Kentucky Derby

Mandaloun Looks to Fly High in Pegasus

Juddmonte homebred and GI Kentucky Derby runner-up Mandaloun (Into Mischief) tops a small field set for Sunday's TVG Pegasus S., the local prep for the $1-million GI Haskell Invitational S. at Monmouth July 17. Opening his account with a pair of wins in Kentucky, the 'TDN Rising Star' was third as the 4-5 favorite in the GIII Lecomte S. Jan. 16 and rebounded to win that venue's GII Risen Star S. Feb. 13. A puzzling sixth as the favorite in the GII Louisiana Derby Mar. 20, Mandaloun got back...

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In Baffert Case, Sides Haggle Over Urine Sample

Lawyers representing the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) and Bob Baffert squared off before Franklin Circuit County Judge Thomas Wingate Friday morning in a dispute over whether or not additional urine samples from Medina Spirit (Protonico) from the GI Kentucky Derby should be made available to the defendants' lawyers and, if so, in what quantity? The Baffert team has asked for an additional urine sample because it believes further testing can prove that the drug in question, Betamethasone, found its way into Medina Spirit through an ointment used to clear...

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Letters to the Editor: Rinaldo Del Gallo On Tapit

Sometimes a historical moment has to be pointed out. Australian (GB), Fair Play and Fair Play's son Man O' War each sired three GI Belmont S. winners. Lexington sired four Belmont winners who all won at Jerome Park. Now Tapit joins the illustrious ranks of Lexington. Like Lexington, Tapit has now sired four winners of the Belmont: Essential Quality, Tapwrit, Creator and Tonalist. Tapit also sired Belmont runners-up Tacitus and Frosted, as well as Belmont third finishers Hofburg and Lani. An asterisk might be added for last year's fluke 2020...

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Thursday's Trackside Belmont Stakes Report

ELMONT, NY - The handsome gray Knicks Go (Paynter) was among several high-profile runners spotted stretching their legs on an overcast and humid Thursday morning at beautiful Belmont Park ahead of this weekend's GI Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. The GI Hill 'n' Dale Metropolitan Mile H.-bound GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and GI Pegasus World Cup winner wrapped up his exercise just before 6 a.m. With an on-and-off light drizzle falling throughout the morning as temperatures hovered in the low 60s, GI Preakness S. upsetter and Belmont S. second-choice Rombauer...

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Rock Your World Reloads for Belmont

ELMONT, NY -- After a forgettable run on the first Saturday in May, the previously unbeaten Rock Your World (Candy Ride {Arg}) will get his shot at redemption in the 153rd renewal of the GI Belmont S. Off as the 9-2 second-choice in the GI Kentucky Derby following a jaw-dropping, front-running tally in the GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby at third asking, the dark bay's race was over well before his well-documented trouble at the start that day, per co-owner Kosta Hronis. "I think he showed a lot of immaturity,"...

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Churchill Bans Baffert for Two Years

Churchill Downs Incorporated has suspended Bob Baffert for two years effective immediately through the conclusion of the Churchill 2023 spring meet. The suspension prohibits Baffert, or any trainer directly or indirectly employed by Bob Baffert Racing Stables, from entering horses in races or applying for stall occupancy at all CDI-owned racetracks. This decision follows the confirmation by attorneys represening Bob Baffert of the presence of betamethasone, a prohibited race-day substance, in Medina Spirit's (Protonico) bloodstream on the day of the 147th running of the GI Kentucky Derby in violation of...

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Churchill Suspends Baffert For Two Years After Medina Spirit's Split is Positive

According to Craig Robertson, the lawyer representing Bob Baffert, a second-post race test has confirmed that Medina Spirit (Protonico) tested positive for the prohibited corticosteroid betamethasone, which could lead to the horse being disqualified from this year's GI Kentucky Derby. In response, Churchill Downs Inc. banned Baffert for two years. "In response to the inquiries, this will acknowledge that the Medina Spirit split sample confirmed the finding of betamethasone at 25 picograms," Robertson said in a statement. "There is other testing that is being conducted, including DNA testing. We expect...

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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 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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Essential Quality Readies for Belmont

Godolphin's Essential Quality (Tapit) breezed a sharp five furlongs in :59.80 at Churchill Downs Saturday morning. The move was the fifth fastest of 40 horses at the distance. The grey worked in company with 5-year-old graded stakes winner Night Ops (Warrior's Reward) through early fractions of :24.20 and :47.60, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols. Named the juvenile champion colt following a victory in last fall's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Keeneland, trained by Brad Cox-trained colt won the GIII Southwest S. and GII Toyota Blue Grass S. before...

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Rock Your World Breezes for Belmont

Rock Your World (Candy Ride {Arg}), 17th after getting roughed up at the start in the GI Kentucky Derby, worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 (15/28) at Santa Anita Friday in his penultimate major drill for the GI Belmont S. "He went in a minute and change, out [three-quarters] in [one] 13 and we're very happy," trainer John Sadler said. The GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby winner was ridden by exercise rider Geovanni Grant and went in company with MGSW Campaign (Curlin), who was clocked in 1:01.40 covering the same distance....

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NAARV Calls for Revision of Medication Thresholds

In a release authored by its Executive Director Erica Minks, the North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians (NAARV) is calling on the racing industry to adopt "rational thresholds" as they relate to post-race testing of racehorses. The release comes in the ongoing aftermath of Medina Spirit's positive test for betamethasone, which registered 21 picograms per milliliter. "The North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians has advocated for rational and common-sense thresholds for therapeutic medications in racing horses since its inception in 2014," the release says. "As recently as December 2020, NAARV,...

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This Side Up: Like It or Not, All in this Together

This time, it's not just the Susans that have a black eye. You'll forgive me a little hesitation before addressing the 146th running of a race that can seldom have been staged in so febrile a context. Two weeks ago, I was incautious enough in this column to hope for just a nice, boring Derby, after the rancour of 2019 and the dismal postponement of 2020. Then, last week, I asked why even his own industry had been so ungenerous to a trainer who had now won four of his...

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