The 149th Kentucky Derby (G1) presented by Woodford Reserve will be run on Saturday, May 6, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The purse is $3 million, with $1.86 million going to the winner. US Racing is profiling each horse in the field. The post-position draw is Monday, May 1. Profiles will be updated with post positions and odds following the draw.
By US Racing Team
Not so long ago (OK, it was 1953), the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, sent a pair of baby groundhogs named after the new Queen of England, Elizabeth II, and her husband, Prince Philip, to California. The Griffith Park Zoo was happy to have them, but the state’s Department of Agriculture was not pleased, declaring Liz and Phil “agricultural pests,” and demanding they be destroyed. They were. Eight years later, Punxsutawney Phil made his debut on Groundhog Day, perhaps a shout-out to the long-since-departed namesake.
Why are we telling you this?
How Two Phil’s got his name is an equally convoluted tale. Phillip Sagan (one of the two Phils) had campaigned the graded stakes-placed filly Mia Torri. When she was retired, he toyed with the idea of breeding her, but had no clue where to start.
His son Anthony regularly played cards with a former jockey named Jerry La Sala, and said he’d ask him for advice. La Sala suggested they have lunch with one Steve Leving. Once described as a “mad genius” who talked too much (key quote: “Ask him what time it is and he’ll tell you how the watch was made”), Leving told them to breed Mia Torri to Hard Spun. Which they did.
The foal was nice-looking enough, but nobody wanted to buy him, not even for $100,000. Leving then suggested they meet with trainer Larry Rivelli, who happened to be close friends with Vinnie Foglia, Jr., whose LLC Patricia’s Hope wound up buying 80% of the colt.
So far, that’s still only one Phil. But listen to Phillip Sagan’s son Anthony explain how it came to be.
“My father is Phillip and my friend Jerry La Sala who got us started, his father’s name is also Phil. They’re both in their 80s and they’re both characters,” Sagan said. “They really are. Someone in my family came up with it … everyone loved it, it stuck, and we went with it.”
At any rate, Two Phil’s turns out to be a late-charging, hard-knocking sort who’s won four of his eight starts, all at different tracks, ranging from 6 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. Most importantly, he’s the only Derby hopeful with a graded stakes victory at Churchill Downs, having taken the Street Sense to close out his juvenile campaign.
His victory in the Jeff Ruby at Turfway Park earned him 100 Derby qualifying points to end up No. 5 on the leaderboard with 123 points.
“It’s a great story, it’s a great feeling, we couldn’t be more happy, and there will be a lot of Two Phil’s fans at Churchill, I’ll tell you that,” said Sagan.
Post position: 3
Trainer: Larry Rivelli
Jockey: Jareth Loveberry
Owners: Patricia’s Hope LLC (Vince Foglia), Phillip Sagan
Career record: 8-4-1-1
Career earnings: $683,450
Derby qualifying points: 123 (5th)
Best Equibase speed figure: 97
Pedigree: Hard Spun-Mia Torri, by General Quarters
Running style: Closer
Notes: Two Phil’s has run at six tracks with three stakes victories, including the recent win on the Derby trail … He has won on a synthetic surface, sloppy dirt, and fast dirt … Trainer Rivelli was a 9-year-old dancing extra in the 1980 movie “The Blues Brothers.”
|1||Hit Show||Franco||Brad H. Cox||West, Gary and Mary||30-1|
|2||Verifying||Gaffalione||Brad H. Cox||Poulin, Jonathan, Westerberg, Magnier, Mrs. John, Smith, Derrick and Tabor, Michael B.||15-1|
|3||Two Phil’s||Loveberry||Larry Rivelli||Patricia’s Hope LLC and Sagan, Phillip||12-1|
|4||Conficence Game||Graham||J. Keith Desormeaux||Don’t Tell My Wife Stables||20-1|
|5||Tapit Trice||Saez||Todd A. Pletcher||Whisper Hill Farm, LLC and Gainesway Stable (Antony Beck)||5-1|
|6||Kinkngbarns||J. Ortiz||Todd A. Pletcher||Spendthrift Farm LLC||12-1|
|7||Reincartnate||Velazquez||Tim Yakteen||SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Masterson, Robert E., Stonestreet Stables LLC, Schoenfarber, Jay A., Waves Edge Capital LLC and Donovan, Catherine||50-1|
|8||Mage||Castellano||Gustavo Delgado||OGMA Investments, LLC, Restrepo, Ramiro, Sterling Racing LLC and CMNWLTH||15-1|
|SCR||Skinner||Hernandez||John A. Shirreffs||C R K Stable||20-1|
|SCR||Practical Move||Vazquez||Tim Yakteen||Amestoy, Jr., Pierre Jean, Amestoy, Leslie A. and Beasley, Roger K.||SCR|
|9||Disarm||Rosario||Steven M. Asmussen||Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC||30/1|
|10||Jace’s Road||Geroux||Brad H. Cox||West Point Thoroughbreds and Albaugh Family Stables LLC||15-1|
|11||Sun Thunder||Hernandez Jr||Kenneth G. McPeek||R.T Racing Stable and Cypress Creek Equine||30-1|
|12||Angel Of Empire||Prat||Brad H. Cox||Albaugh Family Stables LLC||8-1|
|13||Forte||I. Ortiz JR.||Todd A. Pletcher||Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable||3-1|
|14||Raise Can||Corrales||Ben Colebrook||Warren, Andrew and Warren, Rania||15-1|
|15||Derma Sotogake||Lemaire||Hidetaka Otonashi||Hiroyuki Asanuma||10-1|
|16||Rocket Can||Alvarado||William I. Mott||Frank Fletcher Racing Operations, Inc.||15-1|
|SCR||Lord Miles||Lopez||Todd A. Pletcher||Vegso Racing Stable||30-1|
|17||Continuar||Sakai||Yoshito Yahagi||Lion Race Horse Co. Ltd.||50-1|
|18||Cyclone Mischief||J. Rosario||D. Romans||Albaugh Family Stables LLC and Castleton Lyons.||30-1|
|19||Mandarin Hero||Kazushi Kimura||Terunobu Fujita||Hiroaki Arai.||20-1|
|20||King Russell||Rafael Bejarano||Ron Moquett||Jones, Brereton C. and Naber Racing, LLC||50-1|
The writing team at US Racing is comprised of both full-time and part-time contributors with expertise in various aspects of the Sport of Kings.