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. Similar to last year, rainfall overnight and through the dark soaked the racing surfaces making for a sloppy, sealed main track and a yielding turf course on the First Saturday in May, with temperatures in the mid 70's.
Kicking off the stakes action on Derby Day is the $100,000 Eight Belles Stakes (G3), featuring a field of 7 three-year-old fillies sprinting 7 1/2 furlongs on the main track. 3-5 favorite Hot Dixie Chick battled for the lead with 6-1 Decelerator down the backstretch through fractions of 23.00 and 45.37. The fast pace set the race up for the closers, as 8-1 Buckleupbuttercup, who was 5th early, came out wide at the 3/8 pole to take the lead, opening up a 2 1/2 length advantage at the 1/8 pole through 3/4 in 1:10.13, then drawing off to win by 6 1/4 lengths over 5-1 Visavis in 1:29.49. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to Hot Dixie Chick third.
Results chart from DRF
Her trainer Eddie Kenneally said, "She's a very confident filly who shows up every time. I knew she would like the slop and there was a lot of pace in the race. Julien was patient. She gained some confidence with racing and has become very professional. She's 4-for-4 on dirt, so it looks like she'll stay on dirt.” Jockey Julien Leparoux added, "Before the race everybody, looking at paper, you wouldn't pick her. But that's horse racing, you never know. She loved (the sloppy surface)."
A field of 7 older fillies and mares contested the $200,000 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2), a 1 mile trip over the Matt Winn Turf Course. 19-1 longest shot Cure for Sale opened a clear lead of 2 1/2 lengths on the clubhouse turn, setting an uncontested pace of 24.93, 49.67, and 1:14.28 over the yielding going, with 9-2 third choice Diamondrella stalking her in second. Om the turn both of these tired, as 5-1 Hot Cha Cha, who was 4th early, came out three wide to pass and open up a 2 length lead at the 1/8 pole. 6-1 Phola, who was last for the first 3/4 mile, closed down the center of the course to pass the whole field, winning by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:38.35. It was another 1 1/4 length back from Hot Cha Cha to 11-1 Miss Keller third, while 2-1 favorite Tizaqueena was 5th.
Results chart from DRF
Her trainer Todd Pletcher said, "We handled soft ground at Tampa last time out, so we were optimistic that she'd handle it today, though this is softer than she ran on before. She's just a filly who's finding herself and getting good. She's getting better and better with every race. We'll probably run her in the Just A Game on Belmont Day. My father bought her originally for himself for $50,000 after she was third in the Arlington-Washington Lassie. Wayne Patterson contacted him and they bought a majority interest. But he stayed in for a piece.”
The $300,000 Humana Distaff (G1) featured a field of 9 older fillies and mares sprinting 7 furlongs on the main track. 5-2 second choice Warbling battled for the early lead with 7-1 Dubai Majesty and 15-1 Cassidy's Pride exiting the chute and down the backstretch through fractions of 22.09 and 44.38. Rounding the turn, 11-1 Free Flying Soul moved up to challenge, taking over the front at the 3/16 pole through 3/4 in 1:09.16. 8-1 Mona de Momma, who was 8th early, came out 8 wide into the stretch to gain the lead, and was all-out to hold off late-running 9-1 Pretty Prolific in the final 1/16 to win by 3/4 length in 1:22.73. It was another length back to 2-1 favorite Informed Decision third.
Results chart from DRF
Her trainer John Sadler said, "The filly has got a wonderful broodmare pedigree, loaded with stakes winners. For her to win a Grade 1 means a lot. If she could get Grade 1-placed, it would be huge. We worked her with (Kentucky Oaks runner) Crisp to try and make some good company with Crisp and she hung in there with her. I told him to come wide. This race was tailor-made for Joel (Rosario)."
The $250,000 Churchill Downs Stakes (G2) featured a field of 12 older horses sprinting 7 furlongs on the main track. 10-1 Atta Boy Roy sprinted away to a 2 length lead exiting the chute and down the backstretch through fractions of 22.23 and 44.73 while being chased by 15-1 Wall Street Wonder for the first 1/2 mile. Entering the stretch, Wall Street Wonder was eased, allowing Atta Boy Roy to draw clear by 2 lengths in mid-stretch through 3/4 in 1:09.16. 7-2 second choice Warrior's Reward put in a strong rally late from 11th early, but was left with too much ground to make up as Atta Boy Roy finished 1/2 a length in front in 1:22.54. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to 5-2 favorite Musket Man third.
Results chart from DRF
His trainer Valorie Lund, celebrating her first graded stakes win, said, "This result might have been a surprise to most people, beating three of the top sprinters in the U.S., but not for me. I have a lot of confidence in my horse, and he's definitely gotten better as a 5-year-old than at 4. He was fighting quarter cracks the only previous time I ran him in the slop, but he worked fast over a bad track here last week. And he loves Calvin (Borel). "
A field of 9 older horses contested the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) at 1 1/8 miles over the Matt Winn Turf Course. 15-1 Wise River was allowed an uncontested lead of as many as 2 lengths through slow early fractions of 25.13, 50.95, and 1:15.87 over the yielding course, with 14-1 Blues Street and 3-1 Loup Breton stalking him second and third respectively. Entering the stretch, Wise River tired as 3-1 favorite Court Vision and 9-1 General Quarters came on to challenge, hooking up at the 1/8 pole. The pair battled for the final furlong, and in the last 20 yards General Quarters poked his neck in front to get the hard-fought win in 1:53.42. It was just a head back from Court Vision to Loup Breton third.
Results chart from DRF
His owner and trainer Tom McCarthy said, "I'll tell you that the excitement and the thrill is still there. I can't tell you how I feel. My heart is still pounding. I'll tell you what, that was a heck of ride by Rafael. He did just what we said, give him a breather, come on and that's exactly what he did. My whole family is here and that makes it so great. And these fans, these wonderful people who last year bet on him and he didn't do very well and got hurt. I hope this year that they double their bets and collected their money back."
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.