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 165,307. Conditions were ideal, with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 80's, in contrast with the heavy rains that fell overnight.
Kicking off the stakes action on Derby day was the $125,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint Stakes (G3), featuring a field of 12 older horses going 5 furlongs on the turf. Bridgetown, unraced since winning the Troy Stakes at Saratoga, was the 3-2 favorite over 7-2 Great Mills, second in the Shakertown (G3) last out, and 9-2 Great Attack, off a 6th place finish in the Shakertown. Bridgetown and Great Mills battled on the front end down the backstretch and around the turn through an opening quarter of 21.55. In the stretch, Brigetown opened up a 2 1/2 length advantage through a half in 4434, but Great Attack, 11th early, closed on the outside to win by 3/4 length in 56.61. It was another 2 lengths back to 25-1 Cactus Son third.
Results chart from DRF
Left: Great Attack in the winner's circle. His trainer Wesley Ward said, "He's a very special sprinter – I told Joel (Rosario) the instructions were to be ‘a cool sitter and a go-getter,' and that's what he did. As horses get older and he's getting a little more settled in his mind, he's raced that way in the past – from behind – but you get caught up in these 5/8 sprints you can over-analyze and get caught up in having your rider a little too close. Today I thought we would just sit back there and make one big run. That's sort of how Joel likes to ride. Both of them made a perfect pair and a perfect match."
Right: Great Attack returns after the race.
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. Madison Stakes (G1) winner Groupie Doll was sent off as the 3-1 favorite in the field of 9 over 7-2 second choice Switch, second in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) last out, and 4-1 third choice Sassy Image, unraced since 6th in the Ballerina (G1) at Saratoga. 12-1 Mildly Offensive led the field out of the chute through an opening quarter in 22.42 before Groupie Doll took over, opening up a 1 1/2 length lead through a half in 44.57. Groupie Doll opened up 5 1/2 length lead over Musical Romance in mid-stretch through 3/4 in 1:08.04, and powered past the post 7 1/4 lengths in front, in a new track record of 1:20.44. It was another 5 1/4 lengths back to 13-1 Magical Feeling third.
Results chart from DRF
Left: Groupie Doll in the winner's circle with owner-trainer "Buff" Bradley. Bradley said, "She got into the race right away, and she actually made the lead earlier than I expected. When she had the lead at the 1/4 pole, I knew she was home. I haven't looked past this race yet." Jockey Rajiv Maragh added, "She broke for me real well, which is what I wanted. She went right out and put me in good position. She wanted to go at the 3/8 pole, but the plan wasn't to do that right then. But she was doing it so willingly, I didn't want to take that away from her. When she moved she really took off."
Right: Groupie Doll returns after the race.
The $200,000 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes (G2) featured a field of 7 older fillies and mares going 1 mile on the turf. Mrs. Revere (G2) winner Marketing Mix was sent off as the 3-2 favorite over 7-2 Daisy Devine, winner of the Jenny Wiley (G1) and 5-1 Tapisfly, third in the Jenny Wiley. Daisy Devine went to the lead and set fractions of 24.78, 48.65, and 1:12.39 over the good turf while stalked by Tapisfly early. Entering the stretch, Tapitsfly collared the pacesetter, getting 7/8 in 1:24.39 but 6-1 Hungry Island, 5th early, closed late to win by 1 length in 1:36.20. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to 7-1 La Reine Lionne third, while favorite Marketing Mix was fourth.
Results chart from DRF
Left: Hungry Island in the winner's circle. Her jockey John Velazquez said, "Perfect trip. Everything worked out great. I asked her and she responded. She had a quick spurt when I had her out in the stretch and that was really nice. I'm happy to be back here at the Derby. Last year was such a whirlwind. I had a mount, I didn't have a mount. Then I wound up winning. It was an incredible whirlwind of emotions. It's almost surreal but I'm happy to be back." Trainer Shug McGaughey added, "She's run behind a fast pace, slow pace, she's just a really nice filly. She's got a little short kick and the race at Keeneland set her up for this one. I will enjoy stretching her out when the time comes. I'll see how she comes out of it. I won't be stretching her out there but maybe the Just a Game on Belmont Day."
Right: Hungry Island in the post parade.
The $400,000 Churchill Downs Stakes (G2) features older horses sprinting 7 furlongs on the main track. Carter Handicap (G3) third place finisher Shackleford was sent off as the 9-5 favorite in the field of 8 over 2-1 Amazombie, winner of the Potrero Grande (G2) last out, and 5-1 Smiling Tiger, unraced since fourth in the Pat O'Brien (G1) at Del Mar. 13-1 Will's Wildcat led the field exiting the chute through a quarter in 21.96 before Amazombie moved up to get the half in 44.17, pressed by Shackleford to his inside. Into the lane, Shackleford moved up to challenge, and the pair dueled to the line getting 3/4 in 1:08.18. In the final 1/16 Shackleford took over the lead for good, finishing a length in front in 1:21.06. It was another 5 lengths from Amazombie to 12-1 Gantry third.
Results chart from DRF
Left: Shackleford in the winner's circle. His trainer Dale Romans said, "He's as game as they come, he's still our big horse for a couple more hours anyway. He deserved a big win like that. He's a special, special horse. It wasn't as much frustration as I felt bad for him, he deserved to win some of those races. I threw him in nine Grade 1's, he showed up for me every time, but today was the old Shack." Jockey Jesus Castanon added, "He was game. (Amazombie) came on top of me, my horse just fought back; couldn't ask for better. He's back."
Right: Shackleford heads back to the barn after the race.
A field of 11 older horses went 1 1/8 miles on the turf in the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1). Turallure was sent off as the 2-1 favorite off second place finishes in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) and Maker's 46 Mile (G1), over 9-2 Doubles Partner, third in the Maker's 46, and 7-1 Turbo Compressor, third in the Sunshine Millions Classic. Jockey Joe Bravo sent 12-1 Little Mike to the lead first time by and he set fractions of 24.78, 48.27, and 1:12.81 while stalked by 10-1 Get Stormy. Into the lane Get Stormy tired as Little Mike opened up a 3 1/2 length lead at the 1/8 pole through 1 mile in 1:36.50. 11-1 Slim Shadey rallied from 6th but Little Mike cruised past the post 2 1/2 lengths in front in 1:48.81 over good turf. It was another 1/2 length back to 8-1 Brilliant Speed third, while favorite Turallure checked in 7th.
Results chart from DRF
Left: Little Mike in the winner's circle. His trainer Dale Romans said, "I thought he was the fastest horse in the race, period. I didn't know if he could go as far as he needed to, but we weren't going to take back. We weren't going to give Get Stormy an easy race. We decided to take it to him. He had condylar fracture last year, so this is a pretty sweet victory for Little Mike. He's a super horse and he deserves this Grade One."
Jockey Joe Bravo added, "I've been riding for 24 years and I can't say a horse will stick out more in my mind than Little Mike will. He's a horse that's overcome so much. I figured with the rain – the water runs down to the inside – that I thought it was better to stay off (the hedge). Who says there wasn't a question (about getting 1 1/8 miles)? I had a lot of questions, but Little Mike speaks."
Right: Little Mike is paraded by by his connections after the race.
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.