Epicenter

Epicenter Back to Work, Targeting Summer Campaign at Saratoga

Epicenter (Not This Time), a too-good-to-be-second as the favorite in both the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S., has begun gearing up for a summer campaign at Saratoga. The Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC colorbearer worked four furlongs in an easy :50.60 (31/37) at Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen's Churchill Downs base June 20, just his second move since rallying for runner-up honors in the middle leg of the Triple Crown. "He's like a machine," said David Fiske, longtime advisor to the Winchell family. "He took a few weeks off after...

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Taking Stock: It's High Time for This Stallion

The Classic season is over. A surface reading shows that Arrogate (Unbridled's Song), Keen Ice (Curlin), and Gun Runner (Candy Ride {Arg}) got the GI Kentucky Oaks, GI Kentucky Derby, and GI Preakness S. winners, respectively, from their first crops, and proven star sire Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie), who had a Derby winner from his first crop in 2016, sired the GI Belmont S. winner. Sometimes, however, what's between the lines is as important as what's on the page, and Taylor Made's Not This Time (Giant's Causeway), whose second-crop sons...

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Taking Stock: Gun Runner in Heady Company

Two weeks ago, when I wrote the column "First Crops Yield Derby and Oaks Winners," I'd expected to write about Taiba (Gun Runner) and Secret Oath (Arrogate), the two I'd liked the most in the Gl Kentucky Derby and Gl Kentucky Oaks, respectively. I'd spoken mainly about those two on Steve Byk's popular SiriusXM program "At the Races," and my feeling was that Gun Runner in particular was on a trajectory to get a first-crop Classic winner. His start at stud had been exceptional with his first juveniles, and the...

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The Week in Review: Is the 'Fresh Horse' Angle Getting Stale?

For the second year in a row, the GI Preakness S. was won by a fresh horse who didn't run in the GI Kentucky Derby. Since both of Saturday's top two Preakness finishers--Early Voting (Gun Runner) and Epicenter (Not This Time)--were publicly declared out of the GI Belmont S. even before the last of the crab cakes cooled at Pimlico, it will be up to another relatively rested horse to step up and snag the third jewel of the Triple Crown. That's not an unfamiliar scenario, and recent history tells...

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Early Voting in Good Condition After Preakness Score, Will Skip Belmont

Saturday's GI Preakness S. winner Early Voting (Gun Runner) was back in his stall at Belmont Park by mid-morning Sunday, some 15 hours after scoring a 1 1/4-length victory over favored Epicenter (Not This Time) in Saturday's Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. Trainer Chad Brown traveled from Baltimore to New York overnight and was at Belmont Sunday to oversee what is typically a busy morning of timed workouts for horses in his stable. During a brief break, Brown said that Early Voting, owned by Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stables, came...

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Early Voting Gives Gun Runner First Classic Winner in Preakness

The story is a familiar one. Seth Klarman, Chad Brown and Jose Ortiz teaming up for a win with a lightly-raced colt in the second jewel of the Triple Crown. In 2017, the duo entered the Classic with a fresh horse, and played the spoiler when Cloud Computing (Maclean's Music) upended Classic Empire to take the GI Preakness S. Fast forward to 2022, history repeated itself with the same connections snagging Pimlico's marquee race with Early Voting (Gun Runner). The colt's victory also provided a well-deserved birthday gift for his...

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The Tough Get Going

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Preakness Full Circle Moments

BALTIMORE, MD--Every year, a new batch of sophomores converges upon Pimlico Race Course. And while the names of the contenders is ever changing, the people behind them are remain fairly consistent. Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas casts a very long shadow in the second jewel in the Triple Crown, having won it on six prior occasions. From his first Preakness victory with Codex in 1980, Lukas has gone on to add wins with Tank's Prospect (1985), Tabasco Cat (1994), Timber Country (1995), Charismatic (1999) and Oxbow (2013). One...

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This Side Up: The Tough Get Going

I'm pinning my faith in Happy Jack. Not to win, obviously, even after a Derby so outlandish that it still confounds the handicapper's genius for rationalizing the most unaccountable events with the invincible benefit of hindsight.

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Should the Triple Crown Be Changed? Veteran Industry Participants Weigh In

After the connections of GI Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike (Keen Ice) opted to skip the GI Preakness S. and instead prepare for the GI Belmont S., the structure of the Triple Crown races has been a subject of debate leading up to the second leg of the historic series. Should the timing between the races be adjusted? We asked a few veteran industry participants here. Steve Asmussen: I think it's what makes it the Triple Crown. There are other lucrative races on the calendar, but these are the American...

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Preakness Alibi Breakfast Highlights Thursday

BALTIMORE, MD--In the continued lead up to Saturday's GI Preakness S., the intensity in the air, as well as the increasing media presence, grew noticeably denser Thursday morning at Pimlico. A couple of groups of fans could be seen milling around the Stakes Barn area, in addition to large clusters of media hoping to get in their final interviews in before a jam-packed weekend of racing. Drawing a gaggle of reporters and interested onlookers, morningline favorite Epicenter (Not This Time), who continued with his usual routine and went out for...

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TDN Preakness Preview

  This week's TDN Triple Crown feature examines the GI Preakness S. entrants listed in "likeliest winner" order. 1) Epicenter (c, Not This Time--Silent Candy, by Candy Ride {Arg}) O-Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC. B-Westwind Farms (KY). T-Steve Asmussen. Sales History: $260,000 yrl '20 KEESEP. Epicenter's second-place run in the GI Kentucky Derby was the type of effort that would have resulted in a win in most years. It also underscored his top-of-the-crop status as an impeccably consistent A-lister who is not dependent on a certain running style and doesn't need other...

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