This is Horse Racing
The entry of Florida Derby runner-up Majestomarks the first time since 1971 that a Kentucky Derby starter has had an owner, trainer and jockey who all hail from a South American country.
The Venezuelan-based Grupo 7C Racing Stables, a group of seven brothers led by the Caracas-based Alejandro Ceballos, own Majesto and Longines Kentucky Oaks entrant Paola Queen. The latter finished second in the Gulfstream Park Oaks on the same day as Majesto’s Florida Derby performance.
How about a six-pack of stakes to get the weekend off to a flying start? That’s what’s on tap Friday at Churchill Downs, the day headlined of course by a strong renewal of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks.
Growing up just about 10 minutes from Prairie Meadows Racetrack in nearby Ankey, Iowa, Jason Loutsch developed an affinity for horse racing at a very young age.
“One of my best friends I grew up with, Ben Sampson, had a farm close by in Altoona with a big pasture and we used to go down there all the time and ride Quarter Horses,” Loutsch said. “We used to wake up at 5 a.m. and think we were cowboys; we didn’t know what the heck we were doing but we had a great time doing it. I loved horses growing up.”
Cliff Sise admits he’s looking forward to sending out his first Kentucky Derby starter after coming close to running in America’s most hyped event a few times in his career. He’s just not getting carried away with the experience.
Christian Hansen will watch Saturday’s Kentucky Derby on television, while keeping an eye on several mares at Blackstone Farm. Stuart Grant will host 150 people at his annual Derby party, and fight the urge to think about what might have been. The men are responsible for the two Pennsylvania-bred runners in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.
Neophyte racing fans sipping homemade mint juleps at Kentucky Derby parties from coast to coast will notice something rather unique about the field for this year’s race with the presence of four gray entrants. The slightly more seasoned spectators will no doubt notice that three of the four share the same sire, who just so happens to be the leading sire of the last two years and the current leader in 2016. The even more savvy already know and are not surprised that Tapit is the sire.
Undefeated champion Nyquist drew post No. 13 and was pegged as the 3-1 favorite for Saturday’s 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby during Wednesday’s post-position draw in the Aristides Lounge at Churchill Downs.
Many would consider entering a winless horse in the nation’s biggest and most recognizable race to be unthinkable, illogical or even just plain stupid.
A week after trying to run two rivals off the race course – and succeeding with one – at the Grand National, Senior Senator became the youngest Maryland Hunt Cup winner in 53 years Saturday with a front-running, logic-defying triumph for raw ability.
The 6-year-old rated deep in a field of 13 over the first two fences, then began to work toward the front at the third, a 4-foot-9 beast of full rails and solid posts. In front over the fourth, where a loose horse caused calamity for some, Senior Senator added to his lead with big leaps at the fifth and sixth and was 20 lengths clear over the seventh and eighth.
Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from the new book "American Pharoah: The Untold Story of the Triple Crown Winner's Legendary Rise. Published by Hachette Books, American Pharoah is written by the New York Times' Joe Drape.
It was an hour drive on I-64, and Baffert knew he was going to make it as soon as he learned that Silver Charm was coming home from Japan after a decade to taking up residence at Old Friends, a retirement farm for accomplished racehorses in Georgetown, Kentucky. He had two other horses there as well—Danthebluegrassman and Game On Dude. He wanted Jill and Bode to meet him as well. They were not yet a family when Silver Charm gave Baffert his first Kentucky Derby and launched his Hall of Fame career.
Kentucky Derby Week is underway. Technically it started Sunday, like every other week every month, every year. Still, you get the point. It’s Tuesday and it’s Derby Week.
The Kentucky Derby is serious business to Kenny Troutt and the team at WinStar Farm.
Just how serious?
So serious that the farm, which bred 2003 winner Funny Cide and owned and bred 2010 winner Super Saver, has been represented in the race either as sole or co-owner with 16 starters in the last 10 editions.
Gary Stevens took a good hold of Mor Spirit into the backstretch, started to leave Jim Barnes and the pony behind as his workmate opened up a few lengths during his mount’s final serious breeze before Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Monday morning at Churchill Downs.
Stevens, sensing a slight aggressiveness from Mor Spirit, immediately let the rider on the workmate know things were going to get a bit more serious a little earlier than planned.
Barry Irwin wrote a book, and you’re in it. OK, maybe you’re not but it probably made you take a brief pause. Irwin, head of the Team Valor racing syndicate, once said trainers lied to him – on national television – and has unabashedly spoken his mind for decades in the business. And now he’s written a book? Look out. TIHR’s Joe Clancy caught up with Irwin to discuss the book (Derby Innovator, The Making of Animal Kingdom), Kentucky Derby winner turned dual-continent stallion Animal Kingdom, Team Valor, racing and more.
The last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of April do funny things to hours, minutes and seconds on certain Thoroughbred farms in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. It’s time for the Maryland Cup, North America’s oldest and most traditional steeplechase race.
Three states, three race meets, fascinating storylines in all directions. The jumpers go to North Carolina for the Queen’s Cup, headlined by a $75,000 novice hurdle stakes and the seasonal debut of Grade 1 hurdler Demonstrative; Virginia for the Foxfield Races, where the featured optional claimer drew a crack field; and Maryland for the Maryland Hunt Cup, the granddaddy of all North American jump races. Kick on.
The Kentucky Derby is just a week away as racing goes through another transition this week with shifts in venues in Kentucky and New York. Opening Night at Churchill Downs and the first Saturday of the Belmont Park spring-summer meeting highlight this weeks Saturday Special presented by Pin Oak Stud, home of Alternation, Broken Vow and Cowboy Cal.
Boyd Martin laughed at the thought. It was moments after winning the Asheville Regional Airport $75,000 Wellington Eventing Showcase on Blackfoot Mystery in February.
“I feel sorry for the jockeys who have ever ridden him,” Martin said.
There were three.
The National Museum of Racing rolled out the 2016 Hall of Fame induction class earlier this week – unfortunately the same day official word came out that the 2018 Breeders’ Cup would be at Churchill Downs – and talk about a stellar group.
Joel Rosario shook hands with well wishers four times during the short walk from the winner’s circle to the jockey’s room Wednesday at Keeneland, the grip of his black-gloved right hand firm and strong and showing no ill effects from a fracture more than three months earlier.
Rosario earned a trip to the winner’s circle aboard No Hiding Place in the featured seventh race, an allowance-optional on the main track, for his first win in his second mount of the day on his first day riding since suffering his injury Feb. 20 at Gulfstream Park.