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Kentucky Derby

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May 26, 2015 | By Bob Brookover, Inquirer Columnist
This Memorial Day story from 30 years ago was so surreal that it still seems too fantastic to be true. You can also find a lot of people who will tell you the financing involved makes it a sad story rather than a happy one. Regardless, it was an amazing sequence of events that culminated with a horse's run for the money after winning the Run for the Roses. A horseman and Wall Street investor from Newark, N.J. had this vision of a glamorous racetrack in the middle of South Jersey where all the great thoroughbreds would come to run. It would be built on the same ground in Cherry Hill that had housed Garden State Park from 1942 until April 14, 1977, the date a massive fire killed three people and turned the grandstand into ashes.
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May 18, 2015 | By Frank Fitzpatrick, Inquirer Staff Writer
BALTIMORE - Pimlico's infield, packed with raucous revelers all day, was eerily empty, evacuated in advance of a storm that struck minutes before the race. Lightning bolts snapped and flashed in the darkness engulfing this 143-year-old track. And the rain, a relentless torrent, fell hard and angrily. But as he powerfully separated himself from seven muddy and outclassed rivals in the 140th Preakness Stakes' swampy stretch late Saturday afternoon, American Pharoah never seemed to notice.
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May 18, 2015 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
BALTIMORE - The storm had been building much of the afternoon, rolling in from the west and gradually darkening the sky behind the grandstand at Pimlico Race Course. It arrived just before the start of the 140th Preakness Stakes, and the horses on the track had to shuffle around and wait a few minutes in the downpour before being loaded into the gate. There was lightning in the area and thunder rumbling overhead, which are not optimal conditions for millions of dollars of horseflesh to stand inside a steel starting gate.
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May 17, 2015 | By Frank Fitzpatrick, Inquirer Staff Writer
BALTIMORE - The Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes may be more glamorous, but it's the Preakness alone that can transform three distinct races into a Triple Crown. When Derby winners falter at Pimlico, the anticipation and curiosity that animate the three races disappears. Whatever happened at Churchill Downs two weeks earlier fades from memory. And June's climactic Belmont is instead anticlimactic. So, in addition to jockey Victor Espinoza, American Pharoah will carry that burden for the troubled sport late Saturday afternoon when he heads a bifurcated field of eight 3-year-olds in the 140th Preakness.
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May 17, 2015 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
When Divining Rod is led from the Stakes Barn at Pimlico Race Course late Saturday afternoon and takes the traditional walkover to be saddled for the Preakness Stakes, it will be the first time the blue, green and white silks of Lael Stables, owned by Roy and Gretchen Jackson, will see the track for a Triple Crown race since 2006, when the same walk was taken by ill-fated Kentucky Derby champion Barbaro. The Jacksons have had some very good horses since then, including multiple stakes winners several times, but none that had the right timing, the right form and the right luck to be entered in one of the three most prestigious races in the United States.
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May 15, 2015
THREE YEARS after Ahmed Zayat sold his Egyptian beverage company for $280 million in 2002, he did what any naturalized American citizen from Cairo would do with that kind of cash - he went to horse sales around the country to see how fast he could spend it. The man who got a master's in public health from Boston University and lives in Teaneck, N.J., charged headfirst into horse racing with blinkers on and a strategy that bordered on manic....
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May 13, 2015 | By Mike Jensen, Inquirer Staff Writer
They share your memories. Roy and Gretchen Jackson do - but they have so many more of their own. The Jacksons remember every minute of Preakness day, 2006. It was their horse, Barbaro, who broke down shortly after leaving the starting gate, two weeks after Barbaro had romped in the Kentucky Derby. The Jacksons can remember where they were, who they talked to, their jockey walking over and saying, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry" . . . even the policemen who helped Barbaro get out of Pimlico Race Course, on the road to the New Bolton Center in Chester County, where the horse had surgery for his catastrophic leg fractures the next day, just down the road from their own home in West Grove.
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May 5, 2015 | By Dick Jerardi, Daily News Columnist
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.
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May 4, 2015 | Dick Jerardi, Daily News Staff Writer
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.
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