Kentucky Derby News & Notes: March 19, 2019

All the latest happenings on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, including what Kentucky Derby preps the top contenders are pointing for.

  • Omaha Beach (right forefront) edges Game Winner in the second division of the Rebel Stakes (photo via Oaklawn Park).

    Omaha Beach (right forefront) edges Game Winner in the second division of the Rebel Stakes (photo via Oaklawn Park).

    Long Range Toddy, who took the first division of the split Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park over previously undefeated Improbable, came out of his March 16 effort in good order and will be pointed to that track’s Grade 1 Arkansas Derby on April 13.

  • Omaha Beach, who nosed out previously unbeaten Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champ Game Winner in the second division of the Rebel Stakes, will be flown back to California on March 19, and Richard Mandella will evaluate his trainee before committing to a final prep for the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby.
  • Game Winner and Improbable will join Omaha Beach on the California-bound flight, with the latter expected to return for the Arkansas Derby.
  • Conditioner Bob Baffert said Game Winner will be aimed at the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on April 6 at Santa Anita Park for his final prep before running for the roses.
  • Alwaysmining, who romped in Laurel Park’s March 16 Private Terms Stakes for his fourth straight stakes victory, is under consideration for Keeneland’s Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes on April 6.
  • Baffert’s Grade 3 Gotham Stakes fourth-place finisher Much Better will remain in New York in trainer John Terranova’s barn and be nominated to both the Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 6 and the Grade 3 Bay Shore Stakes on that undercard.
  • Baffert’s Mucho Gusto was installed as the 8-5 morning line favorite after drawing the rail in a field of 10 for the March 24 Grade 3 Sunland Derby at Sunland Park.
  • Smarty Jones Stakes hero Gray Attempt will turn back in distance for the six-furlong Gazebo Stakes on March 23 at Oaklawn Park.
  • Also pointing for the Gazebo Stakes is Six Shooter, the fourth-place runner in both the Smarty Jones and Southwest stakes.
  • With Irad Ortiz, Jr. committed to Bourbon War for Gulfstream Park’s Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 30, Luis Saez has picked up the mount on undefeated former claimer Maximum Security.
  • Durkin’s Call, winner of the March 17 Gander Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-olds at Aqueduct in his first start for conditioner Bill Mott after a private purchase, could be made a late nominee to the Triple Crown by the April 1 deadline and start next in the Wood Memorial.
  • Grade 3 Swale Stakes hero Call Paul is targeting the Bay Shore Stakes and will continue sprinting.

March 12, 2019

  • Game Winner takes the 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, 11/4/18. (Jordan Thomson Photo)

    Game Winner takes the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (photo by Jordan Thomson).

    Tacitus exited his Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby score in good shape, and Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott says his charge is under consideration for the Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 6, the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on the same day and the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park one week later.

  • Conditioner Todd Pletcher reported that Tampa Bay Derby runner-up Outshine came out of his effort fine and will be pointed to the Wood Memorial.
  • Win Win Win, who finished third in the Tampa Bay Derby as the 7-5 favorite, shipped back to his home base in Maryland after the race and is likely to run next in the Wood Memorial or Blue Grass Stakes.
  • Mark Casse-trained Tampa Bay Derby also-rans Sir Winston (5th) and Dream Maker (10th) are targeting a rematch in the Blue Grass Stakes, with the latter to add blinkers.
  • Admire, who was beaten four and a quarter lengths when 7th in the Tampa Bay Derby, will get another chance to earn a spot in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby gate, most likely in the Blue Grass Stakes.
  • Haikal, who captured Aqueduct’s Grade 3 Gotham Stakes, will stay in New York and have his final Kentucky Derby prep in the Wood Memorial.
  • Gotham Stakes second-place finisher Mind Control is also slated for a return in the Wood Memorial.
  • If Mind Control does start in the Wood Memorial, the purse will be raised to $1 million from $750,000 under NYRA’s previously announced provision regarding a Grade 1 winner participating in the race.
  • Gotham Stakes show finisher Instagrand will head back to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s barn in Southern California on March 12, and a decision will be made on his next start after the colt resumes training.
  • Somelikeithotbrown, an easy winner of Turfway Park’s Jeff Ruby Steaks, came out of the race well and will remain at that track while his connections consider all options for his final Kentucky Derby prep.
  • An additional consideration for the New York-bred Somelikeithotbrown is NYRA’s new Turf Triple Series for grass horses beginning in July.
  • Hawaiian Noises, who took the Animal Kingdom Stakes on the Jeff Ruby undercard, is being aimed at Keeneland’s Grade 3 Lexington Stakes on April 13.
  • Rushaway Stakes winner Onthewaytonevrland is also targeting a return at Keeneland, with the grassy Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes on April 5 serving as a possible prep for Royal Ascot’s Commonwealth Stakes.
  • With Santa Anita’s official cancellation of this year’s Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes, Oaklawn Park’s March 16 Grade 2 Rebel Stakes is now probable to be split into two divisions.
  • Oaklawn management announced that if the Rebel Stakes is split, horses from the same trainer would be put in different divisions.
  • Hall of Famer Bob Baffert confirmed that his two planned San Felipe runners, Game Winner and Improbable, will reroute to the Rebel Stakes.
  • Other Southern California-based horses now expected to ship for the Rebel Stakes are Easy Shot, Extra Hope, Galilean, Gunmetal Gray and Omaha Beach.
  • Grade 3 Withers Stakes third-place finisher Our Braintrust, who has been working at the Casse Training Center in Ocala since that race, will travel to Oaklawn for the Rebel Stakes.
  • Keith Desormeaux trainee Sueno will miss the Rebel Stakes after developing a quarter crack.
  • After conferring with breeder/owner Catherine Adams Hutt, trainer Ron Moquett said Frosted Ice needs additional training time and will not make his seasonal debut in the Rebel Stakes.
  • Among options for Frosted Ice are the Arkansas Derby and the inaugural Oaklawn Invitational on May 4, which offers a free berth to the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 18.
  • Multiple stakes victor Alwaysmining remained on target for a scheduled start in Laurel Park’s March 16 Private Terms Stakes following his March 9 breeze.
  • Joevia, second last out to Haikal in the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes, is expected to challenge Alwaysmining in the Private Terms Stakes.
  • Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes hero Mucho Gusto will make his next start in Sunland Park’s Grade 3 Sunland Derby on March 24.
  • Hoffa’s Union, recently transferred to Mark Casse’s barn after a private purchase, will be prepared for Gulfstream Park’s March 30 Grade 1 Florida Derby at his conditioner’s base in Ocala.
  • Recent Gulfstream Park winners Maximum Security and Final Jeopardy are both under consideration for the Florida Derby, with trainer Jason Servis preferring to keep them separated in the final round of Kentucky Derby preps.

March 5, 2019

  • Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes champ Code of Honor exited his victory in good shape and is likely to stay at Gulfstream Park for the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 30, with the Grade 2 Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct one week later also an option.
  • The Florida Derby is also the preferred final Grade 1 Kentucky Derby prep for Fountain of Youth runner-up Bourbon War and show finisher, Vekoma.
  • Hidden Scroll, fourth as the beaten favorite in the Fountain of Youth after setting a wicked pace, remains under consideration for the Florida Derby, as well as the Wood Memorial and Grade 2 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 6.
  • Fountain of Youth fifth-place runner Global Campaign grabbed a quarter in the race and is off the Kentucky Derby trail while that heals.
  • Signalman, who lost a shoe during his seventh-place run in the Fountain of Youth and didn’t scope cleanly after the race, will be pointed to the Blue Grass Stakes.
  • Probable starters for the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 9 at Tampa Bay Downs are Admire, Current, Dream Maker, Lord Dragon, Sir Winston, Tacitus, The Right Path, Well Defined, Win Win Win and Zenden.
  • Multiple Canadian stakes victor Avie’s Flatter will bypass a planned run in the Tampa Bay Derby and be pointed to another spot.
  • Juvenile Champion Game Winner is expected to face stablemate Improbable, Gunmetal Gray, Extra Hope, Easy Shot and, possibly, Nolo Contesto in Santa Anita’s Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes.
  • Trainer Richard Mandella will skip the San Felipe with recent Santa Anita maiden winner Omaha Beach and instead run him in Oaklawn Park’s Grade 2 Rebel Stakes a week later if a quarter crack heals in time for that race.
  • Probable starters for the March 9 Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct include Call Paul, Haikal, Instagrand, Knicks Go, Mind Control, Much Better, Not That Brady, Overdeliver and Tikhvin Flew.
  • Federal Case, who had been under consideration for the Gotham Stakes, will run next in Gulfstream Park’s Grade 3 Hutcheson Stakes on March 23.
  • Horses considered probable for Turfway Park’s Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks on March 9 are Baytown Jimbo, Counter Offer, Curlin Grey, Dabo, Dynamic Racer, Five Star General, Moonster, Skywire, Somelikeithotbrown, Speed App and Twelfofneverland.
  • Country House, runner-up in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes, will return to Fair Grounds for the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on March 23.
  • Derma Louvre, the points leader among Triple Crown nominees in the Japanese prep races, is targeting the May 4 Kentucky Derby and expected to ship to Churchill Downs if all goes in his final prep in the March 30 Group 2 UAE Derby at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.
  • Conditioner Bob Baffert will target Santa Anita’s Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby with Roadster, who captured his seasonal debut there in a March 1 allowance optional claiming event.
  • Ken McPeek trainee Lemniscate, who took a Gulfstream Park maiden special weight turf contest on March 3, is a candidate for Oaklawn Park’s Grade 1 Arkansas Derby on April 13.
  • Gray Attempt, winner of Oaklawn Park’s Smarty Jones Stakes in January, will miss the Rebel Stakes due to a minor setback, but his connections remain hopeful that the colt can make the Arkansas Derby.
  • Conditioner Bill Mott said that Mucho, who returned from a lengthy layoff to win a six-furlong allowance on March 1 at Gulfstream, will remain around one turn for now and make his next start in the Grade 3 Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct on the Wood Memorial undercard.
  • Oaklawn Park’s Grade 3 Southwest Stakes hero Grade Super Steed is off the Kentucky Derby trail due to bone bruising in a front leg and will need 60 to 90 days of recovery.
  • Courtyard, who scored in a Fair Grounds allowance optional claiming contest on March 2, exited the race with a minor issue and should return in the summer for trainer Tom Amoss.
US Racing Team
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.
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