Dennis Albaugh Joins TDN Writers' Room Podcast

Dennis Albaugh | Keeneland

When it comes to getting horses to the GI Kentucky Derby few have done more with less. Dennis Albaugh's Albaugh Family Stable doesn't have nearly the numbers of a Mike Repole or the partnership of SF Racing, Starlight Racing, and Madaket Stables, but he keeps coming up with Derby starters. This year he has Catching Freedom (Constitution), the winner of the GII Louisiana Derby, who will be his tenth starter under the Twin Spires over the last seven years. The goal this time around is not to simply make into the field but to win the race.

Albaugh joined the TDN Writers' Room podcast Presented by Keeneland to talk about Catching Freedom, his super sire Not This Time (Giant's Causeway), his case of Derby Fever and more. Albaugh was this week's Green Group Guest of the Week.

Finding Derby horses at the sales takes a top team of advisers for Albaugh, who focuses on colts who have the right stuff when it comes to making it to America's greatest horse race.

“We've got a team of guys that helped me pick out horses,” he said. “Every year I go over to the Keeneland September Sale and there are thousands of horses for sale. I say every year, we're going to pick at least one that is going to go to the Derby. I take my hat off to the team. We've done it and this year in Catching Freedom we have a really good contender.”

The Derby is still more than two weeks away, but Albaugh is already having restless nights.

“I don't sleep a lot at night,” he said. “I think about the Derby all the time. This horse has got a lot of speed, but in his races he just seems to slow down right off the bat. With 19 other horses out there, it's hard to get through that field. Our horse last year, Angel of Empire, proved that. So we kind of want an outside post. Not clear outside. Ideally, I'd like to draw somewhere between a six and 15. That way he won't get trapped in behind a whole bunch of horses and have to go completely wide around them.”

Albaugh owned Not This Time, the promising colt who never ran again after finishing second in the 2016 GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile for trainer Dale Romans. With such a small sample size to go on as far as his racing career went, Not This Time was hardly a sure thing as a stallion. But Albaugh stayed in and owns the majority share in the horse who has gone on to be one of the sport's top sires.

“I wish I had kept all of him,” he said. “Sometimes you just have to take some money off the table. I really didn't want to sell him.

But when you go to the auctions now you see that it is very expensive to buy Thoroughbreds. There's a lot of teaming up going on, and I mainly buy by myself. With Not This Time we decided that it was time to recoup some of the money that I'd spent through the years. So that's why we put just half of him up for sale.”

In our breeding spotlight section, we examined the WinStar stallion Two Phil's. Podcast team member Randy Moss insists he was the best 3-year-old to race in 2023. We also spotlighted the Coolmore stallion Corniche.

Elsewhere on the podcast, which is also sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders' Association, Coolmore, West Point Thoroughbreds, WinStar, Pleasant Acres Farm and XBTV.com, the team of Moss, Bill Finley and Zoe Cadman discussed the latest battle between Churchill Downs and Amr Zedan, who is hoping that a court will grant a temporary injunction that would force the track to allow Muth (Good Magic) to race in the Derby.

The trio also talked about HIWU's case against George Weaver. The trainer is dealing with a positive for Metformin, which is used in humans to combat Type II diabetes.

To watch the Writers' Room, click here. To view the show as a podcast, click here.

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