Churchill Downs

'Shamrocks in the Bluegrass': John Ennis Enjoying the Ride

Opening an occasional series focused on Irish expatriates in Kentucky, TDN meets a son of Co. Meath testing the GI Kentucky Derby water with his impressive Leonatus S. winner. As migrations go, one is rather less surprising than the other. On the one hand, over the past two years the synthetic circuit at Turfway has consecutively delivered the winner and runner-up in the definitive test of a dirt Thoroughbred. On the other, the trainer hoping to produce another GI Kentucky Derby horse from the same unlikely platform is only the...

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The Kentucky Oaks Top 10 for February 29

Things are starting to heat up. Saturday's Busher S. at Aqueduct and Saturday's GII Davona Dale S. at Gulfstream both have the potential to shake things up. The Davona Dale will feature the return of 2-year-old champion filly Just FYI (Justify) and what looks to be an up-and-coming star in Leslie's Rose (Into Mischief). The Busher will feature Jody's Pride (American Pharoah), who was the runner-up behind Just FYI in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Here's a look at the fourth installment of our Kentucky Oaks Top 10. 1)...

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Turfway to Remain Open for Year-Round Training

Turfway Park Racing & Gaming will once again be open for year-round training, track officials announced Wednesday. Summer stall applications are due Mar. 15. "There is once again significant interest from trainers to remain based at Turfway Park for year-round training," said Gary Palmisano, Jr., vice president of racing for Churchill Downs, Inc. "Turfway is conveniently located within a reasonable van drive to both Churchill Downs and Ellis Park. Any trainer that ships a horse from Turfway to compete at either of those two tracks, along with Colonial Downs and...

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Emmitt Smith, Brooks Nader to Host Club SI Opening at Churchill Downs

Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith and model Brooks Nader will join with Sports Illustrated to host festivities when Club SI, the new luxury dining experience, debuts at Churchill Downs on opening day of Kentucky Derby week. Club SI, a multi-year exclusive naming rights partnership announced in January between Churchill Downs Racetrack and Sports Illustrated, will offer guests a modern, sophisticated race day experience as part of the racetrack's $200-million renovated Paddock Project. Club SI will offer a luxury dining experience with an immersive view of the all-new Paddock...

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Slight Uptick in Rate of Fatal Injuries in 2023

According to numbers compiled by The Jockey Club for its Equine Injury Database (EID), there were 1.32 fatalities per 1,000 starts at North American racetracks in 2023. That was slightly worse than in 2022 when the number was 1.25, the lowest rate of fatalities since The Jockey Club started compiling numbers in 2009. It was the first time the number had increased year-over-year since 2018 when there were 1.68 fatalities per 1,000 starters. Nonetheless, the figures showed that the sport has made obvious strides since 2009 when it comes to...

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The Kentucky Oaks Top 10 For Feb. 22

We have a new No. 1. Tarifa (Bernardini) beat a stellar field in the GII Rachel Alexandra S. at the Fair Grounds to soar up the list to the top spot. We've dropped Candied (Candy Ride {Arg}), who has only had two three furlongs works so far this year, raising the possibility that she won't be ready for the GI Kentucky Oaks. We've also dropped Alpine Princess (Classic Empire) after a disappointing fourth-place finish in the Rachel Alexandra and Life Talk (Gun Runner), who was a disappointing sixth in the...

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Champion Filly Just F Y I Leads 104 Nominations to Kentucky Oaks

George Krikorian's champion homebred Just F Y I (Justify) leads a cast of 104 3-year-old fillies that were nominated to compete in the 150th running of the $1.5-million GI Longines Kentucky Oaks Friday, May 3 at Churchill Downs. Just F Y I joins 23 other stakes winners based across North America that were nominated to the Kentucky Oaks, including recent GII Rachel Alexandra S. winner Tarifa (Bernardini); GI Alcibiades S. winner Candied (Candy Ride {Arg}); and GII Golden Rod S. winner Intricate (Gun Runner). The 104 fillies became eligible to...

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TDN Sophomore Top 12: 'Rising Stars' Anchor Top Three Spots

You may have noticed a change in the title of this column, from "Derby Top 12" to "Sophomore Top 12." Churchill Downs, Inc., has barred trainer Bob Baffert from competing in the GI Kentucky Derby, and that left us in a quandary over how to assess the nation's best 3-year-old prospects. It didn't seem right to dismiss the accomplishments of elite-level sophomores, regardless of whether they were eligible for the Derby or not. Nor did it seem proper to ignore the benchmarks their performances provide to help establish the overall...

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Winchell Homebred Recharge Collects 20 Kentucky Oaks Points At Sunland

Recharge (Gun Runner) wound up banking 20 points in her Kentucky Oaks checking account after she got the money at Sunland Park on Sunday afternoon. The homebred arrived in El Paso with two wins to her credit in as many races. Breaking her maiden by nine lengths in mid-December at Remington Park, the filly shipped to Houston and passed the two-turn test when she cleared the allowance ranks with a 4-3/4 win Jan. 21. Sent on her way at odds of 2-1 here, the 3-year-old established a lead heading into...

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Halina's Forte Another Stakes Winner For Mitole

Since impressing on debut in maiden special weight company at Churchill Downs last November, Halina's Forte has spent her last two starts in stakes races, earning placings in both the Fern Creek S. and finishing off 2023 as the beaten favorite at Fair Grounds in the Letellier Memorial S. Dec. 23. Racing in New York for the first time Saturday, the 2-1 top choice broke quickly was out outsprinted by a trio of runners to her inside. Relegated to a wide fourth as the leaders opened up a gap back...

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Churchill Downs To Host 2024 Claiming Crown Event

Churchill Downs will host the 2024 Claiming Crown Nov. 16, the HBPA announced Thursday. The event, held at Fair Grounds last year, will return to Kentucky for the second time in three years. Created in 1999 by the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, the Claiming Crown provides claiming horses with a multi-race program to spotlight their importance. "In a year when Churchill Downs celebrates the 150th [GI] Kentucky Derby, we are honored to host the Claiming Crown on center stage in the...

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The Week In Review: It's Not Just The Derby; Now Baffert Has Top Oaks Candidate As Well

Saturday's GIII Las Virgenes S. at Santa Anita was a big test for the Bob Baffert-trained filly and 'TDN Rising Star' Kinza (Carpe Diem). She was coming off a scintillating maiden win in which she got a 96 Beyer, but was facing a much stronger challenge in the one-mile stakes. Not only did she have to prove she could go two turns, but she was facing another potential star in the undefeated Kopion (Omaha Beach), the winner of the GIII Santa Ynez S. On paper, this was a match race....

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