LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The first of two major weekend events will occur today when Churchill Downs opens its Spring Meeting, featuring the Grade III Derby Trial. The second will occur tomorrow when Arazi arrives from France for the May 2 Kentucky Derby.
Arazi, the overwhelming early favorite, was impressive in winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky-bred colt has won seven of eight starts on the grass in France.
Catire Bello, a Venezuelan-bred colt, probably will be the only one of the nine starters in the Grade III Trial who will go to the Derby.
In his last two starts, the colt, owned by Osvaldo Bello of Caracas, finished sixth in the Florida Derby March 14 at Gulfstream Park and was ninth in the Tropical Park Derby April 11 at Calder.
Treekster pulls out of Derby
WINCHESTER, Ky. -- California Derby winner Treekster is out of the Kentucky Derby because of a pulled leg muscle.
Joe Lightner, one of the colt's owners, said the injury was discovered after a workout at Santa Anita.
"He'd been training super up until this, but he just wouldn't extend during the workout Thursday," Lightner said. "They got him back to the barn and called the vet and discovered he'd
pulled a muscle in his right hind leg."
The injury wasn't serious, Lightner said, but Treekster will be out of action from two weeks to two months.
Sunny Sunrise heads to Chicago
CHICAGO -- Sunny Sunrise and Richman, two of the country's best handicap thoroughbreds, head a six-horse field in today's $260,500 National Jockey Handicap at Sportsman's Park.
Sunny Sunrise, owned by Marylanders Harry and Tom Meyerhoff, won the $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup last autumn in Chicago. Richman, who races for the W.P. Lucas Estate, captured the $500,000 Illinois Derby at Sportsman's Park.
Richman has won two stakes this season, and Sunny Sunrise recently captured the Campbell Handicap in Maryland after racing well in several Florida stakes.