Derby City Distaff

Gun Runner's Vahva Gets Her Grade I In the Derby City Distaff

A running-on second to Alva Starr (Lord Nelson) when making her seasonal return in Keeneland's GI Resolute Racing Madison S. Apr. 6, Vahva (Gun Runner) was the 8-5 favorite to reverse form with that rival in Saturday's GI Derby City Distaff S. at Churchill Downs and clawed past late for her first win at the elite level. Quickest into stride from an outside barrier, the $280,000 Keeneland September graduate came back nicely into the hands of Irad Ortiz, Jr. and was content to stalk the pace from third as Alva...

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Ready For Some Magic In Derby 150

LOUISVILLE, KY -- Weeks and months of preparation, with a healthy dose of good luck, are complete. A full field of 20 will line up for the 150th anniversary renewal of the GI Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Much of the pre-race hype has revolved around the defending juvenile champion Fierceness (City of Light). A runaway winner in the GI Florida Derby in his latest start, the 'TDN Rising Star' has been training like a beast, signaling he is ready to do big things come Derby day. His trainer, Todd...

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Grade I Winner Bell's the One Loses Flightline Foal

Bell's the One (Majesticperfection), arguably the best horse to carry the silks of the late Bob Lothenbach and who was among the first book of mares bred to Horse of the Year Flightline (Tapit), lost her foal at the seven-month stage in September, her trainer Neil Pessin confirmed Wednesday. "Bob loved her and he was really looking forward to having that foal," Pessin said. Pessin purchased the daughter of Street Mate (Street Cry {Ire}), bred by Bret Jones, on behalf of Lothenbach for $155,000 as a yearling at the 2017...

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Matareya Takes Derby City Distaff; Champ Goodnight Olive Endures Brutal Trip

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- It was a tale of two trips as Godolphin homebred Matareya (Pioneerof the Nile) delivered a one-length victory over Wicked Halo (Gun Runner) in Saturday's GI Derby City Distaff to kick off the graded action on Kentucky Derby day at Churchill Downs. Heavily favored champion female sprinter Goodnight Olive (Ghostzapper) was a very unlucky third. Godolphin was victorious with the Brendan Walsh-trained Pretty Mischievous (Into Mischief) in Friday's GI Kentucky Oaks. Sheikh Mohammed's operation and Matareya's trainer Brad Cox finished fourth with the Oaks beaten favorite Wet...

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Breeders' Cup Dirt Dozen Series Returns in 2023

The Breeders' Cup Dirt Dozen, an incentive-based participation bonus program for horsemen pointing runners to the dirt races in the Breeders' Cup World Championships, will return this season. Launched in 2022, the series awards bonus credits funded by the Breeders' Cup for first through third-place finishes in each of 12 existing graded stakes races scheduled from May through October at six tracks throughout the United States. Horsemen can use those credits toward entry fees for one of the six Breeders' Cup World Championships dirt races. In Dirt Dozen races in...

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Obligatory From Out of the Clouds in Derby City Distaff

In another zip code at the top of the stretch, Juddmonte homebred Obligatory (Curlin) turned in a furious stretch rally to record a career high in Saturday's GI Derby City Distaff S. at Churchill Downs. Favored Just One Time (Not This Time), a last out winner of Keeneland's GI Madison S., showed the way through fractions of :22.36 and :44.95 and hit the quarter pole as the one to catch. Obligatory, meanwhile, last of seven throughout, tipped out six wide beneath Jose Ortiz for the stretch run. Longshot Four Graces...

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Pessin Savors an Honorable Success

She's the one, all right. The one and only, in fact--at least up until now. Who knows? Perhaps Neil Pessin's exemplary achievements with Bell's the One (Majesticperfection) might yet reward him with another Grade I winner or two. But after a lifetime in the game, and 36 years since saddling his first winner, he's neither expecting nor even desiring to transform the intimate scale of his operation. "You know, I don't get jealous of anybody," Pessin says. "I'm very happy with where I'm at. I've been successful with the numbers...

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Gamine All The Way in Derby City Distaff

Maybe it wasn't the electric performance that everyone was expecting, but nonetheless, 'TDN Rising Star' Gamine (Into Mischief) added her fourth career top-level win in game fashion in Saturday's GI Derby City Distaff S. at Churchill Downs. Hammered into 1-5 favoritism, last year's champion female sprinter bobbled slightly beneath Johnny Velazquez at the start. Undeterred, she recovered quickly to show the way through surprisingly easy opening fractions of :23.15 and :46.08 while traveling several paths off the inside down the backstretch. Last year's GII Eight Belles S. heroine Sconsin (Include)...

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Gamine Looks Long Gone in Derby City Distaff

'TDN Rising Star' Gamine (Into Mischief) is the 1-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday's GI Derby City (ex Humana) Distaff, and, facing just five other rivals that lack anything near her front-running prowess, she could go off an even shorter proposition than that. Now six-for-seven lifetime as her once-disputed Oaklawn allowance victory has now been reinstated, Gamine was other-worldly at trips around one turn during her championship season in 2020, winning the one-mile GI Longines Acorn S. by 18 3/4 lengths last June and the seven-furlong GI Longines Test S. by...

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Bell's the One Gearing Up For Return

Lothenbach Stables' Bell's the One (Majesticperfection), who became the first Grade I winner for trainer Neil Pessin in last year's Derby City Distaff ahead of a third-place effort to champion 'TDN Rising Star' Gamine (Into Mischief) in the GI Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.60 (9/36) at the Fair Grounds Feb. 28. Pessin confirmed that the GI Madison S. at Keeneland Apr. 4, in which his charge was a pace-compromised third in the coronavirus-delayed 2020 renewal last July, is the jumping-off spot for the mare's...

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Bell's The One Denies Serengeti Empress in Derby City Distaff

In a race that did not deserve a loser, Lothenbach Stables' Bell's the One (Majesticperfection) took advantage of the ultimate race flow for her one-run style and dropped her nose down on the wire ahead of a desperately unlucky 2019 GI Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress (Alternation) to win the GI Derby City Distaff S. at Churchill Downs. Taken back off the pace, as is her custom, Bell's The One laid fifth as Serengeti Empress, last-out winner of the GI Ballerina S. at Saratoga, dueled on a scorching pace inside...

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