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Eight first-timers take a shot at the Kentucky Derby

Sports / Horse Racing /

The Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May – or, as it turns out in 2020, the first Saturday in September – is the Super Bowl of American Thoroughbred racing. Every trainer and jockey in the sport dreams, however casually, of giving or getting a leg up to answer the call to the post for the classic race.

"Everybody thinks about it," ...Read more

CHARLES BERTRAM/Lexington Herald-Leader/TNS

Kentucky Derby: 15 years after Giacomo, Shirreffs hopes for another memorable afternoon with Honor A. P.

Sports / Horse Racing /

It has been more than 15 years since trainer John Shirreffs won the Kentucky Derby, but when he is asked of that glorious May day back in 2005 at Churchill Downs, the memories are vivid. The crowd noise, the feeling when Giacomo began his move, the temporary disbelief, the presence of mind to take it all in, all before being shepherded to the ...Read more

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Swiss Skydiver has the right stuff to give McPeek long-sought Kentucky Oaks win

Sports / Horse Racing /

Kenny McPeek has unfinished Kentucky Oaks business.

Take Charge Lady is the most accomplished horse McPeek has trained. She went 11-7-0 from 22 starts, earning just shy of $2.5 million. Twice she won the Spinster, Keeneland's most important dirt route for older females, and she nearly beat the great Azeri in the 2003 Apple Blossom. Take Charge ...Read more

Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun/The Baltimore Sun/TNS

Preakness to be run without fans as Maryland continues to cope with coronavirus pandemic

Sports / Horse Racing /

BALTIMORE - Add the Oct. 3 Preakness to the list of major sports events that will be held without fans as Maryland continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

The race, which drew an announced crowd of 131,256 to Pimlico Race Course in 2019, could anoint a Triple Crown winner for the first time in 145 runnings in a reshuffled series. But if ...Read more

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Kentucky Derby: Avila playing the long game with King Guillermo

Sports / Horse Racing /

As a young man in Venezuela, Juan Carlos Avila, like many Venezuelan youths, had designs on becoming a professional baseball player. He tried second base, third base, and then realized the whole enterprise was a dead end.

"I tried to make myself better; it didn't work," Avila said.

Avila wound up at the racetrack, became a groom, an assistant ...Read more

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Blue Grass Stakes winner Art Collector to miss Kentucky Derby

Sports / Horse Racing /

One of the expected top challengers to favorite Tiz the Law will not be entering the Kentucky Derby, after all.

Toyota Blue Grass Stakes winner Art Collector will not enter the $3 million race because of a minor foot issue, trainer Tom Drury told Jennie Rees of the Kentucky HBPA on Tuesday morning.

According to Churchill Downs, Art Collector "...Read more

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Kentucky Derby: Tiz the Law draws post 17 in field of 18

Sports / Horse Racing /

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Tiz the Law, likely to be one of the heaviest Kentucky Derby favorites of the last half-century, was assigned post 17 in a field of 18 3-year-olds when entries were drawn Tuesday at Churchill Downs.

Longtime Churchill oddsmaker Mike Battaglia listed Tiz the Law as the 3-5 program favorite, followed by two rivals who drew to ...Read more

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Tiz the Law is one of the biggest Derby favorites in decades. It doesn't mean he'll win.

Sports / Horse Racing /

The prolonged prep schedule leading up to this year's Kentucky Derby has given horseplayers an extra four months to consider the options and construct their wagering plans.

The first Saturday in May has been replaced by the first Saturday in September, but all that added time has only solidified top billing for this 2020 Derby.

Tiz the Law - ...Read more

Al Bello/Getty Images North America/TNS

Tiz the Law is one of the biggest Derby favorites in decades. It doesn't mean he'll win.

Sports / Horse Racing /

The prolonged prep schedule leading up to this year's Kentucky Derby has given horseplayers an extra four months to consider the options and construct their wagering plans.

The first Saturday in May has been replaced by the first Saturday in September, but all that added time has only solidified top billing for this 2020 Derby.

Tiz the Law - ...Read more

Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America/TNS

Horse racing creates authority to help standardize safety rules

Sports / Horse Racing /

Horse racing took what it called a "major step" in unifying equine safety standards with the formation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority. That was followed by an announcement that Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will allow the introduction of a Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act to the Senate floor this year.

The House has had a ...Read more

Al Bello/Getty Images North America/TNS

Kentucky Derby storylines: Can Tiz the Law continue his quest for a mutated Triple Crown?

Sports / Horse Racing /

Last year's Kentucky Derby was plenty weird.

Remember that interminable wait as the stewards at Churchill Downs debated whether Maximum Security's victory would stand? Or the collective gasp when they disqualified him and handed the Derby to 65-to-1 longshot Country House, who would never run another race? Was that really only 16 months ago?

...Read more

Kentucky Derby: Tiz the Law beats the rain with fast five-furlong drill

Sports / Horse Racing /

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Mother Nature fought the Law and the Law won.

Before the rain came Saturday morning in upstate New York, Tiz the Law completed his major preparation for next Saturday's Kentucky Derby by working a fast five furlongs in 58.96 seconds over a fast Saratoga main track.

Owing to the threat of wet weather this weekend in ...Read more

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Marcus Hersh: Picks for Sword Dancer, Forego, Amsterdam

Sports / Horse Racing /

A limited national stakes menu and the chance for heavy rain at Saratoga tamp down excitement for Saturday racing across North America. Take heart: We're one week away from the Kentucky Derby and an avalanche of high-class racing in New York and Kentucky. As for this week, the SoCal sprinters look as inscrutable as ever, so it's a hard pass on ...Read more

Al Bello/Getty Images North America/TNS

Bob Baffert won't face complaint related to Justify's positive drug test

Sports / Horse Racing /

The positive drug test on Triple Crown winner Justify after the Santa Anita Derby, which has languished for more than two years, will finally reach the complaint stage and be heard on Sept. 20. The California Horse Racing Board voted in closed session on Aug. 20 to proceed with the matter as a condition of a settlement with Ruis Racing, owner of...Read more

Charles Bertram/Lexington Herald-Leader/TNS

Kentucky Derby: After months of waiting, the song remains the same

Sports / Horse Racing /

DEL MAR, Calif. - If the waiting is the hardest part, as the late Tom Petty opined, then training for this year's Kentucky Derby has brought an unprecedented challenge.

In mid-March, Authentic and Honor A. P. were coming off a one-two finish in the March 7 San Felipe, with both headed toward a Santa Anita Derby that was scheduled for April 4, ...Read more

Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America/TNS

Kentucky Derby: Coast-to-coast final workouts scheduled

Sports / Horse Racing /

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - As contenders for the 146th Kentucky Derby continue to settle into the stable area at Churchill Downs, the final round of breezes for the Sept. 5 race are set for a busy coming weekend - both at Churchill and elsewhere.

Tiz the Law, expected to be the heaviest Derby favorite since Arazi was 9-10 in 1992, is scheduled to work ...Read more

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Rushing Fall tries to stretch her speed in Diana, faces stablemate Sistercharlie

Sports / Horse Racing /

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - There is very little missing from the resume of Rushing Fall, a 5-year-old mare who has won Grade 1 stakes in four consecutive years while amassing a career record of 10 wins and two seconds from 13 starts.

Perhaps a Grade 1 victory at Saratoga and an Eclipse Award as champion female turf horse are all that's left for ...Read more

Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America/TNS

Churchill Downs says Kentucky Derby to be run without fans

Sports / Horse Racing /

LEXINGTON, Ky. - There will not be any fans at this year's Kentucky Derby after all.

After previously announcing that up to 23,000 fans would be allowed to attend the world's most famous race, Churchill Downs switched gears Friday by announcing that the Sept. 5 race will be run without spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Churchill...Read more

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Marcus Hersh: Picks for Fourstardave, Del Mar Oaks, Torrey Pines

Sports / Horse Racing /

Ideally, one would include in a Saturday stakes-selections piece like this a section on the day's biggest race.

But while I'm as curious as anyone where Maximum Security's insane career goes next, I'm not interested in playing him or playing against him in the Pacific Classic.

From what've I've seen on workout video, Maximum Security, moving ...Read more

Michael Reaves/Getty Images North America/TNS

Maximum Security will need his best to win Pacific Classic

Sports / Horse Racing /

DEL MAR, Calif. - Nothing comes easy for Maximum Security, so why should the Grade 1 Pacific Classic be any different?

Someday it might be fitting to describe Maximum Security as "great," as trainer Bob Baffert has hinted. But not until the $500,000 Pacific Classic on Saturday at Del Mar, and only if Maximum Security defeats Higher Power and ...Read more