Jockeys Guild News and Articles
Thursday, May 05, 2016
Derby/Oaks Update for Thursday, May 5
Temperatures are forecast to be in the low 80s
under sunny skies Saturday afternoon for Kentucky Derby 142, but Thursday
morning’s conditions were nowhere close to that as the 22 entrants for the
$2,391,600 race went through their paces.
Temperatures were in the upper 40s with a light, steady rain falling when the
track opened at 5:45 (all times Eastern) with the track condition labeled as
“wet-fast” by Churchill Downs clockers. The rain stopped at 6:30 but by the
time the track reopened at 8:30 after the renovation break, conditions were
downgraded to “good” as a light drizzle began to fall along with a biting
Conditions are forecast
to be more favorable for the weekend with warmer temperatures and little chance
Training hours Friday
and Saturday will be from 5:45-8 a.m. with the 5:45-6 window reserved for
Kentucky Derby entrants and any Kentucky Oaks starter wanting to test the track
the morning of their Run for the Lilies.
KENTUCKY DERBY NOTES
BRODY’S CAUSE/CHERRY WINE – Trainer
Dale Romans sent Albaugh Family Stable’s Brody’s Cause and William
Pacella, Frank L. Jones Jr. and Frank Shoop’s Cherry Wine to the
Churchill Downs track Thursday morning for 1 ½-mile gallops.
Brody’s Cause, the Blue Grass (GI) winner, drew post 19 and is rated at 12-1 in
the morning line for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, while Blue Grass third-place
finisher Cherry Wine is second on the also-eligible list and will need two
defections by 9 a.m. Friday to draw into the field.
joined by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer during the training session for
Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks horses Thursday morning. A lifelong resident
of Louisville, Romans will be seeking his first Kentucky Derby success.
“A lot is
being made about me being from Louisville. But it wouldn’t mean any more to me
than anyone else in this game,” Romans said. “Once you come into this game,
walk through the gate at any racetrack and starting taking care of horses,
you’ve got to be thinking about Kentucky Derby. It would mean as much to the
Japanese who came over here to go back home and say, ‘Konnichiwa, everybody,’
and wave the trophy.”
Cause has given his trainer a lot of confidence about his Derby chances.
peaking at the right time; he’s as good right now as he could possibly be; he’s
extremely sound; he likes this racetrack; he’s won over this racetrack; he’s
beaten a 14-horse field; he’s beaten an 11-horse field; he was third in a
14-horse field; he’s not a plodding closer; he’s an accelerating closer,
from the half-mile pole to the quarter pole in the Blue Grass and passed –
what? – 10 horses? I thought it was pretty amazing. He’s not one who’s going to
be a victim of horses stopping in front of him. He’s one who, when he’s ready,
he’ll catch up to them.
race, what I’ve seen all the times I’ve tried it, acceleration is important.
When the hole opens, you can get through it. He can get to it quickly. There
will be trouble for anyone passing horses,” Romans added. “Those horses that
can accelerate can get to the spot the jockey wants them and won’t get in
CREATOR/GUN RUNNER – Trainer Steve
Asmussen sent WinStar Farm's Creator and Winchell Thoroughbreds and
Three Chimneys Farm's Gun Runner to the starting gate for schooling
after the renovation break Thursday. For exercise, the colts galloped.
Asmussen said that the
colts, "to this point,'' have behaved well at the gate. "The Derby
and that many runners, and both of them drawn considerably inside, it's going
to test their patience,'' he said.
Creator will break from
post position three and Gun Runner drew post five in the 20-horse Derby field.
Since the draw Wednesday, Asmussen said, he has been envisioning race scenarios
and trying to come up with the best strategies for both colts.
"Nothing but,'' he
said. "Nothing but. Simulate it in your head. You know, who's where and
who's doing what? You know, tendencies. Then go back and watch the replays of
them. See if there's a reason they were where they were.''
And there are two more
days to gather information and form plans. "Overanalyze it to say the
least,'' Asmussen said.
DANZING CANDY – Trainer
Cliff Sise Jr. continues to be pleased with Danzing Candy’s training
and schooling sessions as the big day nears.
settled in right away, and has been perfect,” Sise said Thursday morning before
sending out the colt for a gallop under Rolando Quinones and to stand in the
gate. “This weather is cold for us, but for the horses, they like it.”
wouldn’t be the word to describe post 20 the front-runner drew for the Derby,
but Sise and jockey Mike Smith prefer to put a positive spin on it.
texted me yesterday and said, ‘Well, it’s better than one,’ ” Sise said. “We’ll
just let (Danzing Candy) do his thing, which means go to the front, because
it’s really up to the owner (Ted Aroney) and he’s a kind of a speed-bias type
of owner. If it were up to me, I would lay second, because Nyquist has
Halo Farms co-owns Danzing Candy with Jim and Dianne Bashor. Aroney bred
Danzing Candy from his dam, Talkin and Singing. The colt’s sire is Twirling
Candy, a son of Candy Ride.
to my other 2-year-olds early last year, I (ranked Danzing Candy), at
times, second, third, or maybe fourth,” Aroney said this week. “He started to
come around in July, and then he became No. 1, without even making his first
after the Santa Anita Derby, he kept getting better and better and better. I
wouldn’t run him if he didn’t have a chance; and I think he has a good chance.”
Candy, who is 15-1 in the morning-line odds, was scheduled to school in the
paddock Thursday during the first race.
DESTIN/OUTWORK – The Todd
Pletcher-trained duo of Destin and Outwork were trackside at 8:30
Thursday morning to take advantage of Churchill Downs’ special Derby/Oaks
training period. It was chilly and it had rained earlier and the track
had gone from “wet-fast” early to “good,” but the two colts and their showcase
training partners warmed things up noticeably.
With exercise rider Ovel Merida in the saddle on Destin and Hector Ramos aboard
Outwork, the two moved handily over the track for solid gallops of a mile and
The evening before they had drawn posts for Saturday’s $2,391,600 Kentucky
Derby (GI) with Destin being slotted in post nine and Outwork in post 15.
Pletcher spoke to the fact that it appears that the way the Derby horses drew,
the majority of the “speed” horses – which would include Outwork – have drawn
outside in the 20-horse field.
“It looks like the speed is on the outside and most of the deep closers have
drawn inside,” the trainer said. “That certainly is something that has to be
considered coming up to the race. I’ll have my thoughts on what I think should
be our race strategy and my riders (Javier Castellano on Destin and John
Velazquez on Outwork) will have their ideas, too. They’ll be riding (other)
horses for me during (Saturday) and walking back after races we can discuss
what we’re likely to do for the Derby. Waiting until then gives us the extra
advantage of seeing how the track is playing that afternoon, which is another factor
that has to be considered. We’ll work up a plan; we’ll get it figured out.”
EXAGGERATOR – The Santa Anita Derby (GI) winner Exaggerator
headed to the track at 8:30 a.m. Thursday to train with other Derby and Oaks
contenders. Trainer Keith Desormeaux’s dark son of Curlin had exercise rider
Peedy Landry attached and the two did a double “wrong way” jog around the
Among those watching the two-mile exercise was one of the colt’s owners, Matt
Bryan, who is the “big chief” in the Big Chief Racing stable.
“You dream about this,” the tall Texan said. “It is a blessing. If you’re in
the horse business, this is where you want to be. Just to be in the Derby is
great. And then to have a horse that has a real chance to win (Exaggerator is
the 8-1 second choice in the 20-horse Derby field), that is so special.”
Bryan recalled his initial meeting with Desormeaux at a horse sale in Texas in
“Keith was there trying to pick one out and I saw how hard he was working,”
Bryan remembered. “I think I have a bit of a gift to be able to read people and
I just got a really good vibe off him. We were together for about 30 minutes
and in that time I just knew he was the guy I was looking for. I grew up around
horses; not Thoroughbreds, but work horses, Quarter Horses. I know a bit about
them. And I could tell that Keith knew a lot about them and that he had an eye
for them. I saw the way he looked at horses, how focused he was. I knew he was
good. So I signed on with him and the first horse we bought – Ive Struck a
Nerve – turned into a stakes winner. We bought others (including
Exaggerator, of course) and now I think I’ve got about 20 horses with him.
“And one of the nicest parts of all this is that Keith has become one of my
best friends. I like him so much and the team and family he has here at the
barn. It’s just all so good.”
Exaggerator will break from post 11 Saturday in Kentucky Derby 142 and be
ridden by three-time Derby winner (and Keith’s brother) Kent Desormeaux.
LAOBAN – McCormick Racing LLC and
Southern Equine Stable’s Laoban, the first horse on the Kentucky Derby
also-eligible list, jogged two miles Thursday after the renovation break while
accompanied by a pony. As Laoban is stabled in trainer Wes Hawley’s Barn 20,
Guillot used his host’s exercise rider, Eric Scherer, for the jog.
Barn 20 and
stall 15, where Laoban is residing, is the same accommodations used by 2014 Kentucky
Derby winner California Chrome.
defection at the 9 a.m. Friday scratch time for the Derby, Laoban will be on a
10 a.m. van bound for Keeneland, which is where he has been stabled this
spring. The Preakness is the backup plan, and Guillot said the fourth-place
finisher in the Blue Grass (GI) may go to Pimlico as early as next Tuesday.
meant to be, it’s meant to be,” said Guillot, who never has started a horse in
the Derby. “He’ll run past his odds if he gets in.”
If he does
secure a spot in the starting gate, Laoban, who is 50-1 in the morning line,
will race without blinkers, equipment the front-runner has worn in four of his
five career starts.
getting him to relax,” Guillot said. “I’ve been working him behind horses.”
LANI – Koji Maeda’s Lani returned to the
track Thursday morning for a half-hour exercise under exercise rider Eishu
Maruuchi for trainer Mikio Matsunaga.
Lani came on the track at the five-eighths gap, walked to the head of the
stretch and jogged around for his first lap. Lani combined a jog and a gallop
on his second circuit, galloped a third circuit and part of a fourth before
slowing at the three-quarter pole and turning right to walk in the mile chute
before walking back to the gap on which he entered the track.
“I have seen him many mornings here and today was his best form,” Matsunaga
Lani, winner of the UAE Derby (Group II) in his most recent start, drew post
position eight for Saturday’s Run for the Roses and will be ridden by Yutaka
Take. Lani was listed at 30-1 on the morning line.
Matsunaga has had Lani visit the starting gate twice in the past week, but has
no paddock schooling planned for his runner.
“He has raced at several courses in Japan and behaved well, so I am not
concerned,” Matsunaga said. “He has a strong mind of himself. He may get
aggressive when horses come to him, but in the race he always concentrates. If
horses don’t want to be around him that is good for the horse.”
With an early 10:30 a.m. post time Friday, training hours will be from 5:45-8
a.m. with the 5:45-6 slot reserved for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks horses.
Matsunaga indicated that Lani would take advantage of the reserved time Friday.
Mansunaga was not fazed by his colt’s longshot status.
“Someone has to make the odds, but that doesn’t matter to me,” Matsunaga said.
MAJESTO – Grupo 7C Racing
Stable’s Majesto was sent to the Churchill Downs track Thursday morning
for an easy gallop.
very, very happy,” trainer Gustavo Delgado said. “He went very easy. He had his
open gallop (Tuesday), he doesn’t need to do more.”
Derby (GI) runner-up drew the No. 18 post and was rated at 30-1 in the morning
to be inside more, but what can I do?” Delgado said. “But you don’t know what
will happen. Anything can happen.”
reported that jockey Emisael Jaramillo is scheduled to arrive in Louisville
MOHAYMEN – Shadwell Stable’s Mohaymen
galloped once around the Churchill Downs track Thursday morning.
superintendent and his crew have again done a great job. We were able to gallop
after the break. We changed up today and went off to the right and just went
once around, because it was a little wet,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “He
went great. He wasn’t too keen. We had another great morning.”
who had won his first five races before sustaining his first loss in a
fourth-place finish in the Florida Derby (GI) at Gulfstream Park April 2, will
be looking to rebound from post 14 Saturday.
outside horse (Danzing Candy) and Mike Smith are probably going to have
to go to clear. Hopefully, we break good and follow Nyquist and him and
see how it unfolds,” McLaughlin said. “We won’t be too far away – stalking from
MOR SPIRIT – Michael
Petersen's Mor Spirit, runner-up in the Santa Anita Derby (GI) in his
most recent start, galloped once around the Churchill track for the second
straight day under exercise rider George Alvarez during the special 8:30 a.m.
well,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said. “I'm happy with him. He's a nice
horse. He's just as good as any of them here.”
Eskendereya ridgling drew post position 17 Wednesday night, a spot that has yet
to produce a Kentucky Derby winner in the 141-year history of the race.
time I had post 17, it was with Gary Stevens and Point Given (in 2001),”
Baffert said. “And, we all know how that turned out. But, it wasn't the post
that got him beat that day. We'll just have to make history again this year.”
and Stevens, who will be aboard Mor Spirit on Saturday, did go on to win the
Preakness (GI) and Belmont Stakes (GI) as well as Horse of the Year after finishing
fifth as the 9-5 favorite in the Kentucky Derby.
MO TOM – G M B Racing's Mo Tom, with exercise
rider Mario Garcia aboard, jogged to the starting gate for schooling before
having a short gallop. On Friday, he'll gallop his usual two miles, trainer Tom
The colt was to go to
the gate Wednesday, but Amoss said he called a last-minute audible. "I
ended up changing my mind, because I was schooling him in the paddock, and I
didn't want to throw too much at him.'' he said.
Corey Lanerie, Mo Tom's
jockey, said he's grateful to have retained the mount. Lanerie's status was
uncertain after the Louisiana Derby (GII), in which Mo Tom had a troubled
stretch run. Lanerie tried to move him along the rail, but couldn't find
running room. Mo Tom had to be checked for about a sixteenth of a mile and
After the race, Amoss
strongly chewed out Lanerie, and in newspaper reports, Amoss put the blame
squarely on the jockey.
"Like I tell
everybody, the minute I came back on the horse, I wanted to get under a rock,''
Lanerie said. "And I could hear Tom, and I was just like, 'You know what
Tom, give me what you've got. I'm sorry. There's nothing I could do. It's my
fault. I don't remember what he said. ...
“I told that to him. I
don't know if he heard it, but he's hollering. ... I was so embarrassed with
myself for what had happened and for all the connections. I was so sorry for
them. And I couldn't take it back and go do it again. So, I was heartbroken and
embarrassed. I was in another world. I didn't hear him. I know he was mad and
hollering, but I didn't know what he said.''
Back in the jockeys'
room, Lanerie received a text from Amoss, who apologized for his outburst.
"But like I told him, he really didn't have to do that, because, anybody
in my life will tell you, I'm not a mean person,'' Lanerie said. "I give
everybody all kind of options and look at things from the other side. It's not
going to change our relationship. If he never rides me on another horse, I'll
play golf with him next week or do whatever. Tom's a great guy and a great
trainer, and he's been really helpful in my career.''
Mo Tom also had
encountered traffic trouble in the stretch in the Risen Star (GII). Bistraya
crossed toward the rail in front of him and Lanerie had to check Mo Tom
sharply. He finished a close third.
everybody says, twice; I did it to him twice,'' Lanerie said. "The first
time was not my fault at all.''
Amoss agrees that
Lanerie wasn't at fault in the Risen Star. "He did nothing wrong,'' Amoss
But the Louisiana Derby
was different, Lanerie said. "I really hadn't moved yet, and I ended up in
a bad spot,'' he said. "I watch the replay, and I don't know how I ended
up there. But it's only really been one time where I might have made a bad choice.
So, we all make mistakes, and I know the horse. I don't blame them for sticking
with me, but if they would not have, I could not be mad at them one bit. I'm
human. My dad trains. I could have been on the other side of the fence. ... You
can see them going somewhere else. But thank God, they didn't.''
Amoss said that as he
was driving to Louisville on the Monday after the Louisiana Derby, he and
Lanerie talked by telephone and tried to figure out how Lanerie could stay on
Mo Tom. Emotions had cooled.
"I know the media
played it out for a long time after that, but Corey had other horses to ride in
preps, and so we didn't want to say, ‘Corey's our rider’, and have Corey tell
us, 'Listen, you know, I'm going to do something different.' So we wanted to
wait for Corey. ... That's why we didn't say anything.''
Lanerie said that his
non-combative response to the situation probably helped him stay on the horse.
Also, Lanerie said, his success at Churchill Downs probably helped him, too.
"We all make
mistakes, and I've done really well at Churchill, obviously,'' Lanerie said.
"If I hadn't been leading rider here 10 times, I'm sure I wouldn't be on
the horse. But I've done really well here.''
Amoss said: "It's
a huge advantage. You know, people are like, 'Are you going to tell him not to
go to the inside?' I'm not going to tell him anything. Corey knows how to ride
a horse. I watched him win on the rail yesterday. If that's where he chooses to
go, he thinks it's the best move.''
Lanerie, who will be
riding in the Derby for the second time, finished 16th on Harry's Holiday in
2014. Mo Tom is a much different animal, Lanerie said.
"I only rode the
Derby once, so it's easy to say it's my best chance, but I really think he has
a real good chance,'' he said. "In my mind, he's one of the favorites.
Besides what Nyquist has done, I think it's wide-open, and, you know, I
really haven't had a chance to see his quarter of a mile run, except for in the
MY MAN SAM/SHAGAF – Trainer Chad Brown's Kentucky Derby duo followed their usual
routine of going to the track to gallop 1 3/8 miles Thursday during the special
8:30 a.m. training time. Daniel Bernardini was on My Man Sam and Gian
Cueva was on Shagaf.
Wednesday evening, My Man Sam drew post position six and Shagaf got the 16
hole. Both positions were just fine with Brown.
with them,” Brown said. “I was hoping for more of inside post for My Man Sam
and I wanted more of an outside post for Shagaf. He's just a big, steady moving
horses and I don't want him losing his momentum once he gets to running. He
should be OK from the 16.”
NYQUIST – The Kentucky Derby morning-line
favorite Nyquist was in the sizable grouping of Derby/Oaks horses who
slipped through the six-furlong gap on the Churchill Downs’ backside Thursday
morning at 8:30 to take advantage of a cleared racetrack for a bit of training.
He was led out by assistant trainer Jack Sisterson on a pony with regular
exercise rider Jonny Garcia in the tack.
Trainer Doug O’Neill and a sizable contingent of the Nyquist “family” --
including owner Paul Reddam – watched the bay colt set out on his own and
accomplish a gallop of a mile and three-eighths in strong fashion.
On Saturday, the man in the saddle for Nyquist will be Mario Gutierrez, the
same fellow who piloted the Reddam-owned and O’Neill-trained I’ll Have
Another to Derby glory in 2012.
What, O’Neill was asked, did the I’ll Have Another experience in Derby 138 do
for him coming up to this year’s Derby 142?
“It has allowed me to not be overwhelmed this time,” O’Neill said. “We found
out that time that we had success doing what we’d been doing all along. It
worked. So we’re just doing that again – same patterns, same style. We just
want to stay on course. That’s what’s going to work. We know that now.”
OSCAR NOMINATED – Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Spiral (GIII) winner Oscar
Nominated galloped at 8:30 Thursday morning with exercise rider Joel
Barrientos at the controls. The son of Kitten’s Joy, a $200,000 supplemental
nominee, arrived from nearby Trackside Training Center on Wednesday, and
Thursday marked his first day on the Churchill track, although the colt had his
final work for the big dance here April 29.
Back at the
barn after Oscar Nominated’s Thursday training session, trainer Mike Maker,
said it was business as usual for his 50-1 Derby entrant.
“Didn’t see anything that we don’t
see every day from him — nice, smooth action,” Maker said.
Oscar Nominated will be Maker’s
ninth Kentucky Derby starter and his fourth for the Ramseys.
“Ken’s enthusiasm is contagious —
what a fun ride we have had together,” Maker said of the 13 years he has
trained for the loquacious owner.
SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS – Trainer Donnie Von
Hemel and jockey Luis Quinonez have teamed for a lot of races together over the
past 20 years, but Saturday will be biggest one when Quinonez rides the Von
Hemel-trained Suddenbreakingnews in his first Kentucky Derby.
the two have won 202 races together, including such graded stakes as the
Southwest Stakes (GIII) with Suddenbreakingnews, the Azeri Stakes (GII) with Gold
Medal Dancer and Oaklawn Handicap (GII) and Pimlico Special (GIII) with Alternation.
proven to be a very good jockey,” Von Hemel said. “He has a good, level head.
He can tell you a lot about a horse. He's always been known as a strong
finisher, which fits well with this horse. This race won't be too big for him.”
owned by Texan Samuel F. Henderson, continued to prepare for his start in the
Kentucky Derby by galloping 1 ½ miles Thursday morning under regular exercise
rider Ramiro Gorostieta.
TOM’S READY – G M B Racing's Tom's Ready,
with exercise rider Emerson Chavez aboard, galloped a mile and a half Thursday
after the renovation break.
Trainer Dallas Stewart
said he's relieved that in the post draw Wednesday Tom's Ready avoided landing
in one of the inside three positions. He drew No. 12.
"When the one,
two, three are sitting down in there, you're sitting there like, 'We've got to
get by this,' '' Stewart said. "The maiden (Trojan Nation) gets the
one. Now the two's laying out there. And somebody jumped in the three. Then
they call out the 12, and your name goes out, and you go, ‘Whew. I'll take it.'
"The horse just
needs to get out of the gate good, get a position, hopefully not get in
trouble. A lot of things can happen with a 20-horse field. Don't kid
Stewart said he's
expecting a fast pace.
"Mohaymen is going
to rock and roll,'' he said. "I think he'll rock and roll. If you work in
:46, :47 in the morning, you can look for that in the afternoon, in my
Positioning for Tom's
Ready, of course, will be up to jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.
"You just have to
leave it up to him,'' Stewart said. "You can't over-coach him. ... You
just have to let it play out. I don't want him to be thinking (too much). I
hired him to do the job. He knows how to get it done.''
TROJAN NATION – The big Street Cry
colt Trojan Nation went out during the special Derby/Oaks training
period at 8:30 Thursday morning just two days ahead of his attempt to become
the first non-winning winner of the Kentucky Derby in 83 years.
Trainer Paddy Gallagher had exerciser rider Andy Durnin take the Kentucky-bred
maiden for a mile and one-half gallop on the Churchill strip. They reported
back to Barn 41 in good order following the exercise.
Trojan Nation drew post number one for the mile and a quarter test Saturday,
which is sort of a “good news/bad news” thing in the trainer’s mind.
“I don’t mind the post at all for position,” Gallagher said Thursday. “We’re
going to come from the back anyway, so we’re on the rail right away and able to
save ground. But I don’t like the fact that we’ll load first and will have to
wait for everyone else to come in. But what are you going to do? That’s horse
WHITMORE – Earlier in the
week, trainer Ron Moquett used the word “happy” to describe his second straight
Kentucky Derby starter and that continues to be the case, although Whitmore
is putting more of a game face on each day.
me up. He's all attitude,” said Moquett, who described how Whitmore threw him a
warning kick Thursday morning when he was in his stall. “It's got to be his
way. If we get the trip, they're going to know who we are after the race.”
accompanied by a stablemate, galloped one mile under Laura Moquett during the
special 8:30 a.m. training session and also schooled in the paddock during this
KENTUCKY OAKS NOTES
CATHRYN SOPHIA – Cathryn
Sophia’s owner, Chuck Zackney, was on hand to watch his filly gallop
Thursday morning after the renovation break, her final track session in her
preparation for tomorrow’s Kentucky Oaks.
Servis trainee, who was reluctant to exit the track after her Wednesday
training session, was escorted off the track by a pony on Thursday without
Afleet Alex fame, said he hasn’t run a horse at Churchill Downs since Afleet
Alex finished third in the 2005 Derby. Afleet Alex, who was co-owned by
Zackney, went on to win the Preakness (GI) and Belmont (GI).
was named for his son, Alex, and Zackney has continued that tradition of naming
horses for relatives. Cathryn Sophia is named after Zackney’s 19-year-old
niece, a freshman at Rowan University in New Jersey.
actually going to be the first time Cathryn has seen her race,” Zackney said.
“Everybody is really excited. I think we have about 20 people out here.”
said he really tries to gauge a horse’s ability before attaching someone’s name
to the horse.
John (Servis) if he thought this filly had a little bit of talent,” Zackney
said. “I told John I wanted to name her after my niece, and he said that was a
really good idea. I’m always looking to name horses after people, but I want to
find out how the horses are before I name them. It’s a very tricky business,
and I’ve been burnt several times with horses who haven’t been that
purchased Cathryn Sophia, the co-second choice in the Oaks, for $30,000 at
auction and said the daughter of Street Boss completely surpassed his
expectations. The filly enters the Oaks with a record of four wins in five
starts, including the Forward Gal (GII) and Davona Dale (GII). Her sole defeat
came in the Ashland (GI) when she finished third, beaten a half-length.
“This is a
complete surprise,” Zackney said. “We were never expecting to be here at the
Kentucky Oaks. It’s been a dream trip — since Oct. 30, her first race. Other
than the last race, and losing by a couple feet, she has been perfect. We’re
very optimistic; she has been training well and we’re happy with her post. We
have our fingers crossed for tomorrow.”
DOTHRAKI QUEEN – Magdalena Racing’s Dothraki
Queen galloped a little less than a mile and half under Erin Walker shortly
after the track opened for training at 5:45 a.m.
Dothraki Queen is on the also-eligible list for the Kentucky Oaks and would
need one defection by scratch time at 9 a.m. Friday to make the race. Should
she run, she would be ridden by Gary Stevens.
Dothraki Queen won her first start at Churchill Downs in September in the
Pocahontas (GII) and was placed third in the Golden Rod (GII) in November.
“If she gets in, I’d like to see her get comfortable,” trainer Kenny McPeek
said. “Have a decent pace and have something to run at. They are not going to
worry about us.”
DREAM DANCE – Stoneway Farm’s Dream Dance
was on the track shortly after 6 o’clock Thursday morning to gallop a mile and
three-eighths under Joel Dominguez.
“I wanted to get her out early when the track was good,” trainer Neil Howard
said of his filly who galloped on a track labeled as “wet-fast.”
Brian Hernandez Jr. will be aboard Dream Dance in her quest for her first
“She has her work cut out for her,” Howard said. “I’d like to see her take
advantage of the (early) speed.”
GO MAGGIE GO – Mike Tarp’s
Go Maggie Go schooled at the starting gate and galloped 1 ½ miles under
exercise rider Tammy Fox Thursday morning at Churchill Downs.
terrific,” Fox said. “She doesn’t act like a horse that’s run only twice. She’s
very mature out there. She acts like an older horse. She does nothing wrong.
She’s very professional out there.”
late-developing Dale Romans-trained filly broke her maiden in her March 13
debut at Gulfstream Park by four lengths before scoring by 2 ¼ lengths in the
Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) April 2.
LAND OVER SEA – The chestnut Bellamy
Road filly Land Over Sea was sent trackside at approximately 6:50
Thursday morning for a final bit of exercise before her Friday run in the
Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI).
She had regular exercise rider Jonny Garcia up top and assistant trainer Jack
Sisterson alongside on a pony as they went through the six-furlong gap on the
Churchill Downs’ backstretch. The duo stayed together for a two-mile
“backtracking” tour of the oval, a feat the filly accomplished with vim and
“She’s ready,” Garcia said on the way back to Barn 41.
Her trainer, Doug O’Neill, echoed that thought. “She is ready,” he said. “She
had a good jog this morning. She’s feeling good and doing good. It’s time.”
Since entering stakes company six races back, Land Over Sea has been
stakes-placed four times and won another. The four stakes placings were all in
the wake of champion Songbird. There will be no Songbird tomorrow and
O’Neill and the other Land Over Sea connections – owner Paul Reddam and rider
Mario Gutierrez – will tell you readily they are thankful for that.
Land Over Sea is listed at 5-1 in the track’s morning line and will start from
post 13 in the Oaks.
LEWIS BAY – Gazelle
(GII) winner Lewis Bay changed up her routine slightly Thursday,
training after her Kentucky Derby-bound stablemates My Man Sam and Shagaf
instead of before. She came to the track at 9 a.m. and galloped 1 3/8 miles
under Gian Cueva. “She's doing well,” trainer Chad Brown said. “I'm happy
with all my horses. They all drew good post positions, so we're good.”
drew post three for Friday's Kentucky Oaks.
MO D’AMOUR/RACHEL’S VALENTINA – The pair of
3-year-old fillies trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle in the 142nd
edition of the Kentucky Oaks (GI) Friday had their final bits of exercise
Thursday morning at Churchill Downs, each galloping a mile and a quarter under
exercise rider Amy Mullen.
Mo d’Amour went out with the barn’s two Derby colts – Destin and Outwork
– during the 8:30 special training period allotted for Derby and Oaks
horses. Rachel’s Valentina had put in her high stepping at 6:30.
Both galloped strongly, especially so in the case of Rachel’s Valentina, who
has seemed to get stronger in her drills as the week has gone along.
Pletcher has captured the Oaks three times already -- with Ashado in
2004, Rags to Riches in 2007 and Princess of Sylmar in
2013. He was asked if R
Wednesday, May 04, 2016
Dominguez finds happiness away from racing
Ramon Dominguez can hear horses in his sleep.
Don’t be alarmed. It has nothing to do with any lingering effects from the brain injury he sustained in a spill at Aqueduct in 2013 that ultimately ended his riding career.
Just outside the windows of the Floral Park, N.Y., home he shares with his wife, Sharon, and the couple’s two children, Alex, 11, and Matthew, 9, Dominguez can see the strides and hear the breath of Thoroughbreds as they go through their morning exercise over the Belmont Park training track. Further off in the distance is the mammoth Belmont grandstand, in front of which Dominguez recorded 553 of his 4,985 career victories.
The sights and sounds outside his window are a reminder of what was and, unfortunately, what will never be again.
“At the beginning, I didn’t know if this was going to work with me living this close to the track because it’s a constant reminder,” Dominguez said in a recent interview at his home. “But maybe that has been really a blessing to be that connected, to say, ‘Hey, dude, get over it; it is what it is.’ I can watch horses train. It does not bother me at all.”
The sights and sounds of Dominguez’s brilliant, but too brief, career will be replayed frequently over the next few months. On Monday, it was announced that Dominguez was elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. On Aug. 12, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. – across the street from the historic track he once ruled – Dominguez will be part of an A-list induction class that includes trainer Steve Asmussen and the champion racemares Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta.
“It was very overwhelming in a positive way; I cried,” Dominguez said after getting the phone call about his election. “It is a great thing, a big, big honor. I’m very happy and proud to be recognized in such a big way.”
Dominguez, who came to the U.S. in 1995 from his native Venezuela, rode for 17 years. From 2000-12, he averaged 386 wins annually. He moved from the Mid-Atlantic region to the New York Racing Association circuit full time in 2009 and was the leading rider for four straight years. He won three consecutive Eclipse Awards from 2010-12.
As 2013 began, he was 33 wins shy of 5,000 career victories, a milestone he would have accomplished by the age of 36.
On Jan. 18, 2013, Dominguez was aboard Convocation in the seventh race, a $30,000 claiming event, at Aqueduct. Approaching the five-sixteenths pole, his mount clipped heels with the horse in front of him, and Dominguez went down hard to the inner track.
He was diagnosed with a fractured skull. Ultimately, there was damage to the brain. Though he underwent extensive therapy, doctors told Dominguez they feared what could happen if he were to fall again. Dominguez announced his retirement on June 13, 2013.
Dominguez, 39, said he consulted with other doctors about the feasibility of a return. All had the same message.
“The degree of my injury was severe enough where all of the doctors that I have seen, they just don’t want me to be exposed to hitting my head again,” Dominguez said. “It’s not like breaking a bone, where you heal. It’s something that accumulates. At this point, they are very pleased with my recovery, but the truth is there is even right now concern about the future and being exposed to hitting my head.”
Dominguez said there was “a grieving period” after he realized that his career was complete. But he now seems at peace with the fact that he never again will be able to sit on a speeding Thoroughbred’s back, sneaking through a narrow opening and getting a victory in the final jump.
“Although I said what I did for a career as a jockey did not define me, at the same time, you can’t help to feel identified with that to the extent you feel like it’s a part of you,” Dominguez said. “That is a process. It can be painful at times, but by now, I am able to understand that it’s not only unavoidable, but it’s also necessary in order to move forward.”
Revered as much for his professionalism and politeness as he was for his talent, Dominguez was offered many opportunities to work in the racing industry. He turned down offers to work as a jockey agent, bloodstock agent, or syndicate representative and has found contentment outside of the racing arena.
Dominguez, who always fancied himself a bit of entrepreneur, is a distributor for LifeVantage, a network marketing company dealing with health and wellness products. Dominguez’s success as a distributor is somewhat predicated on the success of others, many of whom he recruits and helps get started in the business.
Dominguez said he has used traits similar to what made him successful as a rider – discipline, a strong worth ethic, and communication – in this business.
“I enjoy this as much as riding racehorses,” Dominguez said. “I love the fact that I’m empowering people to reach their full potential … helping people to have more flexibility when it comes to having more time to spend with their loved ones. I unfortunately missed out on a lot because of the demands of my career as a jockey. I’m helping people to [make] more money because money is very important, and most people these days are not making enough or in many cases want to have more security. So, those are three elements. In order to do this, we cannot avoid going through an amazing personal growth that is priceless.”
In this business, Ramon gets to work with his wife, Sharon. In the summer of 2012, months before Ramon’s accident, Sharon Dominguez was introduced to the products of LifeVantage. Initially reticent of the network-marketing strategy, she did more research and is now a big proponent of the business model.
“It had everything that would make sense for us,” Sharon Dominguez, 44, said. “All my business buttons lit up.”
In their business, Ramon and Sharon offer support for others entering the arena. Aside from the work they do with LifeVantage, the Dominguezes have started their own website, Ramonandsharon.com, on which they hope to share their life experiences.
“Ramon and I have been through a lot, especially over the last three years, and we want to be able to share our experiences in life with other people,” Sharon Dominguez said. “If we can help somebody navigate through that or get through that with hope and show there’s light at the end of the tunnel, that’s where the true blessing lies.”
Ramon credits Sharon with bringing him back to the racing community. For a long time after the accident, Ramon would not attend the races or even watch them on television. His visits to the backside at Belmont are more frequent, and Dominguez does a lot of work for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
“I am thankful that Sharon pulled me by the hair,” he said. “If it was up to me, it would have literally been years before I went to the track. I actually now enjoy going to the track, not that I go often. I’m planning to go to Saratoga quite a bit.”
Dominguez is planning to attend next Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. It will be his first time at Churchill Downs since 2012, when he rode Hansen to a ninth-place finish in the Derby.
Dominguez said he doesn’t have a specific rooting interest in the race, though he has become close with Irad Ortiz Jr., who will ride My Man Sam in the Derby.
“I will just be watching the race,” he said. “If it comes down to the end and one of the guys I rode with on a daily basis has a chance to win, then I’ll pull for them.”
Attending the world’s most famous horse race is another step in the moving-on process for Dominguez.
“I will always miss riding races,” Dominguez said. “I absolutely love the sport, but I can sincerely say that I’ve been able to turn the page, and it’s not something that I have to try to forget. No, no. Some of the greatest memories of my life are at the racetrack, and it’s something I will always cherish.”
Wednesday, May 04, 2016
ROUTINE MORNING FOR KENTUCKY DERBY HOPEFULS
On a partly cloudy Kentucky morning, all but
three of the players for Saturday’s 142nd Kentucky Derby Presented
by Yum! Brands (GI) went about their business on a fast track at Churchill
Downs. All the activity was done before steady rain began before noon.
Only Lani, who had worked five furlongs the day before, and Oscar
Nominated, who arrived from the nearby Trackside Training Center, did not
go to the track. Both are slated to return to the track in the morning.
Laoban, who will be on the also-eligible list, arrived at Churchill
Downs at 7:30 after vanning from Keeneland.
The undefeated Nyquist, the reigning 2-year-old champion of 2015 and
probable Derby favorite, jogged two miles, visited the starting gate and
schooled in the paddock.
Next up after the morning activity is the post position draw that will be held
at 5:30 this afternoon in the Aristides Lounge.
KENTUCKY DERBY NOTES
BRODY’S CAUSE/CHERRY WINE – Albaugh Family Stable’s Brody’s Cause and William
Pacella, Frank L. Jones Jr. and Frank Shoop’s Cherry Wine galloped 1½
miles Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs. Brody’s Cause also stood in the
starting gate during his training session.
Cause, the Toyota Blue Grass (GI) winner, has secured a spot in the 20-horse
field for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, while Blue Grass third-place finisher
Cherry Wine also was entered in the Run for the Roses Wednesday morning, but
will need a few defections to draw off the also-eligible list and into the
started six horses in the Kentucky Derby, including third-place finishers Paddy
O’Prado (2010) and Dullahan (2012) and fourth-place finisher Shackleford
(2011). Shackleford went on to give Romans’ his first success in the Triple
Crown with a victory in the Preakness Stakes
multiple-Grade I stakes winner Brody’s Cause has given Romans reason to think
that a coveted victory in the Derby is well within his capability.
best shot I’ve had and he’s going to be the lowest price of any horse I’ve run.
We don’t have a question mark right now. He’s won on the racetrack. He’ll go
the distance. He’s beaten 14-horse fields,” Romans said. “He’s done everything
you need to make it to the winner’s circle for the Derby.”
Dennis and Susan Albaugh have announced that if Brody’s Cause should win the
Derby, they will make a $500,000 donation from his winner’s purse to the Des
Moines Area Community College Foundation. Dennis Albaugh is a 1972 graduate of
DMACC. The Albaughs recently were recognized for their $1 million donation at
the ribbon cutting of DMACC’s renovated Iowa Culinary Institute.
CREATOR/GUN RUNNER – Trainer Steve Asmussen's
Kentucky Derby duo – WinStar Farm's Creator and Winchell
Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm's Gun Runner – returned to the
track Wednesday morning for the first time since they worked Monday.
After the renovation
break, Louisiana Derby (GII) winner Gun Runner galloped a mile and a half under
exercise rider Carlos Rosas, and Arkansas Derby (GI) winner Creator galloped
that distance under exercise rider Abel Flores.
At the barn, Asmussen
expressed his satisfaction with how Gun Runner has developed. "His
progression has been very good starting from last year,'' Asmussen said.
"He's always had a lot of talent. I think physically, he has continued to
develop, and with that, he's gotten a little stronger, a little faster all
"And after he won
the Louisiana Derby, we thought ... the time, the spacing, that it was going
our way, Ron (Winchell) asked, 'Will he be here the way we want him to be in
six weeks?' We're on top of that. The question is about to be answered.''
As a 2-year-old, Gun
Runner ran fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (GII) at Churchill Downs.
"I think we
learned that he was competitive at that level but felt he needed to improve,''
Asmussen said. "What would do that for us was time and maturity.
Pedigree-wise, he's a horse that should be better with time, being out of a
very good Giant’s Causeway mare, a (half-brother) to Saint Liam, horses that
came on later in their careers. And I think we are seeing that from him.''
The colts schooled in
the paddock Tuesday afternoon. A photograph taken by Barbara Livingston
for Daily Racing Form showed Creator standing upright on his hind legs, and Gun
Runner watching from the next stall. Asmussen said the photo reveals the energy
of an energetic young athlete.
he said. "They're at their peak physical. We're 'Wait. Not yet.' We're in
the Not yet mode. And I think both horses, just like today, first day back (to
the track), I get awfully concerned about them jumping or stepping on
themselves. They're very physical animals. Abel and Carlos were on them a good
10 minutes up and around the barn just for that purpose. Creator is very
reactive. Something happens ... he responds to it. He is awake and alive. Gun
Runner is very similar.
"And I thought the
picture, Creator is standing up like that, and Gun Runner is looking over at
him like, 'It's your turn,' like, 'It's me next. You now. Me next.' They're
well aware of what they do for a living. They're racehorses, and they can feel
the anticipation. And they're on edge. They're on edge. With Creator, that's
what the schooling's about. Went over there. Stood in the paddock. Stuff like
that. Excellent. And when we saddled him up, he really puffed up. That was what
"We'll go over
there. We'll keep him moving a little bit more. We'll be a little more gradual
with our approach to that. That's what the schooling allows us, for how they'll
react to the things that happen.''
Asmussen said that
Creator's behavior before the Arkansas Derby was a tip-off that the colt would
run well. That race always draws a large crowd. The horses are led to the
infield after saddling inside.
"I do think that
you get a lot horses that run their race out of the Arkansas Derby in the
Kentucky Derby through history,'' Asmussen said. "And I think the
pageantry of that (Arkansas Derby) does set them up, to a degree, for the
pageantry of the Derby. ... And I do love how he responded to it. He was very
focused that day. In prerace for Creator before the Arkansas Derby, you were
very confident, because he had his game face on. The race wasn't going to
surprise him. It's like, 'We're here to run.' And I did like his focus, and I
thought that the trip Ricardo (Santana Jr.) gave him in the Arkansas Derby translates
very well to a crowded race of the (Kentucky) Derby.''
DANZING CANDY – It was a
busy second morning at Churchill Downs for Halo Farms and Jim and Dianne
Bashor’s Danzing Candy. The San Felipe (GII) winner galloped, visited
the starting gate and walked through the paddock, with Rolando Quinones in the
Cliff Sise Jr. said he was happy with all elements of Danzing Candy’s schooling
and training session.
ahead to this afternoon’s post position draw for the Derby, Sise said a favorable
post for his front-runner is key.
is very important,” Sise said. “(Post) 10 would be perfect; that way he loads
second-to-last, and if the other speed in the race drew inside of us that also
would be perfect. Every post he has drawn, he has drawn inside of a speed
horse, so we’ve had to send him. He will (go to the lead) on his own, but we’ve
never had the opportunity to draw outside and lope around and lay second.”
DAZZLING GEM – Trainer Brad Cox called an audible and did not enter
Saturday’s Kentucky Derby or Pat Day Mile (GII) with Steve Landers Racing's Dazzling
previously had said Dazzling Gem was under consideration for the Peter Pan
Stakes (GII) at Belmont May 14 or the Preakness Stakes (GII) at Pimlico May 21.
exercise rider Fernando Espinoza aboard, Dazzling Gem galloped the renovation
DESTIN/OUTWORK – Trainer Todd
Pletcher had his Derby duo out for good gallops during the special 8:30 a.m.
training time for Derby/Oaks horses Wednesday morning. Ovel Merida had his
usual spot aboard Destin for the exercise, while Hector Ramos was the
man on Outwork. Joining in for the pre-Derby run-up excitement was the
New Yorker’s New Yorker, Mike Repole, on the scene to watch the colt (Outwork)
he not only owns, but bred, go through his paces. Besides his gallop, Outwork
spent a bit of time standing at the gate.
Both of Pletcher’s charges – the gray son of Giant’s Causeway, Destin, and the
bay colt by Uncle Mo, Outwork – have speed and both figure to be forwardly
placed in the Derby field of 20. That should be an advantage in the chock-full
Run for the Roses.
“There appear to be more deep closers than normal in this year’s Derby,”
Pletcher said trackside Wednesday morning. “And on paper, it looks like the
race should spread out (early). That should be good for us. Of course, we all
know about a race on paper and a race for real. Sometimes, they don’t resemble
each other at all.”
One of the reasons Pletcher is able to have a bit more confidence than most and
probably sleep a bit better at night, too, is that he hires some of the best
riders in the world to steer his horses, especially in a “rider’s race” such as
the Kentucky Derby. For this year’s 142nd edition of the race he’ll
have two of the best on his side – Hall of Famer John Velazquez aboard Outwork
and Javier Castellano, currently the leading rider in the county for money won,
EXAGGERATOR – “He’s settled in. It’s feeling like
home here now.”
That was trainer Keith Desormeaux’s assessment of Exaggerator’s mind-set
concerning Churchill Downs and his Barn 25 headquarters. The Curlin colt can
say that Churchill is his sixth racetrack so far and his connections can note
that his experience (his nine starts, along with a like number for rival Tom’s
Ready, are the most of any horse in the Derby field) and his credentials
(four victories, including three graded stakes and more than $1.6 million in
purses) are solid statements for continued success heading into Kentucky Derby
Desormeaux had exercise rider Peedy Landry aboard for some exercise Wednesay
morning coming into the 8:30 special training period for Derby and Oaks
runners. He instructed his rider to take Exaggerator through a mile and
one-half gallop, as well as a short period of standing at the gate. They did
“I’m going to have to get him over to the paddock in the afternoon,” the
trainer said. “Either today or tomorrow.”
FELLOWSHIP – On Wednesday morning, when the connections of Fellowship
knew for sure they would be No. 21, the first horse on the also-eligibles, they
decided not to enter the Derby. Instead, Fellowship, who is owned by Fred
Brei’s Jacks or Better Farm, has been entered to run on the undercard in the
Pat Day Mile (GIII).
“(Fred) and I started talking about
it, and he said, ‘What do you think about running in the Pat Day?’ ” Casse
said. “I said, ‘Well, he is training good here and it’s not going to hurt him.
If we were going to run in the Derby and run in the Preakness, why can’t we run
in the Pat Day and run in the Preakness?’ ”
In other doings at the Casse barn,
University of Louisville shooting and point guard, David Levitch, is interning
for the stable as part of his studies for his major, sports administration. The
21-year-old Levitch is a native of Kentucky and may be interested in pursuing a
career on the racetrack.
“I’ve been hot-walking and just
learning,” Levitch said Wednesday morning at the Casse barn. “I met the Casses
last year, and we’ve been friends ever since. They gave me a chance to do this;
I’m very grateful. It’s cool to be in this barn and around horses like (Eclipse
Award winner) Tepin.”
LANI – Koji Maeda’s Lani was hand-walked in
Barn 17 Wednesday morning, a day after working five furlongs in 1:01.
Trainer Mikio Matsunaga said that the UAE Derby (Group II) winner came out of
the work in good order and would return to the track Thursday morning.
With Lani’s activity confined to the barn, Matsunaga was asked if he planned on
scouting the opposition during the 8:30-8:45 training period reserved for
Kentucky Derby hopefuls.
“Not especially. I want to stay in my barn and look after my horse,” Matsunaga
said, adding that he has been doing some scouting. “I have been watching videos
of the horses.”
Matsunaga arrived in Louisville on Monday and has had two days to soak in the
atmosphere surrounding the Kentucky Derby.
“It is much, much greater than I expected,” Matsunaga said. “There is nothing
like this at home before the Japan Derby.”
– McCormick Racing LLC and Southern
Equine Stable’s Laoban was entered in the Derby, following the Wednesday
morning news that Fellowship, No. 21 on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard,
would not enter. Adventist, No. 22, is based in New York and it would
have been impossible for him to arrive by Wednesday’s noon deadline for Derby
horses to be on the grounds at Churchill Downs.
Laoban, who was 23rd on the
Kentucky Derby leaderboard before the defections, arrived from Keeneland at
7:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to his trainer, Eric Guillot. He is stabled in
Barn 20. Guillot named jockey Cornelio Velasquez to ride.
The Louisiana-bred trainer,
well-known for his colorful comments, remarked he would proceed with “a voodoo
ritual” to ensure there would be one defection among the 20 starters entered,
paving his way to secure a spot in the gate for the 142nd Run for the Roses.
Since finishing fourth in the
Toyota Blue Grass (GI), Laoban has had two works at Keeneland, one at five
furlongs, the other at six furlongs.
“Like smoked ham, we’re always
ready,” Guillot said of Laoban’s preparedness for a possible start in the
Laboan, a front runner, will jog
two miles on Thursday morning at 8:30, Guillot said, and paddock school on a
day to be determined.
MAJESTO – Grupo 7C Racing
Stable’s Majesto galloped once around the Churchill Downs oval Wednesday
The ownership group’s president, Alejandro Ceballos, joined trainer Gustavo
Delgado from Venezuela for the Florida Derby (GI) runner-up’s morning activity.
“I have been here six times without having any horses. I’ve been dreaming of
this moment since I was 6 years old,” Ceballos said through an interpreter.
Majesto, a son of Tiznow who was bought at the 2014 Keeneland September sale
for $300,000, was named for Ceballos’ sons.
“It’s a combination of Mauro and Jesus and the ‘to’ is for everyone else,” said
Ceballos, who owns Haras Urama, a commercial breeding farm with 57 broodmares,
in Venezuela. “We name our horses for members of our families.”
Jesus, a member of the popular Venezuelan singing duo of Jesus & Yorky,
also was on hand Wednesday morning.
“I’ve loved horses since I was 6. I wanted to be a jockey but I grew too tall,”
the 18-year-old said. “I fell in love with this horse the first time I saw
#Majesto began trending on Twitter in Venezuela after earning a Kentucky
Derby spot with his second-place finish behind Nyquist in the Florida
“Venezuela is a very horse-related country. After Majesto got second place in
the Florida Derby everyone is talking about the horse,” Ceballos said.
Delgado, who had saddled the winners of four Triple Crowns in Venezuela, has
been training in South Florida for two years.
“I came to the United Stakes in 2014 and went to Gulfstream. Now, I’m happy to
have a horse in the Kentucky Derby and all the stakes. I’m happy for myself;
I’m very happy for my people; I’m very happy for my owner,” Delgado said. “To
be in the Kentucky Derby in the second year, it’s good luck. Everything is
MOHAYMEN – Shadwell Stable’s Mohaymen
visited the Churchill Downs paddock and galloped 1 ½ miles Wednesday morning.
“It was his best day galloping, and he was great in the paddock for 30 minutes,
so we had an excellent day,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said.
Saturday, the son of Tapit will attempt to rebound from his first career loss
as the 4-5 favorite in the Florida Derby (GI) at Gulfstream Park on April 2
after winning his first five career starts.
all, it rained. There was water standing on the racetrack, and where we were on
the racetrack was the worst part. We broke from nine out of 10. It’s an eighth
of a mile into the first turn. We’re very wide and on a part of the racetrack
that wasn’t a good spot to be that day. I feel very strongly about that,”
McLaughlin said. “We ran 54 feet farther than Nyquist and on the worst
part of the racetrack.”
training session made McLaughlin even more confident that Mohaymen will be up
to the demands of Kentucky Derby Day.
lovely mover, has a great mind, and we think that’s very important on Derby
Day. Nothing bothers him, and that’s a big plus in the paddock that day,”
McLaughlin said. “He just does everything right. He’s such a special horse.
He’s a beautiful mover, light on his feet; you don’t even see him switch leads.
He’s just such a special colt. We’ve never had one like this at this stage of
the going as a 3-year-old.”
has saddled six Kentucky Derby starters, including 2005 runner-up Closing
MOR SPIRIT – Michael
Petersen's Mor Spirit, accompanied by assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes aboard
Smokey, the stable pony, returned to the track two days after his final work.
He galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider George Alvarez, while trainer Bob
Baffert watched from just beside the five-furlong track gap.
Baffert acknowledges he's flying under the radar this year as he seeks his
fifth Kentucky Derby victory, he has been pleased with how Mor Spirit has
in 16 Kentucky Derbys and have been fortunate to win four of them,” Baffert
said. “This is a good horse. We just need a good draw and a good break.”
MO TOM – G M B Racing's Mo Tom, with exercise
rider Mario Garcia aboard, galloped a mile and a half Wednesday for trainer Tom
Amoss after the renovation break. Also, Mo Tom schooled in the starting gate,
and he was scheduled to school in the paddock in the afternoon.
"In the Risen Star
(GII), he was a little silly in the gate, but never before,'' Amoss said.
"And I just want to make sure we don't get that on Saturday. Everything
needs to be right, and taking him to the gate a second time, there's no
downside to it.''
Mo Tom will be Amoss'
fifth Derby starter. Amoss finished 15th with Lone Star Sky in 2003,
20th with Backtalk in 2010, fifth with Mylute in 2013 and 16th
with War Story last year. None of those horses was as serious a
contender as Mo Tom, Amoss said.
"I think Mylute
had an outside chance,'' Amoss said. "But the other horses which I ran
were horses that deserved to be in the race. They earned their way in. But the
reality of them winning the race was a tremendous longshot at best. This horse
is different. He has a real chance on Saturday, and we'll see how it plays
Amoss, 54, said that
with experience, he has learned to change his approach to the Derby.
you're in the Derby, you want the media to talk well of your horse,'' he said.
"And I think as a rookie trainer, you can get caught up and try to do
things with your horse to give him a little bit of a ‘Wow’ factor for the
media, so that they say nice things.
"Those days are
gone for me. I couldn't care less what the media says about my horse, although
the comments have been good. But that's really a non-factor. I do my thing with
my horse. I'm totally focused on my horse. Let the chips fall.''
understands that the Derby is not just another race. "You have to deal
with a tremendous amount of scrutiny,'' he said. "The horse-racing media
world has converged on Churchill Downs. The horses are very distinguishable by
their saddled towels with their names on it. Everything you do with that horse
on the racetrack is dissected and looked at. So, you're definitely under the
microscope in that sense.
"There can be
pressure involved with that, and pressure to do maybe not necessarily what you
want to do but more what you think is going to be pleasing to the people
watching the horse. I can just tell you from experience that that's the wrong
approach. The right approach is to know you job and have confidence in what
MY MAN SAM/SHAGAF – Trainer Chad Brown's Kentucky Derby duo went to the track
to gallop 1 3/8 miles Wednesday during the special 8:30 a.m. training time.
Daniel Bernardini was on My Man Sam and Gian Cueva was on Shagaf.
My Man Sam
most recently finished second in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (GI) after
breaking from post 14. Brown is hopeful both his starters will have better luck
at today's Kentucky Derby draw.
happy with both of them,” said Brown. “Hopefully, (My Man Sam) won't have to
overcome a bad post for the second straight time. We just want them both to get
good posts, but that's out of our hands. It's just a part of horse racing.”
NYQUIST – The likely Kentucky Derby favorite, Nyquist,
got busy a bit earlier than usual Wednesday morning, bypassing the special
training period at 8:30 to come out about 7:15 and check off some boxes on his
way to the big race Saturday.
Regular exercise rider Jonny Garcia was in the tack and trainer Doug
O’Neill assistant Jack Sisterson was alongside on a pony when the Uncle Mo colt
set out from Barn 41 to do the sort of things a good Derby horse must do. Those
things consisted of a two-mile jog the “wrong way” around the one-mile oval, a
stand in the starting gate and a session of familiarity in the Churchill Downs
paddock. Thus exercised and educated, the racy bay went back home where one of
his rewards was a refreshing bath under the Kentucky sun.
“We had him out early today because he had so many things we wanted to
accomplish,” said O’Neill’s chief assistant, Leandro Mora. “We wanted to get
him to the gate and into the paddock and we just needed more time for that. It
gets hectic during that 8:30 time and we wanted to avoid all that.”
Heading east from California Wednesday was Paul Reddam, the owner of Nyquist
(as well as Kentucky Oaks filly Land Over Sea). He was to be on
board for the Derby Draw Wednesday evening, then no doubt would be at the barn
Thursday. The owner, of course, will be bringing with him the dream of doing
what he did in 2012 with O’Neill and rider Mario Gutierrez (who handles
Nyquist), which was win the Kentucky Derby with I’ll Have Another. The
betting will be that he can.
OSCAR NOMINATED –Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Oscar Nominated, the lone
supplemental nomination at $200,000, arrived at Churchill Downs’ Barn 27 at
approximately 5:30 this morning from his home base at the nearby Trackside
Training Center. The son of Kitten’s Joy, who was fitted with new shoes a few
hours after his arrival, did not train this morning, but will go to the track
to gallop Thursday. He was scheduled to paddock school during the races
the Mike Maker-trained Oscar Nominated to Churchill was Nolan Ramsey, the
grandson of the horse’s owners. The 19-year-old works for Maker, and just
completed his freshman year at the University of Louisville.
Ramseys, who are seeking their first Derby victory, have started seven horses
in the Kentucky Derby, and Nolan, who hopes to become a trainer one day, was
there to watch all of them run, save for one year.
one Derby I had to stay home with strep throat,” Ramsey said as he held the
shank of Oscar Nominated while he was being shod. “I really can’t remember my
first Derby, because it was so long ago.”
SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS – Samuel F. Henderson's
Suddenbreakingnews, accompanied by trainer Donnie Von Hemel, went to the
track during the special 8:30 training time and galloped one mile under regular
rider Ramiro Gorostieta. He also stood in the starting gate.
complaints here,” Von Hemel said. “He continues to do well. He was a little on
his toes after the starting gate because I think he wanted to do more. He
couldn't be doing any better.”
and jockey Luis Quinonez are expected to be at the post position draw this
TOM’S READY – G M B Racing's Tom's Ready,
with exercise rider Emerson Chavez aboard, galloped a mile and a half Wednesday
after the renovation break for trainer Dallas Stewart.
Stewart, 56, is participating
in his fifth Derby. He finished sixth with Kimberlite Pipe in 1999, 15th
with Dollar Bill in 2001, second with 37-1 shot Golden Soul
(behind Orb) in 2013 and second with 34-1 shot Commanding Curve
(behind California Chrome) in 2014.
Also, Stewart, as an
assistant trainer, helped Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas prepare three
Derby winners – Winning Colors in 1988, Thunder Gulch in 1995 and
Grindstone in 1996. Stewart was with Lukas for every Derby from 1987-97,
the year Stewart went out on his own.
How important is
experience for a trainer trying to win the Kentucky Derby? Stewart's response
focused on the horse, not the trainer.
"You've got to
have a horse that can compete in the wintertime to kind of get you where you
need to be,'' he said. "You've got to be competitive through the winter
the way this horse (Tom's Ready) was. The three seconds, and you have to build
from there, and focus him and train him and challenge him. The horse has to
make steps forward through the winter and early spring to win this race.
They've got to compete.
"You can't just
say he's by this sire, he's out of this mare and stuff like that. The horse has
to compete on his own merit, and I feel like this horse competed well on his
merit. I feel like he's made some leaps here and made some steps here and
gotten better at what he does. I feel like he has to get a little better and
hopefully ... he'll go forward. That's what it's all about.
"You take Winning
Colors. She just whipped them in the Santa Anita Oaks, Santa Anita Derby. She
was just spot-on. She walked in here and got the job done.
"Then you go to
Grindstone. He won the Louisiana Derby and ran second in the Arkansas Derby. He
had some physical issues. Actually, I liked Editor's Note. It was the
same year. He trained unreal, but Grindstone just whipped the shucks out of
him. Just whipped the pants off him.
"Then you go to
Thunder Gulch. Todd (Pletcher, then a Lukas assistant) had him in Florida. He
won the Florida Derby. Then we ran him in Blue Grass, and he ran (fourth). I
don't know why. I still to this day don't know why. But he came out of it. We
trained him. He had a couple of mishaps. One day, he didn't train very good.
But the horse was a stone-cold racehorse. That's the thing. When you hook a
stone-cold racehorse, like California Chrome ... or Orb, you're going to get
beat. That's just going to happen. You just have to hope you're the best on
that day, your preparation is good, you've done what you need to do as a
horseman and get them over there.''
Stewart, who is from
New Orleans, is turning to Louisiana native Brian Hernandez Jr. to ride Tom's
Ready. Hernandez, 30, will be making his Derby debut. He was named on Tale
of Verve for the Derby last year, but he was on the also-eligible list and
didn't get into the race.
"It's exciting, of
course,'' Hernandez said. "It'll be nice. We have a lot of family coming
Hernandez rode Tom's
Ready in four of his nine starts, including the most recent, when the colt
finished second, 4 1/2 lengths behind Gun Runner, in the Louisiana
"It looks like
he's stepping up, and Dallas believes that he's coming into this race really,
really good,'' Hernandez said. "With a record like Dallas, with the horses
he's run in the Derby the last few years, you have to think that he's got a big
chance, the way he's done everything.
"The mile and a
quarter is going to be a question for any 3-year-old at this point. None of
them has tried the mile and a quarter yet. It'll be the first time for all of
them. So we just have to go in there with a lot of confidence in our horse and
think he's going to show up.''
Hernandez said that a
key to riding Tom's Ready is not letting him get too aggressive early in the
race, because if that happens, he won't finish strongly. "If you get him
to kind of settle and get in a nice rhythm, he runs on,'' Hernandez said.
"It's pretty easy,
if you just kind of know him. Like the Louisiana Derby, he wanted to get a
little aggressive going into the first turn, but after he got through the first
turn, I was able to drop my hands and let him float along.''
TROJAN NATION – Paddy Gallagher and
his fine Irish brogue made it in from California Tuesday night and Wednesday
morning he was at Barn 41 to oversee Trojan Nation’s mile and one-eighth
gallop under fellow Irishman Andy Durnin. They got their exercise in during the
8:30 special training time for Derby and Oaks runners. Both ex-pats were happy
with their charge.
“Realistically, you’ve got to look at one thing – he’s a maiden,” said
Gallagher, about his big Street Cry colt who is stakes placed, but 0-for-6 on
the scorecard so far. “Now he’s a grand, big horse and he might have liked the
mud last time (when he was second in New York’s Wood Memorial) when he ran so
well. But remember, he’s a maiden. But it is exciting for his people and that’s
a good thing. The owner says he’s well-bred and (that) because of it he should
like a mile and a quarter. And the people at the farm where he was are loving
this. And it surely is better being here than not and we’re keeping the
positives right up front. Just remember, though, he’s a maiden.”
Gallagher will give old pro Aaron Gryder (who rode him in the Wood) a leg up
Saturday for Derby 142.
“I want him to come back sound and safe,” the trainer said, “and then – no
matter what -- we’ll go from there.”
WHITMORE – Whitmore went to the track with a workmate Wednesday, jogging one
mile and galloping one mile with Laura Moquett on board. Trainer Ron Moquett
explained that the workmate helps the Pleasantly Perfect gelding stay relaxed
believes that today's post position draw will be extremely important to how
this year's Kentucky Derby unfolds.
more than other years, the post position is going to be very key,” Moquett
said. “I think there's easily 10 or more horses in here that could win with the
right trip, our horse included. At this point we're all the same. None of them
has gone a mile and a quarter.”
enters the Kentucky Derby off a third-place finish in the Arkansas Derby (GI),
which Moquett feels will be an advantage to his horse Saturday.
Arkansas Derby is as good a prep as any of them,” Moquett said. “There's a big
crowd when the horses walk over to the paddock and that paddock is an education
will school in the paddock today and tomorrow during the races.
KENTUCKY OAKS NOTES
CATHRYN SOPHIA – Cash is
King’s Cathryn Sophia, the co-second choice in Friday’s Kentucky Oaks,
put on a little show for onlookers as she was approaching the gap to exit
the track following a routine gallop Wednesday. With exercise rider Jerry
Ortega in the saddle, the John Servis-trained filly spun around a few times,
displaying a reluctance to proceed off the track. She finally cooperated when
Tyler Servis, the trainer’s son and assistant, took hold of her head.
her; she didn’t want to leave the track,” the elder Servis said. “I was
thinking about jogging her tomorrow, but I don’t think I will get away with
that, so we’ll probably gallop.”
DOTHRAKI QUEEN – Magdalena Racing’s Dothraki
Queen jogged a mile and galloped a mile shortly after the track opened at
5:45 under Erin Walker.
Dothraki Queen is on the also-eligible list for the Kentucky Oaks and would
need one defection to draw into the race.
Trainer Kenny McPeek opted to enter the Oaks rather the Edgewood (GIII) on
“(Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner) Catch a Glimpse is in the
Edgewood and it is a field of 13,” McPeek said. “That did not look like an
easier spot and it is $150,000 and the Oaks is a million. With Catch a Glimpse
in there, it should be upgraded and the purse doubled.”
Should Dothraki Queen draw into the Oaks, she would be ridden by Gary Stevens.
“She is doing good and I think she’d run well,” McPeek said. “She already has
won a Grade II on dirt (the Pocahontas here in September). The backup plan
possibly would be the ($250,000) Black-Eyed Susan (GII at Pimlico on May 20).”
DREAM DANCE – Stoneway Farm’s Dream Dance
was on the track at 6:45 Wednesday morning and galloped 1 ¾ miles under Joel
Dominguez for trainer Neil Howard.
Dream Dance, listed at 30-1 on the morning line, will break from post position
five under Brian Hernandez Jr. Hernandez has ridden Dream Dance in all nine of
“She is a nice filly,” Hernandez said. “She came off that four-month layoff to
be second in the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) and then had the nice win at Keeneland
(in an allowance race).”
Dream Dance finished her major work for the Oaks with a :59.60 drill last
“She is not real flashy; she’s very workmanlike,” Hernandez said. “She shows up
and gives you 110 percent every time. She is very honest.”
GO MAGGIE GOOn Saturday, Trojan Nation will attempt to make history as the
first non-winner in more than 80 years to break his maiden in thoroughbred
racing's most famous race, the Kentucky Derby.
For veteran jockey Aaron Gryder, however, the challenge aboard the Grade 1 Wood
Memorial runner-up is a welcome one.
A respected journeyman on the ultra-competitive New York and Southern
California circuits, Gryder's nearly 30-year career has included over 3,700
wins and purse earnings in excess of $118 million; most notably piloting Well
Armed to a record-setting 22-length victory in the 2008 Dubai World Cup.
Gryder, preparing for his first Kentucky Derby since finishing 13th aboard
Songandaprayer in 2001, returned his tack to New York full-time last fall. That
circumstance eventually helped match an unknown colt with a willing rider when
California-based trainer Paddy Gallagher shipped Julie Gilbert and Aaron Sones'
homebred Trojan Nation to the East Coast to try their hand on the Derby trail
on April 9 in the $1 million Wood Memorial.
"As soon as the overnight came out, I saw I was on one for them in the
Wood," said Gryder, currently a finalist for the 2016 Mike Venezia
Memorial Award. "He had run five times prior so I went to the computer and
I had watched all of his races by the time Aaron Sones called. I like to study
horses, especially in the bigger races, and I told him, 'If I'm riding a maiden
in a million-dollar race for you, I assume that he's shown talent and you had
high hopes for him.'"
The bay colt had three third-place finishes from four starts against two-turn
maidens going back to last fall, including a February showing at Santa Anita
behind a well-regarded Bob Baffert trainee, next-out Grade 2 Rebel winner
"By watching him, he had ran some decent races," said Gryder of his
Wood mount. "A couple of them, he had laid back and made a little bit of a
run. Once, they laid close to the pace and it was a slow pace but he flattened
"Then in his last start, you could tell that he broke well enough and then
Drayden Van Dyke took a pretty good hold of him and got him back to last,"
he said. "He settled really good, ended up following the favorite, who was
back there as well, and made a good run with him midway through the race but
that horse out-footed him late. But it looked like that was his best race -
when he settled back and just made that one run. He showed more interest in the
last eighth of a mile than he did early on."
Sones and Gallagher, ostensibly encouraged enough by the colt's latest start to
take a calculated shot at a spot in the Run for the Roses, were left with the
same impression of the developing Trojan Nation.
"I felt that it was his best chance to get his feet underneath him and
Aaron told me that's what he wanted to do in the Wood, just sit back there and
make one run," said Gryder. "Then I talked to Paddy and he told me to
just ride my race. So that's what I went into it thinking."
Breaking from post 3 as the longest shot in the eight-horse field, Gryder stuck
to his plan, taking hold of his charge and dropping the colt along the rail
going into the first turn. The pair had settled 17 lengths from the lead within
the first quarter-mile, trailing off the edge of the television screen while
Gryder remained unhurried as the field drew even further away on the backside.
Resurfacing like a rocket on the far turn, Trojan Nation cut the corner for
home and quickly caught up to the embattled leaders, Matt King Coal and
Outwork, in the stretch.
The hard-charging colt bumped a tiring Matt King Coal as he dove through a
tight opening on the rail. Quickly regaining his composure inside the sixteenth
pole, Trojan Nation hooked up with Outwork and proved an audacious opponent,
trading bobs with the winner in the final yards before the wire.
But, according to his jockey, the horse who previously hadn't finished within 1
¾ lengths of a winner returned from the race seemingly unaware that he had
actually come up a head short of the long sought-after career milestone.
"He doesn't know he lost," said Gryder. "He was in front a jump
before and a jump after, and he galloped out in front. It's the first time he
had been in front of a horse at the end of the race. I think he came out of
that race with a lot of confidence."
Even without one in the win column, the bold effort was enough to lock down a
spot on Saturday, when Trojan Nation will become the 10th maiden starter in the
Kentucky Derby since 1937 and first since Nationalore in 1998. Only three
maidens have won the Louisville classic in the race's 142-year history:
Buchanan in 1884, 1919 Triple Crown winner Sir Barton and Brokers Tip in 1933.
For his part, Gryder isn't one to be as easily discouraged by
something like an 82-year shutout, choosing instead to focus on his mount's
"You're going to get a lot of things thrown at you in the Derby and it's
good to know that a horse like him has matured in the right ways and he
obviously took a huge step up in the Wood Memorial," he said. "I
think he learned a lot from it and I surely learned something from him, knowing
I can sit back there, that he didn't mind the dirt, that he didn't mind the mud
in his face.
"He didn't mind me waiting on him and he was quick to respond
underneath me around the five-sixteenths pole when I asked him to really pick
it up, and I also know that he's not afraid to be in tight spots."
The 45-year-old jockey, a self-described "student of the game" who
rode his first of three Kentucky Derbies at age 22 aboard Mi Cielo in 1993,
finishing 14th, is eager for another opportunity to try for the most coveted
crown in American racing.
"It's an exciting day, I've always enjoyed it, always respected it, even
when I was a little kid. Every rider wants to win the Derby," he said.
"I've just learned that you have to give your horse a chance and not get
caught up in the fact that it's the Derby. Some people say just ride it like
it's another race but it's not just another race. You have to respect how tough
it is to win.
"Some riders never get the chance to ride it and some riders are in it
every year, but every one that you ride is special," added the rider, who
also rode Honour and Glory to finish 18th in the race's 1996 edition.
"You're one of 20 riders in the country on one of 20 horses; you have a
chance and you have to ride it like you have a chance. It's an American event,
it's not just a race, it's the greatest two minutes in sports and it's an honor
to be a part of it."
NYRA Communications Department
Tuesday, May 03, 2016
RACHEL’S VALENTINA 7-2 MORNING-LINE FAVORITE $1 MILLION LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS (GI)
The 1-2 finishers from last month’s Ashland
Stakes (GI) at Keeneland, Ashbrook Farm’s Weep No More and Stonestreet
Stables’ Rachel’s Valentina, sporting family ties to the Kentucky Oaks
(GI), headline a field of 14 3-year-old fillies entered today for Friday’s 142nd
running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks to be run at 1 1/8 miles on
the main track.
The Kentucky Oaks will go as the 11th race on Friday’s 13-race
program that begins at 10:30 a.m. ET. Post time for the Kentucky Oaks is 5:49.
The Oaks is one of six graded stakes on the program that also features the
$300,000 La Troienne (GI) and the $400,000 Alysheba (GII).
The Oaks, which awards $564,200 to the winner, will be shown on NBCSN with its
telecast running from 12:30-6 p.m.
Weep No More is a granddaughter of 2001 Kentucky Oaks winner Flute and
Rachel’s Valentina is a daughter of 2009 Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra.
Both are Grade I winners.
Rachel’s Valentina, established as the 7-2 morning-line favorite by Churchill
Downs linemaker Mike Battaglia, won her first two starts of 2015, including a
victory in the Spinaway (GI) at Saratoga. She finished second to champion Songbird
in the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) at Keeneland before
debuting in the Ashland.
Todd Pletcher trains Rachel’s Valentina, who will be ridden by John Velazquez
and break from post position 11.
Pletcher is seeking his
fourth victory in the Oaks having won previously with Ashado (2004), Rags
to Riches (2007) and Princess of Sylmar (2013). Velazquez, the only
jockey in the race to have won the Oaks previously, scored with Ashado.
Pletcher also will send out King of Prussia Stable’s Mo d’Amour. Winner of the
Busher Stakes at Aqueduct in February, Mo d’Amour will break from post position
seven and be ridden by Joel Rosario.
Trained by Rusty
Arnold, Weep No More brings a three-race win streak into the Oaks. Prior to her
victory at Keeneland, Weep No More won the Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
Corey Lanerie retains the mount on Weep No More, the co-second choice at 9-2,
and will break from post position two.
Two other trainers will be seeking to add to their Oaks win totals Friday: Hall
of Fame electee Steve Asmussen and Neil Howard.
Asmussen, who won the Oaks in 2005 with Summerly and in 2014 with Untapable,
will send out three runners: Stonestreet Stables’ Terra Promessa,
Stonestreet and Regis Farms LP’s Royal Obsession and Winchell
Terra Promessa, brings
a four-race win streak into the Oaks highlighted by victories in the Fantasy
(GIII) and Honeybee (GIII) at Oaklawn Park. Ricardo Santana Jr., who has been
aboard the Curlin filly in all five of her starts, has the mount and will break
from post position one.
Royal Obsession, who
broke her maiden at first asking here last fall, enters the Oaks off a
runner-up finish in Gazelle (GII) at Aqueduct. Florent Geroux has the call on
Royal Obsession and will break from post position eight.
Taxable, a winner of
two of three starts and also a first-out winner here last fall, fell a neck
short of catching Terra Promessa in the Fantasy. Mike Smith has the mount and
will break from post position 14.
Howard will send out
Stoneway Farm’s Dream Dance as he seeks a repeat on his 2000 victory in
the Oaks with Secret Status.
Runner-up in the Fair
Grounds Oaks (GII) and third in the Pocahontas (GIII) here last September,
Dream Dance will have regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard and break from
post position five.
Adding further depth to
the field are five Grade II winners: Cathryn Sophia, Lewis Bay, Land
Over Sea, Go Maggie Go and Venus Valentine.
Cash is King’s Cathryn
Sophia, who won her first four starts by more than 40 combined lengths, enters
the Oaks off a third-place finish in the Central Bank Ashland. Trained by John
Servis, Cathryn Sophia started the year with blowout victories in the Forward
Gal (GII) and Davona Dale (GII). Javier Castellano has the riding assignment
and will break from post position 12. Cathryn Sophia is the co-second choice on
the morning line at 9-2.
Alpha Delta Stables’
Lewis Bay comes into the Oaks off a victory in the Gazelle (GII) at Aqueduct
for trainer Chad Brown. Winner of the Demoiselle (GII) in November, Lewis Bay
will break from post position three and be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.
Reddam Racing’s Land
Over Sea won the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) in her most recent start. Trained by
Doug O’Neill and to be ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Land Over Sea and stablemate Nyquist,
the favorite for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI), could give
the human connections the first Oaks-Derby sweep since 1952 when Real
Delight and Hill Gail won the races under Eddie Arcaro for Calumet
Farm and trainer Ben Jones.
Land Over Sea, the
fourth choice on the morning line at 5-1, will break from post position 13.
Mike Tarp’s Go Maggie
Mo, trained by Dale Romans, is undefeated in two starts. Her most recent
victory came in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII). Luis Saez has the mount and
will break from post position four.
homebred Venus Valentine punched her Oaks ticket with a victory in the Rachel
Alexandra (GII) at Fair Grounds. Trained by Tom Amoss, Venus Valentine will be
ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan and break from post position 10.
The field for the Kentucky Oaks, with riders and morning line odds from the
rail out, is: Terra Promessa (Santana Jr., 10-1), Weep No More (Lanerie, 9-2),
Lewis Bay (Ortiz Jr., 8-1), Go Maggie Go (L. Saez, 12-1), Dream Dance
(Hernandez Jr., 30-1), Mokat (Flavien Prat, 20-1), Royal Obsession
(Geroux, 20-1), Paola Queen (Emisael Jaramillo, 30-1), Venus Valentine
(Bridgmohan, 30-1), Rachel’s Valentina (Velazquez, 7-2), Cathryn Sophia
(Castellano, 9-2), Land Over Sea (Gutierrez, 5-1) and Taxable (Smith, 20-1). Also-Eligible:
Dothraki Queen (Gary Stevens, 30-1).
Tuesday, May 03, 2016
Deshawn Parker wins his 5,000th race
Deshawn Parker became the 32nd rider to win 5,000 races Monday night, when he won the third race at Mountaineer Park aboard Be Nice for trainer Eric Reed.
Parker, a 45-year-old native of Cincinnati, has been riding since 1988. He is the all-time leading rider at Mountaineer, has twice led the nation in wins, and has won 200 or more races in 13 of the last 14 years.
Parker came into the card two winners shy of 5,000. He won the second race on Dragon Attack for trainer Edward Clouston prior to scoring his milestone win.
Parker, who is 5' 11" but can tack 116 pounds, has scored 4,565 of his career wins at Mountaineer. He led the nation in wins in 2010 (377) and 2011 (400).
Parker’s career highlights include riding Frazee’s Folly to victory in the late Dale Baird's 9,000th career win. Parker and Baird teamed up to win 635 races together.
Parker also won four races with Rapid Redux during the horse's 22-race winning streak, which began in December 2010 and ended when he made his final career start January 2012.
Parker scored the richest victory of his career last year in the $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s Cup on Looks to Spare, who paid $150.60. He also has won the $125,000 Mountaineer Mile three times.
Tuesday, May 03, 2016
Edgar Prado Named Jockey of the Week
Veteran rider Edgar Prado showed his versatility this weekend winning a pair of stakes on two different surfaces in two separate states on back-to-back days. That feat along with an incredible win percentage helped him be named this weeks’ Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week Award for the week of April 25th to May 1st. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America.
Edgar booted home his eighth winner of the Gulfstream Park Spring meeting on Saturday when he and Smokem Kitten lead throughout besting seven rivals in the Gr. 3 $100,000 Miami Mile.
"He was acting very sharp in the post parade. When he broke so sharp and got the lead so easy, I didn't want to fight him," Prado said. "He was moving along so good every step of the way. At the top of the stretch, he found another gear."
The Hall-of-Fame rider would head west on Sunday to ride in his first ever race at Sunland Park, in El Paso Texas, after taking the call aboard even-money favorite Mobile Bay in the $150,000 Sunland Park Handicap for trainer Victor Arceneaux. Edgar would not disappoint winning the day’s feature event by a comfortable length and a half keeping his Sunland Park record spotless at one–for-one lifetime.
"It was a good effort," said winning jockey Edgar Prado. "He felt comfortable on the track and it was a nice win. Mobile Bay always gives his best effort."
The Eclipse award winning rider and winner of three Triple Crown races, including the 2006 Kentucky Derby aboard Barbaro, had a spectacular week overall with six winners from his 12 mounts with two second placings and two more third place finishes. He finished the week as the third leading rider in total earnings with $239,080.
JockeyTalk360.com spotlights the riders across North America and around the world who may be the bravest, toughest and most accomplished of all athletes. The Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week is selected by a vote of representatives of America’s Best Racing, the Daily Racing Form, Equibase, Horse Racing Nation, the Jockeys’ Guild, the Paulick Report, the Thoroughbred Daily News, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers and Broadcasters, Thoroughbred Racing Associations, and Turf Publicists of America.
Friday, April 29, 2016
Voting opens Friday for Venezia Award
Racing fans will decide which of five
outstanding jockeys will be the recipient of the 21st Mike Venezia Memorial
Award, to be presented by The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) in a
special ceremony at Belmont Park on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30.
Beginning tomorrow, Friday, April 29, fans can
choose among Javier Castellano, Joe Bravo, Cornelio Velasquez, Aaron Gryder and
Mario Pino and vote for their choice online at www.nyra.com/veneziaaward.
Voting will close at midnight on Monday, May 16
with the winner announced on Tuesday, May 17.
Created in 1989, the Mike Venezia Memorial
Award is given to jockeys who display the extraordinary sportsmanship
and citizenship that defined Venezia, who died as the result of injuries he
suffered in a spill in 1988. Venezia, a Brooklyn, New York native, won
more than 2,300 races during his 25-year career.
Each of the finalists is an accomplished athlete
whose aptitude on the track is rivaled only by the respect they garner off it.
- Castellano, 38, who
won his third straight Eclipse Award as Outstanding Jockey in 2015, led
the nation in earnings last year with a record $28.1 million. Among his
victories was a record fifth Travers, in which he piloted Keen Ice to
upset Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
- Bravo, 39 had
the best year of his career in 2015 with more than $8.39 million in purses
earned and three Grade 1 wins in New York: the Personal Ensign with Sheer
Drama, the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic with Big Blue Kitten and the Champagne
perenially among NYRA's top jockeys, this year won the Grade 1 Carter
Handicap and the Grade 3 Tom Fool with Salutos Amigos. The 48-year-old
native of Panama has more than 3,700 winners of $164 million since he came
to the United States in the late 1980's.
- Gryder, 45, has won dozens of stakes
races throughout his career, including a victory aboard Well Armed in the
2009 World Cup. He is the co-founder of The Giving Circle, based in
Saratoga Springs, which connects donors with communities in need.
- Pino, 54, currently
is third among active jockeys and 10th overall in career
victories, having ridden 6,707 winners of more than $124 million. Only
all-time leader Russell Baze (12,812 and counting) and No. 8 Edgar Prado
(6,882 and counting) have more wins among active jockeys.
first Venezia Award was awarded posthumously to Venezia in 1989. Previous winners of the award include Jon Court
(2015), Hall of Famer John Velazquez (2014) and newly minted Hall of Famer
Ramon Dominguez (2013).
Thursday, April 28, 2016
‘Old Race Tracker’ Guidry Enjoying New Career As Jockey Agent
Mark Guidry tried to get the race track out of his system. There were dalliances with golf and fishing and other activities but nothing filled the void created when he retired from riding in 2007 after 33 years in the saddle.
“I'm an old race tracker and I'm going to die an old race tracker because there ain't nothing like it,” Guidry said recently while at Keeneland.
After a turn as a trainer and then a brief return to riding, Guidry retired for good in 2014 and began searching for a way to stay involved in racing. At the encouragement of friends, he decided to become a jockey agent and picked up James Graham as a client when the rider moved his tack from Santa Anita to Fair Grounds at the outset of 2016.
It was the opportunity Guidry had been seeking.
“I knew I had to do something,” Guidry said. “When I had the opportunity to be an agent it was a good thing and I thought I would like it a whole lot and I really, really do. James (Graham) gave me an opportunity.
“I love doing it. You get to work with your rider on a regular basis and see your people. That's what I missed most about the game, (talking) every morning with everybody. It works good. It's a good job.”
Guidry, who rode his first horse at age 4, won 5,222 races and rode the earners of more than $106.3 million during his career, winning the Kentucky Oaks (G1) in 2006 aboard Lemons Forever. As he looked out at the Keeneland track where he won 87 races and 11 stakes, including the 2002 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) on Riskaverse, he said he was thankful to remain in the game.
“I love my job,” Guidry said. “I know I have a lot to learn, but it's something that I love to do so you want to learn and be better. You're not stuck in a job you don't like and just going through the motions.
“As somebody who is probably going to die on a race track this is something I could do for a long time. It gets me out every day, gets me out socializing with people, and I get to work with (Graham) so I love it. That's all I need.”
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