April 26, 1997 |
Accelerator, a late-running second to Captain Bodgit in the Wood Memorial, was knocked out of the Kentucky Derby by a training injury Friday, leaving Churchill Downs with a tentative field that may be the smallest in 18 years. The 123rd Derby, which will be run next Saturday, appears to be down to 11 horses. Since 1980, the average field has been 17 horses and the last time fewer than 13 competed was when Spectacular Bid, a 3-5 favorite, chased away all but nine opponents in 1979.
April 25, 1999 |
Kentucky Derby heavyweights Bob Baffert, Wayne Lukas and Nick Zito had horses in the field, but the Saturday before the Derby belonged to trainer Alex Hassinger Jr., an emotional winner after his lightly raced colt, Patience Game, beat Prime Directive by 2 1/4 lengths in the $114,800 Derby Trial on opening day at Churchill Downs. Patience Game, ridden by Corey Nakatani, gave Hassinger his first stakes win for Prince Ahmed Salman's Thoroughbred Corp.
May 6, 1990 |
They ordinarily would have been grumbling and throwing towels, kicking trash cans and making excuses. For the "other" 14 jockeys in the 116th Kentucky Derby, the big one had just gotten away. A chance of a lifetime gone--at least for another year. But the scene in the Churchill Downs jockeys' room after Saturday's Derby had a kind of "aw shucks" feel, as the riders gathered around the television replay of the race and were reduced to misty-eyed Boy Scouts.
May 4, 2002 |
This is the 128th Kentucky Derby in a nutshell: Eighteen pundits for the Daily Racing Form have rapped in, and none of them likes Harlan's Holiday, the Blue Grass and Florida Derby winner and the 9-2 morning-line favorite. In other words, today's Derby is a harum-scarum affair. Talk to 10 clockers and you get 11 opinions. One of them wanted to have it both ways. In many Derbies, there might be half a dozen horses that figure, but this one has few throw-outs.
May 6, 2001 |
Secretariat can rest easy. His record is still secure, but barely. On the 28th anniversary of the chestnut colt's brilliant run in 1973, Monarchos ran the race of his life Saturday to win the 127th Kentucky Derby in the second-fastest time and in front of the second-largest crowd. Trained by John Ward and superbly ridden by Jorge Chavez, the roan colt came from far off the pace to win by 4 3/4 lengths in a blazing 1:59 4/5 for the 1 1/4 miles on a fast Churchill Downs track.
April 27, 2004 |
A little-known aftereffect of mare reproductive loss syndrome, or MRLS, in Kentucky in 2001 was that about 100 foals gradually went blind, or partially blind. One of them, the aptly named Pollard's Vision, will be among the 20 horses running Saturday in the Kentucky Derby. Trainer Todd Pletcher, who will also saddle Limehouse in the 130th Derby, is thankful that Pollard's Vision can't see out of his right eye. "If he had had two eyes, I probably wouldn't even be training him now," Pletcher said.
May 5, 2000 |
When he was still a candidate earlier this year for chief of police in Louisville, Capt. Steve Thompson was asked by a reporter whether he'd rather have that job or win the Kentucky Derby. Considering that the Louisville police, like their brethren in Los Angeles, are making the wrong kinds of headlines these days, Thompson thought the answer should be obvious. "Next question," he said. Next thing he knew, he no longer was a candidate for police chief.
May 5, 2006 |
Attorney Ron Bamberger's old friend named a horse after him -- Lawyer Ron, he called the steed -- then died and left Bamberger as executor of his estate. On Thursday, two days before the Kentucky Derby, the real Lawyer Ron made what amounted to a bet against his namesake and sold a partial interest in the horse, one of the favorites in the 132nd Run for the Roses.
February 1, 1990 |
When John Nerud was training horses, he used to say: "A bad day at the race track is better than a good day anywheres else." There couldn't have been a worse day for Nerud and Texans Bill Shoemaker and Ralph Lowe than May 4, 1957, when Shoemaker thought the sixteenth pole was the finish line at Churchill Downs.