Beds are Ready to Roll at Broadbent in Louisville Sunday, Apr 26 2015 

from Kentucky Derby Festival. . .

Louisville, KY. –  Beds on wheels will be in high gear April 27 as they participate in the Thorntons Kentucky Derby Festival Great Bed Races. More than 40 teams are expected to race their decorated beds on wheels around the figure-eight course.

The dormitory area will be staged outside Broadbent Arena and will open at 11:30 a.m. for participant tailgating. Bed racing fans are invited to come out early at 4 p.m. and join the tailgate party. The participating teams will have an opportunity to showcase their costumes and bed in a pre-race parade around the racing surface, beginning at 6:00 p.m. The first heat begins at 7 p.m.  Admission is a 2015 Pegasus Pin.

bedrace“Sports fans know Thorntons gets you to the game, so this year the theme of the Great Bed Races is ‘Ultimate Game Day’,” said Mike Berry, KDF President and CEO.  “Teams always get creative with their bed decorations.  This year, the beds could reflect anything from favorite sports teams to preparing for game day and planning a tailgate party, as well as other favorite games like Candy Crush or even Monopoly. “

The races feature two 600-feet divisions – the Fun Division and the Champions Division.  Teams also compete for prizes for fastest times and most outrageous costumes and decorations.  Prizes will be awarded to the teams with the three fastest times, as well as awards for the “Cone Eater,” “Best Decorated Bed,” and “Most Entertaining.” Winners will also be invited to appear in the Pegasus Parade on Thursday, April 30.

Thorntons is the new Title Sponsor of the Great Bed Races.  Contributing sponsors are: AAA East Central, Hollander Sleep Products and Mattress Firm, along with Media Partner: 107.7 The Eagle. Broadcast special on WAVE 3 TV

The Pharaoh Praised, Derby Hopefuls Get Ready in Louisville Sunday, Apr 26 2015 

It’s here — Derby Week is upon us and Saturday’s big race is just six days away. Here’s a rundown of the horses approaching the Kentucky Oaks and Derby from Churchill Downs. 

CHAMPION AMERICAN PHAROAH WORKS BULLET FIVE FURLONGS TOWARD KENTUCKY DERBY; 35-YEAR CLOCKER SAYS HE MIGHT BE BEST HE’S EVER SEEN

LOUISVILLE, Ky.  – Zayat StablesAmerican Pharoah, the champion 2-year-old of 2014 and probable morning-line favorite for the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI), worked five furlongs in :58.40 Sunday morning at Churchill Downs. The work was the fastest of 32 at the distance.

The big Prize, up close and personal

The big Prize, up close and personal

“I have been doing this for 35 years,” said private clocker and bloodstock agent Gary Young, “and he might be the best horse I’ve ever seen. He’s simply like Michael Jordan and stays in the air like he did in his rookie year. He stays in the air longer than any horse and you get the feeling that there’s not one gear left, but he may have two, three or four gears.”

Arriving early Sunday afternoon from Southern California for the Derby were Dortmund, Firing Line and Bolo.

Also on the Churchill Downs work tab Sunday for the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) were two-time Oaks-winning trainer Larry Jones’ hopefuls: I’m a Chatterbox (1:01) and Lovely Maria (:59.60), who put in five-furlong works with their race riders aboard, and Donegal Racing’s Puca (:48.20) and Regis Racing’s Shook Up (:49.60), who both worked a half-mile.

 

KENTUCKY DERBY NOTES

AMERICAN PHAROAH/DORTMUND –  Zayat Stables’ American Pharoah provided some heat on a raw morning at Churchill Downs Sunday with a bullet workout – the fastest of the day at the distance – covering five furlongs in :58.40 under jockey Martin Garcia.

The Arkansas Derby (G1) winner, who is likely to be the betting  favorite in the 141st Kentucky Derby, turned in split times of 11.40; 23, 34.60 and 46.40. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:11.40.  It was American Pharoah’s first work since he won the Arkansas Derby by eight lengths on April 11.

“He’s where we want him to be,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said. “He hasn’t regressed. He looks great. It was pretty exciting to come in here on a nice, cool day, so everything worked out From here on out we have to keep him happy.”

Baffert’s other Derby candidate, unbeaten Dortmund, had his final Derby work at Santa Anita and arrived at Churchill Downs early Sunday afternoon.

As he typically does, Baffert watched the workout from the grandstand side of the track so he could see the colt run down the stretch to the wire. With Baffert were the colt’s owner Ahmed Zayat and his son, Justin, the stable’s racing manager. Baffert was worried about the track conditions because of the rain overnight, but said the surface was in great shape.

Baffert liked what he saw on the track and did not give Garcia any instructions on the walkie talkie.

“He was just clipping along,” Baffert said. “Usually, I talk to him, but I just left him alone. He was doing it in hand, but that’s the way he works. Mr..Zayat was wondering if he was going too fast, but he hasn’t seen him. That’s how he works in California. He does things really effortlessly. He galloped out strong, came back and wasn’t blowing. He handled it well.”

Baffert said the toughest task in the week would be controlling the owner, an enthusiastic, outgoing man who has three Derby candidates with as many trainers. American Pharoah is the most accomplished of the trio and has won four straight by a total of 22 ¾ lengths since his disappointing debut at Del Mar last summer.

“He’s such a nice horse,” Baffert said. “I’m just fortunate that I would lucky enough that he sent him to me and I have him. I could have drawn the short stick and gotten another horse. I’m just happy that he’s given me this horse and has gotten me in this position.”

Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby three times – Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and War Emblem (2002) — and drew laughter with his response to a question about how he would react to a fourth victory.

“It’s been so long I’ve forgotten,” he said. “That’s the past right there. It was so long ago it doesn’t matter. This horse is totally different than those other horses. Every horse is different. They have a different personality, a different style. He’s made differently. He moves differently than those other horses. He’s a very exciting horse. You’ve all just witnessed the way he trains. That’s been him. When he runs, he shows a dimension. He surprises me every time that I run him. I’m looking forward and hope everything goes well. But he still needs racing luck. You have to get a decent post, you need to break well and get the trip. A lot can happen, so I really don’t take anything for granted.”

Baffert noted that Zayat’s horses have been second in the Derby three times. He referenced the Seattle Seahawks’ loss on a play in the final seconds of the Super Bowl and said you cannot get ahead of yourself in these types of situations.

“I saw the (Seattle coach) Pete Carroll deal and what he had to go through. I’ve been there,” Baffert said. “Right now we just have to contain ourselves. It’s exciting to be here with two good horses, him and Dortmund. It’s going to be a long week and hopefully it will go quickly. He looks great today. Every day is a different day.”

Zayat said he wanted to look ahead and not spend much time reflecting on the runner-up finishes.

“I want to focus on the positive, and there’s a lot,” he said. “I’m very proud of my horse, my horses – I have two others in the Derby. I’m very proud of my trainer. This is one different horse. I don’t how, other than the fact that we bred him. His daddy, Pioneerof the Nile ran in the Derby and almost got it done for us. His mommy, Littleprincessemma, named after my daughter, we raced her, we loved her. He is totally Zayat blood from A to Z. If you want to be in the Derby and you want to come with a horse that you feel would have a decent chance that would be the one. For that, it means a lot for us. It’s a privilege just to be here. It’s a humbling experience.”

American Pharaoh will be ridden by two-time Derby winner Victor Espinoza.

BOLD CONQUEST –  The Ackerley Brothers Farm’s Bold Conquest galloped a mile and a half Sunday under exercise rider Abel Flores and is scheduled to work Monday for trainer Steve Asmussen.

The colt, who stands 22nd in the Kentucky Derby points standings and isn’t assured a spot in the body of the Derby field, is coming off a fifth-place finish in the Arkansas Derby (GI). “We’re training him,’’ Asmussen said. “We get to see how he’s doing.’’

BOLO – Golden Pegasus Racing and Earle Mack’s Bolo was aboard a Tex Sutton charter flight out of Ontario in Southern California Sunday that landed in Louisville shortly before noon. Also on the plane were Kentucky Derby 141 starters Dortmund and Firing Line.

Bolo, a Temple City colt who is trained by veteran California conditioner Carla Gaines, was vanned to Churchill Downs and took up residence in Barn 45. He was joined by his groom, Daniel Marquez, along with his exercise rider, Tony Rubalcaba, who had flown a red-eye out of LAX to be on hand for their charge’s arrival. Gaines plans to join in on the fun on Monday.

Bolo was third in the Santa Anita Derby behind Dortmund on April 4 in his latest try. The dark bay will be handled in Saturday’s mile and a quarter classic by California’s top rider, Rafael Bejarano.

CARPE DIEM/ITSAKNOCKOUT/MATERIALITY/STANFORD – You have your busy days and your not so busy ones on the road to the Kentucky Derby. A serious participant in the annual fest – and with 40 starters in the race since the year 2000, trainer Todd Pletcher has gone way beyond casual in this quest – learns to ride the ups and downs and keep moving forward.

Sunday at Churchill Downs was one of those almost-as-slow-as-Vermont-molasses mornings, one that the Texas-born conditioner a chance to grab a deep breath, even though he’s poised to add four more runners to his Derby credits when the 141st edition of the Run for the Roses unfolds this coming Saturday.

Pletcher’s three Churchill based Derby colts — Starlight Racing’s Itsaknockout, Alto Racing’s Materiality and Stonestreet Stables, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor’s Stanford – all just took simple strolls around their Barn 40 shedrow Sunday, no heavy lifting required. The trainer had worked all three Friday, then jogged them Saturday and was happy with where they were.

“I like where they are with their training right now,” he said. “Walking was the right thing to do today; give them a day off. They’ll go back to the track tomorrow for gallops or jogs, we’ll see.”

On a second front, Pletcher had his staff at Keeneland put Blue Grass Stakes (GI) winner Carpe Diem through a one-mile jog around the Lexington oval. The WinStar Farm and Stonestreet Stables runner had worked at that track Saturday morning, so a follow-up jog day was just about par for the course in Pletcher’s world.

“I’m headed over there now to give him a check and make sure all the arrangements are in place to bring him over here Monday,” Pletcher said.

The seven-time Eclipse Award winner as the nation’s top conditioner is all set on riders for three of his four runners. Hall of Famers John Velazquez will be at the controls for Carpe Diem; Javier Castellano will handle Florida Derby winner Materiality, and Luis Saez has the call on Itsaknockout. The assignment on Louisiana Derby runner-up Stanford has yet to be resolved.

“Still working on it,” Pletcher said.

DANZIG MOON – John Oxley’s Danzig Moon galloped a mile and half after the morning renovation break with exercise rider William Cano up. It was the first day back on the track for the Blue Grass Stakes (GI) runner-up since working a half-mile in :48.80 on Friday.

“He went pretty well this morning and tomorrow he will probably go to the paddock,” said Norman Casse, assistant to father, trainer Mark Casse.

Danzig Moon was on the track the same time that American Pharoah was working.

“I saw him go by at the three-eighths pole and it looked like he was moving along pretty good,” Casse said with a laugh. “There have been plenty of circumstances in the past when something or another happens to a standout and somehow they get beat. We were kind of laughing about coming back watching all the people around (Bob) Baffert this morning. I’d rather have all those people with us after the race.”

EL KABIER – Zayat Stables’ El Kabeir came out of his half-mile work of :46.81 Saturday at Belmont Park in good order according to trainer John Terranova.

“Everything is great here and he is getting ready to ship this afternoon,” Terranova said. “He will get in early tomorrow morning, get the day off and go to the track Tuesday.”

FAR RIGHT – Harry Rosenblum and Robert LaPenta’s Far Right galloped a mile and a half after the renovation break with Laura Moquett aboard.

Far Right made the earliest debut of any possible Kentucky Derby entrant, running second in a 4 ½-furlong race at Keeneland on April 25 last year. Two weeks later he ran second going the same distance at Churchill Downs.

Rosenblum bought the Notional colt in a private purchase the first of July and Far Right was transferred to trainer Ron Moquett, who was very familiar with him.

“I saw his first race at Keeneland and he dropped the rider in the post parade and it took the outriders 15 minutes to catch him and they still put him back in the gate,” Moquett said. “The horse that beat him that day was Conquest Tsunami, who has won five of seven and three stakes. The horse that beat him here was Cinco Charlie and all he did was win the (William Walker) stake last night. Those are two good horses.”

In his first start for Moquett in September, he won a 6 ½-furlong maiden race by five lengths.

“This is the guy right here that rode him,” Moquett said of jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. “He got off the horse and the first thing he said was ‘This is a Derby horse.’ He said it three times and I told him to tell the owner.”

FIRING LINE – Arnold Zetcher’s Firing Line arrived safely at Churchill Downs Sunday shortly after 12 noon aboard a flight that originated out of Ontario in Southern California. On the Tex Sutton charter was a pair of Firing Line’s Kentucky Derby rivals, Dortmund and Bolo.

Firing Line has taken up residence in Barn 42 on the backstretch where he’ll be tended to by assistant trainer Carlos Santamaria and exercise rider Humberto Gomez. Trainer Simon Callaghan is scheduled to come on board from his Santa Anita headquarters on Tuesday.

Firing Line is a winner of two of five starts with three seconds besides. Two of those second-place endings were photo-finish losses to Dortmund, one of the likely favorites in Saturday’s Derby 141. One of his wins – and his most recent start – was a galloping 14-plus lengths triumph in the Grade III Sunland Derby March 22. Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens was aboard for that romp in New Mexico and he’ll have the call again Saturday.

FRAMMENTO – Mossarosa’s Frammento galloped Sunday morning at Keeneland with exercise rider Juan Bernardini aboard for trainer Nick Zito.

The fourth-place finisher in the Blue Grass Stakes (GI) in his most recent start, Frammento needs one defection from horses under consideration for Derby 141 by entry time Wednesday to make the 20-horse starting gate.

“I need one scratch,” Zito said. “It would be sad if he doesn’t get in. He is ready to go a mile and a quarter.”

FROSTED – Godolphin Racing’s Frosted came out of his five-furlong work of 1:01.10 Saturday at Palm Meadows in good order according to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

“He’s good this morning and he will go to the track in the morning,” McLaughlin said. “He will train Tuesday morning and then get a noon flight to .”

INTERNATIONAL STAR – Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Louisiana Derby (GII) winner and Road to the Kentucky Derby points leader (171) International Star  walked the shedrow at trainer Mike Maker’s Trackside barn the day after posting a half-mile breeze in :50.80.

“All’s well,” Maker reported, adding that International Star would van to Churchill Downs on Wednesday, most likely late morning, after the trainer finishes up with his work at Trackside.

International Star seeks to become the first Louisiana Derby winner to take the Kentucky Derby since Grindstone in 1996. The only other horse to pull off the Louisiana Derby-Kentucky Derby double was Black Gold in 1924.

Miguel Mena, who was aboard for all three of International Star’s wins in the Fair Grounds series of Kentucky Derby preps (which also includes the GIII Lecomte and GII Risen Star) will retain the mount. In his only previous Kentucky Derby appearance, Mena finished 20th aboard longshot Backtalk in 2010.

KEEN ICE – Donegal Racing’s Keen Ice, who worked five furlongs Saturday in 1:01.60, had an easy morning Sunday, walking in the shedrow in the barn of trainer Dale Romans.

MR. Z – Zayat Stables’ Mr. Z. will be the 48th Kentucky Derby starter for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, whose record 14 victories in Triple Crown races include four wins in the Derby. He first participated in the Derby in 1981. Lukas said that since his first Derby, he has seen changes in how trainers prepare their horses.

“Absolutely,’’ he said. “You watch the guys who have been here for the first time, and you see them do things that probably they wouldn’t normally do. They try to change things because it is the Kentucky Derby – trying to compete at this level and so forth. ¬The thing is I think what’s important is to say with what got you here, do things that you know work for you. Don’t change up much.’’

But Lukas said he has made changes over the years. “I think the one thing we’re probably a little bit better at is reading what we’ve got to work with, making decisions on the individual horse … just read the individual horse a little bit better,’’ he said.

Mr. Z, with exercise rider Edvin Vargas aboard, galloped Sunday morning after the renovation break and had a schooling session in the in the paddock.

MUBTAAHIJ – A day after posting a half-mile breeze of Arlington’s Polytrack, Mubtaahij (IRE) cantered a lap of the same surface under Lisa Moncrieff while assistant trainer Trevor Brown did the same aboard Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI) chance Umgiyo.

“They are absolutely bouncing at the moment, we can’t wait to get down to and pick it up there,” Brown said this morning. “It’s all gone according to plan, touch wood, and we are ready to crack on to Kentucky.”

The pair will leave Arlington after training hours on Monday morning and van down to Churchill. They are expected to arrive around 6 p.m. Trainer Mike de Kock boarded one of the longest non-stop flights in the world on Sunday from Johannesburg to Atlanta and will arrive in the U.S. on Monday morning.

OCHO OCHO OCHO – DP Racing LLC’s Delta Jackpot (GIII) winner Ocho Ocho Ocho galloped 1 1/2 miles following the renovation break under Matt Williams, exercise rider and assistant to trainer Jim Cassidy.

“Nothing too exciting,” Williams said. “He went really good,” Cassidy said from Santa Anita that he may give Ocho Ocho Ocho an additional breeze Wednesday morning but wanted to assess the son of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense for himself when he arrives on site Monday before making any decision.

TENCENDUR – Philip Birsh’s Tencendur jogged a mile early Sunday morning, a day after a bullet five-furlong work of 1:00 on Saturday.

While many horsemen walk their horses a day after a timed work, trainer George Weaver, a native with his first Derby candidate, said he has a different approach.

“Especially when they are coming up to a race we take them out to the track and make sure they are moving well with a rider on their back,” he said. “Obviously, you can look at their legs in the barn, but I want to have a rider have a feel for how they come out of their work. It would be customary to probably give him a walk day tomorrow.”

Weaver said that Tencendur was fine and he was happy with how he came out of the work. Manny Franco, who was aboard for the colt’s only victory, will make his debut in the Derby on Tencendur.

UPSTART – Ralph Evans’ Upstart had a light gallop at Palm Meadows Sunday morning, a day after working five furlongs in :59.95.

“I just wanted to get him a little exercise to see how he came out of the work and he was full of himself this morning,” trainer Rick Violette said. “He will train Tuesday morning before leaving for .”

WAR STORY – Loooch Racing Stables, Glenn Ellis and Christopher Dunn’s War Story jogged a mile and galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Marvin Orantes after the morning renovation break.

“He had a good day getting over the track,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “The most disappointing thing this morning was watching how good American Pharoah looked.”

 

KENTUCKY OAKS NOTES

ANGELA RENEE/ESKENFORMONEY –  It was a walk day for trainer Todd Pletcher’s Kentucky Oaks duo of Siena Farm’s Angela Renee and Star Ladies Racing’s Eskenformoney. The 3-year-old fillies had put in their final major work moves for Friday’s Grade I race this past Friday and then gone for light jogs early Saturday morning.

Pletcher has a feel for the Oaks and the fillies who run in it. The two he’ll send out in the $1,000,000 test this year will be his 17th and 18th starters (since 1999) in the nine-furlong Grade I that is considered the ultimate spring prize for 3-year-old fillies. Along the way, he’s won it three times – with Ashado in 2004, Rags to Riches in 2007 and Princess of Sylmar in 2013.

“They’ll go back to the track tomorrow,” the trainer said of his current pair Sunday morning at Barn 40. “We’ll see if they jog or gallop.”

Angela Renee will get the saddle services of John Velazquez, while Eskenformoney will be handled by Javier Castellano.

BIRDATTHEWIRE – Forum Racing’s Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) winner Birdatthewire walked the shedrow a day after working five furlongs in 1:01.20 for trainer Dale Romans.

CONDO COMMANDO – Trainer Rudy Rodriguez kept his Gazelle (GII) winner Condo Commando busy Sunday morning, schooling her in the paddock and the gate and then jogged her on the track. “So far, so good,” Rodriguez said as he held her shank what she was being bathed. “She seems pretty good.”

Jockey Joel Rosario will ride the filly owned by Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables and The Elkstone Group.

FOREVER UNBRIDLED – Trainer Dallas Stewart said he’s aware of scenarios by which Charles Fipke’s Forever Unbridled can move into the top 14 in Kentucky Oaks points and be assured a spot in the Oaks starting gate. As of Sunday, she stood 15th in the standings. But, Stewart said, all he can do is prepare her as if she’s going to run.

“You’ve just got to train your horses,’’ Stewart said.

Early on Sunday, Forever Unbridled jogged a mile under exercise rider Emerson Chavez, who later in the morning escaped injury in a training incident on another horse.

Chavez, who worked Alazano in company with 2014 Kentucky Derby runner-up Commanding Curve, was thrown to the track when Alazano collapsed near the half-mile pole after the workout. Chavez lay on the track for several minutes.

“After I fell, I was kind of in shock a little bit,’’ he said. “But after that, I’m good. Greg (Blasi, a Churchill Downs outrider) came to me and asked me a couple questions, but I’m good.’’

Forever Unbridled is a daughter of Unbridled’s Song and the Lemon Drop Kid mare Lemons Forever, who won the 2006 Kentucky Oaks for Stewart in 2006. The filly is a full sister to the 4-year-old filly Unbridled Forever. Last year, she was a multiple graded-placed runner for Stewart. She is in training at Churchill Downs, and Chavez is her exercise rider, too.

“Both are great,’’ he said. “The new one, Forever Unbridled, is bigger than her sister. But both are great, good fillies. … Her sister last year was third in the Kentucky Oaks, so I’m hoping (Forever Unbridled) can make it in the race.’’

I’M A CHATTERBOX/LOVELY MARIA – Grayson Farm’s Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) heroine I’m a Chatterbox and Brereton Jones’ Ashland Stakes (GI) winner Lovely Maria each breezed five furlongs Sunday morning, with I’m a Chatterbox going first in 1:01, followed seconds later by Lovely Maria in :59.60.

“They both did well,” trainer Larry Jones said. “Both jockeys came back grinning.”

I’m a Chatterbox, ridden by regular jockey Florent Geroux, recorded splits of :11.80, :23.80 and :36, with a six-furlong gallop out in 1:14.40. The work was the fifth fastest of 32 at the distance.

“It was kind of the way she worked when she first came in [to the Jones barn at Fair Grounds in December],” Jones said. “She got real brilliant in her works down in New Orleans. This was a little slower than she’d been working. I just don’t know if she takes to Churchill as well but we’ll see.”

Right behind I’m a Chatterbox was Lovely Maria, who broke off from the half-mile pole with regular rider Kerwin Clark aboard as her stablemate was finishing through the lane and posted fractions of :12, :23.80 and :35.80. Clockers caught her gallop-out time in 1:13.40. The work was the second fastest of 32 at the distance.

“Lovely Maria just worked sparkling,” Jones said. “Every eighth was just getting faster and we’re real happy with her. She’s just getting on her game right now.”

Jones said he wasn’t looking for a specific time from his fillies and didn’t even bother with suggestions for either of the jockeys, who have been working with these horses all winter.

“They both know what to do,” Jones said of Geroux and Clark. “If I have to give instructions by now then I’ve got the wrong riders. That’s what’s great about brining your team in. They know the game plan, they know what they’ve done, and obviously it’s been working for them.”

This year’s Kentucky Oaks is comprised of a deep field of fillies, many of which are coming off impressive wins. “You could make a case for every horse in this race,” Jones said. “They all have something on their resume that shows they’re capable of winning.”

INCLUDE BETTY – Brereton Jones and Timothy Thornton’s Fantasy Stakes (GIII) winner Include Betty walked the shedrow at trainer Tom Proctor’s barn the morning after a five-furlong breeze in 1:02.20. Regular rider Rosemary Homeister Jr. has been in town following the Include filly’s preparations and is understandably excited about a Kentucky Oaks that could set up perfectly for a closer.

“Tom has been joking that he’s going to take me to lunch at the track kitchen every day because that’s exactly where he wants me to move in the Oaks,” she said. Churchill Downs’ track kitchen is located on the backstretch directly across from the half-mile pole.

“She’s a happy-go-lucky filly and she’s really at the top of her game right now,” Homeister said. “She looks amazing. She came out of the Fantasy full of confidence. She’s not a big filly but she’s got a big heart and a huge stride.”

Homeister, 42, has 2,750 career wins and won an Eclipse Award as the Outstanding Apprentice Jockey of 1992. She has been working horses at Churchill this weekend to get a feel for the track and has mounts here Wednesday and Thursday in advance of the Oaks Day card.

“I’m excited because I really believe I have a big chance in this race,” Homeister said of the Oaks. “Tom Proctor is one of the best trainers in the country, of all-time. I’ve ridden for him for 20 years and have so much confidence in him. And I have so much confidence in her, too. I believe we’re going to have a really good race.”

LUMINANCE/MAYBELLENE –  Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said that his Oaks candidates are scheduled to breeze Monday morning. Kaleem Shah’s Luminance and Jill Baffert’s Maybellene both galloped a mile and a half Sunday morning. Baffert said that he has not settled on a jockey for Maybellene. Martin Garcia is the regular rider for Luminance.

OCEANWAVE – Gary and Mary West’s Fantasy Stakes (GIII) runner-up Oceanwave jogged one mile after the renovation break with regular exercise rider Santos Rivera aboard. “Everything’s beautiful,” trainer Wayne Catalano reported later in the morning.

Today’s jog was Oceanwave’s first appearance back to the track since Friday’s five-furlong maintenance breeze that received some less-than-glowing reviews from the racing media.

“As far as opinions, everyone’s got one,” Catalano said. “We know how that goes. They don’t know the horse. They don’t know the situation. They were commenting on what they saw and that’s fine. They’re just doing their job, looking at the horse and giving their comments, but we were doing something different from what they saw. We weren’t looking to get a fast time. We were just trying to get her inside of horses and educate her because she wants to get out a little bit. I’m happy with everything.”

Oceanwave enters the Oaks off second-place finishes in the last two races of Oaklawn Park’s series of graded stakes for 3-year-old fillies, the Honeybee (GIII) and the Fantasy (GIII). “She’s not any different than her last two races and if anything she’s better,” Catalano said.

PUCA – Donegal Racing’s Puca worked a half-mile in company in:48.20 with exercise rider Jo Lawson up.  Working in company with Japan, a 3-year-old maiden, Puca produced fractions of  :12.60, :24.80, :36.40 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.20. The work was the fifth fastest of 54 at the distance.

“It was very similar to the work a week ago,” trainer Bill Mott said. “She went much the same. I was hoping that she’d work as well or better and she looked like she finished up her work nicely but she was all up on the bridle and willing to do it, moving well, galloped out well, came back good.”

This was the second straight time Puca worked in company with Japan, who is entered in Thursday’s eighth race.

“I put him in behind just because he needs a little education,” Mott said. “He’s a little green. They worked nicely together. I thought they were a good team last week and it worked out well so we just did the same thing again. Nothing fancy.”

Puca hasn’t won since breaking her maiden in October but went from that race straight into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and has only faced top company since.

“If you look at speed figures she maybe hasn’t been as good as some of the others but visually, between the Breeders’ Cup and her last race being pretty good…if she gets an honest pace that could help,” Mott said.

SARAH SIS – Joe Ragsdale’s Sarah Sis went to the track at 7:15 with exercise rider Jesus Esquivel aboard and trainer Ingrid Mason alongside on a pony.

As a team, they walked from the backstretch to the paddock for a schooling session and then walked around to the three-eighths pole before Sarah Sis moved off on her own at a leisurely pace back to the 4 ½-furlong marker.

“You just try to prepare them the best you can,” Mason said. “There will be lots of walking and parading to get used to the attention.”

Mason, who will be saddling her first Oaks starter, said Sarah Sis was “perfect” in the paddock this morning.

“She will school on race days,” Mason said. “She didn’t like the paddock at all at Oaklawn with the indoor paddock where people could look over the top.”

SHOOK UP – Regis Racing’s Shook Up worked a half-mile Sunday in 49.60 seconds under exercise rider Mike Callaham for trainer Steve Asmussen. The workout was the 27th fastest of 54 workouts Sunday at the distance. The fractions were :24.60 and out five furlongs in 1:03.40.

“She’s doing well,’’ Asmussen said. “Handled good, didn’t lay in. So all’s well.’’

In two of her races, including a Fair Grounds allowance race in which she finished second to Lovely Maria, Shook Up lugged in. In that race, she had the No. 1 post position and was jammed along the inside behind a slow pace.

“Her motor’s running,’’ Asmussen said. “She gets a little anxious. And when she does, that seems to be what happens. I think it’s when she gets to pulling. … That day (in the allowance race), first time out (at Fair Grounds), it was sloppy and all that. … She had drawn (No.) 1. They cleared her pretty easy, but then they backed it up right into her, and it was circumstances. I think you get these fillies together; they’re going to move on. So I think the circumstances that day were they cleared her from the outside, slowed it down and just kind of backed it up in her face, and then she was on the bridle.’’

But in the Fair Grounds Oaks in her most recent start, Shook Up ran smoothly all the way en route to a second-place finish behind I’m a Chatterbox. “She handled nice and everything,’’ Asmussen said.

He said he expects Shook Up to improve in the Kentucky Oaks. “I expect her to run the race of her life,’’ he said. “And it’s going to take that – at least that.”

STELLAR WIND – Hronis Racing’s Stellar Wind arrived at Churchill Downs early Sunday afternoon after an early flight from Southern California. The Santa Anita Oaks (GI) winner is trained by John Sadler and will be ridden Friday by Victor Espinoza.

UPCOMING UNDERCARD STAKES PROBABLES

The following is an early rundown of known possible starters in Derby Week stakes races, according to assistant racing secretary and stakes coordinator Dan Bork:

$400,000 ALYSHEBA (GII) (Entries taken April 28; race May 1) – Call Me George, Honor Code, Noble Bird, Ride On Curlin. Possible: Den’s Legacy.

$300,000 LA TROIENNE (GI) (Entries taken April 28; race May 1) – America, Frivolous, Molly Morgan, My Miss Sophia, Pearl Turn, Sheer Drama, Stopchargingmaria, Wedding Toast. Possible: Interest Free, Tiz Windy.

$200,000 EIGHT BELLES (GIII) (Entries taken April 28; race May 1) – Ekati’s Phaeton, Fancy and Flashy, Lavender Chrissie, Mizz Money, Promise Me Silver, Streetheart, Super Saks, Taylor S.

$150,000 EDGEWOOD PRESENTED BY FORCHT BANK (GIII) (Entries taken April 28; race May 1) – Lady Zuzu, Pangburn, Quality Rocks. Possible: B Rockett, Sweet Opportunity, Whimsicality.

$150,000 TWIN SPIRES TURF SPRINT (GIII) (Entries taken April 28; race May 1) – Berlino Di Tiger (BRZ), Buster Rose, Channel Marker, Good Deed, Heitai, Positive Side, Power Alert (AUS), Something Extra, Undrafted.

$500,000 WOODFORD RESERVE TURF CLASSIC (GI) (Entries taken April 29; race May 2) – Chocolate Ride, Finnegans Wake, Seek Again, Umgiyo (AUS).

$500,000 CHURCHILL DOWNS (GII) (Entries taken April 29; race May 2) – Bayern, C. Zee, Pants On Fire, Private Zone. Possible: The Big Beast.

$300,000 CHURCHILL DOWNS DISTAFF TURF MILE PRESENTED BY LONGINES (GII) (Entries taken April 29; race May 2) – Coffee Clique, I’m Already Sexy, Lady Lara (IRE), Maid On a Mission, Personal Diary, Sandiva (IRE), Solid Appeal, Strike Charmer, Tepin.

$300,000 HUMANA DISTAFF (GI) (Entries taken April 29; race May 2) – Classic Point, Dame Dorothy, Judy the Beauty, Princess Violet, Sweet Reason, Sweet Whiskey, You Bought Her. Possible: Clearly Confused.

$250,000 AMERICAN TURF PRESENTED BY RAM TRUCKS (GII) (Entries taken April 29; race May 2) – A Lot, Conquest Typhoon, Firespike, Force the Pass, Indianaughty, Metaboss, Tuba, Wireless Future, World Approval. Possible: Royal Son.

Spring Meet Opens at Churchill with New Stakes Race in Louisville KY Saturday, Apr 25 2015 

From Churchill Downs….

UNDEFEATED BLOFELD TOPS FIELD OF SIX FOR INAUGURAL WILLIAM WALKER AS CHURCHILL DOWNS KICKS OFF DERBY WEEK, 38-DAY SPRING MEET

LOUISVILLE, KY – Glencrest Farm and JSM Equine’s Blofeld, perfect in three career starts that includes victories in the Nashua (GII) and Futurity (GII), tops a field of six 3-year-olds entered Wednesday for Saturday night’s first running of the $100,000 William Walker at six furlongs on the main track.

Paula Presley photo

Paula Presley photo

The $100,000 William Walker is a new six-furlong race for 3-year-olds named for African-American jockey and 1877 Kentucky Derby winner William “Billy” Walker and highlights “Opening Night Presented by Stella Artois & Finlandia Vodka” that launches Kentucky Derby Week and the 38-day 2015 Spring Meet.

The William Walker will go as the seventh race on Saturday’s 11-race program that has a first post time of 6 p.m. (ET). Post time for the William Walker is 9:05 p.m.

Gates open at 5 p.m. and guests entering through Gates 10 and 17 will be welcomed with an opportunity to walk the “Hollywood Style Red Carpet” and be interviewed by Red Carpet hosts. Dress to impress cocktail attire and fashionable headwear are encouraged. The night’s entertainment lineup will include Sam Sneed on the Plaza Stage beginning at 5 o’clock and Tony and the Tan Lines beginning at 8.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Blofeld has not raced since his Nashua victory in November. John Velazquez, who has ridden the Quality Road colt in all of his starts, has the mount Saturday and will break from post position two.

Two other stakes winners are in the field: Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt’s Cinco Charlie and Starsky Weast’s Weast Hill. Cinco Charlie, who is undefeated in two starts in Churchill Downs including a victory in last June’s Bashford Manor, is trained by Steve Asmussen. In addition to his Bashford Manor victory, Cinco Charlie has posted stakes victories at Delaware Park, Laurel, Fair Grounds and Sunland Park and was third to Blofeld in the Futurity.

Ricardo Santana Jr. has the mount on Cinco Charlie and will break from post position four.

Brad Cox trains Weast Hill, who is undefeated in two starts. Winner of the Rainbow at Oaklawn in his most recent start, Weast Hill will break from post position five and be ridden by Jesus Castanon.

The field for the William Walker, from the rail out (with jockey and weight): Henry Jones (James Graham, 118 pounds), Blofeld (Velazquez, 123), Senor Grits (Julien Leparoux, 118), Cinco Charlie (Santana Jr., 120), Weast Hill (Castanon, 118) and Holiday Camp (Miguel Mena, 118).

 

NBC Ramps Up for Derby Coverage on TV Thursday, Apr 23 2015 

141st “Run for the Roses” Saturday, May 2 at 4 p.m. ET on NBC

15 NBC Sports Group Commentators to Contribute to NBC & NBCSN Telecasts Beginning Wednesday, April 29

Johnny Weir & Tara Lipinski Reprise Roles as Fashion Experts

NBC Sports Live Extra to Live Stream Kentucky Derby on NBC with Exclusive Camera Angles and Analysis

NBC Sports Radio Provides Live Coverage of the Kentucky Derby for the First Time

New Social Offerings for NBC Sports Group’s “Peacock Paddock” Include a Vine 360 Booth & 55-inch Touch Screen

STAMFORD, Conn. –  NBC Sports Group presents 15.5 live hours of Kentucky Derby coverage, a record for the event, beginning Wednesday, April 29, at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, and culminating with the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby on NBC, Saturday, May 2 at 4 PM ET. Coverage begins on Saturday at Noon ET on NBCSN before moving to NBC at 4 p.m. ET.

Following are highlights of NBC Sports Group’s Kentucky Derby week coverage, which includes 7.5 hours on Derby Day:

  • Live coverage of 19 races on Thursday, Friday and Saturday – every race in NBC/NBCSN telecast windows:
  • Four live races on Thursday, April 30 at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN
  • Seven live races on Friday, May 1 at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN
  • Eight live races during NBCSN (Noon ET) and NBC’s Derby Day (4 p.m. ET) coverage
  • Live coverage of the Kentucky Derby Draw on Wednesday, April 29, at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN to determine the post positions;
  • The most comprehensive coverage plan in Kentucky Derby history with more than 50 cameras, including a camera suspended 80-feet high on the Churchill Downs video board structure, an 80-foot crane on Turn 1, a 4K main play-by-play camera, a robotic camera in the paddock saddling area, and a 4K super-slow-motion reverse finish-line camera;
  • Bob Costas presents an essay on Kentucky Derby longshots;
  • Eddie Olczyk, NBC Sports Group’s lead NHL analyst, joins the Kentucky Derby broadcast team for the first time;
  • Josh Elliott reports feature stories including a profile of 52-year-old jockey Gary Stevens, who  makes a Derby comeback nine months after undergoing knee replacement surgery; and a look back at previous Kentucky Derby-winning horses including last year’s Triple Crown hopeful California Chrome;
  • Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski return as NBC Sports Group’s Derby fashion and lifestyle experts

NBCDerbyCOMMENTATORS: NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby features hosts Bob Costas, a 26-time Emmy Award-winner, and Tom Hammond, a veteran NBC Sports commentator; analysts Randy Moss andJerry Bailey, the Hall of Fame jockey; analysts/handicappers Mike Battaglia and Eddie Olczyk; NBCSN host/NBC reporter Laffit Pincay, III; reporters Kenny RiceDonna Brothers and Jay Privman; and race caller Larry Collmus. After making their Kentucky Derby debuts last year, Josh Elliott and Carolyn Mannoprovide a mix of features and interviews at Churchill Downs, and Olympic figure skaters and NBC figure skating analysts Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski reprise their roles as fashion and lifestyle experts.

The coordinating producer of NBC’s horse racing coverage is Rob Hyland, who has been a part of the network’s horse racing coverage since 2001. The Kentucky Derby is directed by Sunday Night Football and NBC Sports’ horse racing director, Drew Esocoff. The coverage on NBCSN is produced by Billy Matthews and directed byCharlie Dammeyer. The executive producer of NBC Sports and NBCSN is Sam Flood, who has produced 12 Triple Crown races for the network.

29½ HOURS OF TRIPLE CROWN COVERAGE: NBC Sports Group will present 29½ hours of Triple Crown coverage this season from Churchill Downs, Pimlico and Belmont, including live racing from all three tracks prior to the Triple Crown races, “classics” from the Preakness and Belmont, and post-race coverage of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont. This marks the fifth consecutive year that all three Triple Crown races will air on NBC.

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NBC PROVIDES WALL-TO-WALL SPORTS COVERAGE ON DERBY DAY

On Derby Day, NBC’s wall-to-wall sports coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. ET with a second-round NHL Stanley Cup Playoff game. NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET, and leads right into primetime coverage of the PGA TOUR’s World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play from TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, Calif. at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Players Championship from TPC Sawgrass airs on Golf Channel and NBC from May 7-10, including Golf Channel’s Golf Central Live From The Players starting on Monday, May 4.

NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 2, begins at Noon ET on NBCSN, with coverage of the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 1, at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. NBC Sports Group’s live Kentucky Derby coverage begins Wednesday, April 29, with the Kentucky Derby Draw at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Also on Derby Day, NBCSN presents a second-round NHL Stanley Cup Playoff game in primetime, with coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.

NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA KENTUCKY DERBY COVERAGE

NBC Sports Live Extra — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets — will stream Kentucky Derby week coverage on NBC and NBCSN via “TV Everywhere,” giving consumers additional value to for their subscription service, and making high quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms. The NBC Sports Live Extra app is available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play and Windows Store. For desktops, NBC Sports Live Extra can be accessed at NBCSports.com/liveextra.

NBC Sports Live Extra’s Derby Day coverage includes:

  • Four exclusive camera angles that showcase the activity happening across Churchill Downs
  • Bonus analysis by NBC Sports commentators
  • Replays and footage from the key “Road to the Kentucky Derby” prep races

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NBC SPORTS RADIO KENTUCKY DERBY COVERAGE

For the first time, NBC Sports Radio will present two hours of live Kentucky Derby coverage beginning Saturday, May 2 at 5 p.m. ET. Produced in partnership with Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN), and distributed by Westwood One, NBC Sports Radio will present live radio coverage of all three Triple Crown races this year.

For more information on programming, please contact Westwood One at NBCSportsRadio@westwoodone.com.  For a complete schedule of shows, bios, exclusive audio content, and a list of radio stations airing NBC Sports Radio, log on to NBCSportsRadio.com.

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NBC SPORTS SOCIAL MEDIA AT THE KENTUCKY DERBY

Below is a look at highlights of NBC Sports Group’s social media initiatives surrounding the 141st Kentucky Derby. More information on NBC Sports Group’s full social media plan will be announced early next week.

PEACOCK PADDOCK:  As the first stop of the Kentucky Oaks Pink Carpet and Kentucky Derby Red Carpet, the Peacock Paddock will capture the atmosphere at Churchill Downs to share with fans across the country. For the first time, the Peacock Paddock will house a Vine 360 Booth, where celebrities can show off 360-degree views of their hats and outfits in a continuous loop. Video from the Vine 360 Booth will be featured in the celebrity segments on NBC and NBCSN.

New features in the Peacock Paddock also include a 55-inch touch screen monitor to showcase various social media trends, Kentucky Derby parties across the country, and fashion on-site and online. As each celebrity begins the journey down the Pink and Red Carpets, they will be asked to enter the Peacock Paddock photo booth, featuring a wall of fresh red roses, and make their Derby picks. Celebrity picks will be shared on NBCSN and NBC’s telecasts, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

JOHNNY & TARA, 5 DAYS OF SOCIAL MEDIA TAKEOVERS: Every day of Derby week, beginning Monday, April 27, the social media mavens Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski will take over one of NBC Sports’ social media accounts. From Facebook chats and Twitter Q&A’s to an Instagram “Day in the Life” from Churchill Downs, fans will be able to get closer to Johnny and Tara’s Derby week. Full social media schedule to follow.

KENTUCKY DERBY ALL-ACCESS: Horseracing aficionados and fans of the elegance and glitz of the Derby can access content from Derby week at a “social center” housed on NBCSports.com. Fans can access and sort social media content from Instagram, Twitter and Vine through various streams including horse racing experts, horses (including social accounts from the horses themselves, jockeys and trainers), glamour (celebrities and fashion experts), a photos-only section, and Vine videos.

New to Kentucky Derby All-Access this year is the “Horse Namer,” where fans can type in their names and are instantly provided with their Kentucky Derby horse name along with a horse avatar that is shareable on Facebook and Twitter. NBCSports.com/Derby will also house downloadable Derby party printables and a Pinterest widget to drive pinners to boards that will help them plan the perfect Derby party.

PINTEREST DERBY PARTY PLANNING: NBC Sports has teamed up with lifestyle influencers and Churchill Downs to deliver to fans on Pinterest everything they need to help plan their Kentucky Derby parties. Each influencer has created their own boards where they will curate pins on Derby trends, red carpet style and race-day attire, food, beverages, entertaining tips, decorations, and more. More information to follow.

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NBC SPORTS GROUP AND HORSE RACING: NBC Sports Group is the exclusive home to the most important and prestigious events in horse racing, including the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup. NBC has been the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes since 2001, and the Belmont Stakes since 2011, when NBC Sports Group reassembled the Triple Crown.

The 2014 Kentucky Derby marked the fourth time in six years (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014) that NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage averaged more than 15 million viewers. Women comprised 51% of that viewership, ranking the Kentucky Derby alongside the Belmont Stakes (featuring a Triple Crown contender) and Sochi Winter Olympics as the major 2014 sporting events with females accounting more than half of the audience.

The 2014 Belmont Stakes on NBC, featuring California Chrome’s Triple Crown attempt, averaged 20.4 million viewers – the second-highest Belmont Stakes viewership on record, trailing only the 21.9 million viewers for NBC’s telecast of Smarty Jones’ Triple Crown attempt in 2004 (People Meter viewership dates to 1988). In addition, the 2014 Preakness Stakes registered a 6.0 household rating, ranking as the highest-rated Preakness Stakes since 2009.

Derby Update: International Star, Other Contenders, Test at Churchill Sunday, Apr 19 2015 

From Churchill Downs…

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s International Star, whose victory in the Louisiana Derby (Grade II) completed a sweep of Fair Grounds’ trio of Kentucky Derby prep races, took a brief van ride to Churchill Downs Saturday for a five-furlong work over the one-mile dirt course that will host the 141st Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands in two weeks.

Watch for International Star in the Derby

Watch for International Star in the Derby

Jockey Miguel Mena was in the saddle as the New York-bred son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus worked in company with stablemate Dreams Cut Short and covered five furlongs over fast footing in 1:01.80. International Star’s final time for the distance ranked 34th among 58 works at the distance. His workmate was timed in 1:02.60.

 Internal fractions for International Star were timed in :12.40, :25 and :37.20 and he galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.

“It was a pretty routine work for him,” trainer Mike Maker said. “We were looking for a strong gallop-out and he gave it to us.”

After the work, International Star shipped back to Maker’s regular training base at Trackside training center, which is located four miles from Churchill Downs. The colt is scheduled to return on Monday or Tuesday to take up residence in Barn 27 and train at Churchill Downs through the Derby. Maker followed roughly the same schedule last year with the Ramseys’ Vicar’s In Trouble.

International Star’s 171 points leads the Road to the Kentucky Derby standings that will determine the 20 horses that will compete in the 1 ¼-mile classic on the first Saturday in May. Despite his impressive point total, the colt is likely to be a relative outsider in Derby 141 and Maker is eager to see where his horse fits in what many observers regard as a strong Derby field.

“I think it’s an outstanding Derby,” Maker said. “One trait about him is he’s going to give your 120 percent. Whether that’s good enough or not, we don’t know.”

International Star’s 2015 victories in the Louisiana Derby, Risen Star (GII) and LeComte (GIII) have lifted his career record to 5-2-0 in nine races and a bankroll of $1,010,979.

DANZIG MOON SIZZLES IN FIVE FURLONG WORK FOR KENTUCKY DERBY 141
John C. Oxley<’s Danzig Moon, runner-up to Carpe Diem in the recent Toyota Blue Grass (GI) at Keeneland, turned in a sizzling five-furlong breeze in :58 over a fast track at Churchill Downs in his first serious training move since the April 4 race.

The Kentucky Derby contender had jockey Julien Leparoux in the saddle when Churchill Downs clockers timed him in internal fracdtions of :11.40, :22.40, :34 and :45.60. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.20. Danzig Moon’s gallop-out time for three-quarters of a mile was faster than the work turned in by fellow Derby hopeful Keen Ice, who was timed in 1:13.20 in the only official six-furlong work of the Saturday training session.

The son of Malibu Moon worked in company with stablemate and Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile (GII) candidate Tepin, who had an identical five-furlong clocking and their moves tied as the fastest of 58 works at the distance. The swift move by Danzig Moon left assistant trainer Norman Casse, the son of trainer Mark Casse who oversees his father’s stable at Churchill Downs, concerned that the colt could have done too much just 14 days out from Kentucky Derby 141.

“We usually reserve our two-weeks-out works to be our big works and, unfortunately, I think he got a little overzealous leaving the pony,” Casse said. “He’s a fast horse and he worked fast, and Julien recognized that and really didn’t ask him to do too much afterwards.

“We know he likes the racetrack and the horse he worked with is a very, very talented horse. The horse that worked is running on Derby Day as well. We purposely worked them together because they basically have the same target: different races, but on the same day. Had he not gotten away and ran-off the first bit, the overall time wouldn’t have been nearly as fast. But it’s OK.”

Casse took a close look at Danzig Moon immediately after the work and will do so again Sunday morning.

“I’ve already gone over him and already jogged him by hand, and we did a post-breeze scope and all those things are perfect,” Casse said. “That’s the important thing.”

Danzig Moon’s Toyota Blue Grass run improved his lifetime record to 1-2-0 in five races and he has earned $251,120.

 

KEEN ICE BREEZES SIX FURLONGS IN 1:13.20; ‘PROTOTYPE DERBY HORSE’ HOPES TO MAKE FIELD

Donegal Racing’s Keen Ice, a closing fourth in the Louisiana Derby (GII), breezed six furlongs in 1:13.20 Saturday morning at Churchill Downs while in company with a workmate. Breaking off from the five-furlong pole, exercise rider Tammy Fox positioned Keen Ice on the outside of the companion and guided the 3-year-old Curlin colt through fractions of :23.20, :35.20, :47.20 and :59.80. After the conclusion of the work to the seven-eighths pole, Keen Ice galloped out an addition furlong in 1:27.60.

Keen Ice, who broke his maiden at Churchill Downs in September, has banked $160,395 from a record of 1-0-2 in seven starts. He accrued 22 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby from third place finishes in the Remsen (2 points) and Risen Star (10 points) and his Louisiana Derby fourth (10 points). That put him No. 21 on the preference list, which meant he needed one horse to withdraw in order to compete in the May 2 classic.

“We’ve been taking our time with this horse,” trainer Dale Romans said. “I’ve never really squeezed the lemon and made him work fast because he’s not a naturally fast workhorse. But coming into this race (the Kentucky Derby), he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. We’ve been hoping to squeeze the lemon the last three weeks before the Derby and have him peak to run an all-time best race on the first Saturday in May. So far it’s working out well. He had a fast five-eighths work last week (1:00.20 on April 11) and this week he comes back three-quarters (of a mile) in 1:13 and change. We’ve got one more big work ahead of us and two defections are all we need. (Editor’s Note: One Lucky Dane was withdrawn from Kentucky Derby consideration after a mishap in a Saturday workout at Santa Anita; the injury occurred after speaking with Romans).

“This is a prototype Derby horse. He’s built like one – big and strong and should be able to handle himself if he gets bumped around – and the further they run, the better. Every race he’s run, he’s been closing fast. This is the first time these horses will be going a mile-and-a-quarter. He does not control his own destiny like a horse that has tactical pace and they forwardly place themselves. We’re going to need a fast pace and a clean trip but if we get it then he’s the type of horse that can win the Derby.”

Romans doesn’t have to fret about getting into the May 1 Longines Kentucky Oaks with Forum Racing’sBirddatthewire. The Forward Gal and Gulfstream Park Oaks winner breezed a half-mile in :47.20 with splits of :11.80, :23.60 and :35.20. She galloped out five furlongs in :59.60, three-quarters of a mile in 1:12.60 and seven-eighths in 1:27.

“Birdatthewire is just a push-button horse,” Romans said. “Everything she does is easy. There are no issues and no problems. If she’s the best horse she’ll win.”

POSSIBLE KENTUCKY DERBY FAVORITE AMERICAN PHAROAH GALLOPS AT CHURCHILL DOWNS

Zayat Stables LLCAmerican Pharoah, American racing’s reigning 2-year-old champion and the possible favorite for the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI), had an easy 1 ½-mile gallop over the fast surface at Churchill Downs on Saturday morning.

Exercise rider Jorge Alvarez was in the saddle for the first gallop for the Bob Baffert-trained son of 2009 Kentucky Derby runner-up Pioneerof the Nile since his Monday arrival at the home of the Kentucky Derby. American Pharoah rolled to his fourth consecutive win and stakes victory a week ago in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (GI) at Oaklawn Park.

American Pharoah galloped during the first of the 15-minute training sessions devoted exclusively to horses being pointed toward the Kentucky Derby and the Longines Kentucky Oaks. Assistant trainer Jim Barnes said American Pharoah had done well during his brief time at Churchill Downs and would continue to train during that Derby-Oaks training window that begins at approximately 8:30 a.m. following the mid-session break for track maintenance.

Working for Baffert on Saturday was Kaleem Shah Inc.’s Luminance, runner-up to Stellar Wind in the Santa Anita Oaks (GI) and a possible candidate for the Kentucky Oaks, who zipped through a sizzling half-mile in :46.

The work by Luminance was the fastest of 57 at the distance. The 3-year-old daughter of Tale of the Cat covered the first quarter of her move in :23 and galloped out five furlongs in :58.80.

Jay Bilas Cracks Louisville KY Up at They’re Off Luncheon Friday, Apr 17 2015 

If this basketball analysis thing doesn’t work out, you get the feeling that Jay Bilas might make it as a stand-up comedian. And for that matter, WAVE-TV’s Scott Reynolds, emcee at the Kentucky Derby Festival They’re Off Luncheon, pulled off some good one-liners himself, as well as a pretty good Barney the Dinosaur impression.

jay Bilas spoke to media before the luncheon. Bill Brymer photo.

jay Bilas spoke to media before the luncheon. Bill Brymer photo.

Reynolds introduced a wave of dignitaries to speak on the wide dais, and apparently all of them employed writers with the assignment of ribbing Bilas about being from Duke. Churchill Downs president Kevin Flanery (who was on this week’s Rusty Satellite Show), Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, Mayor Greg Fischer, Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen and KDF president Mike Berry all made Duke references in their remarks.

But Bilas, the most entertaining They’re Off speaker in years, took it all in stride. He was especially tough on Reynolds, the emcee. It was more like a roast as the two traded barbs about their abilities.

Bilas, whose brother lives in Lake Forest near Tom Jurich, said he comes to Louisville every year to play in the country club’s member-guest tourney, which he referred to as “member-cheater.” He also took credit for U of L’s 1986 championship, saying his lack of defense helped Pervis Ellison score all those points in the Cardinal triumph.

“If not for me, might have one less national championship,” he said.

Bilas pleased most of the crowd with praise for the U of L and UK basketball programs, and even mentioned WKU.  And he made a suggestion for a future They’re Off Luncheon – to invite his broadcast partner Bill Raftery.

All the jokes were delivered with a deadpan look, and smile. A few times he had to remind the audience  he was joking.

The Festival honored the late Jim King for his years of service.

And now, , spring has officially arrived. 15 days ’til Derby.

Jay Bilas sat down with WAVE's Scott Reynolds  to answer questions prior to serving as featured speaker at the Kentucky Derby Festival They’re Off Luncheon. Bill Brymer photo

Jay Bilas sat down with WAVE’s Scott Reynolds to answer questions prior to serving as featured speaker at the Kentucky Derby Festival They’re Off Luncheon. Bill Brymer photo

Now to Get Into the Winner’s Circle at Churchill Downs in Louisville KY Thursday, Apr 16 2015 

Churchill Downs’ 2015 capital project is the construction of 20 private, open-air, all-inclusive Winner’s Circle Suites; the creation of the Courtyard that will accommodate more than 600 temporary premium seats during Derby Week while providing a relaxed park-like setting for everyday racing fans the rest of the year; and a redesigned Trackside Winner’s Circle.

 
Hear Kevin Flanery discuss the new project on this week’s Rusty Satellite Show.
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New Year, New Number. Bill Brymer photo

The $4.2 million capital improvement project designed to enhance the experience for owners that start horses in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and the Longines Kentucky Oaks was announced last October, began in December and  is nearing its completion.

The exclusive owner’s area is conveniently located adjacent to the Trackside Winner’s Circle with easy access to the racetrack and paddock runway with minimized congestion. The number of complimentary tickets for all participating owners in the Derby and Oaks will be tripled to up to 18 tickets for their respective race day. The Winner’s Circle Suites feature comfortable undercover seating with in-venue wagering options and full-service hospitality, including a premium open bar and gourmet food. Also, guests will have access to an indoor, semi-private hospitality area and restrooms exclusive to the venue.

The Courtyard, a family-friendly green space, is a spacious lawn area in front of the new Winner’s Circle Suites. For Derby Week, more than 600 temporary premium seats will be configured in traditional rows and aisles with padded chairs, and those guests – along with patrons in Sections 218-219 – will have access to an exclusive hospitality space with an all-inclusive menu and restrooms. After Derby, the versatile Courtyard will be open to guests on most racing days with benches and picnic tables. The new area also will enrich the experience of big-event days throughout the rest of the year, including Downs After Dark night racing and Family Adventure Days.

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Plush digs for Derby and Oaks horse connections. Bill Brymer photo

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Churchill Downs president Kevin Flanery, left, surveys the new luxury suites. Bill Brymer photo

Davenport will stay at Bellarmine in Louisville KY Through 2020 Wednesday, Apr 15 2015 

LOUISVILLE, Ky.–Bellarmine University announced that the school and head basketball coach Scott Davenport have agreed to extend their relationship through the 2019-2020 academic year.Per university policy, contracts are not created for employees, but Bellarmine President Dr.Joseph J. McGowan has confirmed that the two have made the arrangement.

“We are thrilled to have made assurances to keep Scott Davenport as the Bellarmine head basketball coach for another five years,” McGowan said.”He has demonstrated an absolute dedication to excellence both as coach and as an ambassador of Bellarmine University.”

Bellarmine's Scott Davenport was on Rusty Satellite Show #22

Bellarmine’s Scott Davenport was on Rusty Satellite Show #22

Coach Davenport, who came to Bellarmine in 2005, has accumulated a record of 232-82 (.739).This year, he led the Knights to a 31-4 record and an appearance in the NCAA Division II “Final Four.” It was the third time in the past five years Bellarmine has reached the national semifinals. Davenport led Bellarmine to the national title in 2011 when he also was named the national and Great Lakes Valley Conference “Coach of the Year.”

“Coach Davenport has set a high standard for the Bellarmine basketball program, and that is the level we want across our athletic programs,” said Bellarmine Director of Athletics Scott Wiegandt. “The basketball program is among the most competitive in the nation, and our student athletes are also successful in the classroom.”

The Knights have seen extraordinary improvement under Davenport. In his debut season, Davenport took a team that had finished last in the GLVC the year before and led them to Bellarmine’s first .500 finish since 2001, and the first conference tournament appearance since 2002. In each of the last seven seasons, the Knights have eclipsed 20 wins and qualified for the NCAA tournament.

“I have been thrilled to be the head basketball coach at Bellarmine the last ten years,” Davenport said. “I am very appreciative of the players, Dr. McGowan, Scott Wiegandt, the entire university, my family and especially the very, very loyal fans who have supported our program. Our university is a very special place, a place where everyone works together to be the best they can be every day. This is where I want to be, just like I tell the players every day when you find a GREAT situation spend all your efforts, energy and enthusiasm making that the best decision you have ever made. Bellarmine is a tremendous environment to coach super young men on and off the floor. I am looking forward to spending the rest of my career at Bellarmine because sincerely, I LOVE BELLARMINE!”

Prior to coming to Bellarmine, Davenport served nine years as an assistant coach at the University of Louisville under Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum and national championship-winning coach Rick Pitino. He also served a year as an assistant coach on Mike Pollio’s staff at Virginia Commonwealth where he coached alongside Tubby Smith.

Before heading to U of L, Davenport spent 10 seasons as the head boys’ coach at Ballard High School where he won a state championship in 1988 and coached two future NBA players in DeJuan Wheat and Allan Houston.

Unbeatens Battle at Slugger – Louisville City vs. Rochester Thursday Wednesday, Apr 15 2015 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. ––– An 11-day stretch with no regular season competition will end for Louisville City FC on Thursday at 7:30 when they take on the red-hot Rochester Rhinos at Slugger Field.It may be early in the season, but a lot is already on the line. A win for City FC would put them second in the Eastern Conference Table, while a win for Rochester would put them at the top.

“A lot of people have been complimentary of our result at Richmond,” Coach James O’Connor said. “I think that is great and we can build on it.Rochester obviously are unbeaten, they’ve had a great run. They just beat Montreal three-nil away. It will be a tough game for us, but one we are looking forward to.”

Rochester, which  has played every game on the road so far this year, has only allowed one goal in three games. They have outscored opponents 5-1 and have taken 37 shots to their opponents’ 17.

Just two games into the franchise, City FC has already began making noise in the league. After a dominating performance in their home opener, Lou City took a point from a Richmond team that have made it to the postseason 20 out of the clubs 22 years of existence.

“We know how good they are,” defender Tarek Morad said. “We need to execute our game plan and put them under some pressure. We have to work hard off the ball and be able to win it back. Obviously, play our style of play and try to get three points.”

is currently 5th on the table, but a game behind every team in front of them. With four points in two games sits five points from the top and two points behind the Rhinos of Rochester.

Players to Watch from Rochester:

Christian Volesky:Has scored two goals in three games.

Alex Dixon: Has taken nine shots, 6 of which were on target and has scored one goal.

Onua Obasi: The defender assisted in the game winning goal back in Week 2 versus Pittsburgh and was named to the Week 2 USL Team of the Week.

Players to Watch from

soccerAdam West: The defender played and won a regular season title while with Rochester under head coach Bob Lilly.

Matt Fondy: The former Chicago Fire striker gets a lot of attention from the opponents back line which frees up scoring opportunities for the midfielders, as has been evident in the last two matches. With 5 preseason goals, the Californian poses an incredible scoring threat.

Charlie Adams:The Englishman returns this week after his Man of the Match performance versus Saint Louis. Adams scored a spectacular goal in the second half versus STLFC and was clearly one of the better players of the afternoon. He did, however, sustain a knock that sidelined him and prevented him from being able to make the trip to Richmond.

WHEN: Thursday April 16th
TIME: 7:30 PM EST
WHERE: Slugger Field

Single game tickets for match are available and can be purchased by visiting www.CityFC.com/tickets

 

Pegasus Parade Grand Marshal is Teddy Bridgewater Monday, Apr 13 2015 

Louisville, KY. — Former University of football star Teddy Bridgewater will return to his college hometown to serve as Grand Marshal of this year’s Republic Bank Pegasus Parade. Bridgewater was quarterback for the Cardinals from 2011 to 2013, and is now quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. The 60th annual parade is set to march down Broadway on Thursday, April 30th.

“This year’s theme is ‘Best of ’ and we know fans will agree that Teddy is just that,” said Mike Berry, KDF President & CEO.  “We are excited to have him back to participate in one of the biggest events in the city each year.”

Teddy in action with the Vikings

Teddy in action with the Vikings

A Miami native, Bridgewater was considered a four star recruit with 2,606 passing yards and 22 touchdowns his senior year in high school.  During his years as a Cardinal, he was named 2011 Freshman All-American, 2011 Big East Rookie of the Year and 2012 Big East Offensive Player of the Year. He was named MVP at the 2013 Sugar Bowl, where the Cardinals, decided underdogs, defeated the Florida Gators 33-23. His last season at UofL in 2013, he was named MVP of the Russell Athletic Bowl.

On top of the football accolades, Bridgewater became the first in his family to graduate college and walked across the stage in December 2013 to receive a degree in Sports Administration. Following his graduation, Bridgewater was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft. The youngest Minnesota Viking, Bridgewater was named the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year in his first season.

The annual spectacle marches west on Broadway from Campbell to Ninth Street and will feature approximately 100 units. Tickets for the Parade are on sale now online at www.kdf.org or by calling the Derby Festival Hotline at (502) 584-FEST. Ticket prices are $10 for bleacher seats, $12 chair seating and $30 review stand seats.

The Pegasus Parade – the Derby Festival’s oldest founding event – is one of nearly 70 events produced by the Kentucky Derby Festival in the spring and provides an estimated economic impact of more than $22 million. The annual spectacle marches west on Broadway from Campbell to Ninth Street.

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