Tag Archives: Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby 2020 – In the Time of Coronavirus

The Kentucky Derby, normally the first race of the Triple Crown, will be on September 5, 2020 instead of the instead of the traditional first Saturday in May. Attendance will be less than 14% of total capacity from event record, maximum of 40% of seated capacity. There will be no General Admission this year and the infield will be closed.

Guests are encouraged to wager online. The potential the Kentucky Derby 2020 contenders sorted by the number of points earned during the Road to Kentucky Derby prep races and help with understanding the Odds for the race can be found at Kentucky Derby odds.

Churchill Downs officials announced a 62-page operations plan that will limit attendance for the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby to fewer than 23,000 guests. Upon entry to the Derby, guests must have his or her temperature checked, a medical screening, are required to physically distance, and face coverings are mandated.

To reduce crowding, select Kentucky Derby Week activities have been eliminated including autograph signings, concerts in the Plaza, fashion contests, Taste of Derby, the Survivors Parade, and the Red Carpet.

Dawn at the Downs, the annual event to dine while observing morning workouts, has been moved to Monday, Aug. 31, and will be limited to guests with reserved seats; there will be no free general admission.

Reserved seating will be limited to a maximum of 40% occupancy. Also, Standing Room Only or “Walk Around” tickets have been eliminated. All outdoor ticket holders will be reseated in a new comparable location either prior to or during the event to provide for maximum distancing.

Each guest will receive a courtesy “Healthy at the Track” bag, which will include a disposable mask, a pocket-sized hand sanitizer, and a personal stylus for non-contact self-service wagering.

This plan will allow Churchill Downs to safely and responsibly host Kentucky Derby Week (Tuesday, Sept. 1 through Saturday, Sept. 5) with a limited number of spectators. The protocols will be in effect for all five days of the Sept. 1-5 racing meet at Churchill Downs.

The overwhelming early Kentucky Derby favorite is Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law, who easily won the 2020 Travers Stakes at Saratoga. Tiz the Law, trained by Barclay Tagg and ridden by Manny Franco, has won six of his seven career starts and $2,015,300. Other top Derby contenders include Blue Grass Stakes and Ellis Park Derby winner Art Collector, Santa Anita Derby winner Honor A. P., and Haskell Stakes winner Authentic.

NBC will televise coverage of the Kentucky Derby and undercard racing on Sept. 5 from 2:30-7:30 p.m. ET. The 146th running of the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks, the Derby’s counterpart for 3-year-old fillies, will be televised Friday, Sept. 4 on NBCSN from 3-6 p.m. ET.

This will be one of the largest crowds for a sporting event in the United States since sports began shutting down in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A crowd of 30,000 fans was allowed at a NASCAR race on July 15 in Bristol, Tennessee.

Per Churchill Downs: “Medical best practices and protocols — many of which we have applied in consultation with experts both inside and outside the sports industry — will be implemented, and we’ll make adjustments all the way up to Derby Day as we find ways to improve and continue to adhere to ever-evolving best practices.”

In 2020, you learn to expect the unexpected. So when the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve announced that it would run on Sept. 5 instead of the traditional first Saturday in May, the schedule of qualifying races included some new summer events that have never had Derby points attached to them before.

In 2013, Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby began a system to qualify horses for the classic race by designating certain prep races with points: the higher the points value of a race, the tougher the competition. That’s because only 20 horses are able to run in the Kentucky Derby each year, and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: only Triple Crown-nominated 3-year-old Thoroughbreds are eligible to run.

With more than a month left before the big race this year, it looks like the minimum qualifying points may be higher, since the horses lowest on the top 20 list already have at least 30 points to his or her credit.

The standings heading into August have Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law on top with a whopping 272 points.

  • Tiz the Law – Manny Franco 6-5. Last Race was Travers Stakes, Saratoga, 8/8, 1st by 5 1/2
  • Art Collector – Brian Hernandez, Jr. 5-1. Last Race was Ellis Park Derby, Ellis Park, 8/9, 1st by 3 1/4

With a little more than a month left until the run for the roses, there are still some prep races with qualifying points on the calendar.

Some of the jockeys have more than one ride. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this may cause some jockeys to give up some of his or her business/races due to Covid 14-day quarantine.

This unprecedented pandemic has caused tracks, most notably Del Mar and Saratoga, to institute policies whereby if a jockey leaves, he or she can’t come back before the meet ends. Both those meets end on Labor Day, two days after the Derby on Sept. 5, so riders from those locales who go to the Derby would miss out on at least the final three days of those lucrative meets.

Churchill Downs has yet to release its final protocols regarding jockeys who travel in for the Derby, the resolution of which could force riders to give up even more significant business at his or her home tracks.

An early working document from Churchill Downs regarding when jockeys needed to arrive required them to be in Kentucky by Aug. 24, which would force a rider to give up the final two weeks at Saratoga and Del Mar. That is expected to be tweaked. Still, for a jockey like Manny Franco, who rides Tiz the Law, or Mike Smith, who rides Honor A. P., it’s worth it, whatever the requirements. Perhaps not so much for others.

Activists are calling for cancellation of the 2020 Kentucky Derby, accusing the city of cracking down on demonstrations ahead of the event.  Protest groups working to find justice for Breonna Taylor want the Kentucky Derby cancelled this year. City leaders are accused of trying to make Louisville look good in front of a national audience, instead of addressing community issues like systemic racism.

Lexington Bourbon Society to Host Zoom Derby Event to Benefit Old Friends

Silver Charm, 1997.

The Kentucky Derby has been postponed, but we still get to celebrate the First Saturday in May. Our friends at the Lexington Bourbon Society are hosting a Zoom Party to celebrate Derby Day and also to help Old Friends and our 200+ retired horses, including 1997 Kentucky Derby-Preakness champion Silver Charm.

There are 50 spaces left to join this event. For every ticket sold, $10 will be donated to Old Friends.  Here are all the details:

What:
Pop-up Derby-In-Place Zoom Party

When:
Saturday, May 2nd 3-6 PM EST (Zoom portion 4:30-6)

Where:
The comfort of your own home

How:
$10 donation paid directly to Old Friends via eventbrite, with your confirmation email from the donation containing your unique Zoom login credentials.
(tickets: derby-in-place.eventbrite.com)

Who:
The first 50 people to complete their donation and receive their login details.

Why:
To support the wonderful work of the fine folks at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm.

The Lexington Bourbon Society has teamed up with Michter’s Distillery, ubercapper.com, and Lexington’s Wine+market to bring fans a fantastic solution to the 146th Kentucky Derby being moved from the First Saturday in May to Saturday, September 5.

Saturday, May 2nd, NBC Sports will present a virtual Kentucky Derby at Home Party, which includes “The First Saturday In May: American Pharoah’s Run to the Triple Crown”, a look back at American Pharoah’s 2015 Derby win en route to his historic Triple Crown, and “The Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown Showdown”, a socially distant, computer-simulated edition of the Run for the Roses that pits all 13 Triple Crown winners against each other. (full details:  kentuckyderby.com/party)

While you have this broadcast on the television, we will host a zoom.us gathering starting at 4:30 that will include Michter’s schwag giveaways, Derby hat/fascinator/outfit contest, interactive Mint Julep demonstration and recipe, drawing for a private tour for two at Old Friends with Board President Michael Blowen, some fun “wagering”, and live handicapping of the Triple Crown Showdown by syndicated Thoroughbred handicapper Elis Starr (@Ubercapper) and more!

We will post a Zoom tutorial with dos and don’ts to ensure a smooth, enjoyable experience for all attending in the comments.

For more information, visit www.oldfriendsequine.org.

Gotham, Tampa Bay, San Felipe: March Round of Kentucky Derby Prep Races

Image Source.

The 2020 Kentucky is heading to its right track as we come closer to this grand horse racing event. The odds are slowly filling up every horse racing platform as few horses qualify already to run for this event. Some of them are now off in the Derby trail, garnering a sure spot in the Run for the Roses.

In two months’ time, the Kentucky Derby will launch its 146th season at Churchill Downs, Kentucky. There are no significant changes to the rules; however, we are expecting a new batch of three-year-old racehorses that will saddle up in the dirt track. As of today, the strongest contenders for the Derby are Ete Indien, Modernist, Enforceable, and Storm the Court.

Although the horses mentioned above might have their automatic berth to the Derby, it doesn’t mean that other hopefuls cannot rise in the ranking. This month, few prep-Derby races will take place, which can help a racehorse to earn big qualifying points so they can generate excellent odds to win the Kentucky Derby in 2020.

Hence, let’s see the line-up of this month’s Derby-prep races and the possible horses that will compete in this event. This will not only give you another opportunity of participating in the betting games, but it also allows you to scout which racehorse deserves the Kentucky Derby crown this year.

Gotham Stakes

The Gotham Stakes will take place on Saturday, March 7, 2020, at Aqueduct Racetrack, Queens, New York. It is one of the major Derby-prep races where a racehorse must accomplish a one ⅛ mile dirt track. The winning horse will not only earn significant Derby-qualifying points but can also take home a purse prize of $400, 000.

Here are the possible horses to compete in the Gotham Stakes this Saturday.

Mischievous Alex
Mischievous Alex is trained by John C. Servis and ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. He became one of the favorites today for the Gotham Stakes after he won the Grade 3 Swale Stakes last February 1, 2020, held at Gulfstream Park.  Aside from that, he also won the Parx Juvenile Stakes last November 5, 2019, at Parx Racing.

Untitled
Untitled is Mark E. Casse’s entry to the Gotham Stakes. He competed against Mischievous Alex in the Swale Stakes, but he only ended up in fourth place. Last February 14, 2020, he fought in Allowance Optional Claiming at Tampa Bay, where he got second place.

Big City Bob
This three-year-old colt is trained by Jorge Duarter Jr., who will saddle in the Gotham Stakes. He is the current titleholder for the Sapling Stakes held last September 1, 2019. Recently, he competed in the Champagne Stakes, where he ended up in third place.

Tampa Bay Derby

The Tampa Bay Derby is another Kentucky Derby prep race that will also take place on March 7, 2020. All racehorses joining this event will compete in a 1 1/16-mile dirt track at Tampa Bay Downs, Oldsmar, Florida. The same with Gotham Stakes, the winners will earn Derby qualifying points and might take home $350, 000 worth of purse prize. Here are some racehorses that will run in the Tampa Bay Derby.

Chance It
Chance It had successfully gathered impressive Derby points, and he’s looking forward to adding more so he can secure a sure spot for the upcoming Kentucky Derby. He is the current Mucho Macho Man Stakes titleholder that takes place last January 4, 2020 at Gulfstream Park.

Sole Volante
After winning the third place in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes, Sole Volante competed in the Sam F. Davis Stakes last February 8, 2020, where he won the title. He will run in the Tampa Bay Derby so he can earn a ticket to compete in the Run for the Roses.

San Felipe Stakes

The last Derby-prep race that will take place this Saturday is the San Felipe Stakes. This is a Graded two horse racing showdown that will settle at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. The winning horse can also earn Derby-qualifying points along with a $400, 000 purse prize. Here are some racehorses that will compete in the San Felipe Stakes.

Storm the Court
Storm the Court has continuously impressed every horse racing fans after placing fourth in the San Vicente Stakes. He will run in the San Felipe Stakes to seal his entry to the Kentucky Derby by earning solid quaying points if he wins.

Authentic
Authentic doesn’t want to miss any Derby-prep race to boost his placement in the current Kentucky Derby odds ranking. This Grade 3 Sham Stakes winner is taking another chance in the San Felipe Stakes to lock his entry in the Run for the Roses successfully.

Takeaway

With the Derby-prep races bound to happen this weekend, racehorses that can finish the racing game with flying colors can surely boost their ranking and might secure their spots in the upcoming Kentucky Derby race.

Patch, 2017 Kentucky Derby Contender, Arrives at Old Friends

Patch with assistant farm manager Antonio Marin.

GEORGETOWN, KY – JANUARY 20, 2020 – Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement facility based in Georgetown, KY, welcomed 2017 Kentucky Derby contender and graded-stakes-placed Patch.

The son of Union Rags out of the A. P. Indy mare Windyindy, Patch was donated to the non-profit organization by owner Calumet Farm following his three-season racing career. His last start was in the Birdstone Stakes at Saratoga this past August.

A 30-1 long shot in the 2017 Kentucky Derby, Patch became the season’s feel-good story after it was revealed that he had lost his left eye as a two-year-old but overcame his adversity to make it to the Churchill Downs starting gate on the First Saturday in May.

Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, Patch eventually finished 14th in that race behind winner Always Dreaming.

“Patch is a great horse and he has a great story,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “He is beloved by fans, and we are so looking forward to welcoming them this year. Patch has already stolen the hearts of everyone at Park Equine, where he spent a week while we made paddock space available, and everyone here is really excited about him.

“Our gratitude goes out to Calumet for entrusting us with Patch,” Blowen added, “as well as to Park Equine, and to the people at Sallee Horse Vans for transportation.”

Old Friends is planning a “Welcome Home Patch” day at the farm sometime in the near future. Announcements will be made soon with date, time, and details.

For more information, please call (502) 863-1775 or visit the website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Michael Blowen (502) 863-1775, michael@oldfriendsequine.org

The World’s Biggest Horse Races

Photo credit – Pixabay.

Horse racing is known as the sport of Kings. For generations, people have flocked to the track to share in the excitement generated by a horse race meet.

The horses and jockeys become household names and often the skills behind the events are underestimated. Trainers put months of work into keeping the horses in great shape; jockeys train incessantly to ensure they’re in tip-top condition.

Horse racing is a science, a sport of tactics, outside variables, and opinion. Across the world, some races are so rewarding and famous that a win can turn the career of a jockey in an instant. Some countries have a signature race, one which not only enthusiasts watch, but even people with no more than a passing interest in sport.

So, here are some of the biggest horse races in the world.

Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs hosts perhaps the most famous horse race in the U.S and one that is recognizable across the world. Inaugurated in 1875, it was first run over the same length as the Epsom Derby in the UK, before shortening to its current length of 10 furlongs just before the turn of the 19th century.

Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack share the record for the most wins by a single jockey, coming in first on five occasions each. In more modern times, Calvin Borel entered the record books for winning three out of four races, as outlined by a Bloomberg report.

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

The French capital is a hotbed of activity for horse enthusiasts, not just in the racing genre. The 11th Longines Masters of Paris saw three French riders in podium places, but the city’s premier horse racing event is rarely as cut and dried.

bwin Horse Racing calls the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Europe’s richest race with a total prize purse in the region of €5m ($5.59m). It came a little later than the Kentucky Derby, first being run in 1920, but it has risen to be one of the major events on the European sporting calendar.

Renowned jockey Frankie Dettori holds the records for the most wins, spanning 13 years. His first victory came back in 1995 on Lammtarra (1995), before winning on Sakhee (2001), Marienbard (2002), Golden Horn (2015), and a double with Enable (2017, 2018).

Grand National

Just across the channel lies the United Kingdom, one of the first countries to embrace horse racing as a passion. The biggest race in the country takes place in the early part of the year having been run ever since 1839 at Aintree on Merseyside.

It’s run over a gruelling four miles and isn’t without controversy; some calls have been made in British media to stop the race from happening.

Perhaps the most famous name in Grand National history is Red Rum; the champion thoroughbred won the race in 1973, 1974, and 1977, finishing second in 1975 and 1976. Such was his legacy, when he died in 1995 aged 30, they buried him at the finishing post of the race he had come to define.

Early Odds and Predictions: Kentucky Derby 2019

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash.

It’s the time of the year again where horse racing becomes the talk of the town. And horse racing fanatics start to think about the Triple Crown.

Although there are many other horse racing events to bet too, that will not hinder or impede the most well-known horse racing event in the whole world from getting any attention. Kentucky Derby is, without a doubt, still one of the most anticipated races of the year, and a lot of people will want to know how they can prepare for it.

In other words, knowing the early odds and predictions of the race can be a huge help of whom you’d want to bet to. For a little help, here is a list of the Kentucky Derby Betting odds.

Top Betting Odds

Game Winner

This colt is the early Kentucky Derby 2019 favorite. So, if you are searching for a “safe” bet for the 2019 Kentucky Derby, then Game Winner might be the perfect one.

Of course, poor runs and injuries can harm any horse. However, Bob Baffert’s got something with him, and most of the people are noticing it.

Yes, it is worth questioning if time will be on the early favorite. But we cannot eradicate the fact that it had five consecutive wins last year. However, only time can tell of this early favorite remains as the favorite.

Nevertheless, it is something to consider as bettors analyze Game Winner as well as the other colts in the Derby. Apparently, Game Winner is trained by one of the best trainers in the horse racing business.

Plus, he got four consecutive wins under his belt. Game Winner is, for the most part, priced not as an early favorite. And we get nearer to the big event, and mere contenders will end up getting the +800 tags or more.

If you don’t want to place a bet on Game Winner, there are still four horses that could be worth your money and time.

Improbable

One of the top challengers is Improbable. Aside from the Game Winner, Improbable is also favored by many.

Plus, it’s one of Bob Baffert’s gems as well. Thus, he can go into the 2019 Kentucky Derby all too well. Taking into consideration that Bob Baffert has five straight wins, betting on one of his gems makes sense, mainly if they seem viable.

If it is not Game Winner, then it may be Improbable. Improbable has three wins and won huge at the Los Alamitos Futurity.

Coliseum

Another favorite in horse racing is Coliseum. He is also one of Bob Baffert’s trainees. In the pecking order, Coliseum ranks number three. However, he has won the only high-race he has run.

Plus, Coliseum looks to have the long and sturdy legs that will give him a high chance at success. Well, for most bettors, this is not the Baffert gem that they would put their money on right now. However, if you can get a feasible Bob Baffert Colt at this price, you might need to think about it.

Maximus Mischief

Maximus Mischief is another colt that bettors should not miss. This colt has proven his spot with a convincing 2018 Remsen Stakes win.

Many are hesitant to put their money down on this one. Nevertheless, Maximus Mischief is a solid horse that has a 3-0.

Mucho Gusto

There are many other horses to consider, and it is quite early to argue which is best. But surprisingly, horse racing experts seem to like Mucho Gusto, giving Bob Baffert another opportunity to nab or get a Kentucky Derby win.

If things go down drastically, it is not wrong to think that Mucho Gusto could become a real threat among the other challengers. This colt does not have the reputation of his fellow counterparts. However, he won at the Bob Hope Stakes and took the second place to his fellow Baffert gem Improbable at the Los Alamitos Futurity.

Could Mucho Gusto be the one everyone overlooks? Well, that is something horse racing bettors need to rationalize this Kentucky Derby 2019.

Takeaway

If you want to bet on the Kentucky Derby 2019, then it’s ideal to bet as early as you can. Why? It’s because you can exploit the values that you might miss later on.

But you do not need to bet now if you don’t want to. If you’re going to put your money down, you can look for betting sites such as https://www.tvg.com/promos/kentucky-derby/.

Longines Honors Justify’s Kentucky Derby Victory with Swiss Watch Presentation

Miami, FL, May 7, 2018 – As the Official Timekeeper and Watch of the Kentucky Derby, the Swiss watch brand Longines was proud to celebrate the victory of Justify in the 144th running of the event. To mark their remarkable victory against a field of impressive contenders, the brand awarded Justify’s owner, trainer and jockey with Longines timepieces at the winner’s party. The event was just the latest in Longines’ rich tradition of precision sports timekeeping.

Known as “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” the 144th edition did not disappoint. Justify narrowly edged out Good Magic and Audible to take the coveted prize money and the wreath of roses. The elegance of the spectacle culminated with the presentation of watches to jockey Mike Smith, trainer Bob Baffert, and owners WinStar Farm LLC, China Horse Club, Starlight Racing, and Head of Plains Partners LLC by Mr. Pascal Savoy, Longines US Brand President, before an engaged crowd of spectators beneath the twin spires of Churchill Downs.

The Derby race represented the pinnacle of an exciting weekend of sport and elegance, with many highlights on and off the track. Earlier on Saturday, the Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile race was claimed by Proctor’s Ledge and John Velazquez, who established a lead over On Leave and Jose Ortiz, close behind.

Ana Martins Communications
info@anamartinspr.com
www.anamartinspr.com

Kentucky Derby

Image Attribution: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4088398.

The Kentucky Derby is a horse race held annually in Louisville, Kentucky on the first Saturday in May, capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. The race is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds at a distance of one and a quarter miles (2 km) at Churchill Downs. Colts and geldings carry 126 pounds (57 kilograms) and fillies 121 pounds (55 kilograms).

The race is known in the United States as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” or “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” for its approximate duration, and is also called “The Run for the Roses” for the blanket of roses draped over the winner. It is the first leg of the American Triple Crown and is followed by the Preakness Stakes, then the Belmont Stakes. Unlike the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, which took hiatuses in 1891-1893 and 1911-1912, respectively, the Kentucky Derby has been run every consecutive year since 1875. A horse must win all three races to win the Triple Crown. In the 2015 listing of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), the Kentucky Derby tied with the Whitney Handicap as the top Grade 1 race in the United States outside of the Breeders’ Cup races.

The attendance at the Kentucky Derby ranks first in North America and usually surpasses the attendance of all other stakes races including the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, and the Breeders’ Cup.

The 2017 Kentucky Derby will be the 143rd running, and is set for Saturday, May 6, 2017 with a $2 million guaranteed purse.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky_Derby

A Visual Guide to The Kentucky Derby is an interactive infographic dealing with interesting facts and trivia on the history and pageantry of one of sport’s biggest events. From the Derby’s origins to dominating bloodlines and on to ladies fashions and mint juleps… this infographic has a little bit for every one as it unfolds the most exciting two minutes in sports!

http://www.derbyllc.com/a-visual-guide-to-the-kentucky-derby/

Classic Empire Heads Entries for Kentucky Derby

Credit: Paul Miles via Twitter.

Classic Empire is set to begin his Classic campaign this year in the Kentucky Derby, where he is the bookmakers’ favourite to prevail in the 2000m contest at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Mark Casse-trained horse was one of the most impressive two-year-colts last year in the United States where he won on three of his four starts at the racecourse, including the Grade One Clairborne Breeders’ Futurity Stakes at Keeneland and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita during the World Championship meeting in November.

Classic Empire has already had the benefit of two starts in 2017. He made his seasonal reappearance at Gulfstream Park where he could only come home third in the Grade Two Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes when going off at -200. He did though come on for that outing on his most recent run at Churchill Downs when he won the Grade Three Bashford Manor Stakes.

Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner is a best price of +700 for victory in the first leg of the Triple Crown; however, if you are looking to back Casse’s talented horse, check out comparison sites like BritishBookmakers.co.uk who collate the best sign-up offers and odds for the meeting at Churchill Downs next month.

Always Dreaming is unbeaten since moving to Todd Pletcher’s yard and is also set to line up in the Kentucky Derby for his connections. The three-year-old ran only once last season, where he finished third at Belmont Park. He’s already had two outings in 2017 as he scored on his return at Gulfstream Park, where he stepped up to 1800m for the first time in his career.

Credit: Jonatan Meza via Twitter

Pletcher’s colt made a quick return at Gulfstream Park to land the Grade One Florida Derby by an impressive five lengths. He was ridden that day by John Velazquez, who tracked the leaders early on and made a challenge in the home straight where his horse picked up really well.

Always Dreaming is available at +800 in the latest betting, at the time of writing. Pletcher is bidding for his second Kentucky Derby winner as he trained Super Saver to success in 2010.

Another horse who is expected to be in contention at Churchill Downs is Irish War Cry for H. Graham Motion, who last won this race in 2011 with Animal Kingdom. The horse, whose sire is Curlin, has already recorded a couple of Grade Two successes.

After making his a winning debut Laurel Park, Motion’s colt went straight into the Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes where he upset the short-price favourite Classic Empire. A month later he ran a below-par performance as he came home down the field at the same course in another Grade Two contest.

Irish War Cry looked right back to his best earlier this month in the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct as he finished the strongest of the eight runners to claim success with Rajov Maragh on his back.

This year’s Kentucky Derby will be the 143rd renewal of the race and will take place on May 6 where there are currently 23 entries remaining with just two weeks to go.

Old Friends Derby Time!

Photon and Rail Trip racing for carrots. Photo © Laura Battles.

We’re just a few days away from the first Saturday in May and virtually every entry has an Old Friends connection. Creator, who shares his name with our great European Gr. 1 winner, was ridden by Cash Asmussen. Steve Asmussen, Cash’s brother, trains the American Creator. Bob Baffert with Mor Spirit is one of our most generous, supportive friends and trained our two Derby winners, Silver Charm (1997) and War Emblem (2002). We have retirees ridden by John Velasquez (Commentator), Gary Stevens (Silver Charm), Mike Smith (Game On Dude), and Victor Espinoza (War Emblem). The list goes on and on.

And while I agree that the Kentucky Derby is the most exciting two minutes in sports, these great athletes’ lives go on for many, more years. That’s where Old Friends and all the other Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance organizations come in handy. Whether it’s Lusty Latin or Easy Grades, both well-beaten by War Emblem, or precocious horses such as Dinard, Afternoon Deelites and Wallenda, who were all Derby candidates, we treat them all the same. We are honored to care for them well beyond their three-year-old years. Sometimes, like Derby contender Gulch, they live into their early 30s. So when the gates open at Churchill Downs on Saturday, and we all hold our collective breaths, I’ll be thinking of the hundreds of Saturdays that many of them will be with us. Because to me, at Old Friends, every day is as exciting as the run for the roses. Except now, they’re running for carrots.

We hope you can attend our 12th Annual Homecoming Event May 8th, the day after Derby here on the farm. Many thanks to all of our supporters and volunteers.

Old Friends, Inc. 1841 Paynes Depot Rd., Georgetown, KY 40324
502-863-1775 www.oldfriendsequine.org   michael@oldfriendsequine.org

Old Friends at Cabin Creek   483 Sandhill Rd., Greenfield Center, NY 12833
518-698-2377   www.oldfriendsatcabincreek.com   cabincreek4@hotmail.com