Tag: Road to the Kentucky Derby

Thousand Words (right) outdueled Anneau d'Or in last fall's Los Alamitos Futurity. The two slumping horses duel again in Saturday's Los Alamitos Derby. (Image: Benoit Photo)

Can Thousand Words Answer Uncle Chuck at Los Alamitos Derby?

Uncle Chuck and his Bob Baffert stablemate, Thousand Words, headline a small, but eclectic field at Saturday’s Grade 3 $150,000 Los Alamitos Derby. And, should one of the two Baffert charges win, they’ll not only bring in 20 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, but bring Baffert his fourth consecutive Los Alamitos […]

Beginning Thursday, a limited number of fans will see the sight of horses making the turn at Ellis Park. The Kentucky track announced seven backstretch workers tested positive for the coronavirus. (Image: Coady Photography)

On Eve of Meet, Seven Ellis Park Workers Test Positive for COVID-19

Less than a week before Ellis Park Race Track’s most historic season is set to begin, the track announced that seven backstretch workers tested positive for COVID-19. Track officials announced their summer meet will begin as scheduled on Thursday, with limited fans in attendance. Of the seven Ellis Park backstretch […]

Cezanne captured more than his debut race earlier this month. He seized the imagination of value-hunting Kentucky Derby bettors. (Image: Benoit Photo)

Cezanne Creates More Buzz Entering His Second Career Race

Cezanne’s potential as a Kentucky Derby contender will be further revealed on Thursday when the Bob Baffert-trained 3-year-old enters the Los Alamitos Race Course gate for his second career race. A $3.65 million purchase and one of the loudest buzz horses on the Kentucky Derby Trail, Cezanne is the 4/5 […]

Ellis Park gets ready for its 2020 close-up when it opens to limited spectators Thursday. It is one of a handful of racetracks allowing fans inside. (Image: Ellis Park Racetrack)

Kentucky’s Ellis Park to Open Historic Meet with Limited Fans

Ellis Park will become the first Kentucky racetrack to allow spectators when the track opens Thursday for its summer meet. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s directive allows racetracks to admit spectators up to 50% capacity beginning Monday. The Henderson facility plans selling reserved seating to its Sky Theater, the second floor […]

Trainer Peter Eurton takes the blinders off Storm the Court for Saturday's Ohio Derby. Will Storm the Court put on the speed he used to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile? (Image: Horsephotos.com)

Seeking to End Slump, Storm the Court Downshifts into Ohio Derby

Storm the Court’s 2020 season defines the term “sophomore slump,” which explains why you’re seeing the Champion 2-year-old in the starting gate for Saturday’s Grade 3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown. The consolation for Storm the Court? There are two. He gets back Flavien Prat, the West Coast’s top jockey, who […]

Yes, the bloodline is strong in this one. Cafe Pharoah, the son of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, qualified for the Kentucky Derby. (Image: Yuki Shimono)

Like Father, Like Son? Cafe Pharoah Qualifies for Kentucky Derby

There could be another Pharoah in the Kentucky Derby starting gate. Café Pharoah, a son of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, captured the Group 3 Unicorn Stakes in Japan, securing enough points on Japan’s Road to the Kentucky Derby to earn a spot – should his connections claim it. […]

New Jersey's Monmouth Park will open with 25% capacity July 3 for 37 days of racing. (Image: Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)

Monmouth Park Reopens Next Week, Limited Spectators Allowed

Monmouth Park joins the American racetrack opening parade next week, announcing it will open its track and in-house William Hill sports book Thursday, July 2. What sets Monmouth Park apart from its top-tier track brethren in this COVID-19 era is that the New Jersey track will allow fans inside. Under […]

Sole Volante isn't doing much walking these days. The busy 3-year-old heads to New York for Saturday's Belmont Stakes only 10 days after winning an allowance race. (Image: SV Photography)

Sole Volante Turning Around on 10 Days Rest, Headed to Belmont

The fact Sole Volante’s connections announced late Monday he will run in Saturday’s Grade 1 Belmont Stakes is noteworthy on a couple of fronts. First, it’s a horse committing to the first leg of a revamped Triple Crown. This has become a novelty over the last three weeks, with defections […]

Sole Volante returned from a three-month layoff to win a Gulfstream Park allowance race. He may return nine days from now in the Belmont Stakes. (Image: Lauren King/Gulfstream Park)

Nothing Routine About Sole Volante’s Allowance Win at Gulfstream Park

There was no reason to adjust your eyes, even in today’s pampered horseracing atmosphere where star horses don’t race more than once a month – if that. There were three Kentucky Derby hopefuls – Sole Volante, Ete Indien, and Shivaree — running a $55,000 allowance race on an otherwise ordinary […]

Wells Bayou will have plenty of time to cool down now. The Louisiana Derby winner and former Kentucky Derby contender is out with bone bruising. (Image: Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography

Bone Bruising Sends Wells Bayou to the Triple Crown Sidelines

Right on the hoofprints of Maxfield’s injury and subsequent departure from the Kentucky Derby Trail, Louisiana Derby winner Wells Bayou suffered bone bruising that will keep him out of the Sept. 5 Derby. Currently third on the active Derby qualifying points ladder with 104, Wells Bayou breezed a half-mile in […]

Undefeated in three races, Maxfield injured a leg bone during a routine workout Wednesday. He's out of the Triple Crown races. (Image: Jordan Thomson)

Maxfield Injured, Star Colt Becomes Latest Derby Trail Casualty

Illustrating another example of the precarious nature of Thoroughbred horse racing, Kentucky Derby contender Maxfield injured his front right leg during a routine workout on Wednesday. He will miss the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby after suffering a condylar fracture in his leg. If this sounds eerily familiar, it should. This […]

Charlatan easily captures his division of the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby. But it's been an uphill climb for the Bob Baffert colt since. He'll miss the Belmont and the Kentucky Derby with an ankle injury. (Image: AP Photo)

Ankle Injury Takes Star Baffert Colt Charlatan Out of Belmont, Derby

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s vaunted Big Three Kentucky Derby contenders is now down to a Big One with the news that Charlatan will miss the Kentucky Derby with an ankle injury. Baffert told Paulick Report Publisher Ray Paulick the undefeated Speighstown progeny suffered “a filling in a front […]

Bob Baffert usually rides high in the saddle at the Santa Anita Derby. He's going for his 10th victory in the premier West Coast Kentucky Derby prep. (Image: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Baffert Gets an Authentic Opportunity for Santa Anita Derby Three-Peat

Even in a year where the COVID-19 pandemic pushed matters from April to June, Saturday’s Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby storylines begin where they usually do – in Bob Baffert’s Santa Anita Park barn. After all, where else to begin than the barn that produced nine previous Santa Anita Derby […]

Honor A.P. Looks to Leap Into Front-Row Derby Contention

He may be the biggest sleeper of all the serious Kentucky Derby favorites, the one currently sailing under most Derby list radars. But you lose track of Honor A.P. at your own peril, which is why he’s in peril of winning Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby. It’s some dangerously fast company […]

Nadal won February's San Vicente Stakes for one of his four career victories. The cold retired Thursday after breaking a bone in his leg during a workout. (Image: Benoit Photography)

Broken Bone Forces Kentucky Derby Favorite Nadal Into Retirement

Illustrating the fragile nature of today’s Thoroughbred horses, Kentucky Derby favorite Nadal broke a bone in his left front leg during a Thursday morning workout. His owner, George Bolton, said Nadal has been immediately retired. One of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s standout 3-year-olds, Nadal worked a half-mile at […]

Favored in the Matt Winn Stakes, Maxfield is the best horse in the field. But is there value elsewhere in this Kentucky Derby prep? (Image: Jordan Thomson)

Matt Winn Stakes Takes Center Stage for Derby Hopefuls

It’s the fourth Saturday in May, which brings us Churchill Downs’ headline race for 3-year-olds this spring. You can hear the dulcet tones of “My Old Kentucky Home” as the 10 horses enter the gate for the Matt Winn Stakes. No, that’s not a typo or the result of a […]

Honor A.P. is one of the sleeper Kentucky Derby picks. His trainer, John Shirreffs, opted to bypass the Belmont Stakes for home-track Santa Anita Park. (Image: Santa Anita Park)

New Kentucky Derby Trail Presents Options, Tough Choices for Trainers

Sole Volante is off to the Belmont Stakes. His stablemate, Ete Indien, heads to the Haskell Stakes. And Honor A.P. stays home for the Santa Anita Derby. These three Kentucky Derby contenders illustrate how many different paths have emerged on the Derby Trail during the COVID-19 era. Even in a […]

The last time we saw Maxfield race, he came from ninth to first to win the Breeders' Futurity last October. He returns to the gate Saturday after 7 1/2 months off. (Image: Eclipse Sportswire)

Maxfield Ready to Rejoin the Derby Trail at Saturday’s Matt Winn Stakes

The expectations surrounding Maxfield on his 3-year-old debut at Saturday’s Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs can be viewed through the prism of two other horses who recently returned from extended time off. The first: Bob Baffert’s Tale of the Union, who returned to the starting gate at […]

King Guillermo, seen here winning the Tampa Bay Derby in March at 49/1, won't sneak up on anyone in the Belmont Stakes. His connections decided to bypass the June 20 first leg of the Triple Crown. (Image: Coolmore Farm)

Connections Bench King Guillermo From Belmont Stakes

The Belmont Stakes already has Bob Baffert’s powerful unbeaten duo of Charlatan and Nadal. It has Kentucky Derby favorite Tiz the Law. But it won’t have King Guillermo. Juan Carlos Avila, King Guillermo’s trainer, tweeted the Tampa Bay Derby winner won’t run the June 20, 1 1/8-mile Belmont Stakes. Instead, […]