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Arkansas Derby

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April 17, 2005 | By Mike Jensen INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
They have been bringing them into the winner's circle at Oaklawn Park for 101 years, but yesterday had to be the first time a strip of grass inside a hedge shaped like a horseshoe was transformed into a raucous Northeast Philadelphia tap room. "I love you guys!" screamed Joe Lerro, who grew up in the Northeast and owns a beer distributorship there. Lerro acted as head cheerleader for his fellow owners in that crowded winner's circle after yesterday's $1 million Arkansas Derby. "I love every one of you!
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April 11, 1998 | By Jay Searcy, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Oaklawn Park, located downtown near the thermal baths, just three blocks from President Clinton's boyhood home on Clark Street, has been Arkansas' biggest tourist attraction almost from the day it was established 94 years ago. But it has never had a visitor quite like the one standing here in Stall 39 in a tin-roofed barn on the back side. Favorite Trick, a modest dark bay 3-year-old colt who has experts scratching their heads in puzzlement, is here to run in today's $500,000 Arkansas Derby on the last big weekend of Kentucky Derby prep races.
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April 5, 2005 | By Mike Jensen INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Rick Porter loves his horse. He knows he's biased but, Rockport Harbor's owner said, "I think he's the best three-year-old in the country. I haven't seen any stride like his in a long time. " But Rockport Harbor can't catch a break these days. After battling hoof problems for months, the colt from Philadelphia Park now is being treated for a blood clot in his neck that has slowed him less than five weeks before the Kentucky Derby. The April 16 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., was supposed to be the colt's last prep before the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs.
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April 30, 1999 | By Jay Searcy, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The bad jokes are everywhere - on the radio, in the newspapers, and on the backstretch at Churchill Downs - as tomorrow's running of the 125th Kentucky Derby approaches. "Can Valhol run 1 1/4 miles if batteries are not included?" "Yeah, but his extension cord might get in the way. " "Valhol shouldn't be in the Derby. He should run a match race with the Energizer Bunny. " Valhol is the long shot that stunned handicappers April 10 by winning the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, a spectacular performance that put him in the Derby but may have been aided, some evidence suggests, by a battery device known as a buzzer or machine.
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April 25, 1994 | Daily News Wire Services
Southern Rhythm and Soul of the Matter are back on track after the $137,250 Lexington Stakes. Southern Rhythm came off the pace on the turn for home yesterday to win the Grade II race by 2 1/2 lengths over favored Soul of the Matter at Keeneland Race Course. They probably will make their next starts in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 7 after their strong efforts in the last important Derby prep race. Garrett Gomez, who also rode Concern to victory in the Arkansas Derby on Saturday, was atop Southern Rhythm.
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April 4, 2005 | THE INQUIRER STAFF
Rockport Harbor has an undetermined ailment, which forced trainer John Servis to cancel his scheduled workout Saturday in Hot Springs, Ark., and put his status for the April 16 Arkansas Derby in question, according to BloodHorse.com. The problem is not related to his right hind foot, which was gashed when the Philadelphia Park-based colt won the Remsen Stakes in November at Aqueduct in New York. Rockport Harbor does not have a fever. "They think he had a reaction to a buildup shot he had a couple days ago," Fox Hill owner Rick Porter of Wilmington told the Web site Saturday.
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April 14, 1996 | FROM INQUIRER WIRE SERVICES
Shane Sellers rode Skip Away, a 4-1 shot, to victory in the $700,000 Blue Grass States at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., and Zarb's Magic outdueled Grindstone in the stretch to record a half-length victory in the $500,000 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. The two races, along with Aqueduct's Wood Memorial, are the last major preps for the May 4 Kentucky Derby. Skip Away coasted to a six-length win at rain-soaked Keeneland, winning in a stakes-record 1:47 1/5 for the mile and an eighth.
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February 20, 2013 | Associated Press
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Super Ninety Nine led from the start and dominated down the stretch for an 111/4-length win in the $300,000 Southwest Stakes in sloppy conditions Monday at Oaklawn Park. The runaway victory continued a successful stretch for trainer Bob Baffert, who won both divisions of the Kentucky Derby prep race last year. It was Baffert's third straight win in the Southwest Stakes and his fifth Grade 3 race at Oaklawn overall, including last year's Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby.
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March 7, 2005 | Daily News Wire Services
Finally, some Kentucky Derby buzz. From Florida to Arkansas to California, 3-year-olds were out in force Saturday trying to show whether they truly are contenders for the Derby just 2 months away. Afleet Alex and Declan's Moon won in their long-awaited seasonal debuts, while High Fly soared to victory in the 1 1/8-mile Fountain of Youth Stakes at Florida's Gulfstream Park. The results solidified Afleet Alex and Declan's Moon's rankings as 1-2 in the latest Run to the Roses' Top 10, while High Fly moves in for the first time at No. 4. Alex Afleet won the Mountain Valley Stakes at Hot Springs, Ark., while Declan's Moon won the $200,000 Santa Catalina Stakes in Arcadia, Calif.
SPORTS
April 17, 2013
Todd Pletcher's approach to the Kentucky Derby is simple: keep his best 3-year-olds from facing one another, win a bunch of big races around the country, and then let them meet at the starting gate at Churchill Downs. The nation's leading trainer is set to send out at least four of the 20 Derby starters on May 4 and likely will have the favorite in undefeated Verrazano, winner of the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on March 30. His other starters will be Louisiana Derby winner Revolutionary, Arkansas Derby winner Overanalyze, and Blue Grass runner-up Palace Malice.
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June 7, 2015 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Staff Writer
ELMONT, N.Y. - All eyes at Belmont Park on Friday morning were on the lookout. A man and a woman together at the rail, each with their own set of binoculars, spotted him first. "He's by himself . . . There he goes. " Eventually, here he came, American Pharoah, taking his last gallop, his final preparation for a bout with history in Saturday's Belmont Stakes, as the colt tries to become the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown, ending a 37-year drought. Trainer Bob Baffert has been right here before, with three horses that had won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness only to fall short – "I think I'm responsible for the drought," Baffert said Friday after American Pharoah returned to the barn.
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April 27, 2015 | BY DICK JERARDI, Daily News Staff Writer jerardd@phillynews.com
THEY WERE the anti-bluebloods, two self-described "knuckleheads from Northeast Philly" who were on the front lines of a horse-racing feast that began in Arkansas and moved on to Kentucky, Maryland and finally New York in the spring of 2005. It was a time unlike any in Triple Crown history, if you hung with Chuck Zacney and Joe Lerro. Others might have gotten more money out of the three races or had a horse with more residual value as a stallion. Nobody ever had more fun than the Ryan and Judge grads who insisted that absolutely everybody be a part of it. They knew instinctively it was a once-in-a-lifetime deal, and they wanted to share.
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September 17, 2014 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Staff Writer
This week, a horse will arrive from California and briefly turn a track on Street Road in Bensalem into the epicenter of North American thoroughbred racing. For at least a couple of minutes on Saturday, the sport will turn its eyes to Parx Racing, where Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome will bolt from the No. 1 gate in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby. This year's race marks the first time a reigning Kentucky Derby winner will be in the field. Chrome, scheduled to arrive at Parx on Tuesday, was installed as the even-money favorite in the eight-horse field of 3-year-olds on Monday.
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May 5, 2014 | BY DICK JERARDI, Daily News Staff Writer jerardd@phillynews.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A decade ago, Churchill Downs was in the midst of a major renovation. A few hours before the 2004 Kentucky Derby, it really looked as if the world might end - lightning, thunder, a deluge. The area was quickly becoming a construction zone/flood zone. John Servis was waiting out the final hours in the barn, not far from the stall that housed the unbeaten Pennsylvania-bred Smarty Jones owned by Roy and Pat Chapman. The Philadelphia Park-based trainer had guided the Arkansas Derby to this moment flawlessly.
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May 2, 2013 | BY DICK JERARDI, Daily News Staff Writer jerardd@phillynews.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Todd Pletcher has won 2,500 races in the last 10 years. The horses he trains have accounted for nearly $200 million in purses during that time. He has accumulated somewhere around $20 million for himself. His horses are 1-for-31 in the Kentucky Derby. "I think a couple ways you can look at it," Pletcher said. "I think for one, people seem to think that I've been training for 50 years or something, when in reality I first got my license in '96 and I think we had our first Derby starters in 2000.
SPORTS
April 23, 2013
  1. Verrazano (Todd Pletcher, trainer; John Velazquez, jockey): Worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.20 Sunday at Churchill Downs, third fastest of 40 at the same distance. ... Wood winner is unbeaten in all four starts and will try to become the eighth unbeaten Derby winner. ... Final Derby future wager odds: 7-1. 2. Orb (Shug McGaughey, Joel Rosario): Fountain of Youth, Florida Derby winner worked five furlongs in 1:02.20 Sunday at Payson Park. ... Gets original rider back now that Johnny V has chosen Verrazano.
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April 14, 2013 | Associated Press
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Bob Baffert knows well how to train a horse to win at Oaklawn Park. The Hall of Fame trainer hopes to once again capture an important race at the park on Saturday, when he sends out favorite War Academy in the $1 million Arkansas Derby. A Baffert-trained colt, Bodemeister, won the Kentucky Derby prep race last year, and the Californian guided horses to three straight wins at Oaklawn's Rebel Stakes before D. Wayne Lukas' Will Take Charge snapped that streak last month.
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February 20, 2013 | Associated Press
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Super Ninety Nine led from the start and dominated down the stretch for an 111/4-length win in the $300,000 Southwest Stakes in sloppy conditions Monday at Oaklawn Park. The runaway victory continued a successful stretch for trainer Bob Baffert, who won both divisions of the Kentucky Derby prep race last year. It was Baffert's third straight win in the Southwest Stakes and his fifth Grade 3 race at Oaklawn overall, including last year's Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby.
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