Helium

Derby Runners Return in Matt Winn

O Besos (Orb) and Helium (Ironicus), fifth and eighth, respectively, in the GI Kentucky Derby, return in Saturday's GIII Matt Winn S. at Churchill Downs. The late-running O Besos, just 5 1/2 lengths off the mark on the first Saturday in May, was previously a good third in the GII TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby Mar. 20. "We love running at Churchill and this race gives us plenty of options going forward," trainer Greg Foley said. "He worked an easy half-mile [in :49] Monday morning and is doing well from the Derby....

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Derby Diary: It's a Wrap

"That's it, time to go home." - Unnamed Churchill Downs usher, at approximately 7:15 pm EST. I let those words pass through me after watching our horse Helium run his eyeballs out for over nine of the 10 furlongs, in arguably the most important races of his (and my) career. A few minutes prior I felt like I was living in an alternate universe. I was so excited when Julien Leparoux guided Helium out of the starting gate to sit a mere 2-3 lengths off the eventual winner, Medina Spirit,...

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Derby Diary: Destination Louisville

We departed New Jersey today-destination Louisville. The flight took almost two hours and thankfully was without incident. But, in reality, the journey to this time and place began almost 40 years ago when my dad tore his Achilles while playing tennis. Back then, the best way to treat a ruptured tendon was to be placed in a cast from your ankle to your upper hip and keep your body as immobile as possible. Well, anyone who knows my dad understands that this directive was going to be short-lived. As someone...

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Green Gets to the Derby His Way

One after another, the lights were turning red on the young Leonard Green. He had a bad stutter that made him an introvert in mixed company. Dyslexic, too. Couldn't keep numbers in his head: hardly, as such, an accountant in the making. Sure enough, he'd now been fired from a fourth job in a row. "I didn't even know what an entrepreneur was," Green recalls now. "But it turned out to be somebody who thought outside the box, and took calculated risks, and spotted opportunities. And--boom! I suddenly realized that...

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Derby Diary: Post Position Musings

In an industry steeped in history, the post position draw seems to be the most antiquated process. This system for post position selection is basically a mini lottery conducted by a pair of racing officials. One person randomly selects an entry page while the other pulls a numbered ball out of a bottle which represents a horse's post position. Imagine having a horse who has jumped through all the hoops--won or placed in a major prep race, traveled around the countryside, stayed sound and healthy all year long--earning a spot...

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Derby Diary: A Lifetime of a Chance

Being a Certified Financial Advisor, and the son of a CPA, I follow trends and calculate odds constantly. You can say it is in my blood to rationally analyze a set of variables and predict a logical outcome. When the Kentucky Derby entries were announced, it was no surprise mathematically that those horses represented such a small amount of the overall foal crop. The 20 horses who line up in this Saturday's starting gate represent approximately 1/10 1% of the registered foals born in 2018 (20 of 19,925). Basically, the...

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Pletcher Works Derby Quartet at Churchill

On a busy Friday morning at Churchill Downs, GI Kentucky Derby contenders Bourbonic (Bernardini) (five furlongs, 1:01.60), Dynamic One (Union Rags) (five furlongs, 1:01), Helium (Ironicus) (five furlongs, 1:01.80), Known Agenda (Curlin) (five furlongs, 1:00.40) and Sainthood (Mshawish) (five furlongs, 1:00.40) all recorded published workouts in preparation for the 147th running of the "Run for the Roses" Saturday, May 1. All five horses worked at 7:30 a.m. and D J Stable's unbeaten GII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby winner Helium was the first of the quintet to work. "The most...

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Mandaloun, Helium Record Churchill Breezes

'TDN Rising Star' and GII Risen Star S. hero Mandaloun (Into Mischief) and D J Stable's Helium (Ironicus), upset winner of the GII Tampa Bay Derby, each tuned up for their upcoming starts in the GI Kentucky Derby May 1 with Saturday morning drills over the Churchill Downs main track. Working in the company of his fellow graded-stakes winning Juddmonte colorbearer Bonny South (Munnings), Mandaloun went five furlongs in :58.80 in splits of :23.40 and :46.60 before galloping out three-quarters of a mile in 1:11.40 and seven-eighths in 1:25.60, according...

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Late Triple Crown Nominees Include Helium and Weyburn

Among the nine horses who are late nominees for the 2021 Triple Crown are D.J. Stable's GII Tampa Bay Derby winner Helium (Ironicus) and Chiefswood Stables' GIII Gotham S. upsetter Weyburn (Pioneerof the Nile). They were made eligible to compete in the Triple Crown with a $6,000 payment that was due Monday. The window for late nominations was Jan. 23-Mar. 29. A total of 335 horses are now eligible to compete in the three-race series, which kicks off with the May 1 GI Kentucky Derby, continues with the May 15...

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The TDN Derby Top 12 for March 23

No, the world didn't tilt off its axis last Saturday. But there was a seismic shift within the Top 12 rankings. 'TDN Rising Star' Life Is Good (Into Mischief) was declared off the GI Kentucky Derby trail with a left hind ankle chip, and two other highly rated contenders failed to fire in the GII Louisiana Derby. But new shooters have filled the vacuum--as always. The cadence quickens while the plot thickens inside the six-week mark to Derby 147. 1) GREATEST HONOUR (c, Tapit--Tiffany's Honour, by Street Cry {Ire}) O/B-Courtlandt...

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The Parting Gift of Don Bernardo

So just what are those Derby gods up to now? What seeds of comfort, of commemoration, did they sow in the grief of last summer? Bernardo Alvarez Calderon was not just patriarch of a large and loving family, but something of a godfather for the entire Thoroughbred racing and breeding community of Peru. Its esteem was palpable after his loss last August, aged 78, following a fall. The president of the national breeders' association described him as "a horseman par excellence, whose contribution to our breed will last forever; an...

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Connections Confirm Helium To Go Straight to Derby

Helium (Ironicus), an impressive winner of the Tampa Bay Derby Saturday, will not have another Kentucky Derby prep and will go straight to the race in Louisville the first Saturday in May, according to Jon Green, the general manager of DJ Stables, the owner of the colt. Green announced the news on the TDN Writers' Room podcast Wednesday. "I'm pleased to make the formal announcement on our podcast that I sat down with the owners, my parents and Mark Casse, who between them have a collective 80 years of experience...

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