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 overnight soaked the racing surfaces, making for a sloppy, sealed track and good turf on the First Saturday in May, with an overcast sky and temperatures in the low 60's.
Kicking off the stakes action on Derby Day is the $250,000 Churchill Downs Stakes (G2), a 7 furlong main track sprint for older horses. 9-2 third choice Accredit battled on the front end with 24-1 Hewitts through fractions of 22.94 and 45.59. Entering the stretch, Hewitts tired, allowing Accredit to open up a 2 length lead in midstretch after 6 furlongs in 1:09.78. 4-1 second choice My Pal Charlie put in a late rally from 8th but Accredit easily held him off in the final 1/16 to win by 1 3/4 lengths in 1:23.24 over the sloppy track. It was another 1 1/4 miles back to 8-1 The Roundhouse third, while 8-5 favorite Kodiak Kowboy finished seventh.
Results chart from DRF
Owner Ken Ramsey leads Accredit into the winner's circle. His trainer Mike Maker said, "It's fabulous to win a race like this on Derby day and I'm sure glad it rained. Every time he runs we have to watch the weather forecast. He's a classy horse and there are plenty of spots for classy sprinters. We'll look at Calder (Summit of Speed) and perhaps Saratoga." Jockey Julien Leparoux added, "He loved the 'off' track. I guess this worked out to be a perfect day for him. Everything went his way. Every time a horse made a run and I asked him for run, he was there for me."
The $100,000 Eight Belles Stakes (G3) featured a field of 8 three-year-old fillies sprinting 7 1/2 furlongs on the main track. 5-1 Lady's Laughter and 9-2 Auspicious hooked up exiting the chute to contest the early pace of 23.34 and 46.16, with 9-5 favorite Just Jenda stalking them in third. At the top of the lane, the pacesetters tired allowing Just Jenda to take over the lead at the 3/16 pole, but 7-2 second choice Four Gifts, who was back in 5th early, encountered traffic trouble but came through to win going away by 3 lengths in 1:30.94. It was another 2 lengths back from Just Jenda to 12-1 Warrior Maid third.
Results chart from DRF
Left: Four Gifts returns after the race. Winning trainer Steve Asmussen said, "I think the distance is the key with her. She's been a very special filly from 7/8 to a mile." Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan added, "I had a phenomenal trip. She settled really nice behind. She did everything I wanted her to do. The speed set up very good. I was able to watch (Just Jenda) and got her on the outside of me. I just got (Four Gifts) in the right spot that I thought she needed to be. The rest was up to her, and she did it. She ran a really nice race for me."
A field of nine older fillies and mares went in the $200,000 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2), a 1 mile trip over the Matt Winn turf course. 29-1 longest shot Rasierra battled for the lead with 9-1 Tizaqueena first time past the stands and around the clubhouse turn through fractions of 24.68 and 49.37 over the good course. Entering the stretch, Rasierra tired badly to finish last, allowing Tizaqueena to take over the lead at the 1/4 pole through 3/4 in 1:14.72. 6-1 Dawn After Dawn closed well to challenge in mid stretch but Tizaqueena dismissed her in the final furlong to win by 3/4 length in 1:38.86. It was another 1/2 length back to 7-2 Lemon Chiffon third, while 3-2 favorite Visit was fifth.
Results chart from DRF
Tizaqueena in the winner's circle. Her trainer Michael Stidham said, "She's certainly stepped up a notch on grass. We ran her on the turf for the first time because the dirt race didn't go. Her numbers moved forward when she went to the grass. Today was the step forward she needed to pass, and she passed it. I don't know what her limits are." Jockey Jamie Theriot added, "I just let my horse get comfortable and not get her into a game of tug-of-war. She's good on dirt, but I think she's better on grass."
The $300,000 Humana Distaff (G1) featured a field of nine older fillies and mares sprinting 7 furlongs on the main track. 12-1 Dubai Majesty was loose on the lead early through quick fractions of 22.38, 44.86, and 1:09.34 while as many as 4 lengths clear of the field. However, she tired through the final furlong as 3-1 Informed Decision closed from fourth to win by 3/4 length over 33-1 longest shot Temple Street in 1:23.69. It was just 1/2 a length back to pacesetter Dubai Majesty and late-running 27-1 Modification who dead-heated for the show spot. 2-1 favorite Game Face failed to fire and was sixth.
Results chart from DRF
Informed Decision in the winner's circle. Her trainer Jonathan Sheppard said, "She must be a pretty nice filly. To win on a different surface than she's used to, and with a little bit of a rough trip. She's pretty game." Jockey Julien Leparoux added, "At the 1/4 pole, I said there's no way (Dubai Majesty) was going to come back. But at the 1/8 pole, she really kicked in for me."
The $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) features some of the best older turf horses in the country going 1 1/8 miles. 16-1 Thorn Song set the early pace of 23.87, 48.40, and 1:12.34 while as many as 2 lengths in front of 8-1 Cowboy Cal stalking him in second. Entering the stretch, Thorn Song faded to eventually finish fifth, allowing Cowboy Cal to inherit the lead at the 3/16 pole, getting the mile in 1:37.15. 9-5 favorite and defending champion Einstein, who raced in midpack fifth for the first 5 furlongs, came out six wide for the drive and closed with a rush to nail Cowboy Cal at the line by a head in 1:49.62. It was a long 3 3/4 lengths back to 4-1 Court Vision third.
Results chart from DRF
Einstein, who also won this race last year, in the winner's circle. His trainer Helen Pitts said, "I'm not going to say he's the best horse in the country. I'll let you know on Nov. 6. The Breeders' Cup (Classic) is a possibility. But I'm very proud of him today. He's a special animal." Jockey Julien Leparoux added, "He's a fighter; he always tries, but you can tell he is not as comfortable on (soft) turf as he is on Polytrack or firm turf. We got a good trip and we saved ground. The only time I had to really work was at the 3/8 pole."
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.