Just a Touch

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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Derby Favorite Fierceness Draws in 17, Sierra Leone Gets Post 2

Featuring $200-million worth of improvements in its new paddock area, Churchill Downs hosted the draw ceremony for next weekend's GI Kentucky Derby and GI Kentucky Oaks during its opening night card Saturday. As usual, the proceedings drew some cheers, and jeers, from the crowd. Possibly numbered among the latter, the connections of the 5-2 morning line favorite 'TDN Rising Star' Fierceness (City of Light) couldn't have been overly thrilled with drawing post 17 for Saturday's Run for the Roses. Campaigned by his breeder Mike Repole, the reigning juvenile champ comes...

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Sierra Leone Tops Saturday Derby Work Tab

GI Blue Grass S. winner Sierra Leone (Gun Runner) led a total of nine GI Kentucky Derby hopefuls on the work tab a week out from the Run for the Roses. Breezing in company with stablemate and fellow Derby hopeful Domestic Product (Practical Joke), the pair went five furlongs in 1:00.20 (15/58) through splits of :13, :24.80, :36.40 before galloping out in 1:13.20 and 1:26.20. "It [the work] was executed perfectly," said Chad Brown, the trainer for both workers. "I wanted them to a good five-eighths out in three-quarters but...

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Forever Young Goes Six Furlongs At Churchill Amid Busy Derby Workers

With Derby week just around the corner, the morning work tab under the Twin Spires was chock full of participants Wednesday, but one Derby entry went further than the others. Susumu Fujita's undefeated Forever Young (Jpn) (Real Steel {Jpn}) worked six furlongs in 1:19.60 over a fast track. With jockey Ryusei Sakai aboard, the colt posted fractions of :14.80, :28.80, :42.60, :55.20, 1:19.60 and out seven furlongs in 1:33,60. He was joined for the last half-mile by Cuffed Candy (Candy Ride {Arg}), an unraced 3-year-old for trainer Dale Romans. "Thanks...

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Sierra Leone, Catching Freedom, Tarifa Lead Derby, Oaks Workers

With less than two weeks to the first weekend in May, a gaggle of contenders for the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Kentucky Oaks took to racetracks across the country for some critical breezes Saturday morning. 'TDN Rising Star' Sierra Leone (Gun Runner) has remained at Keeneland since his slashing victory in the Apr. 6 GI Toyota Blue Grass S. and returned to the worktab for the first time on a chilly morning, breezing a half-mile in the company inside of recent Keeneland maiden winner White Palomino (Kitten's Joy) in...

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Sierra Leone Stamps His Authority On The Blue Grass

He wasn't the most cooperative at the stalls and he left himself plenty to do over a Keeneland main track that was playing kind to speed over the course of the afternoon, but 'TDN Rising Star' Sierra Leone (c, 3, Gun Runner--Heavenly Love, by Malibu Moon) saved his best for last and cemented his status as one of the top couple of contenders for the GI Kentucky Derby with a fast-finishing victory in the 100th running of the GI Toyota Blue Grass S. Saturday afternoon. The victory, on the back...

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Led by Loaded Blue Grass, Trio of Derby Preps Highlight Saturday's Graded Stakes Lineup

The GI Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland, featuring a highly anticipated rematch between Dornoch (Good Magic) and 'TDN Rising Star' Sierra Leone (Gun Runner), is one of three GI Kentucky Derby prep races on tap on a fantastic day of racing Saturday. Dornoch dug back gamely to defeat Sierra Leone in a heart-stopping renewal of the GII Remsen S. at a rain-soaked Aqueduct Dec. 2, then took care of business in a scratched-down GII Coolmore Fountain of Youth S. at Gulfstream Mar. 2. Sierra Leone, meanwhile, returned with an...

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Handicapping the Kentucky Derby Preps: Blue Grass, Santa Anita Derby & Wood Memorial

TDN's Senior Racing Editor Steve Sherack provides analysis for Saturday's trio of GI Kentucky Derby prep races. GI Toyota Blue Grass S. - In a race billed as a showdown between the re-opposing GII Remsen S. one-two Dornoch (Good Magic) and Sierra Leone (Gun Runner), don't look past likely third choice Just a Touch (Justify). The highly regarded bay ran to the hype with a powerful debut score for trainer Brad Cox over the promising $1.7-million KEESEP graduate Gun Party (Curlin) (he returned with another very good second-place finish Mar....

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Sierra Leone Installed as 2-1 Morning-Line Favorite for Blue Grass

'TDN Rising Star' Sierra Leone (Gun Runner), winner of the GII Risen Star S. Feb. 17, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in a field of 11 3-year-olds entered for Saturday's 100th running of the $1-million GI Toyota Blue Grass. Tyler Gaffalione has the mount on Sierra Leone and will exit from post 10. Dornoch (Good Magic) (post four), a full-brother to GI 2023 Kentucky Derby winner Mage, is the second choice on the morning line at 3-1. Trained by Danny Gargan, Dornoch enters off a front-running victory in the GII...

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The X-Ray Files, Season 2: David Scanlon

The X-Ray Files series, now in its second year and presented in cooperation with the Consignors and Breeders Association, uses conversations with buyers and sellers to contribute to the discussion on radiographic findings and their impact on sales and racetrack success. Ocala horseman David Scanlon is not just a leading 2-year-old consignor, but he has also built an impressive list of training graduates for leading owners like Godolphin, Coolmore, Don Alberto, and Calumet Farm. In both capacities, Scanlon's operation is well represented on this year's GI Kentucky Derby trail. He...

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Second Chances: Gun Runner Connections 'Hoping for Another Strike of Lightning' with Pricey Curlin Colt Gun Party

In this continuing series, TDN's Senior Racing Editor Steve Sherack catches up with the connections of promising maidens to keep on your radar. With a ton of steam behind impressive debut winner Just a Touch (Justify) heading into Saturday's GIII Gotham S., the second-place finisher's come-from-behind effort over a sloppy, sealed track that day at Fair Grounds may look even better after this weekend. Off at debut odds of 10-1 for Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Gun Party (c, 3, Curlin--Carina Mia, by Malibu Moon) trailed the field of eight...

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