Travers Runner-Up Disarm Reloading for 2024

Disarm (c, 4, Gun Runner--Easy Tap, by Tapit), sidelined since finishing a closing second behind Arcangelo (Arrogate) in the GI Travers S. at Saratoga Aug. 26, has returned to training with Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen at the Fair Grounds. A respectable fourth at 27-1 in the GI Kentucky Derby, last term's GIII Matt Winn S. winner and GII Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby runner-up exited his second-place finish in the Travers with bone bruising, per David Fiske, longtime advisor to owner/breeder Ron Winchell. "He was walking visibly off after the Travers,"...

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Arcangelo Proves The Right 'Choice' In Travers 154

In many ways, it was a 'good' problem to have. Having added a maiden success in the GI Kentucky Derby to his Hall of Fame resume at long last aboard Mage (Good Magic) in early May, jockey Javier Castellano continued a magical ride when teaming with Jena Antonucci to make history in the GI Belmont S. on the progressive Arcangelo (Arrogate), as the connections of Mage turned their collective attention to the second half of the season. Mage resumed with a very good runner-up effort when reportedly not fully fit...

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Stars Come Out To Play on Travers Day

It's a bit of Christmas in August Saturday at venerable Saratoga Race Course, which plays host to no fewer than five Grade I events for horses of all ages--on dirt and on turf--topped by the main event on the summer calendar, the $1.25-million GI Travers S. While the fields are short on numbers, they are long on quality, as three of the races have attracted reigning Eclipse Award winners, none of whom are anything close to a cinch in their respective heats. Champion and 'TDN Rising Star' Forte (Violence) has...

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Asmussen Hopes for Gun Runner Double on Saturday

A few weeks before the opening of the Saratoga meet, Steve Asmussen paid a visit to Lexington to see an old friend. The Hall of Fame conditioner stopped by Three Chimneys Farm, as he does regularly, to check in on Gun Runner. "It's Three Chimneys," Asmussen explained with a shrug from his barn at the Oklahoma earlier this week. "It's a beautiful place and Gun Runner deserves the adulation. He is a very special horse." A few hours after he made that statement, Asmussen's star filly Echo Zulu, of course...

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A Jim Dandy Of A Graded Stakes Weekend

Equine or human, history is always about the six degrees of someone in racing's world. For instance, at 100-1 Jim Dandy beat Triple Crown champion Gallant Fox in the 1930 edition of the Travers S., which only featured four entries total. The horse who set up the longshot by engaging in a speed duel with the favorite over the mud was Whichone, a colt owned by Harry Payne Whitney (yes, that important family). And what other Thoroughbred did Whitney own? Well, that would be Upset, who did just that, when...

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Disarm Splashes Home First in Matt Winn

Winchell Thoroughbreds' Disarm (Gun Runner), last seen finishing fourth in the GI Kentucky Derby, surged past Verifying (Justify) in the final strides to win the relocated GIII Matt Winn S. at Ellis Park Sunday. Sent off the even-money favorite in the race originally scheduled to be run at Churchill Downs, Disarm rated along the rail within striking distance in third as the lightly raced Bo Cruz (Creative Cause) took the field through fractions of :24.46 and :48.73 over the sloppy going. Verifying, who was tracking the pacesetter throughout, took charge...

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Top to Bottom: Derby Rundown

This week's Triple Crown feature examines the trips of GI Kentucky Derby runners in detail from first to last: 1) Mage (No. 12 in TDN pre-race rankings) Mage, the little horse who could, was a characteristic beat slow out of the starting gate. Javier Castellano let him roll with the flow as the field sorted itself out through the first furlong, then darted to secure the rail while fourth-last the first time under the wire. Unhurried through the turn, this son of Good Magic ($235,000 KEESEP; $290,000 EASMAY) raced several...

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Kentucky Derby Report: Eventful Thursday Morning Beneath the Twin Spires

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - With no shortage of racing fans, horsemen and media lined up along the outer rail, the Churchill Downs backstretch got awfully quiet in a hurry as Verifying (Justify) lost his exercise rider leaving the five-eighths marker during Thursday morning's special training session for GI Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses. A big tip of the cap goes out to outriders Greg Blasi and Lee Lockwood, who did a fantastic job of apprehending the GI Blue Grass S. runner-up at the quarter pole. Trainer Brad Cox later reported that...

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Half-Mile Work for Disarm Monday

Winchell Thoroughbreds' Disarm (Gun Runner) completed his major preparations for Saturday's GI Kentucky Derby with a half-mile work in :49.20 (15/30) at Churchill Downs Monday. With exercise rider Wilson Fabian in the saddle, Disarm was accompanied to the track by assistant trainer Scott Blasi aboard one pony, while trainer Steve Asmussen followed close behind on another. Disarm completed an opening quarter-mile of :25 and was not asked to gallop out past the wire, which is typical in Asmussen's works less than one week out of a race. "We've been behind...

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Derby Hopeful Disarm Posts Five-Furlong Work at Churchill

Winchell Thoroughbreds' GII Louisiana Derby runner-up Disarm (Gun Runner), who most recently finished third in the Apr. 15 GIII Lexington S. at Keeneland, worked five furlongs in 1:00 with jockey Joel Rosario aboard for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen at Churchill Downs on Monday morning. The bay colt broke off about a length behind stablemate Gigante (Not This Time) with Churchill clocker John Nichols catching him in splits of :13.20, :35.40, :36.60 and :48.40 before galloping out the six furlongs in 1:13.20. "I thought he worked really well this...

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TDN Derby Top 20: The Waiting is the Hardest Part

The rankings below are independent from the "Road to the Derby" leaderboard Churchill Downs uses to determine starting berths, with several horses included here who are currently below the cut. View the qualifying list here. 1) PRACTICAL MOVE (c, Practical Joke--Ack Naughty, by Afleet Alex) O-Leslie & Pierre Jean Amestoy & Roger Beasley; B-Chad Brown & Head of Plains Partners (KY); T-Tim Yakteen. Sales history: $90,000 RNA yrl '21 KEESEP; $230,000 2yo '22 OBSAPR. Lifetime Record: GISW, 7-4-1-2, $884,200. Last Start: 1st Apr. 8 GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby. Kentucky...

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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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