Wednesday, April 29 2009
Eclipse Champion Zenyatta Makes Kentucky Debut In Louisville Distaff to Highlight Oaks Undercard
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 28, 2009) – Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Moss’ Zenyatta, the undefeated 5-year-old who earned a 2008 Eclipse Award as the nation’s top older filly or mare was one of three finalists for “Horse of the Year” honors, will face seven challengers Friday in the 24th running of the $350,000-added Louisville Distaff (Grade II) on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs.
The 12-race card Friday, highlighted by the 135th running of the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (Grade I), will begin with a 10:30 a.m. ET post time. Five other stakes will be on the card, four of them graded.
Derby 135 Notes (4.29)
– A late addition to the field for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), Atomic Rain arrived at Churchill Downs at 2 a.m. Wednesday after a 13-hour van ride from Monmouth Park in New Jersey.
Trainer Kelly Breen was aboard when the Smart Strike colt went out for a one-mile jog this morning at 7 o’clock. Atomic Rain returned from the exercise bucking and snorting.
Tuesday, April 28 2009
Kentucky Derby 135 Notes (4.28.09)
ADVICE/DUNKIRK/JOIN IN THE DANCE
– It now appears trainer Todd Pletcher will start three horses in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby 135 – Advice, Dunkirk and Join in the Dance.
After consulting with the various owners of his four potential Derby starters, the five-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer decided to go with three and drop one – that horse being Take the Points, who is owned by the Starlight Partners stable of Jack and Laurie Wolf.
Kentucky Oaks 135 Notes (4.28.09)
BE FAIR/STONE LEGACY/TWEETER
– Marylou Whitney Stables' Stone Legacy was entered for Kentucky Oaks 135 by trainer D. Wayne Lukas on Tuesday morning. The decision gave Lukas three fillies in the Oaks, a race he has won four times.
Stone Legacy, who galloped Tuesday morning, will be ridden for the first time by Kent Desormeaux and break from post position three.
Westrock Stables' Be Fair galloped on her first day back on the track after working five furlongs on Sunday in 1:00.20 under exercise rider Omar Golon.
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.
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.
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.
Kentucky Oaks 135 Notes 4.27.09
– 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.
Monday, April 27 2009
Kentucky Oaks 135 Notes (4.26.09)
– 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?”
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.
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.
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.