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By From Sun news services | April 11, 2010
Stately Victor stunned the field Saturday at the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes in Lexington, Ky., surging to the front in the stretch then pulling away to beat Paddy O'Prado by 4 1/4 lengths and secure an unlikely spot in next month's Kentucky Derby. The 3-year-old bay colt went off at 40-1, the longest shot in the nine-horse field filled with Derby hopefuls. He didn't look like an underdog as he recovered from a slow start to win the 1 1/8 -mile race at Keeneland and collect the $450,000 winner's check.
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By Don Markus and Aaron Dodson and The Baltimore Sun | May 14, 2014
Bob Baffert , the Hall of Fame trainer of Preakness entry Bayern, hopes his horse has more luck in Baltimore than Bodemeister did at Pimlico two years ago. After winning the Arkansas Derby that year, Bodemeister finished second in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. After Bayern won in Arkansas last month, Baffert decided to have him race in the 1-mile Derby trial rather than the 1 ¼-mile Derby. Bayern - named after soccer power Bayern Munich, the favorite club of the horse's owner Kaleem Shah - finished first in the Derby trial with Rosie Napravnik aboard, but he was later disqualified for interference and given second.
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By Chris Korman | April 13, 2012
The most visually stunning probable entrant in the upcoming Kentucky Derby could also become the favorite with a good showing at the Blue Grass Stakes this weekend. Hansen, a nearly all white colt trained by Mike Maker, is the 6-5 favorite in Lexington . He'll be challenged by Howe Great, trained by Maryland-based Graham Motion and owned by Team Valor International. Motion and Team Valor, of course, won last year's Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom, and have another possible Derby horse in Went the Day Well.
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By Childs Walker and The Baltimore Sun | May 4, 2014
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - When Art Sherman reached the barn at 5 a.m. Sunday, the day after the Kentucky Derby, he found his star pupil still slumbering. “I didn't want to wake him up,” he said of California Chrome, the newly garlanded champion of Churchill Downs. “I know he'd had a hard day.” The 77-year-old trainer looked wide awake, walking crisply around Barn 20, though he professed to be “numb” to the previous day's triumph. He said the enormity probably won't hit him until he finds a few moments alone in his lounge chair, outside the family home in Rancho Bernardo, Calif.
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By Kent Baker and Kent Baker,SUN STAFF | April 21, 2005
He was on the golf course Tuesday evening when the call came to ride in the Kentucky Derby. "Getting the assignment was the easy part," said jockey Jeremy Rose. "Now, I just have to capitalize on it." Rose became the latest in a line of former Maryland apprentice standouts - Chris McCarron and Kent Desormeaux immediately come to mind - to burst into the national spotlight when trainer Tim Ritchey informed him he had gained the assignment on Afleet Alex for the world's most famous race on May 7. At Pimlico's opening day yesterday to race aboard two Michael Gill-owned horses, Rose was reveling in his good fortune after steering Afleet Alex to a convincing, eighth-length victory Saturday in the Arkansas Derby, the same steppingstone used by Smarty Jones to reach Churchill Downs last year.
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By Paul Moran and Paul Moran,NEWSDAY | April 18, 2005
The wheat and chaff have parted company. Though they didn't win with the panache that Bellamy Road did in claiming leadership among the Kentucky Derby candidates with his victory in the Wood Memorial, Afleet Alex and Bandini took positions immediately behind the division leader Saturday with wins in the Arkansas Derby and Blue Grass Stakes, respectively. Only one race of significance remains in the culling process that will determine the pecking order among Derby-bound horses - Saturday's Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in which the injury- and illness-hindered Rockport Harbor will attempt to resuscitate his flagging fortunes, exactly what Afleet Alex and Bandini accomplished Saturday.
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By Kent Baker and Kent Baker,SUN STAFF | May 5, 2004
When the connections of Smarty Jones were plotting their potential path to the Kentucky Derby, the prospect of ultimately receiving a $5 million bonus check wasn't even an afterthought. "That was no factor whatsoever," trainer John Servis said yesterday after returning to Pennsylvania following Smarty's rousing victory Saturday in the Churchill Downs mud. "Arkansas was the path of least resistance, and we really liked the way the distances progressed [from 1 1/16th miles in the Rebel Stakes to 1 1/8 in the Arkansas Derby to 1 1/4 in Kentucky]
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By Bill Christine and Bill Christine,LOS ANGELES TIMES | April 5, 2004
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who started four horses in his first Kentucky Derby, in 2000, could have five contenders for this year's race running in prep races this weekend. This comes on the heels of Pletcher's winning the Illinois Derby with Pollard's Vision, a one-eyed horse, at Hawthorne on Saturday. The last round of major preps for the Kentucky Derby, which will be run at Churchill Downs on May 1, comes Saturday with the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, the Blue Grass at Keeneland and the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.
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May 5, 2001
PP Horse Trainer Jockey Record Earnings Last race Tom Keyser's comment Odds 1... Songandaprayer... John Dowd... Aaron Gryder... 6: 3-1-0... $369,480......... 2nd Blue Grass Stakes... Inside post forces him to fire from gate; he'll flame out... 20-1 2...Millennium Wind... David Hofmans... Laffit Pincay Jr.... 5: 3-2-0... $769,920... 1st Blue Grass Stakes... Never worse than second, he's overcome cracked heels, skin rash... 6-1 3...Balto Star... Todd Pletcher Mark Guidry... 8: 4-0-1...
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By Ross Peddicord and Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer | May 13, 1994
Ulises, who finished last in the Kentucky Derby after briefly leading during the first furlong, yesterday joined the prospective lineup for the May 21 Preakness Stakes.It appears that 12 horses, nine of them already stabled on the grounds at Pimlico Race Course, could start in the race.Lenny Hale, vice president of racing at Pimlico/Laurel, said yesterday that he was notified by Ulises' owner, Robert Perez, who keeps a division of his stable in Maryland, that the horse would start."Mr. Perez is probably sending Astudillo for the Early Times Dixie [a $150,000 grass stakes next Friday]
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By Childs Walker and The Baltimore Sun | May 3, 2014
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Dallas Stewart did it again. A year ago, his horse, Golden Soul, finished second in the Kentucky Derby as a 34-1 underdog. On Saturday, the Kentucky-based trainer pulled off another second-place finish, this time with 38-1 underdog Commanding Curve. It wasn't exactly the result Stewart wanted. “I thought he had a heck of a shot,” he said. But he had to tip his cap to the winner, California Chrome, who exceeded his expectations. “I was just hoping California Chrome would kind of give in a little bit, but he didn't,” Stewart said.
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By Childs Walker and The Baltimore Sun | May 1, 2014
The Kentucky Derby is the main event, but it's possible the week's dominant star turn could come in Friday's Kentucky Oaks. Untapable is an overwhelming 4-5 favorite in the $600,000 stakes for fillies, and the question around Churchill Downs hasn't been if she'll win but by how much. Her trainer, Steve Asmussen, has been here before. In 2009, he watched his filly, Rachel Alexandra, burst onto the national scene with a 20-length victory in the Oaks. Two weeks later, she beat the boys in the Preakness on her way to Horse of the Year honors.
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By Childs Walker and The Baltimore Sun | April 30, 2014
LOUISVILLE, KY. -- His mother cost a mere $8,000 and his father performed for a modest stud fee of $2,000. That $10,000 investment - minuscule by elite racing standards - produced California Chrome, who had won $1.135 million even before he became the official favorite for the 2014 Kentucky Derby on Wednesday. His charmed run continued in the afternoon post-position draw, where California Chrome drew the No. 5 spot. Earlier in the day, co-owner Steve Coburn had said he was hoping for a starting spot between No. 6 and No. 10, but a near miss wasn't bad. "I think it's a perfect spot," said trainer Art Sherman.
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By Liam Durbin and For The Baltimore Sun | May 3, 2013
The new points system for qualifying horses for the Kentucky Derby appears to have served its purpose. The race is full of horses with the preferred pedigree and running style to handle the distance. While this has served to restore some purity to the race, it has also made the race tougher to handicap because many of the horses now excluded by the points system were easy toss-outs for handicappers. This field of 20 is very even. A case could be made for every one of them to win. Orb was made the morning-line favorite, in a bit of a surprise, over Verrazano, who many thought would be made the favorite after remaining perfect in the Wood Memorial.
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By Chris Korman, The Baltimore Sun | May 2, 2013
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Standing outside of his barn at Churchill Downs, leaning against a temporary fence that seems more invitation that blockade, D. Wayne Lukas is as much a Kentucky Derby fixture as spilled bourbon and bad bets. The Derby takes thousands of horses in their 3-year-old years and whittles them down to a field of 20 through a series of races run across the country, and no trainer has been there at the end more often than Lukas. His two starters entered in Saturday's race, 30-1 Oxbow and 20-1 Will Take Charge, would be his 46th and 47th.
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By Liam Durbin, Special to The Baltimore Sun | May 4, 2012
The computer program came up with Hansen, and he certainly has a shot. However, Hansen's last prep race was very telling, and not in ways that suggest he can win. Many observers felt his Breeders' Cup Juvenile victory last fall demonstrated some distance limitations, and those concerns seem to have been validated in the Blue Grass Stakes, where he gave up the lead in the stretch. Additionally, his owner suggested that he would not go to the lead in the Blue Grass, but he surged to the lead and carved out fairly solid fractions.
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By Bill Christine and Bill Christine,LOS ANGELES TIMES | April 4, 2005
A trainer of a rival horse says Sweet Catomine doesn't have "scary" speed, and no one else seems to be afraid of the champion filly in next Saturday's Santa Anita Derby, either. At least 12 horses may start, which would be the race's biggest field in 24 years. The Santa Anita Derby and the Wood Memorial, which will be run at Aqueduct on Saturday, are expected to further whittle the list of contenders for the Kentucky Derby on May 7. The favorite in a wide-open Kentucky Derby is not a horse but a trainer, Nick Zito, who could have four and possibly five starters at Churchill Downs on May 7. Two of Zito's hopefuls, High Fly and Noble Causeway, ran 1-2 in Saturday's Florida Derby, and Zito said yesterday that they won't run again before the Kentucky classic.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | April 10, 1998
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. -- Bill Mott listened to his first Kentucky Derby on the radio of a horse van at Fort Pierre, a bush league track in South Dakota.He was 13, working his first job -- walking horses and mucking stalls. The year was 1967. Proud Clarion won the Kentucky Derby.Now, Mott is one race away from marching into Churchill Downs with the possible Kentucky Derby favorite. Favorite Trick, the reigning Horse of the Year, competes tomorrow in the Arkansas Derby here in Hot Springs, the boyhood home of President Clinton.
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By Chris Korman, The Baltimore Sun | May 4, 2012
Bob Baffert calls his son, Bode, over for the cameras. The boy, a shy 7-year-old, relents as his mother brushes a mess of brown hair from his eyes. Then the boy shows what he's learned from his father, the witty trainer whose hard-driving style has led to three trips to the winner's circle at the Kentucky Derby. "Who are you rooting for?" Bode is asked as he stares at a giant microphone hovering near his head. ("Looks like a rat," Baffert had exclaimed.) "I don't know," Bode says, scratching his head and twisting his face to look confused.
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By Chris Korman and The Baltimore Sun | May 2, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - All along, Bob Baffert has said that he fought the urge. He didn't allow even an idle moment to be filled with the blurry, soaring dreams that can be ignited by training a horse as promising as Bodemeister. He insisted on waiting until the post position draw and the announcement of the morning line. When, on Wednesday, Bodemeister drew the No. 6 spot and was named the initial 4-1 favorite, Baffert relented only partially. “I'm just relieved I didn't draw the one hole,” he said.
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