Tag: Road to the Kentucky Derby

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, […]

Victor Espinoza aboard American Pharoah ended the 2015 Road to the Kentucky Derby. The new Derby Trail resumes at Churchill Downs May 23. (Image: AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Churchill Downs Fills Out Derby Trail With New Qualifying Race List

The Kentucky Derby Trail now has a visible path forward after Churchill Downs released a preliminary list of races offering Derby qualifying points, pending host track approval. One of the most interesting elements of the preliminary Derby Trail concerns the other two legs of the Triple Crown – the Preakness […]

In winning the tougher second division of the Arkansas Derby, Nadal remained unbeaten. The Bob Baffert-trained cold also took over the Kentucky Derby points lead. (Image: Coady Photography)

What Did We Learn About Major Kentucky Derby Hopefuls?

The Arkansas Derby is behind us and a work-in-progress Kentucky Derby Trail lies in front of us. With tracks around the country beginning to open again in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and Churchill Downs officials still mapping out prep races, it’s a good time to see where the […]

Fans won't see the gates wheeled into place at Churchill Downs, but horses and jockeys will starting May 16. (Image: Christopher Fryer)

Churchill Downs Announces New Race Schedule, Key Spring Stakes

After not hosting the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May for the first time in 75 years, Churchill Downs officials released its first condition book of races and its entire stakes schedule for its spring meet. The proposed slate features 16 stakes races and offers $2.25 million in […]

Bob Baffert's unbeaten Nadal is the 5/2 favorite in the tougher of the two Arkansas Derby divisions. (Image: AP)

Deep End of Arkansas Derby Pool is Smack Dab in Second Division

With the Arkansas Derby’s split divisions, here runs the talent. The Arkansas Derby’s second division features your graded-stakes winners, your low-odds Kentucky Derby futures picks and the horses owning Derby prep victories. Here is the Arkansas Derby’s varsity division – the second division. This is where you find your Louisiana […]

Charlatan, seen here winning a March allowance by 10 1/4 lengths at Santa Anita, enters his first stakes race Saturday. He's in the Arkansas Derby's first division. (Image: Benoit Photo)

Split Decisions: Arkansas Derby Breaks Into Two Divisions

Given the intense interest in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby amid the coronavirus pandemic, the move was as expected as it was unprecedented. And Oaklawn Park made it official Sunday, splitting Saturday’s final scheduled Kentucky Derby prep into two divisions. Both 11-horse divisions will race for a $500,000 purse, and […]

Bob Baffert's Thousand Words ships in from California as a vulnerable 5/2 favorite for the Oaklawn Stakes. (Image: OG News)

Oaklawn Stakes Vaults Into Prominence as Biggest Game in Any Town

Ignore for the moment that there are no Kentucky Derby qualifying points up for grabs at Saturday’s $200,000 Oaklawn Stakes. Instead, follow the lead of Hall of Fame trainers Bob Baffert and Steve Asmussen and pay attention to the opportunity. In Baffert’s case, it’s an opportunity to see how Thousand […]