News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled by NTRA Communications.
DERBY WINNER BIG BROWN GOES FOR SECOND LEG OF TRIPLE CROWN IN PREAKNESS
Authoritative Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown has been installed as a prohibitive 1-2 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s 133rd running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore. The Richard Dutrow-trained colt, who became the first horse in 79 years to win the Derby from the No. 20 post, drew the No. 7 post in a field of 13 entered yesterday in the middle jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown. Kent Desormeaux retains the mount aboard the undefeated son of Boundary.
“Maybe he’ll get to save some ground for the first time,” said Big Brown’s co-owner Michael Iavarone of IEAH Stable when asked about the seven post. “I think if he gets a clean trip, I don’t know of anybody who can run with him.”
The Preakness can be seen live on NBC in a telecast airing from 4:30-6:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday. Should Big Brown win the Preakness, he would, in all likelihood, journey next to Belmont Park for the June 7 Belmont Stakes and an attempt to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since 1978.
The only Derby foe of Big Brown’s back for another crack at him is morning line second-choice Gayego, who started from post 19 in Kentucky and will break from post 12 under regular rider Mike Smith. Winner of the Arkansas Derby, Gayego finished 17th in the Run for the Roses.
“It’s a little outside, but what can you do?” said Gayego’s trainer Paulo Lobo of the draw. “It’s better than 19. Let’s see how the horses are going to break. Everyone’s going to want a good position into the first turn, so it’s going to depend on how they break.”
Perhaps the most intriguing new challenger for Big Brown is Behindatthebar, who captured the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 19 in his most recent start.
“We like our post position,” said Behindatthebar’s co-owner Don Stanley. “Our horse has no speed, so he’ll have to go back. He’ll come running, so the post position is good. We should do fine from this post.”
The complete Preakness Stakes field, in post position order, is: Macho Again (jockey: Julien Leparoux, morning line odds: 20-1); Tres Borrachos (Tyler Baze, 30-1); Icabad Crane (Jeremy Rose, 30-1); Yankee Bravo (Alex Solis, 15-1); Behindatthebar (David Flores, 10-1); Racecar Rhapsody (Robby Albarado, 30-1); Big Brown (Kent Desormeaux, 1-2); Kentucky Bear (Jamie Theriot, 15-1); Stevil (John Velazquez, 30-1); Riley Tucker (Edgar Prado, 30-1); Giant Moon (Ramon Dominguez, 30-1); Gayego (Mike Smith, 8-1); and Hey Byrn (C.C. Lopez, 20-1).
SUCCESSFUL DERBY SPONSORSHIP TO BE CONTINUED AT PREAKNESS
A Kentucky Derby Day promotion facilitated by NetJets Inc., the Jockeys’ Guild, Churchill Downs and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (“TOBA”), in which all Derby jockeys wore the NetJets logo, has raised $500,000 to benefit the NTRA Charities – Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Jockey John Velazquez will present the gift to representatives of the Fund on Friday morning at Pimlico Race Course.
NetJets contributed $200,000 to the donation on behalf of the 20 jockeys participating in Kentucky Derby 134 and made an additional contribution of $100,000. Richard T. Santulli, chairman and CEO of NetJets, made a personal donation of $100,000, as did Bill Casner, owner of WinStar Farm and chairman of TOBA. NetJets will also sponsor the riders competing in Saturday’s 133rd running of the Preakness Stakes.
“NetJets is truly honored to join with the Derby jockeys and Bill Casner to make this donation to the NTRA Charities – Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund,” said Richard T. Santulli. “Through our sponsorship of the Kentucky Derby and now the Preakness, we hope to build awareness of the many worthy charities within the Thoroughbred industry, and help raise additional money to benefit these great causes.”
“This is the single largest donation in the history of the Fund, and we greatly appreciate the contributions of NetJets, the Kentucky Derby jockeys and the personal gifts of Richard Santulli and Bill Casner,” said Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the NTRA. “Their generosity and dedication is making a difference in the lives of disabled riders.”
“The industry worked together for the benefit of the industry and a worthy cause,” said Velazquez, who also serves as chairman of the board of directors of the Jockeys’ Guild. “My fellow riders and I, along with the Jockeys’ Guild, look forward to continuing to work with all segments of the industry to help racing and its charitable efforts.”
Preakness jockeys will donate their NetJets sponsorship money to The Jockey Club Foundation, a charitable trust that provides financial assistance to needy members of the Thoroughbred industry and their families, and the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, which is committed to the advancement of research to enhance the health and soundness of horses of all breeds.
SUPERSTUD STORM CAT RELIEVED OF HIS STALLION DUTIES
Officials of Overbrook Farm near Lexington, Ky., announced Tuesday that Storm Cat, one of the most influential stallions of recent history, would be pensioned due to diminishing fertility. The 25-year-old stallion, that stood for an advertised stud fee of $300,000 this year, had gotten only three mares pregnant during the current breeding season.
Storm Cat is the sire of 160 stakes winners and his progeny have earned over $112 million. He was North America’s leading stallion in 1999 and 2000, and in 2002, his stud fee was a whopping $500,000. Only this year did the fee drop to $300,000.
At auction, his sons and daughters regularly commanded prices of $1 million and up. Among his top offspring to race were Giant’s Causeway, who is now a top sire in his own right, and 1994 Preakness winner Tabasco Cat.
According to Overbrook Farm, Storm Cat remains in good health.
RACING ON THE AIR (all times Eastern)
May 16, Woodlawn Stakes, Adena Stallions’ Miss Preakness Stakes, Maryland Lottery Pimlico Special and The Very One Stakes (Pimlico); 3:30-5:00 p.m., ESPN2
May 16 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (Pimlico), 5:00-6:00 p.m., ESPN2
May 17 Maryland Sprint Handicap (Pimlico); 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., ESPN2
May 17 Skipat Stakes and Gallorette Handicap (Pimlico); 12:00-2:00 p.m., ESPN
May 17 Old Mutual Turf Sprint, Hirsch Jacobs Stakes, Barbaro Stakes and Dixie Stakes (Pimlico); 2:00-5:00 p.m., ESPN
May 17 Preakness Stakes (Pimlico); 4:30-6:30 p.m., NBC
RACING TO HISTORY
May 15, 1918: Two horses-War Cloud and Jack Hare Jr.-were declared the winner of the Preakness Stakes, not because of a dead heat, but because the race was run in two divisions.
May 15, 1952: John Longden gained his 4,000th victory, riding at Hollywood Park.
May 15, 1954: Nashua won his first race, running 4 ½ furlongs over a straightaway at Belmont Park.
May 15, 1993: Genuine Risk, the second of three fillies to have won the Kentucky Derby since it began in 1875, gave birth to her first foal after 13 years of failed attempts and miscarriages. The foal, a son of Rahy, was named Genuine Reward.
May 15, 1999: Lee Chang Ferrell, a patron in the Pimlico infield, jumps onto the track in midstretch and interferes with the running of the Maryland Breeders’ Cup Handicap. The race winner, Yes It’s True, avoids the trouble, but wagers on fifth-place finisher Artax are refunded due to the incident. Later that day, Charismatic, winner of the Kentucky Derby, takes the Preakness Stakes before a record crowd of 100,311.
May 15, 2004: Smarty Jones won the Preakness Stakes by 11 ½ lengths, the largest winning margin in the 129-year history of the Preakness.
May 16, 1884: Buchanan became the first maiden to win the Kentucky Derby. Only two other maiden horses have gone on to win the Run for the Roses: Sir Barton in 1919, and Brokers Tip in 1933.
May 16, 1925: The first network radio broadcast of the Kentucky Derby aired from WHAS in Louisville.
May 16, 1979: Gary Stevens rode his first career winner, named Lil Star, trained by his father, Ron Stevens, at Les Bois Park.
May 16, 1998: Bob Baffert became the first person to train Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winners in successive years. In 1997, Baffert won the Derby and Preakness with Silver Charm; the following year, he won with Real Quiet.
May 16, 1998: During Preakness Stakes Day at Pimlico Racecourse, a transformer went down at 1:00 p.m., causing a power failure in the grandstand. With temperatures in the 90s, the facility had no operating air-conditioning, lights, closed-circuit television, public address system, elevators, escalators or betting windows. A record crowd of 91,122 was on hand and an estimated $1.5 million in on-track handle was lost.
May 17, 1875: America’s oldest continuously held sporting event, the Kentucky Derby, was first run. The race was won by Aristides, who was ridden and trained by African Americans Oliver Lewis and Ansel Williamson, respectively. The day marked the opening of Churchill Downs; an estimated 10,000 spectators witnessed the first Derby.
May 17, 1881: James Rowe Sr., then age 24, became the youngest trainer to saddle a Kentucky Derby winner after Hindoo took the 7th Derby for his owners, brothers Phil and Mike Dwyer, both notorious gamblers.
May 17, 1915: Rhine Maiden, in winning the Preakness Stakes, produced the only Kentucky Derby-Preakness wins by fillies in the same year. The 1915 Derby was won by Regret, who did not compete in the Preakness.
May 17, 1930: Two-year-old Equipoise gave owner C.V. Whitney his first stakes victory when he captured the Keene Memorial Stakes at Belmont Park at odds of 3-5.
May 17, 1947: Seabiscuit, owned by Charles S. Howard, succumbed to a heart attack at Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, Calif. He was 14.
May 17, 1976: Sixteen-year-old Steve Cauthen rode his first winner, Thomas Bischoff-trained Red Pipe, in the eighth race at River Downs. By the end of his first year of apprenticeship, Cauthen had won 240 races from 1,170 mounts and $1.2 million in purses.
May 18, 1931: Fifteen-year-old Eddie Arcaro rode his first race, finishing sixth, at Bainbridge Park, Ohio. At year’s end, he remained winless after 36 tries.
May 18, 1935: The Seagram family won the Queen’s Plate stakes (then called the King’s Plate), a record 20th time. From 1891-1898, the Seagrams’ horses won the Plate every year.
May 18, 1957: Eddie Arcaro set the record for most number of Preakness Stakes wins by a jockey, six, when he rode Bold Ruler to victory for Wheatley Stable.
May 18, 1968: Judy Johnson became the first female trainer to saddle a horse for the Preakness Stakes. Her horse, Sir Beau, finished seventh in a field of 10.
May 18, 1968: Calumet Farm set the record for most number of wins in the Preakness Stakes by an owner, seven, when Forward Pass won the race by six lengths.
May 18, 1985: Patricia Cooksey became the first female jockey to compete in the Preakness Stakes. Her mount, Tajawa, finished sixth in a field of 11.
May 18, 1996: Jockey Pat Day won his third consecutive Preakness Stakes and his fifth Preakness overall, after riding Louis Quatorze to victory. The win, for trainer Nick Zito, snapped the Triple Crown race win-streak of trainer D. Wayne Lukas, which had run to six, beginning with the 1994 Preakness, won by Tabasco Cat.
May 18, 1998: Trainer Aimee Hall saddled four winners from five starters at Suffolk Downs, with all of the winners being ridden by her husband, Jose Caraballo. The wins are believed to be the first involving a married couple as jockey and trainer.
May 19, 1961: Jockey Bill Shoemaker notched his 4,000th career win aboard Guaranteeya at Hollywood Park.
May 19, 1964: Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. won his first race, aboard Huelen, riding at Presidente Remon in Panama.
May 19, 1973: Secretariat’s winning performance in the Preakness Stakes was marred by a controversy over the timing of the race. The original teletimer time was 1:55 for the 1 3/16-mile race; Pimlico amended it to 1:54 2/5 two days later.
May 19, 1999: Secretariat was honored as the 35th greatest athlete of the 20th Century by ESPN’s SportsCentury, a series of programs profiling the top athletes of the past 100 years. Secretariat was the only non-human to make the top 50.