Kentucky Derby Day is the biggest card of racing at Churchill Downs. Before the main event, there were five graded stakes contested over the main track and turf course before the record crowd of 164,858. Conditions were ideal, with overcast skies and temperatures in the mid 60's.
Kicking off the stakes action on Derby day was the $100,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint Stakes (G3), featuring a field of 8 older horses going 5 furlongs on the turf. Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G2) winner Chamberlain Bridge was the 2-1 favorite over 5-2 Bridgetown. 29-1 longest shot Southern Region was quickest away and set early fractions of 21.89 and 44.89, before giving up the lead to Bridgetown at the 1/8 pole. However, 3-1 third choice Regally Ready, who stalked the pace in third, came out for room and drew away to a 1 1/4 length win over Bridgetown in 56.57 seconds over the firm turf. It was a long 3 1/4 lengths back to favorite Chamberlain Bridge third.
Results chart from DRF
Regally Ready heads to the winner's circle. His trainer Steve Asmussen said, "With who was in the
field and the draw he got, you knew he was going to have to show a
different element. He didn't used to show this much speed and it never
kept him from winning. He has run quite a bit recently so now we need to
map out a plan that gets him back here for (the Breeders' Cup) the
Jockey Corey Nakatani added, "I've just got so much
confidence now when I ride for Steve. He and his
team give you good horses and they
put them in the right spots. And
they're thinking this horse is only going to get better and be a Breeders'
Cup horse by the end of the year."
The first Grade 1 event on the card is the $300,000 Humana Distaff Stakes (G1), featuring older fillies and mares sprinting 7 furlongs on the main track. Inside Information Stakes (G2) winner Hilda's Passion was the 3-5 favorite in the field of 7 over 6-1 Amen Hallelujah. Jockey Javier Castellano sent Hilda's Passion to the lead exiting the chute and she set fractions of 22.29, 44.68, and 1:08.54 over the fast track. 16-1 Sassy Image, who sat back 5th early, came out 6 wide into the stretch and closed with a rush to pass the favorite inside the 1/8 pole to win going away by 3 lengths in 1:21.01. It was just 3/4 length back to Amen Hallelujah third.
Results chart from DRF
Sassy Image in the winner's circle. Her trainer Dale Romans said, "She loves it here; she loves
Churchill. She just loves the surface. Robby rode her perfect.
The race was quick enough up front that it set up just right for us. When
he took her off the turn, she just exploded. Yes, the Breeders' Cup here
in the fall is something to think about for sure."
Jockey Robby Albarado added, "It was a great setup. We
had enough pace up in front of us to give her some room to clear them
turning for home, running from the outside, and she just did all the
unfortunate I got taken off (eventual winner Animal Kingdom) in the Derby but that's horse
racing, you know, it happens."
The $200,000 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes (G2) featured a field of 9 older fillies and mares going 1 mile on the turf. Jenny Wiley (G2) winner Never Retreat was the 7-2 favorite over 4-1 Upperline. 24-1 Kiss Mine went to the lead first time past the stands to set fractions of 24.75, 47.81, and 1:12.11 while as 3 1/2 lengths ahead of 5-1 Tapitsfly down the backstretch. Kiss Mine stubbornly held the lead to mid-stretch through 7/8 in 1:24.42, but tired, as 6-1 Aviate, 7th early, closed down the center of the course to win by 1 1/2 lengths over 9-2 Aruna in 1:36.67. It was a neck back to 5-1 Fantasia third, while favorite Never Retreat finished 6th.
Results chart from DRF
Aviate heads to the winner's circle. Her jockey Kent Desormeaux said, "She had a good clean trip; she
was always on the bridle, very aggressive, in fact. I think her frame
helped her tremendously with winning the race. She has a light frame, so
she was able to skip over the top, whereas the bigger, heavier horses had
to sink a lot deeper. It is still soft, so she enjoyed the soft going. I
don't think she wants to get there as quick as I did in the last race, and
I may have gotten there too soon today."
Trainer Bill Mott added, "It was a good pace and just enough cut in the ground
where the closers had a chance today. It took her a race to get on track
but it looked like a good effort on her part. I don't think she likes real
soft ground but ground like this didn't seem to be a factor. Right now
we'll probably look at the (Just a Game Stakes at Belmont Park)."
The $300,000 Churchill Downs Stakes (G2) features older horses sprinting 7 furlongs on the main track. Count Fleet Handicap (G3) winner Smiling Tiger was the 5-2 favorite in the field of 12 over 9-2 Here Comes Ben. 13-1 Captain Cherokee battled for the lead with 33-1 Delong Road through fractions of 22.56 and 45.00 down the backstretch, before they tired from the duel. 5-1 Capt. Candyman Can opened up a 2 length lead in mid-stretch through 3/4 in 1:08.84, but the fast pace set the race up for the closers, as 13-1 Aikenite held off 6-1 Apriority by a nose to get the win in 1:21.40. It was another 1/2 length back to 21-1 Ibboyee third, while favorite Smiling Tiger was 6th.
Results chart from DRF
Aikenite heads to the winner's circle. His trainer Todd Pletcher said, "He's been doing really well
lately and we were expecting a big effort today. The inside post was our
main concern. We were afraid of getting stuck down inside there, but the
race worked out where there was enough speed for John to
maneuver and get out. This horse likes it outside and Johnny got him
there. With the Breeders ' Cup here in the fall, I think we have some
options with this horse."
Jockey John Velazquez added, "He
gets excited inside so I worked my way out going to the 1/2 mile pole. I
took him out where he was comfortable so when the 1/4 pole came I went
around the horses and got him in the clear and he started running. When he
got the lead he was hanging a little bit and the other horse came on the
outside and that was just enough to get him to run another jump and get
him to the wire."
A field of 13 older horses went 1 1/8 miles on the turf in the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1). Pan American Stakes (G3) third place finisher Prince Will I Am was the 3-1 favorite over 5-1 Doubles Partner. Jockey Ramon Dominguez sent 8-1 Get Stormy to the lead first time past the stands and he set easy fractions of 24.97, 50.67, and 1:15.21 while as many as 1 1/2 lengths in front of 7-1 Smart Bid. Entering the stretch, Get Stormy opened up a 2 1/2 length lead through 1 mile in 1:38.61. Smart Bid tried to close but Get Stormy held him off by 3/4 length in 1:50.81. It was just a neck back to late-running Doubles Partner third, while Prince Will I Am was fifth.
Results chart from DRF
Get Stormy in the winner's circle. His trainer Tom Bush said, "We think we've got
him back where he was and I think he's probably a better horse than he was
when he was a 4-year-old. He won here as a 3-year-old in the fall so we knew he was OK with the
turf. He had a few days galloping over here and he did
very well. He stayed relaxed and I knew he was going to run real well
today." Asked about the Breeders' Cup Mile he added, "You've got (2000 Guineas winner) Frankel and (3 time winner) Goldikova and (last year's runner-up) Gio Ponti but other than
Jockey Ramon Dominguez added, "There was not a lot of speed on paper,
and I sure everyone knew how rapid my horse can be. I was very pleased
that we were able to get away with slow fractions and my horse was very
relaxed. Turning for home, he really sprinted from the 3/8 pole to the
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.