Kentucky Derby Day is the biggest card of racing at Churchill Downs. Before the main event, there are five graded stakes contested over the main track and turf course. Heavy rains during the Oaks card soaked the racing surfaces, but bright sun and high winds dried the track considerably, so the stakes races were run over a fast track and good turf course.
Kicking off the stakes action on Derby day is the $250,000 Churchill Downs Stakes (G2), a 7 furlong sprint for older horses. 9-2 third choice Elite Squadron opened up a clear lead exiting the chute and set brisk fractions of 21.98 and 43.70 over the lightning-fast track, while as many as 1 1/2 lengths ahead of the rest of the field. Entering the stretch, jockey John Velazquez asked him for run and got it, as Elite Squadron opened up on the field through the lane to win by 4 1/2 lengths over late-running 3-1 favorite Noonmark in 1:21.53. It was just a head back to 6-1 Hewitts in third.
Results chart from DRF
Elite Squadron heads for the winner's circle. Winning trainer James Baker said, "He loves the track, horses for courses. I was a little worried when I saw :43 for the half. I said, 'Oh, my God.' I was ready to cry I'm so happy." Jockey John Velazquez added, "It's a fast track today and he's a fast horse. He was doing it comfortably. I learned a lot from last time (at Keeneland). I knew I needed to save some for the end. I waited until they came at me at the quarter pole and he had plenty."
The $150,000 La Troienne Stakes (G3) featured a field of seven 3-year-old fillies sprinting 7 1/2 furlongs on the main track. 5-2 second choice Secret Gypsy battled on the front end with 4-1 fourth choice Keep The Peace through fractions of 22.61 and 44.96 down the backstretch. Turning for home, Secret Gypsy faded from contention as Keep the Peace took over the lead in midstretch. However, 9-5 favorite Game Face, who sat in midpack fourth early, found room on the inside on the turn and closed with a rush to get up by a neck in 1:28.44. It was 2 lengths back to 15-1 Tiz to Dream in third.
Results chart from DRF
Left: Game Face parades after winning the race. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher said, "We kind of targeted this race right after the Davona Dale. We felt she didn't come out of that race great and gave her some time." Jockey John Velazquez added, "I sat right behind the two speed horses and bided my time. I was hoping to get some room to get out of there. I just happened to get room along the inside, and she ran very well in it. The race was supposed to set up for me because of the speed. You hope those things come out the way you want. But today it just happened to work out good."
Right: Secret Gypsy in the post parade.
The $150,000 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G3) was the first stakes race on the lawn, as eight older fillies and mares contested this 1 mile trip on the Matt Winn Turf Course. 12-1 longshot Bayou's Lassie opened a clear lead down the backstretch while setting fractions of 24.44, 48.12, and 1:12.60 while being stalked by 7-5 favorite Dreaming of Anna. Dreaming of Anna moved alongside to challenge her through the stretch, but Bayou's Lassie turned her away late, pulling ahead to a 1 1/4 length win in 1:37.70 over the good course. It was another 2 1/2 lengths back to 5-2 second choice Ventura third.
Results chart from DRF
Bayou's Lassie and Edgar Prado head for the winner's circle. Winning trainer Dale Romans said, "All we had to do was keep her tuned up and ready to roll. We tried to take the race to Dreaming of Anna, thought if we could get in front of her and make her try to take back off (the lead), we might have more horse than her turning for home, and it worked out perfectly. Edgar rode a perfect race." Jockey Edgar Prado added, "It seemed like my filly ran really well on the front end, and Dreaming of Anna's place is on the front end, too. I decided to lead them and my filly just ran her eyeballs out; she tried real hard."
The $300,000 Humana Distaff (G1) is the first of three Grade 1 stakes events on Derby Day. A field of eight older fillies and mares sprinted 7 furlongs on the main track. 2-1 favorite Sugar Swirl and 5-2 second choice Hystericalady battled on the front end through fractions of 22.27 and 44.31. Entering the stretch, Hystericalady took over the lead and opened up a 1 1/2 length advantage at the 1/8 pole. However, 14-1 shot Intangaroo, who was unhurried back in 7th early, put in a three-wide rally, joined by 17-1 Baroness Thatcher. The pair closed with a rush to catch Hystericalady late in a three-horse photo. Intangaroo (on the outside) got the win by a head in 1:22.03 over Baroness Thatcher, by a nose over Hystericalady, while favorite Sugar Swirl faded late to finish fifth.
Results chart from DRF
Intangaroo heads back to the barn after the race, her face covered with dirt. Winning trainer Gary Sherlock said, "She really vindicated her win in the Santa Monica. A lot of people thought she lucked out in that race. But she's a great filly and I always felt that way." Jockey Alonso Quinonez added, "She ran a great race. I was just very patient and I knew I could be with the long stretch. We talked about how the pace scenario was going to be perfect for us. We just let the speed horses go to the front, sit behind them and then make our move turning for home."
The $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) featured seven older horses go 1 1/8 miles on the turf. 5-1 fourth choice Thorn Song set the pace of 24.68, 49.13, and 1:12.97 while as many as 2 lengths ahead of the rest of the field. Entering the stretch, Thorn Song tired as 2-1 favorite Einstein, who had stalked him in third early, took over the lead, opening up a 2 length advantage at the 1/8 pole after a mile in a slow 1:37.74. 9-2 third choice Out of Control, who was fourth early, put in a mild bid late but was left with too much ground to make up, as Einstein cruised under the line 1 length ahead in 1:50.50 over the good course. It was another length back to 6-1 Artiste Royal third
Results chart from DRF
Einstein in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Robby Albarado said, "This year, he's just double game. He's doing things easy. He's willing and able." The win was the third Grade 1 for Einstein, pushing his career earnings above the $1 million plateau, to $1,107,931 for owners Patricia Cunningham and Melissa Green and trainer Helen Pitts.
Triple Crown quick links:
Oxbow upsets in the Preakness - Oxbow led the entire way in the Preakness Stakes (G1) on Saturday at Pimlico with Itsmyluckyday second and Mylute third. Heavy favorite Orb made a mild move to finish fourth. Get the results, charts, and photos here.
Preakness undercard stakes results - There were 7 other stakes on the card, highlighted by the Dixie Stakes (G2) won by Skyring and the Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes (G3) won by Summer Applause. Get the results, charts, and photos for 6 of the races here.
Fiftyshadesofhay wins the Black-Eyed Susan - Fiftyshadesofhay just got up to win the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) on Friday at Pimlico by a neck over Marathon Lady with favorite Emollient 6th. On the undercard, Last Gunfighter won the Pimlico Special (G3). Get the results, charts, and photos here.
Analyzing the Preakness Stakes Contenders for 2013 - My annual analysis using popular angles and statistical trends to see who best matches the profile of a Preakness winner. The big surprise is that Kentucky Derby winner Orb is not in the top group!
Orb wins the Kentucky Derby - Orb was far back early but took the lead in the stretch and drew off to win the Kentucky Derby (G1) by 2 1/2 lengths over longshot Golden Soul and Revolutionary. Get the results, charts, and photos here.
More Kentucky Derby Photos - More photos from the day including more of Orb, the trophy, the roses, Martina McBride, and lots of mud.
Kentucky Derby undercard stakes results - There were 5 other stakes on Derby day including the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) won by 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan and the Humana Distaff Stakes (G1) won by Aubby K. Get the results, charts, and photos for all 5 races here.
Princess of Sylmar upsets in the Kentucky Oaks - She rallied from far back to win the Kentucky Oaks by a half length over Beholder and Unlimited Budget, while favorite Dreaming of Julia was fourth. Get the results, chart, and photos here.
Kentucky Oaks undercard stakes results - There were 5 other stakes on Oaks day including the La Troienne Stakes (G2) won by Authenticity and the Alysheba Stakes (G3) won by Take Charge Indy. Get the results, charts, and photos for all 5 races here.
Kentucky Oaks Entries - A field of 11 fillies will go, with Gulfstream Oaks winner Dreaming of Julia favorite at 3-1 from post 8. Get the post positions, odds, and free past performances here.
Top Kentucky Derby Contenders - my list of the top horses headed to the Derby with profiles for each with photos, stats, and link to more info like past performances and pedigree.
Analyzing the top 2013 Kentucky Derby contenders - My annual analysis of the top contenders to try and select a winner by matching each to the profile of a Kentucky Derby winner using many of the more popular angles and statistical trends. This year there were is a 3-way tie for the top spot: Goldencents, Normandy Invasion, and Overanalyze.
2013 Kentucky Derby And Oaks Security - New enhanced stricter rules will be enforced this year. Be sure to read the rules as many have changed and more things are banned. There will still be magnetic wand searches of all patrons and many things are no longer allowed. Check here to make sure you don't bring anything they will confiscate.
Review: Triple Crown Handicapper 2013 - by Jim Mazur. Includes lots of stats for all 3 races and explains how to use a system of statistically derived negative angles to eliminate the "bad" picks.
Review: Kentucky Derby Greatest Moments - Commemorative DVD from Churchill Downs with video from 27 different runnings along with interviews, photos, and historical info. Definitely recommended for any racing fan!
Review: Churchill Downs - America's Most Historic Racetrack by Kimberly Gatto. An entertaining and informative account of the history of the track and it's most famous race, the Kentucky Derby, with lots of photos. Definitely recommended.