Blue Grass

TDN Sophomore Top 20: Separating Contenders From Pretenders

All the nine-furlong prep races have been run, and the Triple Crown-caliber players have stepped forward and established themselves. We're three weeks away from a campaign's worth of enjoyable chaos sorting itself into some semblance of order, which means there's still plenty of time before you have to lock in your GI Kentucky Derby horse. Or maybe you'd prefer to wait for the GI Preakness S., like several top sophomores might end up doing. 1) MUTH (c, Good Magic--Hoppa, by Uncle Mo) 'TDN Rising Star'. O-Zedan Racing Stables Inc; B-Don...

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Led by Loaded Blue Grass, Trio of Derby Preps Highlight Saturday's Graded Stakes Lineup

The GI Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland, featuring a highly anticipated rematch between Dornoch (Good Magic) and 'TDN Rising Star' Sierra Leone (Gun Runner), is one of three GI Kentucky Derby prep races on tap on a fantastic day of racing Saturday. Dornoch dug back gamely to defeat Sierra Leone in a heart-stopping renewal of the GII Remsen S. at a rain-soaked Aqueduct Dec. 2, then took care of business in a scratched-down GII Coolmore Fountain of Youth S. at Gulfstream Mar. 2. Sierra Leone, meanwhile, returned with an...

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Handicapping the Kentucky Derby Preps: Blue Grass, Santa Anita Derby & Wood Memorial

TDN's Senior Racing Editor Steve Sherack provides analysis for Saturday's trio of GI Kentucky Derby prep races. GI Toyota Blue Grass S. - In a race billed as a showdown between the re-opposing GII Remsen S. one-two Dornoch (Good Magic) and Sierra Leone (Gun Runner), don't look past likely third choice Just a Touch (Justify). The highly regarded bay ran to the hype with a powerful debut score for trainer Brad Cox over the promising $1.7-million KEESEP graduate Gun Party (Curlin) (he returned with another very good second-place finish Mar....

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The Week In Review: Prime-Time Real Estate Remains Vacant On Derby Prep Calendar

An unintended consequence of moving all of the final, 100-point, nine-furlong preps for the GI Kentucky Derby to four weeks out is that there is now nearly a full month without any meaningful (to the general public) action in the lead-up to America's most historic and important horse race. When viewed alongside other professional sports, which have significantly expanded their playoff structures in recent seasons to capitalize on the immediacy (and bettability) of wild-card  and play-in games with last-chance qualifying berths on the line, the lead-up to the Derby has...

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All Eyes on Final Round of Major Derby Preps

A week after champion and 'TDN Rising Star' Forte (Violence) solidified his status as the horse to beat on the first Saturday in May, the final round of major GI Kentucky Derby preps offering 100 points to the winner will share the spotlight on an absolutely stacked Saturday afternoon of racing. Forte's Todd Pletcher-trained stablemate and fellow 'Rising Star' Tapit Trice (Tapit), an impossible come-from-behind winner in the GIII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby Mar. 11, will exit from the rail in a deep renewal of the GI Toyota Blue...

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Final Derby Preps Yield Pair of Aces, Tantalizing Wild Card

The Week in Review by T. D. Thornton This past Saturday's last-chance trio of nine-furlong preps for the GI Kentucky Derby unfolded like a tense card game that came down to the crucial final draw. Some decent hands had already been dealt over the course of the long season, but we still needed to see the last three cards from the deck to get a handle on how intriguing and entertaining this year's Run for the Roses would turn out to be. That final turn revealed, in succession: An ace....

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Early Voting Works for Wood Memorial

Klaravich Stables' Early Voting (Gun Runner) worked in company Friday in preparation for the GII Wood Memorial Apr. 9 at Aqueduct Racetrack. The unbeaten GIII Withers S. winner went a half-mile in :48.47 (26/134) over the Belmont Park training track with stablemate and last year's Withers winner Risk Taking (Medaglia d'Oro). "The horse is coming along really well," said trainer Chad Brown. "He's been doing well since the Withers and he's been doing everything the right way. He's still on track for the Wood." Early Voting captured his debut going...

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Hidden Stash Works for Derby

BBN Racing's Hidden Stash (Constitution) began preparations for a likely start in the GI Kentucky Derby by working a bullet half-mile in :47.80 Wednesday morning at Keeneland shortly after the track opened for training at 5:30 a.m. The work was the fastest of 23 at the distance for the morning. A well-beaten fourth in Keeneland's GII Toyota Blue Grass S., the GII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby runner-up currently ranks 21st on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard. A few horses ahead of Hidden Stash are considered not likely to...

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Sunday Morning Stakes Runner Round-Up

Trainer Brad Cox was plenty pleased with how champion juvenile and 'TDN Rising Star' Essential Quality (Tapit) exited Saturday's hard-fought decision in Keeneland's GII Toyota Blue Grass S. "He looks good this morning and I am happy with the way he came out of the race," Cox said Sunday. "I liked that he got a test yesterday. It was not like he just galloped up to the leader and went on by." Essential Quality will join Cox's string at Churchill Downs after training Monday to prepare for the GI Kentucky...

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Art Collector Draws Away in Blue Grass

Bruce Lunsford homebred Art Collector (Bernardini) put his name in the hat for the Sept. 5 GI Kentucky Derby with a victory in the GII Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland Saturday. Engaged in a three-way duel for control through the opening stages, the 2-1 shot ended up a close third just off MGSW filly Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) and Shivaree (Awesome of Course) as the first quarter went in :23.25. Maintaining that position while running off the fence through a :46.61 half-mile, the dark bay ranged up menacingly outside of...

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Out of the Shadows, Drury Could Collect First Graded Win in Blue Grass

There is paying your dues and then there is the story of Tom Drury, Jr. Thirty-eight years after he started his training career at age 18, Drury will go into Saturday's GII Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland with an outstanding chance of winning a prestigious $600,000 race that could be a gateway to the GI Kentucky Derby. His Art Collector (Bernardini) is the co-second choice on the morning line at 5-1 and is coming off a 6 1/2-length win in an allowance race at Churchill Downs. A win would...

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Field of 13, Headed by Filly Swiss Skydiver, Set for Blue Grass

Peter Callahan's streaking Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) will take her shot at the GI Kentucky Derby trail as she faces males for the first time in a loaded field of 13 set for Saturday's GII Toyota Blue Grass S. Keeneland. No filly has won the Blue Grass and only one (Harriet Sue finished fifth in 1944) has run in the race since it debuted during the track's inaugural spring meet in April 1937. Swiss Skydiver, trained by Ken McPeek, certainly has the credentials. She's won her last three starts in impressive...

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