April 10, 1995 |
At trainer Richard Mandella's barn Sunday morning, jockey Kent Desormeaux sat on a tack trunk and reflected on the Santa Anita Derby the day before. Larry The Legend, the horse Desormeaux used to ride, won the $700,000 race by a head, beating favored Afternoon Deelites, the horse Desormeaux always rides.
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.
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.
September 17, 1987 |
If you phone the Kentucky Derby Museum and are put on hold you hear a playback of Alysheba winning this year's Derby. Every day of the year is Derby Day at the Kentucky Derby Museum a few steps from the main entrance to Churchill Downs. The museum is alive with the sites, sounds, traditions, emotions and dramatic moments of 113 consecutive years of what many consider the greatest two minutes in sports.
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 13, 2005 |
The couple from Boston waited for a plane at the Louisville airport Monday, know-it-all grins on their faces. "We bet Giacomo," the husband said. "Nice handicapping," he was told. "It had nothing to do with that," he said. "One of our favorite restaurants back home is Giacomo's, in the North End. That's the reason we bet the horse."
April 2, 1999 |
It's a universal story. Jockey meets horse. Horse jilts jockey. Jockey meets another horse and wins the Kentucky Derby. If that's the way the script reads this year on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs, I hope you have your money down on Chris McCarron and Straight Man.
April 30, 1999 |
The decision about Excellent Meeting running in Saturday's Kentucky Derby has been put off until 8 a.m. today, trainer Bob Baffert said Thursday. "We have to make up our minds, because if she's going in the Derby, we would train her accordingly [this morning]," Baffert said. The other option for Baffert and Excellent Meeting's owners, John and Betty Mabee, is to run her today in the Kentucky Oaks, the filly version of the Derby.