Messier

Rich Strike 'Looking Great' After Derby Shocker

RED TR-Racing's Rich Strike (Keen Ice) left Churchill Downs around 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday to head back to his main base at trainer Eric Reed's Mercury Equine Center in Lexington as a GI Kentucky Derby winner. "I couldn't sleep last night," Reed said after achieving his first Grade I victory and second graded victory in a career that began in 1985. "At four this morning I was wondering if this was real or if it was a dream. I got home and my kids and their friends were there with...

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TDN Kentucky Derby Top 20 for May 5

The last couple of anticipatory days prior to the GI Kentucky Derby can seem like a longer wait than the six-month prep season that preceded it. Here are the final TDN rankings, listed in "likeliest winner" order: 1) ZANDON (c, Upstart--Memories Prevail, by Creative Cause) O-Jeff Drown. B-Brereton C. Jones (KY). T-Chad C. Brown. Sales History: $170,000 ylg '20 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GISW, 4-2-1-1, $713,000. Last Start: 1st GI Toyota Blue Grass S. KY Derby Points: 114. Post 10, 3-1. Zandon enters the Derby having rightfully earned kingpin status. A...

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Derby and Oaks Workers Active on Both Coasts

A trio of GI Kentucky Derby contenders put in their final works ahead of next weekend's Run for the Roses. The only one of the three to work at Churchill Downs was GI Toyota Blue Grass S. winner Zandon (Upstart). Working on his own at 7:30 a.m. over a fast track with regular morning partner Kriss Bon aboard, the Chad Brown pupil completed the five furlongs in 1:00.40 (7/43). Churchill Downs clockers caught Zandon in fractions of :12.80, :25, :36.80, 1:00.40 and out in 1:12.80 and 1:26.40. "I just didn't...

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Tuesday Insights: Well-Related Goldencents Firster Right To the Races

3rd-Parx, $42K, Msw, 2yo, 2f, post time: 1:49 p.m. ET Less than six weeks after selling to owner Richard Malouf for $100,000 at the OBS March Sale, FERRARI KID (Goldencents) looks to recoup some of that investment in the first race of the season for the 2-year-old males. A :21 1/5 breezer in Central Florida during his Mar. 11 under-tack preview, the bay son of Catch the Flag (A.P. Indy) is a half-brother to SW Checkered Past (Smart Strike), whose 'TDN Rising Star' MGSW/GISP son Messier (Empire Maker) is set...

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The TDN Kentucky Derby Top 20 for April 19

With all the points-earning preps completed, the GI Kentucky Derby picture moves into "microscope mode" as we approach the two-week mark. The rankings below are independent from the "Road to the Derby" leaderboard Churchill Downs uses to determine starting berths. Access that list here. 1) ZANDON (c, Upstart--Memories Prevail, by Creative Cause) O-Jeff Drown. B-Brereton C. Jones (KY). T-Chad C. Brown. Sales History: $170,000 ylg '20 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GISW, 4-2-1-1, $713,000. Last Start: 1st GI Toyota Blue Grass S., KEE, Apr. 9. Next Start: GI Kentucky Derby, CD, May...

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Taiba Tops Former Baffert Trainee Exacta in Santa Anita Derby
Taiba Tops Former Baffert Trainee Exacta in Santa Anita Derby

Saturday's GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby was billed mainly as a match-up of back-to-back Grade II winner Forbidden Kingdom (American Pharoah) and 15-length GIII Robert B. Lewis S. romper and 'TDN Rising Star' Messier (Empire Maker), but the former dropped out of it in the lane after setting the pace, and $1.7-million FTFMAR buy Taiba (Gun Runner) ran by fellow Tim Yakteen trainee Messier to post the 4-1 upset and stamp his ticket to the GI Kentucky Derby. Having earned 'Rising Star' status himself and a gaudy 103 Beyer Speed...

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Best of the West To Be Decided in Santa Anita Derby

Barring something unforeseen, they are both headed to Louisville in a month's time, but Saturday's GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby will make either Messier (Empire Maker) or Forbidden Kingdom (American Pharoah) the left coast's best chance at GI Kentucky Derby glory when they go head-to-head for the second time Saturday afternoon. Named a 'TDN Rising Star' when graduating by a space at second asking over a six-furlong trip that was always bound to be sharp, Messier easily handled Forbidden Kingdom in Del Mar's GIII Bob Hope S. over seven furlongs...

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This Side Up: A Wrong Turn Onto the Right Road

They call it "pilot error." It's just that you have all the correction of perspective, right there, that anyone could possibly require. If a jockey makes a mistake, the consequences obviously tend to be a good deal less drastic than for a guy flying a plane. Besides, I have never liked the kind of blame culture that unites handicappers and horsemen in casting jockeys as the villains of their woulda-coulda-shoulda world. To be fair, perhaps that's rather more common in my native environment, racing on turf in Europe, where the...

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Best of the West To Be Decided in Santa Anita Derby

Barring something unforeseen, they are both headed to Louisville in a month's time, but Saturday's GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby will make either Messier (Empire Maker) or Forbidden Kingdom (American Pharoah) the left coast's best chance at GI Kentucky Derby glory when they go head-to-head for the second time Saturday afternoon. Named a 'TDN Rising Star' when graduating by a space at second asking over a six-furlong trip that was always bound to be sharp, Messier easily handled Forbidden Kingdom in Del Mar's GIII Bob Hope S. over seven furlongs...

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Baffert's Ownership Group Clarifies Move of Horses

SF Bloodstock's Tom Ryan, representing the ownership group which moved four top three-year-olds to other barns last week, posted a statement on Twitter Friday night clarifying the impetus of the move. "In light of recent commentary, our ownership group wishes to clear up a couple of misconceptions that have arisen about the transfer of our potential Derby horses to Rodolphe Brisset and Tim Yakteen," Ryan wrote. "The owners alone made this decision, and they did so in order to give the horses the opportunity they deserve to compete in this...

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Messier Fires Bullet in First Work for Yakteen

Top GI Kentucky Derby contender Messier (Empire Maker), recently transferred from Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert to his former assistant Tim Yakteen, breezed six furlongs Sunday for a start in the GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby Apr. 9 in a bullet 1:11.40, fastest by nearly three seconds of five recorded works at the distance. "He worked lights out," Yakteen said of Messier. "We had Johnny [Velazquez] work him and he'll ride him in the Santa Anita Derby. He gave us a thumbs up. The horse looked great, although he...

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Horses, Not Humans, Back at the Epicenter

First things first: let's give their chance to the guys off the bench. Okay, so there are going to be plenty of eyeballs rolled now that three of Bob Baffert's four Derby migrants are joining a former assistant, on the same circuit, with a total of 38 starters to his name this year—especially as it was the handling of another Baffert medication violation that reportedly caused the scuffle between this same gentleman and a fellow trainer at Clocker's Corner one morning last April. (Both were fined $500.)

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