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Tyler Gaffalione celebrates aboard Santin after winning the Old Forrester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1).
Kentucky Derby Day is the biggest card of racing at Churchill Downs. Before the main event, there were six graded stakes contested over the fast main track and firm Matt Winn turf course on Saturday. In contrast with a wet Oaks day, conditions were more favorable for the 147,294 fans in attendance, with overcast skies and temperatures in the low 60's. Wagering from all-sources on the Kentucky Derby Day program totaled $273.8 million up 9% compared to the record of $250.9 set in 2019. In addition, handle for Derby Week rose to a new record of $391.8 million, up 25% from 2021 and up 14% from the previous record of $343.0 million set in 2019. Churchill Downs Inc. CEO Bill Carstanjen said, “We are deeply grateful to all of the fans of the Kentucky Derby around the world who once again made this an amazing and memorable experience. We expect the Kentucky Derby Week Adjusted EBITDA to reflect another record with $7 to $9 million of growth over the prior record in 2019.”
Jockey Manny Franco sent 15-2 Tribhuvan to the front first time by through fractions of 24.39, 49.02, and 1:13.13 while pressed by 7-1 fourth choice Santin and stalked by 17-1 Bizzee Channel. Turning for home, Trihbuvan tired allowing Santin to take over the front through 1 mile in 1:37.90. Kept to task by Tyler Gaffalione, Santin held off late-running 9-1 Mira Mission to win by a neck in 1:49.72. It was a long 6 lengths back to late-running favorite Adhamo third.
Results chart from DRF
Left: Santin in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Tyler Gaffalione said, “It seems like in his races before, we were leaving him too much to do. It takes him time to get going. Brendan (Walsh) suggesting putting the blinkers on him and he worked with them and you see the result today. He’s really a fighter and coming along nicely.”
Right: Santin heads back to the barn. Winning trainer Brendan Walsh said, “We’ve thought this was a special horse and I think we’re starting to see the start of something big here. He’s still just a baby; he’s only had six starts now. And he’s in here running against ones with 10, 12, 15 starts. We were letting him come along at his own pace, but we gave him some help to focus with the blinkers today. The people down at my barn have brought him along. I just happen to be there.”
Left: Second place finisher Mira Mission returns after the race. Jockey Julien Leparoux said, “We had a great trip. We got to the lead there, but the winner fought back on us. My horse fought hard in the stretch, he did everything perfect. We are happy with his run. Disappointed to be second but we are very proud of him. He has been doing very good.”
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Adhamo first time by. Jockey Flavien Prat said, “We just couldn't catch them in the stretch, but he ran well, just not enough today.”
The start of the Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1). Tribhuvan (FR) took the lead out of the gate and established a clear advantage leading the field of nine through fractions of :24.39, :49.02 and 1:13.13.
Jockey Jose Ortiz sent In Italian to the lead first time by through fractions of 24.86, 49.70, and 1:14.60 while pressed by 11-2 Lady Speightspeare and stalked by 19-1 longest shot Abscond. Turning for home Speak of the Devil, last early under Flavien Prat, came out 5 wide to sweep to the lead through 7f in 1:25.78. Kept to task by Prat, Speak of the Devil drew off to win by 2 3/4 lengths over In Italian in 1:37.47. It was a long 3 lengths back to Wakanaka third.
Results chart from DRF
Left: Speak of the Devil in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Chad Brown, who trains the first two said, "So lucky to have this filly. She was turned her over to us last fall. Every week she kept getting better and indicated everything you want to see. You hate to run these fillies (In Italian ran second) against each other but really there's not a lot of options out there at a mile right now, so we let them settle it on the racetrack and today Speak of the Devil was better."
Right: Speak of the Devil heads back to the barn. Winning jockey Flavien Prat said, "I thought I was in some good holes, but for some reason she was not progressing down the backside. So I decided to drop down to the inside, and as soon as I called on her she cut really well. The track feels very good after all the rain."
Jockey Flavien Prat sent Just One Time to the lead out of the chute through fractions of 22.36, 44.95, and 1:09.75 while pressed by 5-1 Edgeway and stalked by 21-1 Center Aisle. Turning for home, Just One Time opened up a 2 length lead through 3/4 in 1:09.75, but Obligatory, last early under Jose Ortiz, came out 5 wide for room and rallied to win by 3/4 length over 16-1 Four Graces in 1:22.17. It was another 2 1/2 lengths back to favorite Just One Time third.
Results chart from DRF
Left: Obligatory in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bill Mott said, "The only thing I reminded Jose (Ortiz) about beforehand was something he knew: her stretch run is her weapon. The goal with a filly like this is to get her a Grade 1. She loves Churchill; for whatever reason she just really does well at this track. She's won a Grade 2 and a Grade 3 here, so we pointed for this race to get her her Grade I. Glad she got it." Winning jockey Jose Ortiz added, "She's a very nice mare. I feel like she's getting better and better. I just waited and let her get into her own rhythm. They were going very fast on the front end. I was sitting at the back of the pack. I didn't want to sweep her off her feet to get a good finish. I was very happy with the trip I had. I swung a little wide because I felt like I had enough (horse)."
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Just One Time returns to be unsaddled. Jockey Flavien Prat said, "I thought we were in a good position but we just could not hold off the top two."
Jockey Flavien Prat sent Pappacap to lead out of the chute through fractions of 22.70, 45.61, and 1:09.66 while pressed by Jack Christopher and stalked by 9-1 Major General. Turning for home Jack Christopher took over the lead through 7f in 1:22.07. Kept to task by Jose Ortiz, Jack Christopher drew off late to win by 3 3/4 lengths in 1:34.81. It was a head back to 8-1 My Prankster third.
Results chart from DRF
Left: Jack Christopher in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Chad Brown said, "We asked a lot of him today after a long layoff and an injury. Coming off of a layoff, you never know, especially running a mile. I had a really good feel, here on Derby Day, I asked a lot of him. I wanted to run him in a race that allowed him to stretch his legs a little bit, and get comfortable at some point of the race, and protect him, and to move him forward. It certainly worked today. Jose did a great job, he got squeezed a little bit at the start, and made the good decision to use him early to move him up and out and in the clear. He really took control of the race at that point. To get him here on the first Saturday in May, and to get him to the winner's circle, it'll always be in the back of my mind what could have been. It is what it is."
Right: Jack Christopher in the post parade. Winning jockey Jose Ortiz said, "Cutting back to one mile brought my horse's A game today. I was worried around the three-eighths pole because I thought if there was one horse that could beat me it was Pappacap after he ran so well last time. So I moved into him and when I got to him at the 5/16 I felt like I had him. I heard Flavien (Prat on Pappacap) asking for more and he wasn't getting anywhere. So I was confident and waited longer so I had plenty horse for the end."
Stolen Base wins the American Turf (G2)
Jockey james Graham sent 13-1 Dowagiac Chief to the front first time by through fractions of 23.97 and 49.27 while pressed by 10-1 Red Danger and stalked by 19-1 Coinage. Around the far turn Red Danger moved up to lead through 3/4 in 1:14.61 before tiring. Into the lane, 6-1 Balnikhov, 10th early, came out 5 wide to sweep to the front through 1 mile in 1:38.56 but Stolen Base, 6th early under Flavien Prat, fought back late to win by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:44.57. It was another length from Balnikhov to favorite Sy Dog third.
Full results chart
Left: Stolen Base in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Flavien Prat said, "Manny (Franco) came at me (with Balnikhov) and my horse seemed to regroup. I only rode him one time before and there he wasn't having much interest in the race in the first part; but he still ran a great race (to finish second). Today he jumped really well out of the gate and he felt like he was willing to get us into a good position to win." Winning trainer Mike Maker added, "He had no excuses today unlike last year in the Breeders' Cup and at Keeneland. We got away well, Flavien put him in a good position and just felt if we were good enough, there would be no excuses."
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Sy Dog in 9th first time by. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said, "He felt good and ran all right. I think he would level to try a little more distance."
Jockey Joel Rosario sent Jackie's Warrior to the front exiting the chute and he set fractions of 22.76 and 45.50 while pressed by 25-1 longest shot Sir Alfred James and stalked by Aloha West. Turning for home Jackie's Warrior began to pull away from the field, opening up a 3 length lead through 3/4 in 1:09.50. Ridden out by Rosario, Jackie's Warrior finished 4 lengths clear of late-running Reinvestment Risk in 1:21.95. It was another length back to Aloha West third.
Results chart from DRF
Left: Jackie's Warrior in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Joel Rosario said, "It seemed better to keep him off the rail. It seemed to be a better place for him. He's an amazing horse. The speed that he is able to give you. He is just a strong horse, to get out of there (at the start) — like a quarter horse, and to keep going with that speed. He's just there for you whenever you ask."
Right: Jackie's Warrior heads back to the barn. Winning trainer Steve Asmussen said, "First I can't say enough about the (owners J. Kirk and Judy) Robisons putting a champion stallion back in training and letting us enjoy him another year. He's now a Grade I winner at 2, 3 and 4. And, the style in which he won today was just beautiful. I thought Joel (Rosario) said it best when we were in paddock just watching him standing there. He said ‘they don't come along like this all the time, do they' and they don't. When you're the speed of the race, you just stay on the path you want. He's older, more confident and stronger."
Jockey Luis Saez sent 13-1 Gun It to the front out of the chute through fractions of 22.72, 45.74, and 1:10.28 while pressed by Injunction and stalked by Dream Shake. In the lane Gun It tired allowing Dream Shake to briefly lead through 7f in 1:22.72 before also tiring. 37-1 longest shot Three Technique, 9th early under Rafael Bejarano, rallied 6 wide to outfinish Injunction by a length in 1:35.48. It was a nose back to 7-1 South Bend third, while favorite Shared Sense checked in 6th beaten 3 1/2 lengths
Results chart from DRF
Left: Three Technique in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Jason Cook said, "I wanted my daughter (Payton) to make it to the Derby. This is her first Derby. I swear I thought this horse would win the whole time. He was just doing so good." Winning jockey Rafael Bejarano added, "The horse had a good trip. I finally got him in the clear this time. The horse was ready today and I was very happy for him and the owners."
Right: Sixth place finisher and beaten favorite Shared Sense returns to be unsaddled. The Brad Cox trainee has a record of 6 wins, 2 seconds, and 2 thirds in 18 starts, earning $577,435 for owner-breeder Godolphin.
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