Doug O'Neill

Medina Spirit Fine After Derby Win

Zedan Racing's Medina Spirit (Protonico) exited his win in Saturday's GI Kentucky Derby in fine shape, according to trainer Bob Baffert, who said he would wait a week before committing the colt to the May 15 GI Preakness S. "He came out of it well," Baffert said Sunday morning. "It takes about a week to determine, so I'm going to come back next weekend and see. But I don't see anything discouraging right now." Baffert continued, "Can he win the Triple Crown? I don't know. But he's the Derby winner,...

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Unbeaten Champion Essential Quality Favored for Kentucky Derby

LOUISVILLE, KY - Unbeaten champion Essential Quality (Tapit) was assigned post 14 in a full field of 20 assembled for Saturday's GI Kentucky Derby at Tuesday's post position draw held at Churchill Downs. The Godolphin homebred and 'TDN Rising Star,' tabbed as the 2-1 favorite on Mike Battaglia's morning line, made it a perfect five-for-five for trainer Brad Cox with a hard-fought, neck decision over Highly Motivated (Into Mischief) in the GII Blue Grass S. at Keeneland Apr. 3. Luis Saez, disqualified from first aboard Maximum Security in 2019, has...

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California Trio Breeze Towards Derby

Three Santa Anita-based sophomores headed to the GI Kentucky Derby tuned up Saturday morning over their home track. Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow), who will have his fair share of backers off his front-running victory in the GII Louisiana Derby, went three-quarters of a mile in :1.14.20 for two-time Derby-winning conditioner Doug O'Neill. Flavien Prat, who was tabbed earlier this week for the ride, was aboard. "He looked solid. So far, so good," said O'Neill. Rock Your World (Candy Ride {Arg}), who remained perfect in three starts with his front-running success...

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Hot Rod Charlie Tunes Up at Santa Anita

Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow), front-running winner of the GII TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby in his most recent trip to the races, prepped for the May 1 GI Kentucky Derby with a five-furlong breeze Saturday morning over the Santa Anita main track. The half-brother to champion Mitole (Eskendereya) stopped the clock in 1:01.20 to the satisfaction of trainer Doug O'Neill. "'Charlie' had company with a horse named Hammering Lemon (Square Eddie) [clocked in 1:01.60] who broke off in front of him," the two-time Derby-winning trainer commented. "They both finished up good, but...

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`Chuck' Puts Next Generation on Derby Trail

It's not what you would think. Not the invincible, fist-pumping, chest-bumping days. No, the real bond is forged exactly where the rest of us would least imagine—in the moments of disappointment, moments of doubt. That's where you really learn about each other. "Honestly, thinking back, what I remember most is those bus rides back from games we lost," says Patrick O'Neill. "And that's crazy to say. We were very competitive. Second or third, pretty much every year we played in the Ivy League. But it's those losses where you really...

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Dubai World Cup Horses Out in Force

Less than a week remains before the $26.5-million Dubai World Cup card, split between eight Thoroughbred races and one for Purebred Arabians. Horses were out in force over the Meydan track on Monday morning, with several turning in final works prior to the big night. Most of the $12-million G1 Dubai World Cup hopefuls completed maintenance works on Monday, but one of the American contenders-Jesus' Team (Tapiture), runner-up in the GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational S. on Jan. 23--galloped 1 1/2 circuits. "We went to the track with him very...

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Hot Rod Charlie on to Derby

Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow) exited his win in Saturday's GII Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby in fine shape and will ship back to trainer Doug O'Neill's California base Tuesday to prepare for the May 1 GI Kentucky Derby. "Charlie looked great this morning," O'Neill said. "He flies back to California on Tuesday. I love the spacing [six weeks] leading up to the Kentucky Derby. It's ideal. He's proven to travel well. I'm very proud of my nephew Patrick [with co-owner Boat Racing]. He's a real good young man and I'm very excited...

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Oxbow's Hot Rod Charlie Scores Gutsy Win in Louisiana Derby

Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow), the 94-1 GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up, was sent to the front in a heady ride by Joel Rosario, and refused to lose, turning back Midnight Bourbon (Tiznow) to win going away by two lengths in Saturday's GII TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby. O Besos (Orb) rallied nicely up the rail to just miss second by a head. The 5-2 second choice broke inward and bumped with a rival at the start. He led through fractions of :23.10 and :47.04 with Midnight Bourbon shadowing his every move. Midnight...

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O'Neill Fined, Suspended for Lidocaine Positive

Trainer Doug O'Neill has been fined $7,500 and handed a 10-day suspension, starting Monday, Mar. 8, for a positive Lidocaine finding in a past-race sample from last October, as first reported in the Los Angeles Times. According to the Times, O'Neill negotiated a settlement agreement with the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) requiring him to serve only 10 days of a 30-day suspension, on the proviso he doesn't incur any further medication violations for a year. The positive concerned Howbeit (Secret Circle), second at Santa Anita Oct. 9, who was...

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Pletcher, American Pharoah Head '21 Hall of Fame Finalists

Six racehorses, three trainers and one jockey account for the 10 finalists that will compose the National Museum of Racing's 2021 Hall of Fame ballot, as chosen by the museum's Hall of Fame nominating committee. The finalists are racehorses American Pharoah (first year of eligibility), Blind Luck, Game On Dude, Havre de Grace, Kona Gold and Rags to Riches; trainers Christophe Clement, Doug O'Neill and Todd Pletcher (first year of eligibility); and jockey Corey Nakatani. Ballots will be mailed the first week in March and results of the voting will...

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Baffert Shoots for Record Ninth Robert B. Lewis Victory

Hall of Famer Bob Baffert will have two shots at adding to his growing record with a potential ninth win in Saturday's GIII Robert B. Lewis S. at Santa Anita. The improving $1-million Keeneland September graduate Spielberg (Union Rags), MGISP as a juvenile, posted a hard-fought, breakthrough nose victory in the GII Los Alamitos Futurity last time Dec. 19. The runner-up that day The Great One (Nyquist), meanwhile, returned with a flashy, 14-length maiden victory for trainer Doug O'Neill last weekend, good for a 92 Beyer Speed Figure. Baffert will...

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GISP Hot Rod Charlie Works for O'Neill; Targets Lewis

Already a winner of the GI Kentucky Derby with 2016 hero Nyquist (Uncle Mo) and I'll Have Another (Flower Alley) in 2012, trainer Doug O'Neill is looking forward to the New Year with Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow), Wipe the Slate (Nyquist) and Team Merchants (Nyquist) among his well-regarded sophomores. Hot Rod Charlie worked five furlongs at Santa Anita Saturday in a bullet :59.40, fastest of 64 drills at the distance. A narrow winner in his fourth career start at Santa Anita on October, Hot Rod Charlie closed to finish second-at...

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