Rock Your World

Derby Day 147 Is Here!

LOUISVILLE, KY - Beautiful spring weather, enthusiastic racing fans dressed to impress and the GI Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. This, of course, wasn't the case last year, far from it, as the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down and forced both the GI Kentucky Oaks and Derby to be held spectator-free over Labor Day weekend. Masks, temperature checks and social distancing are more of the norm these days as limited crowds of between 40,000-50,000 (40-50% reserved seating, 60% premium dining areas and...

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Spendthrift To Stand Rock Your World

Hronis Racing LLC & Talla Racing LLC's Rock Your World (Candy Ride {Arg}--Charm the Maker, by Empire Maker), the GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby winner and morning-line second favorite for Saturday's GI Kentucky Derby, will stand at B. Wayne Hughes's Spendthrift Farm at the conclusion of his racing career. Bred by trainer Ron McAnally and his wife Deborah, Rock Your World was a $650,000 purchase by Sapphire Stable at the 2019 Keeneland September sale before joining the Southern California barn of trainer John Sadler. A debut winner sprinting six furlongs...

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Thursday's Trackside Derby Report

LOUISVILLE, KY - Despite heavy overnight rain leaving the Churchill Downs main track a sloppy mess, there was still plenty to take in during Thursday's GI Kentucky Derby/Oaks training session, including an appearance by the horse that has the big bulls-eye on his back. Rock Your World (Candy Ride {Arg}), Soup and Sandwich (Into Mischief) and Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow) drew a nice crowd of admirers by the Lukas gap as the track was being sealed beneath ominous skies and humid conditions just a tick before 7:30 a.m. With his...

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The TDN Derby Top 20 for Apr. 29

by T.D. Thornton 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) ESSENTIAL QUALITY (c, Tapit--Delightful Quality, by Elusive Quality) O/B-Godolphin (KY); T-Brad Cox; J-Luis Saez. Lifetime Record: Ch. 2yo Colt & MGISW, 5-5-0-0, $2,265,144. Last Start: 1st GII Toyota Blue Grass S., KEE, Apr. 3 Accomplishments: 'TDN Rising Star', 1st GI TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile, KEE, Nov. 6, 1st GI...

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Wednesday's Trackside Derby Report

LOUISVILLE, KY - With the Churchill Downs backstretch and apron buzzing with socially distanced and mask-wearing fans, you could feel the excitement building during training hours on a steamy Wednesday morning. Cloudy skies and humid conditions greeted the GI Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders during the special, 15-minute training period beginning at 7:30 a.m. Hall of Famer Bob Baffert held court by the main gap and posed for a quick photo-op holding the lead shank of his overachieving $35,000 OBS July 2-year-old Medina Spirit (Protonico) as the main track was...

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Unbeaten Champion Essential Quality Favored for Kentucky Derby

LOUISVILLE, KY - Unbeaten champion Essential Quality (Tapit) was assigned post 14 in a full field of 20 assembled for Saturday's GI Kentucky Derby at Tuesday's post position draw held at Churchill Downs. The Godolphin homebred and 'TDN Rising Star,' tabbed as the 2-1 favorite on Mike Battaglia's morning line, made it a perfect five-for-five for trainer Brad Cox with a hard-fought, neck decision over Highly Motivated (Into Mischief) in the GII Blue Grass S. at Keeneland Apr. 3. Luis Saez, disqualified from first aboard Maximum Security in 2019, has...

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Early Impressions: Kentucky Derby 147

LOUISVILLE, KY - With the first Saturday in May quickly approaching, TDN Senior Editor Steve Sherack caught up with the connections of leading GI Kentucky Derby contenders to get some of their 'Early Impressions.' In this edition, we check in with: Godolphin USA President Jimmy Bell and Winter Quarter Farm Owner/General Manager Don Robinson. Unbeaten 2-year-old champion and 'TDN Rising Star' Essential Quality (Tapit) heads to the Kentucky Derby as the one to beat. The Godolphin homebred's unblemished five-for-five record is highlighted by wins in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile,...

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Rosario to Ride Rock Your World in Derby

Jockey Joel Rosario will replace Umberto Rispoli on unbeaten GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby hero Rock Your World (Candy Ride {Arg}) in the GI Kentucky Derby. The decision came after it was announced that Bob Baffert trainee Concert Tour (Street Sense), who Rosario had ridden in each of his four starts, would skip the Derby and opt for the GI Preakness S. Rosario rode Rock Your World in his turf sprint debut win at Santa Anita Jan. 1, but Rispoli was up for both the Pasadena S. and Santa Anita...

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California Trio Breeze Towards Derby

Three Santa Anita-based sophomores headed to the GI Kentucky Derby tuned up Saturday morning over their home track. Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow), who will have his fair share of backers off his front-running victory in the GII Louisiana Derby, went three-quarters of a mile in :1.14.20 for two-time Derby-winning conditioner Doug O'Neill. Flavien Prat, who was tabbed earlier this week for the ride, was aboard. "He looked solid. So far, so good," said O'Neill. Rock Your World (Candy Ride {Arg}), who remained perfect in three starts with his front-running success...

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Sadler Charts Derby Course with Rock Your World

The spoils of victory typically come with a nice polish. Gleaming trophies. Glossy plaques. But not always. "He offered me an egg roll at Clocker's Corner on Sunday morning," said trainer John Sadler, on Ron McAnally's act of largesse the day after Rock Your World (Candy Ride {Arg}), the horse the veteran conditioner bred, careened away with the GI Santa Anita Derby. "It was pretty good, but I don't think it was breakfast food," Sadler added, tongue firmly in cheek, before explaining that McAnally-who also trained both Rock Your World's...

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Ron McAnally Could Win His First Derby..as a Breeder

Twenty-four years after he last started a horse in the race, Ron McAnally could achieve as a breeder what he was never accomplished as a trainer--win the GI Kentucky Derby. Along with his wife Deborah, McAnally is the breeder of the GI Santa Anita Derby winner Rock Your World (Candy Ride {Arg}), who will be among the favorites come Derby day. It is the latest chapter in a Hall of Fame career that has included wins with superstars like John Henry, Paseana and Bayakoa and three Eclipse Awards as the...

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Taking Stock: Rock Your World is Bred For Any Surface

On Wednesday on Steve Byk's radio show "At the Races," while discussing the pedigree of Gl Runhappy Santa Anita Derby winner Rock Your World (Candy Ride {Arg}), I mentioned that the undefeated colt is suited for dirt despite beginning his career successfully with two wins on grass. In fact, Rock Your World, who earned a 100 Beyer Speed Figure on the main track, is bred to handle any surface and would probably be equally as adept on all-weather. Owned by Hronis Racing and Talla Racing and trained by John Sadler,...

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