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Kentucky Derby

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May 19, 2014 | By Frank Fitzpatrick, Inquirer Columnist
Each spring at Triple Crown time, when thoroughbred racing briefly flowers on the American sports landscape like an exquisite azalea, I think of Joe Bummer. His actual name escapes me these four-plus decades later, but I'm certain it couldn't have described him any better than the nickname my friends and I gave him. (The actual name we called him was a Yiddish word for perennial dissatisfaction, but after 40-some years I can neither pronounce nor recall it.) Joe was a railbird at Garden State Park and Brandywine Raceway.
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May 19, 2014 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
BALTIMORE - The story got better for California Chrome on Saturday, and it was pretty good already. The chestnut colt that hasn't lost a race as a 3-year-old followed up his Kentucky Derby victory two weeks ago with an authoritative Preakness Stakes win to set up a potential Triple Crown scenario for the Belmont Stakes on June 7. Twelve other horses have been in this position since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978, and all of them either...
SPORTS
May 16, 2014 | By Dick Jerardi, Daily News Columnist
BALTIMORE - So what has changed since the May 3 Kentucky Derby? Well, 16 of the 19 Derby horses will not be in the Preakness starting gate, the second through fourth Derby finishers instead awaiting the June 7 Belmont Stakes. Instead of having a month between races, Derby winner California Chrome has only 2 weeks. This race really does appear to have the quality early speed the Derby promised on paper, but did not deliver on the track. And CC will be something like 2-5 instead of 5-2. That is what happens when the Derby winner runs at Pimlico after five consecutive wins by a combined 26 lengths.
SPORTS
May 16, 2014 | BY DICK JERARDI, Daily News Staff Writer jerardd@phillynews.com
AFTER THE Kentucky Derby draw, there was some concern that favorite California Chrome might be surrounded by all the speed to his outside. By the time the field had gone 200 yards, Chrome was sitting third in solid position, 16 horses behind him. After yesterday's Preakness draw at Pimlico, there is at least a chance that the Derby's potential scenario could actually happen. Or Chrome, drawn into post 3 in the 10-horse field, might be so fast and so versatile that, even though there is definite speed to his outside and potential speed to his inside, he will find a way to get good position by the finish line, 330 yards from the starting gate, position so good that everybody will just be waiting for him to unleash that "move" when he heads for the finish line the second time.
SPORTS
May 16, 2014
IT WAS the Tuesday morning before the Kentucky Derby, maybe 2 minutes after I met Art Sherman. He was telling me stories, punctuating them by hitting me lightly on the arm to emphasize his points, laughing, having a great time. I felt like I had known him forever. When we started talking about the horse he trains, I explained I had jumped on the California Chrome bandwagon 2 months before and was riding it to the finish line, telling everybody I knew the horse could not lose. When I got a one-on-one audience in the Derby Museum 2 hours after the Derby, Sherman told me: "You put yourself on the line.
SPORTS
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.
SPORTS
May 2, 2014 | BY DICK JERARDI, Daily News Staff Writer jerardd@phillynews.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - In a perfect world, Kentucky Derby favorite California Chrome would have drawn outside the other speed horses, where traffic is less likely to be an issue. Also in a perfect world, the Derby field would be limited to a rational 14, not an irrational 20, the biggest field allowed in any American race. Nothing is close to perfect in horse racing, a sport where what you think you know often becomes irrelevant a second after the horses leave the starting gate. So, trying to overanalyze yesterday afternoon's post position draw is really not worth the effort.
SPORTS
May 2, 2014 | By Dick Jerardi, Daily News Columnist
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - I always try to separate the Kentucky Derby story from the horse, but admittedly, it is not easy. California Chrome certainly brings the best story to this Derby. Even before I knew the story, I was pretty much convinced he was the best horse. The college hoops regular season was wearing down, the conference tournaments about to begin when I sat down to watch the San Felipe Stakes on March 8 at Santa Anita. I thought Midnight Hawk, trained by Bob Baffert, would be favored.
SPORTS
May 2, 2014 | BY DICK JERARDI, Daily News Staff Writer jerardd@phillynews.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Terry and Debbie Finley, classmates at Truman High in Levittown, often went on dates to Garden State Park, Philadelphia Park and Liberty Bell. Terry went off to West Point, where he graduated in 1986. Eventually, he and his by-now wife got back to the horses. They owned a cheap claimer, but they always had bigger dreams. They started West Point Thoroughbreds, creating partnerships in horses that made ownership accessible for lesser investments, spreading the risk among multiple owners in the same horse.
SPORTS
May 1, 2014 | BY DICK JERARDI, Daily News Staff Writer jerardd@phillynews.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Nearly a half century of Aprils have passed since 18-year-old stablehand Art Sherman shared a sleeping bag with a groom on a 4-day cross-country train ride destined for Churchill Downs. They were accompanying the best race horse ever born in California to his date with Kentucky Derby glory. The legendary Swaps, who would eventually set six world records, upset the heavily favored Nashua in the 1955 Derby. A once-in-a-lifetime horse, Swaps would eventually get a statue at Hollywood Park and a permanent place in the heart of that teenager who would become his exercise rider.
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