Tuesday, April 28 2009


Rachel Alexandra Heavily Favored in 135th Running of Churchill Downs’ Grade I Kentucky Oaks


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 28, 2009) – L and M Partner’s brilliant Rachel Alexandra, who closed 2008 with a dominating victory in the Golden Rod (Grade II) beneath the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs, will put a four-race win streak on the line Friday when she faces seven rivals in the 135th running of the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) at the legendary Louisville track.

The Oaks, America’s top race for 3-year-old fillies, will go as the 11th race on Friday with a 5:45 p.m. (all times EDT) post time. The 12-race Oaks Day card has a first post time of 10:30 a.m.





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VALTRUS PROVES TOPS ON CHURCHILL DOWNS TURF


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Tuesday, April 28, 2009) – Joseph Sutton’s Valtrus collared Faithope in deep stretch to win Tuesday’s $52,700 allowance feature over the Matt Winn Turf Course by three-quarters of a length.

Ridden by Kent Desormeaux for trainer Eddie Kenneally, Valtrus returned mutuels of $5.40, $3.60 and $3.40. Faithope, ridden by Gabriel Saez, returned $10.60 and $6.40 and finished three-quarters of a length ahead of pacesetter Crowned General who returned $4.80 to show under Robby Albarado.





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Kentucky Derby 135 Barn Notes 4.27.09


ADVICE/DUNKIRK/JOIN IN THE DANCE/TAKE THE POINTS – A trio of Todd Pletcher-trained Kentucky Derby “possibles” went through their final serious drills for the Saturday spectacular on Monday morning, putting a “put me in coach” spin on activities Pletcher’s Barn 38.

Pletcher took up a post in the grandstand and oversaw the activities, which began shortly after the renovation break ended at 8:30 a.m. (all times EDT) when Hall of Fame jockey-turned-jockey-agent-and-sometimes-exercise-rider Angel Cordero Jr. guided the Sky Mesa colt Join in the Dance through a five-furlong workout timed in 1:00.20.





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Kentucky Oaks 135 Notes 4.27.09


BE FAIR/TWEETER – Westrock Stables' Be Fair walked the shedrow at Barn 44 a day after working five furlongs in 1:00.20 in her final major drill for Friday’s 135th running of the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (Grade I). Exercise rider Omar Golon was aboard for the work on Sunday.

Rafael Bejarano has the riding assignment Friday in Kentucky Oaks 135.

“She's doing excellent,” trainer D. Wayne Lukas said.





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Monday, April 27 2009


Kentucky Oaks 135 Notes (4.26.09)


BE FAIR/TWEETER – Thomas Van Meter and Charles Kidder’s Be Fair worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 under exercise rider Omar Golon. The move, taking place shortly after the track opened, was the fourth-fastest of 24 at the distance over a track rated as “fast.”

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, a four-time winner of the Kentucky Oaks, said, “She went just perfect.” Lukas added, “Have you ever heard a trainer not like a horse’s work?”





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Kentucky Derby 135 Notes (4.26.09)


ADVICE/DUNKIRK/JOIN IN THE DANCE – At Churchill Downs, assistant trainer Mike McCarthy had two of trainer Todd Pletcher’s candidates for the 135th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) out for exercise early on a beautiful morning beneath the Twin Spires.

With the first set, shortly after the track opened at 6 a.m., Join in the Dance and exercise rider Kevin Willey took a mile and three-eighths tour of oval, galloping along in the dark with only a few other Thoroughbreds joining them on the mile oval.





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UNBEATEN ZENYATTA BOUND FOR LOUISVILLE DISTAFF


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 27, 2009) – Unbeaten Eclipse Award champion Zenyatta, a finalist for ‘Horse of the Year’ honors in 2008, is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Monday, April 27 to run in the $350,000-added Louisville Distaff (Grade II) on Friday’s Kentucky Oaks Day program at Churchill Downs.

Trainer John Shirreffs confirmed Zenyatta’s participation via telephone Sunday afternoon and Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Moss’ 5-year-old daughter of Street Cry is scheduled to board a Louisville-bound plane after leaving Shirreffs’ barn at Santa Anita on Monday.





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WISE RIVER TAKES CHURCHILL DOWNS TURF FEATURE


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 26, 2009) – Don Benge’s Wise River survived an early pace duel with Dubious Miss and then fended off a challenge from favored Inca King to win Sunday’s $56,640 allowance feature at Churchill Downs by 3 ¼ lengths.

In giving jockey Jamie Theriot his fourth victory of the afternoon, Wise River covered the 1 1/16 miles on a “firm” Matt Winn Turf Course in a course-record time of 1:39.83. The previous record was 1:40.70 set by Quite a Bride on June 6, 2007.





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Kentucky Juvenile Lures Precocious Field of Nine


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 26, 2009) – Six debut winners at Keeneland, a record-setting filly from Maryland and a West Coast invader highlight a field of nine 2-year-olds entered Sunday for Thursday’s 21st running of the $100,000-added Kentucky Juvenile (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.

The five-furlong event, which has been won seven times by fillies, serves as the first graded stakes of 2009 for 2-year-olds. Five fillies have been entered for Thursday’s race, including Jealous Again and Gator Prowl.





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Sunday, April 26 2009


Kentucky Derby 135 Notes (4.25.09)


ADVICE/DUNKIRK/JOIN IN THE DANCE – Trainer Todd Pletcher sent his chief Derby threat Dunkirk through a five-panel drill in company at the training center at Palm Meadows in Florida on Saturday morning – and he was tickled with the outcome.

Clockers gave the Unbridled’s Song colt a final time of 1:01.05 for the drill, while his workmate – the 3-year-old stakes-placed Munnings – was given a time of 1:01.25.





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Kentucky Oaks 135 Notes (4.25.09)


BE FAIR/TWEETER – Thomas Van Meter and Charles Kidder's Be Fair galloped an unspecified distance Saturday morning at Churchill Downs according to trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Lukas said the filly will work “possibly tomorrow” in her final major move leading up to Oaks 135.

Marylou Whitney Stables' Tweeter also galloped Saturday morning and Lukas said Tweeter will work Monday or Tuesday for a possible Oaks run.





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Unbeaten Hull Wins Derby Trial As Churchill Downs Opens 52-Day Spring Meet


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 25, 2009) – Heiligbrodt Racing Stable and Team Valor International and Gary Barber’s undefeated Hull ran his winning streak to three with a four-length victory over Kensei in the 85th running of the $112,000 Derby Trial (Grade III) on opening day of the 52-day Churchill Downs Spring Meet.

Trained by Dale Romans, who posted his 20th career stakes victory at Churchill Downs, Hull swept past dueling leaders Silver City and Checklist at the head of the lane and then repulsed a late bid by Kensei, who was ridden by Robby Albarado.





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