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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Edited Churchill Staff Release, May 1, 2023:


Brad Cox: ANGEL OF EMPIRE (Post 14, 8-1), HIT SHOW (Post 1, 30-1), JACE’S ROAD (Post 12, 50-1), VERIFYING (Post 2, 15-1) – “Hit show, it’s OK. We’ll live with it. We have to. He’s doing great. Manny (Franco) is obviously going to have to work out a trip from down in there. Same thing with Verifying. Tyler (Gaffalione) rides Verifying. Both riders area going to have to find a way into the first turn. Verifying has a little more speed than Hit Show. Both are doing well. Angel of Empire, I think it’s a good draw. Flavien (Prat) will be able to break running and get a good spot mid-pack. That’s what I’m envisioning. Jace’s Road will probably be more forwardly placed as opposed to Angel of Empire. Hopefully he can get himself up into the mix.”

Todd Pletcher: FORTE (Post 15, 3-1), KINGSBARNS (Post 6, 12-1), TAPIT TRICE (Post 5, 5-1) – “I’m good with all of them. Good draws. We’re very happy with it.”

MAGE (Post 8, 15-1) – trainer Gustavo Delgado: “It was a good draw. I think it’s a good spot for him. The horses right next to him are not that fast. To be in the middle of the field gives Javier (Castellano) a lot of opportunities. Whether he wants to go to the outside or inside, the post is a very good place to start.”

PRACTICAL MOVE (Post 10, 10-1), REINCARNATE (Post 7, 50-1) – trainer Tim Yakteen: “Do I like them? Yes.”

RAISE CAIN (Post 16, 50-1) – trainer Ben Colebrook: “I like it.”

SKINNER (Post 9, 20-1) – trainer John Shirreffs: “Thumbs up. It’s a good draw.”

SUN THUNDER (Post 13, 50-1) – trainer Kenny McPeek: “It’s a good spot. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Brian Hernandez Jr. He’s got to negotiate the post positions and we’re gonna let him. I hire him to ride and he does a great job for me.”

TWO PHIL’S (Post 3, 12-1) – trainer Larry Rivelli: “I hope the pace is reasonable. There’s always someone who goes in the Derby. We’ll look to be sitting behind them and have all the traffic behind us. As long as we’re covered up we’re good.”


AFFIRMATIVE LADY (Post 13, 10-1) – trainer Graham Motion: “I’d rather be there than in post 1. That’s for sure.”

BOTANICAL, (Post 6, 4-1), THE ALYS LOOK (Post 2, 15-1), WET PAINT (Post 7, 5-2) – trainer Brad Cox: “I thought it was a good draw for all of these fillies. Botanical and Wet Paint are in the middle of the gate which is fine for both of them. The Alys Look is inside but can work out a trip from there.”

DEFINING PURPOSE (Post 11, 12-1) – trainer Kenny McPeek: “I’ve got a lot of confidence in Brian Hernadez’s ability. He knows this filly. You can over coach these things and overthink them. We’re not going to do that. We’re just going to let it happen and I trust Brian’s judgement.”

GAMBLING GIRL (Post 3, 15-1) – trainer Todd Pletcher: “I’m fine with it. We weren’t too worried about the draw with this filly. She’s tactical.”

PRETTY MISCHIEVOUS (Post 14, 10-1) – “It’s not ideal but I’d rather be there than buried down on the inside. She’s easy to ride so it gives us room to maneuver. We’ll try to come up with the best way to work out a good trip.”

PROMISEHER AMERICA (Post 8, 30-1) – trainer Ray Handal: “Really good draw. She can drop right over and get a good trip. We’re going to be forward regardless and leave it up to Jorge (Vargas Jr.) after that.”

SOUTHLAWN (Post 4, 8-1) – trainer Norm Casse: “I think it’s a perfect draw. I played baseball my entire life and I was No. 4. So, it’s my lucky number.”

WONDER WHEEL (Post 5, 12-1) – Kim Valerio, bloodstock agent representing D.J. Stable: “We’re super excited that we drew the same post that we did in the Breeders’ Cup win. Let’s hope she can redeem herself.”


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