40 over a “fast” track with jockey Calvin Borel in the irons. The move, which came just after the break for track maintenance, tied as the fastest of 21 at the distance.

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Wednesday, April 15 2009

Return of Coolers to Infield Included In Hospitality, Security Policies for 135th Derby, Oaks

LOUISVILLE, KY. (April 15, 2009) – For the first time since 2001, fans who enjoy Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks Days in the infield at historic Churchill Downs will be allowed to bring coolers into the track for the 2009 renewals of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and the Kentucky Oaks.

Coolers will be allowed in the Churchill Downs infield only on Kentucky Oaks Day, May 1, and Kentucky Derby Day, May 2. Patrons may carry coolers into the track only through Gates 1 and 3, the traditional “infield gates,” and all coolers will be subject to search. Alcoholic beverages and glass containers of any kind will not be allowed in those coolers. Permitted contents include ice, non-alcoholic beverages in non-glass containers, and food packaged in clear plastic containers or bags. The maximum size of those clear containers and plastic bags remains at 18” x 18”.

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Leparoux To Ride Toyota Blue Grass Winner General Quarters in Kentucky Derby 135

LOUISVILLE, KY. (April 15, 2009) – Four-time Churchill Downs’ riding champion Julien Leparoux has been named to ride owner-trainer Tom McCarthy’s Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Grade I) winner General Quarters in the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) on May 2 at Churchill Downs.

McCarthy said Wednesday that the 25-year-old native of Senlis, France would ride his gray son of Sky Mesa in the Derby. McCarthy named Leparoux to the mount after he became frustrated by a lack of a commitment or communication from jockey Eibar Coa, who rode the colt in the Toyota Blue Grass. Coa is also the regular jockey aboard Kentucky Derby contender Musket Man, the winner of the Illinois Derby (GII).

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Keeneland’s Grade II, $300,000 Coolmore Lexington at 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack offers the final major stop on the road to the 135th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, with a possible field of 11 hopefuls set to battle for the chance at a berth in the Run for the Roses on Saturday, May 2.

One horse that isn’t concerned with the money involved is SQUARE EDDIE, who has more than enough to make the gate. The concern of owner J. Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O’Neill is getting the colt fit enough to run in the Churchill Downs classic, the first jewel of Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown. The son of Smart Strike has been away from the races with shin problems since finishing second to The Pamplemousse Jan. 17 in Santa Anita’s Grade III San Rafael Stakes.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 15, 2009) – Churchill Downs today announced that multiple-award winner and country music superstar LeAnn Rimes will help the historic racetrack launch a modern-day Kentucky Derby tradition when she performs the national anthem live as part of the ceremonies leading up to the 135th running of the Grade I Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on Saturday, May 2, 2009. Rimes’ performance will be the first live vocal performance of the “Star Spangled Banner” by a national recording artist on Derby Day and will be televised by NBC Sports as part of its pre-race coverage, which begins at 4 p.m. EDT.

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rkansas Derby Winner Papa Clem Arrives At Churchill Downs For Kentucky Derby 135

LOUISVILLE, KY. (April 14, 2009) – Bo Hirsch’s homebred Papa Clem, winner of the $1 million Arkansas Derby (Grade II) on April 11 at Oaklawn Park, arrived at Churchill Downs late Tuesday afternoon to continue his preparation for the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).

Papa Clem flew from Arkansas to Lexington, Ky., then traveled just over an hour by van to Churchill Downs. He arrived at the Louisville track at 5:30 p.m. (all times EDT) and took up residence in Barn 10A, which houses horses trained by Cody Autrey.

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Wood Memorial Winner I Want Revenge Works Easy Four Furlongs at Churchill Downs

LOUISVILLE, KY. (April 14, 2009) – David Lanzman and IEAH Stables’ I Want Revenge, the possible favorite for the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), turned in his first serious training move since his arrival at Churchill Downs when he worked an easy half-mile over a muddy track on Tuesday.

Jockey Joe Talamo was in the saddle as the 3-year-old son of Stephen Got Even breezed after the mid-morning break for track maintenance and covered the distance in :50. Churchill Downs clockers caught the winner of the Wood Memorial (GI) and Gotham (GIII) in fractions of :12.40, :24.40 and :36.80. I Want Revenge galloped out five furlongs in 1:04.60 for trainer Jeff Mullins. The easy work ranked 18th out of 25 moves at the distance.

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Monday, April 13 2009


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Monday, April 13, 2009) – Horse racing fans who plan to attend this year’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks no longer have to stand in line to buy a hot dog or popcorn thanks to two new Churchill Downs offerings designed to enhance the experience of select customers.

For the first time, Churchill Downs will offer pre-ordered meals for all attendees and a new hospitality lounge for second and third floor ticket holders on Friday, May 1 for the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) and Saturday, May 2 for the $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).

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Kentucky Derby 135 Update (4.13.09)


Bo Hirsch’s Papa Clem proved again that California-based 3-year-olds are at home anywhere in the country when he rallied from fifth and wore down Fox Hill Farm’s favored Old Fashioned to win Saturday’s 73rd running of the $1 million Arkansas Derby (Grade II) before a crowd of 55,193 at Oaklawn Park.

With the victory, Papa Clem punched his ticket to the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) at Churchill Downs on May 2. Jockey Rafael Bejarano was aboard the winner for trainer Gary Stute, and Papa Clem covered 1 1/8-miles in 1:49 over a “fast” track. Summer Bird finished third and Rebel (GIII) winner Win Willy was fourth.

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Kentucky Oaks 135 Update (4.13.09)


Stewart Armstrong’s favored Dream Play cruised to an early lead over a sloppy track at Aqueduct was never seriously challenged as she romped to a 5 ¼-length victory in Saturday’s $147,000 Comely (Grade III).

The race marked Dream Play’s first try at a distance beyond six furlongs and her initial run over a wet racing surface, but the daughter of Hennessy passed both tests beautifully as she covered the mile distance in 1:39.51 under jockey Eddie Castro. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee won for the third time in five races and pushed her career earnings to $186,406.

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Saturday, April 11 2009

TelluRide, DJ Vice Headline Crown Royal ‘Festival in the Infield Club’ at Churchill Downs on April

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 10, 2009) – Churchill Downs has announced the featured entertainment for the Crown Royal “Festival in the Infield Club,” which will take place in the new Infield Club when it opens to race fans on Thursday, April 30. The event will be headlined by Nashville-based contemporary country music artists TelluRide and the popular DJ Vice. This year marks the 12th consecutive year Crown Royal® Canadian Whisky has sponsored music programming at Churchill Downs on Thursday of Derby Week.

Widely regarded as the next big breakout artist in the contemporary country music genre, TelluRide plays an average of 150 road dates a year and has performed at numerous Major League Baseball parks and at NASCAR Sprint Cup tracks.

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Friday, April 10 2009

Kentucky Derby 135 Update (4.10.09)


Fox Hill Farm’s Old Fashioned, a near-consensus early favorite for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) a month ago, is the morning line favorite to win a rematch with Win Willy, the horse that knocked him from the role of Derby favorite, when the two meet in Saturday’s $1 million Arkansas Derby (GII) at Oaklawn Park.

The Larry Jones-trained Old Fashioned is the 9-5 morning line choice in a field of 10 horses entered in the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Derby prep. The son of Unbridled’s Song will attempt to avenge the only loss of his career as he takes on Jer-Mar Stable’s Win Willy, the 56-1 upset winner over Old Fashioned in the Rebel Stakes (GIII) at Oaklawn on March 14. The Mac Robertson-trained son of 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos is unbeaten in three races on dirt and is the 7-2 second choice in the Arkansas Derby.

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