May 3, 2006 |
When Needles exploded out of Churchill Downs' No. 3 gate in the 1956 Kentucky Derby, jockey Dave Erb knew instantly this wasn't the same horse that had come from far back to win the Flamingo Stakes and the Florida Derby. "Normally, when you'd come out of the gate, he'd just drop back himself," Erb, now 82, recalled this week from his home near Saratoga Springs, N.Y. "But he was so doggone fresh, as fresh as the devil, that he wanted to make his run right away. I had to rassle him to get him to slow down.
May 2, 1996 |
The top three favorites for Saturday's Kentucky Derby all drew difficult starting positions yesterday. Favored Unbridled's Song drew the outside post in the field of 20 3-year-olds, a starting spot that has produced only one winner in the history of the race. Still, the winner of the Florida Derby and the Wood Memorial was made the early 8-5 favorite. Unbridled's Song was followed by Blue Grass winner Skip Away at 7-2, and the Overbrook Farm entry of Editor's Note and Grindstone, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, at 6-1. Skip Away drew the No. 17 post and Editor's Note drew No. 18. There have been 157 starters from post 15 to 23 in the auxiliary gate and only four have won. The gelding Clyde Van Dusen, in 1929, was the only winner to start from the No. 20 post.
April 2, 1987 |
With Masterful Advocate in California and West Coast invader Capote finally in New York, the first of the Super Saturdays leading to the Kentucky Derby has begun to take shape. Masterful Advocate, unbeaten in three starts this year, will be favored to win the $500,000 Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park. He will face a small field - probably no more than six other 3-year-olds - in the 1 1/8-mile race. Capote, last year's 2-year-old champion, arrived by plane yesterday morning for Aqueduct's $250,000 Gotham Mile.
May 19, 2011
Graham Motion was hoping Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom got a post from the middle to the outside of the 14-horse Preakness field. So, Post 11 for Saturday's 1 3/16 mile-race was just about what the trainer wanted. "It's great," Motion said. "I couldn't be happier, really. I just would rather be on the outside than stuck down on the inside. I was a little worried when 1 and 14 were left. I've started from 14 before and you're almost on the outside rail. That's a tough spot. " Animal Kingdom was 20-1 when he won the Derby.
May 3, 1997 |
Six springs ago, Frank Brothers stood on the Churchill Downs backstretch talking about a brilliant colt he hoped would take him to the Kentucky Derby winner's circle. That colt, Hansel, was bet down to 5-2 favoritism. He ran a dismal 10th. Brothers didn't understand. He understood it less when Hansel dominated the Preakness and won the Belmont Stakes, too. The only explanation? It was the Derby. Answers seldom emerge - ever. Brothers is back with a colt more talented than Hansel.
April 18, 1994 |
Holy Bull established himself at the favorite for the May 7 Kentucky Derby with his 3 1/2-length victory in the Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. It was Holy Bull's third win in four starts this year and his seventh in eight career races. He has led all the way in five of those victories, including the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby in his previous start March 12 at Gulfstream Park. "That's pretty exciting," owner-trainer Jimmy Croll said when told that Mike Battaglia, oddsmaker for both Keeneland and Churchill Downs, said he would make Holy Bull the favorite for the 1 1/4-mile Derby.
May 4, 2012 |
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jamie Wyeth stood off to the side of the grassy plot outside Barn 42, hard by Longfield Avenue, silently sketching the crowd watching the colt his wife owns taking a bath. If one scene could describe the Kentucky Derby experience, that would be it. "It's amazing interest," Jamie said. "It sure is a distance from my studio and my world. " The Wyeths had just been trackside at Churchill Downs Wednesday morning watching Union Rags take one of his final morning gallops before Saturday's Kentucky Derby.
May 24, 2012 |
JOHN VELAZQUEZ has won nearly 5,000 races and is closing on 750 stakes wins. He has won 22 riding titles at New York's three major tracks, nine Breeders' Cup races and two Triple Crown races. He was just elected to the Horse Racing Hall of Fame. If you said he was the best jockey in America today, you really would not get much of an argument. If "Johnny V" had not been committed to ride another horse this spring, he would have ridden Union Rags in his Florida campaign and the Kentucky Derby.
June 15, 2012 |
WHEN UNION RAGS finished his 2-year-old season, the colt did not need to earn any more money to get a spot in the Kentucky Derby. Under a new points system announced Thursday by Churchill Downs to determine the now-normal 20-horse Derby field, 2-year-old form will be much less relevant. The system does not include races at less than a mile or races restricted to fillies. Instead of the old graded stakes earnings that could be won in 185 races worldwide, points can be earned in only 36 stakes races, only one on grass.
February 28, 2013
Shug McGaughey catches Derby fever every once in a while, and the Hall of Fame trainer just might have it again, thanks to a 3-year-old colt named Orb . Orb rallied in the stretch for a half-length win over favorite Violence in Saturday's Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park for his third straight victory. Even though McGaughey admits he's excited about a chance to win his first Derby - he's 0 for 6 there - he's trying to remain his usual low-key self. "If he keeps improving, maybe he'll be something," the trainer said.