May 5, 2012 |
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - As the sun first popped over the trees at Churchill Downs on Friday, Union Rags galloped for the last time before Saturday's 138th Kentucky Derby. "I think he's in good form right now," trainer Michael Matz said a little later in the morning outside Barn 42, the same spot where Matz once stabled the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro. Of his latest Derby horse, the 9-2 second choice in the morning line, owned by Phyllis Wyeth of Chadds Ford, Matz said, "I think he's ready to run. . . . We've been a little bit harder on him since the Florida Derby, getting him peaked a little bit more.
May 2, 2013 |
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Normandy Invasion, runner-up in the Wood Memorial, is named for the pivotal Allied assault in World War II. Rick Porter, the colt's owner, decided he could do more to honor that effort than simply naming a horse. He has arranged for four veterans of that campaign to join him at the Derby. "Three of them were on the beaches for the D-Day invasion," said Porter, a Wilmington native who has two-second place finishes in the Derby with Hard Spun (2007) and Eight Belles (2008)
May 2, 2013 |
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.
May 4, 2015 |
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Everybody at the Daily News has Stan Hochman stories. Mine, naturally, involves the racetrack. I met Stan at the 1984 Preakness at Pimlico. I was covering horse racing for an eight-month-old all-sports paper in Baltimore, my hometown. I had no idea what I was doing, but it was the perfect place to learn and make mistakes because nobody noticed for a very simple reason: Nobody was buying the paper. It was right after the Preakness post-position draw. I was asking questions/making suggestions to John Parisella, who trained a longshot named Fight Over.
May 15, 2010 |
BALTIMORE - After the Kentucky Derby, just about every trainer and jockey has an excuse - except the winner. The Preakness is about finding out which excuses were valid and whether the Derby was the true measure of the runners. This Preakness, however, is a bit different, because seven of the 12 horses did not run in the Derby, and the form of even the most obvious contenders is hardly overwhelming. Consider that Derby winner Super Saver is only 3-for-7. Paddy O'Prado, third in the Derby, is 1-for-7.
May 5, 2015 |
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - His two Kentucky Derby horses had been off the track and back in their stalls for an hour Wednesday morning. The day's work was done, but Bob Baffert was not inclined to leave, so the Hall of Fame trainer held court for a good hour. Even as the listeners dissipated to just a handful, Baffert kept talking, with or without questions. He was reliving his training life generally, his Derby life specifically - Cavonnier's nose loss in 1996 when he was sure he would never get another chance, the three wins in six years from 1997 to 2002, the terrible disappointment with Point Given in 2001.
March 30, 2013 |
Flash back 24 years, and Shug McGaughey's long-term future on the first Saturday in May seemed like such a given. Though his champion Easy Goer lost what was supposed to be his coronation, finishing second to eventual horse of the year Sunday Silence in the 1989 Kentucky Derby, all signs pointed to the would-be Hall of Fame trainer getting, at the very least, several more legitimate cracks at the American classic. "Obviously there is a lot of water under the bridge from those days," McGaughey said this month.
April 11, 1998 |
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.
May 6, 2012 |
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Last May, jockey Mario Gutierrez was the leading rider at Hastings Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Kentucky Derby a faraway event that he watched on television in the jockey's room. He migrated to Southern California this winter, going from horse racing's minors to the majors, hoping to get better mounts. Prominent owner J. Paul Reddam noticed the 25-year-old from Mexico and told his trainer Doug O'Neill to give the virtual unknown a chance. "He just really looked good in the irons to me," Reddam said.
May 16, 1998 |
Forget everything you've heard about today's 123d running of the Preakness Stakes. Start all over. The 2-1 favorite, Coronado's Quest, isn't coming after all. A bruised right hind foot discovered yesterday morning after a gallop sidelined the colt just hours before he was to have boarded a van for a predawn ride to Pimlico Race Track, where the $1 million second leg of the Triple Crown will be run today at 5:27 p.m. That means a new favorite,...