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International Star ‘walking sound’, will point for Preakness

Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Louisiana Derby winner International Star was ‘walking perfectly sound’ Sunday morning, according to his connections and will be pointed towards a clash with Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 16.

International Star was scratched out of the Kentucky Derby Saturday morning after the son of Fusaichi Pegasus was discovered to be off in his left front foot. Owner Ken Ramsey said that after soaking the foot in Epsom salts, the Mike Maker trainee was able to walk sound on it while barefoot Sunday morning and even went out on the track to train.

“There was no heat what so ever in it  (on Sunday),” Ramsey said of the left front foot. “Mike put the shoe back on it and…he galloped soundly. They checked the foot with the tester and absolutely nothing at all there this morning. That’s how minor it was.

“They (the veterinarians) compared it to like a pimple on your nose where…the next day it’s not sore anymore. Apparently putting him in the tub took care of it. I asked Mike what should we do. And he said he thought we should follow our initial plan and take him to the Preakness.”

When informed that American Pharoah, Derby runner-up Firing Line and third-place finisher Dortmund were all expected to run back in the second leg of the Triple Crown, Ramsey cracked “Our work is cut out for us at Baltimore, it could be our turn in the Belmont. But we’re not going to skip (the Preakness).”

International Star looked to be the Ramsey’s best ever chance at earning a Kentucky Derby victory. The bay colt swept the trio of prep races at Fair Grounds, winning the Grade III LeComte, Grade II Risen Star and Grade II Louisiana Derby under jockey Miguel Mena – who was set to ride in just his second Kentucky Derby.

Champion American Pharoah lives up to his billing in Kentucky Derby victory

LOUISVILLE – It is the nature of the beast in the realm of sports to build up that which we want to be great to titanic, unapproachable proportions.

 
The field for the 141st Kentucky Derby fed that monster like it was at a buffet. It was the best assemblage of sophomore runners at least since 2007, some were saying ever. At the head of the procession, a pair of Bob Baffert-trained colts with dueling brilliance who everyone just wanted to see hook up, fair shot for all, and settle the question of which beast was best.

 
The thing about such hype is it so rarely delivers on what it promises. After months of being touted as a horse who really was more exceptional than even the special ones, champion American Pharoah ran right upon two worthy rivals and proved all the declarations of his superiority were truth.

 
The record crowd of 170,513 that showed up at Churchill Downs Saturday got exactly what was billed to them in pretty much perfect fashion. Zayat Stables’ homebred American Pharoah, he of the effortless motion and freakish speed, surged up three wide around the final turn and fought past Firing Line to his inside and Dortmund on the rail to capture the $2 million Kentucky Derby by a length.

 
On a day that saw a royal offspring come into the world across the ocean, the first leg of the Triple Crown doubled as a coronation. At every step of his development, those around American Pharoah said he seemed to breathe different air than the rest.

 
His three starts as a 2-year-old were enough to crown him juvenile champion even when injury kept him out of the Breeders’ Cup. In winning his last four starts by a combined 22 1/4 lengths he displayed so much natural ability that the betting public never wavered in making him the 5-to-2 favorite over a Derby field that included his unbeaten Grade I winning stablemate Dortmund – a 17-plus hand specimen who would have been crowned in his own right had his big chestnut stride been able to hold on about a furlong longer in Saturday’s 1 1/4-miles test.

 
Instead, the Zayat family who had three times watched horses they owned finish second in the Derby wept gleefully at their first triumph. Jockey Victor Espinoza, who piloted California Chrome to victory last year, celebrated his third career Derby win while the normally quick-with-a-quip Baffert was nothing but humbled at becoming the third trainer with at least four Derby wins.

 
“I know a lot of people are hoping — they put their hat on something big like this, a horse — like…there’s a certain aura about him,” Baffert said of American Pharoah. “All week long, this super horse, what are we going to see? I read that, and I don’t really like that. Now it’s like you can say all you want about that. We got the Derby.

 
“He’s always shown he’s different. And today we saw it. What he’s been through, what he’s accomplished…he  is a dream horse to train.”

 
Since coming back from what was termed a foot injury and possible tweaked suspensory, American Pharoah has done his part to make life as easy for those around him as his stride.

 
His seasonal bow in the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park March 14 marked his first outing since winning the Grade I FrontRunner at Santa Anita last September. It was basically a 1 1/16-mike paid work as the son of Pioneerof the Nile won gate-to-wire without a deep breath by 6 1/4 lengths.

 
In the Grade I Arkansas Derby, the bay colt showed he could rate if needed, sitting just off the early pacesetter before crushing the field by eight lengths with his ears up the whole way. If there was a knock he owned heading into the Derby, it’s that no one knew how he would respond if he actually had to get on his belly and fight.

 
“I’ve always felt that, if this horse remains sound, he would win the Derby,” said Ahmed Zayat, who also bred and campaigned Pioneerof the Nile, their first Grade I winner and runner-up in the 2009 Derby. “What gave me a lot of confidence is that particular horse. American Pharoah is very different from all the horses I had. Day one we felt that he had brilliance to him.”

 
Tunes out, American Pharoah can battle as well as he can crush.

 
When the 18-horse Derby field sprung form, Martin Garcia hustled Dortmund to the front while Espinoza masterfully was able to get American Pharoah out of post No. 17 around the masses and into a clear outside path just off his stablemate and Firing Line around the first turn.

 
The three remained in a line as Dortmund went in 23.24 and 47.34 with Firing Line at his hip. When Firing Line took over coming off the final turn, Espinoza sent American Pharoah three wide and went to the left-handed whip as Firing Line stubbornly hung in until late stretch.

 
“Turning for home, I know I got it, just a matter of time,” Espinoza said. “It’s all about confidence. You know, I went to this race with so much confidence. I knew I came with a special horse.”

 
Firing Line, who had twice been beaten a head by Dortmund previously, bested that nemesis for second, but couldn’t topple his comrade.

 
“The horse ran incredible,” trainer Simon Callaghan said of Firing Line. “What can I say, he’s done everything right but win.”

 
Final time for the 1 1/4-miles was 2:03.02 over a fast track.

 
With Dortmund on the lead and American Pharoah stalking, Baffert said he thought it was his Derby to lose after the first turn.

 
He wasn’t wrong, either about the outcome or in his assessment of the one who would be the new 3-year-old king.

 
“They sent me this horse and I thought…don’t mess it up,” Baffert said. “I knew we were coming in with a really special horse.”

 
Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676.  Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com. Twitter: @horseracinghl.

International Star out of Kentucky Derby with foot injury

Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s multiple graded stakes winner International Star was a late scratch out of the Kentucky Derby field Saturday morning due to a possible foot abscess developing in his left front, his connections announced.

According to Ken Ramsey, the state veterinarian did not like the way International Star was jogged down the shedrow. When they pulled the left front shoe off, Ramsey said there was “definitely heat” on the inside quarter of the foot.

“There is something brewing in there, probably a bruise or an abscess. As we speak right now he’s standing in tub of hot epsom salts trying to draw it out,” Ramsey said. “It’s nothing major wrong with the horse, I expect he’ll be alright. But this is not a gray area, it’s black and white. He was definitely lame in the front when the shoe came off and he was asked to stand on it barefoot.”

Ramsey said if all heals up well with International Star in the coming days, the son of Fusaichi Pegasus could run in the Preakness Stakes two weeks from now.

Trained by Mike Maker, International Star looked to be the Ramsey’s best ever chance at earning a Kentucky Derby victory. The bay colt swept the trio of prep races at Fair Grounds, winning the Grade III LeComte, Grade II Risen Star and Grade II Louisiana Derby under jockey Miguel Mena – who was set to ride in just his second Kentucky Derby.

International Star did not train at Churchill Downs Thursday in what Maker said was a planned walk down. The colt did gallop strongly on Friday morning.

“I’m devastated,” Ramsey said. “It’s devastating to come this far and see the dream die for another year. It’s rained on our parade but I’ve got a big umbrella and I’m already looking forward to 2016.”

International Star was slated to break from post No. 12. With him out, all others will slide down with no gaps. The rail was already slated to be left open due to the scratch of El Kabeir  who was slated to come out of post No. 7. Program numbers do not change.

In addition to International Star, the Ramsey’s Grade I winning mare Stephanie’s Kitten was scratched out of the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on the undercard. Ramsey said that her scratch was brought on by an “issue” between himself and trainer, Chad Brown, who conditions the daughter of Kitten’s Joy, but would not elaborate on the issue.

Ramsey also scratched Scrumpdilicious and Coalport from the Woodford Reserve as both were expected to be pacesetters for Stephanie’s Kitten. When asked if Stephanie’s Kitten could be in for a possible barn change, Ramsey said “I’m not going to speculate on it. We’re going to discuss that Monday morning.”

El Kabeir scratched from Kentucky Derby due to foot abscess

Zayat Stables’ multiple graded stakes winner El Kabeir has been scratched from the Saturday’s 141st running of the Kentucky Derby due to a potential foot abscess, it was announced Friday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, his connections stated that the son of Scat Daddy “took a few cautious steps today” and that a tender spot in the inside quarter of his left front foot had been discovered. Trainer John Terranova was said to be working on the foot to see if the colt could get sound by Saturday morning but shortly after 4 p.m. the Zayats’ announced he was officially declared from the race.

“He was still not 100 percent this afternoon. Horse always comes first,” Justin Zayat, racing and stallion manager for Zayat Stables posted on his Twitter account.

In a follow-up text to the Herald-Leader, Justin Zayat added that the injury was day-to-day at this point there was no time frame yet on how long El Kabeir would be sidelined.

“He is my favorite horse,” he added “Desn’t look to be serious but bad timing. I feel awful for John and (wife) Tonja (Terranova), the put so much work into him.”

El Kabeir was one of three Zayat owned horses entered in the Kentucky Derby along with champion and morning-line favorite, American Pharoah, and longshot Mr. Z.

Since El Kabeir was scratched after the 9 a.m. deadline on Friday morning,  maiden winner Tale of Verve – who was entered as an also-eligible – will not draw into the field leaving 19 horses now slated to contest the first leg of the Triple Crown. El Kabeir was slated to break out of post position No. 7 and with his defection, post position No. 1 will be left open (no horse) and all others will slide down with no gaps. Program numbers do not change.

El Kabeir captured the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs last November 29 and won the Grade III Jerome and Grade III Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct this winter. The son of  Scat Daddy was most recently third in the Grade I Wood Memorial on April 4 and was listed at 30-to-1 on the Kentucky Derby morning line.

 

 

Champion American Pharoah draws post No. 18, made 5-2 morning line choice for Kentucky Derby

LOUISVILLE – Bob Baffert shooed away the question like it was an overzealous patron getting a little too close to one of his brilliant monsters this week.
A notoriously suspicious sort, the Hall of Fame trainer bristled this past Monday when asked which post position he liked best for  his prospective Kentucky Derby contenders, the memory of past unfortunate draws still taunting his brain.

 
“I don’t like talking about post positions because I don’t want to jinx myself,” he quipped. “I know what I like, I try and stay positive.”

 
Wednesday’s draw at Churchill Downs for the 141st Kentucky Derby marked what Baffert termed “the last stressful” moment before his duo of juvenile champion American Pharoah and unbeaten Dortmund fight one another and 18 others for history in the first leg of the Triple Crown.

 
The three-time Derby winner trainer came away feeling like he dodged a couple bullets as Zayat Stables’ American Pharoah landed in post No. 18 and Kaleem Shah’s Dortmund post No. 8 en route to being installed as the top two betting choices for the 10-furlong classic by oddsmaker Mike Battaglia.

 
American Pharoah was made the 5-to-2 favorite on Battaglia’s morning line as he attempts to become the first horse since Gato Del Sol (1982) to win out of post No. 18 since the use of the starting gate in 1930.

 
Multiple Grade I winner Dortmund sits as the 3-to-1 morning line second choice with Blue Grass Stakes winner Carpe Diem the 8-to-1 third choice after landing in post No. 2.

 
The last trainer to saddle the top two betting choices in the Derby was Bobby Frankel with Empire Maker and Peace Rules, who ran second and third, in 2003.

 
“American Pharoah is out there a ways but it’s not a bad spot for him,” Baffert said. “He’s quick, he’s fast, he has a lot of speed, he can maneuver where he is. And Dortmund, he’s pretty fast himself so I’m sure if he breaks well he’ll be in a good spot.

 
“It’s nerve wracking, I’m just glad it’s over,” Baffert continued. “We have the holes and hopefully our names will be hanging up there in the winner’s spot.”

 
The most widely feared post is the No. 1 spot as it puts horses in position to break toward the rail and get squeezed. Baffert knows all about that, as his champion charge Lookin At Lucky landed in that post en route to finishing sixth as the Derby favorite in 2010.

 
With half the field drawn, the inside posts still loomed with neither American Pharoah’s nor Dortmund’s name called in the double-blind pill pull. Relief washed over owner Ahmed Zayat when the 18 hole was called for his reigning juvenile champion and Baffert exhaled deeper when the 17-plus hand Dortmund escaped being down inside.

 
“I’m elated, extremely happy,” said Zayat, who also owns fellow Derby entrants El Kabeir (post No. 7) and Mr. Z (post No. 17). “I wanted outside, the further out gives us more opportunity. I was freaking out (with the rail still in play), I was freaking out since the moment I sat down. But all my three horses drew fantastic.”

 
Added Baffert, “I just hate that No. 1 hole, they just need to get rid of it. You don’t like to get it because to me it’s dangerous, you’re looking right at the rail. We went through it with Lookin At Lucky.”

 
Both American Pharoah and Dortmund have done their running on or near the front end, something they have in common with several key Derby rivals. On paper, they could be fighting for the same piece of real estate in the front tier along with Carpe Diem, undefeated Grade I winner Materiality and Firing Line.

 
“I’m sure my jockey are going to ride their own race, I really can’t tell them what to do,” Baffert said. “They’re on fast horses so I don’t see any of them coming from way off the pace or anything like that.”

 
Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Louisiana Derby winner International Star will break from the No. 12 position while trainer Rick Violette Jr. tried to talk himself into a positive outlook after Grade II winner Upstart landed in the No. 19 position.

 
“I just have to convince my jockey (Jose Ortiz) that’s exactly the spot we wanted,” Violette said.

 
Trainer Todd Pletcher is set to saddle Carpe Diem, Materiality, Itsaknockout and Stanford in the classic, but saw his top two land right next to each other inside with Materiality in the No. 3 slot.

 
Pletcher acknowledged he would have preferred Carpe Diem and Materiality ended up further out but said their respective early speed could still put them in striking position.

 
“I mean, we weren’t looking to take back (with Carpe Diem) no matter what post we came out of,” Pletcher said. “So we’ll look to be in good position, exactly where that will be, I’m not sure.

 
“I don’t think anyone really knows the kind of  trip they are going to get just because of the post they drew.”

 
Notes: Frammento and Tale of Verve were entered on the also-eligible list for the Derby meaning they could could draw into the field should any horses be scratched before Friday at 9 a.m. ET.
Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676.  Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com. Twitter: @horseracinghl.

Twenty two entered in Kentucky Derby 141, Tale of Verve a surprise AE

Edited release:
Through various sources, the Churchill Downs communications team has confirmed that 22 horses are known to have been entered in Saturday’s $2 million Kentucky Derby.
 The horses known to be entered in the Kentucky Derby are (in order of preference by points earned on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” (with jockeys): International Star (Miguel Mena); Dortmund (Martin Garcia); Carpe Diem (John Velazquez); American Pharoah (Victor Espinoza); Frosted (Joel Rosario); Mubtaahij (Christophe Soumillon); Materiality (Javier Castellano); El Kabeir (Calvin Borel); Upstart (Jose Ortiz); Far Right(Mike Smith); Itsaknockout (Luis Saez); Firing Line (Gary Stevens); Danzig Moon (Julien Leparoux); War Story (Joe Talamo); Tencendur (Manny Franco);Stanford (Florent Geroux); Mr. Z (Ramon Vazquez); Ocho Ocho Ocho (Elvis Trujillo); Bolo (Rafael Bejarano); and Keen Ice (Kent Desormeaux). Frammento(Corey Nakatani) and Tale of Verve (Brian Hernandez Jr.) are on the “also eligible” list.
Charles Fipke’s Tale of Verve, based at Churchill Downs in Dallas Stewart’s Barn 48, was a surprise late entrant. Tale of Verve broke his maiden in his sixth try at Keeneland on April 23, winning a 1 3/16-miles maiden test by two lengths. The son of Tale of Ekati does have a prior start at Churchill Downs, running third  in a 1 1/16-miles race there on November 29.
The “also eligible” horses could draw into the field should any horse(s) be scratched before scratch time on Friday at 9 a.m. ET.
 
Entries closed today at 10 a.m. ET. The Kentucky Derby post position draw – a traditional “pill pull” in which horses’ entry blanks are pulled simultaneously with a numbered pill to determine what stall a horse will break from the starting gate – will be held today at 5:30 p.m. in the Aristides Lounge on the second floor of the Grandstand. The post position draw will air live on NBCSN from 5:30-6 p.m. and will be streamed by other various outlets, including Horse Racing Radio Network.

Champion American Pharoah records bullet work in preparation for Kentucky Derby

At this point for trainer Bob Baffert and owner Ahmed Zayat, their major source of stress is same the entity that routinely brings them calm.

Champion and expected Kentucky Derby favorite American Pharoah  flaunted his customary ease to onlookers at Churchill Downs Sunday as he worked five furlongs in a bullet :58.40 under jockey Martin Garcia, his lone major move in advance of the first leg of the Triple Crown on May 2.

The work was the first for American Pharoah since his eight-length victory in the Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on April 11. The effortless motion that has been his signature was completely in effect for the work with Garcia asking for little as they recorded splits of  11.40, 23, 34.60, and 46.40 with a gallop out in 1:11.40 and 1:27.

“He was just clipping along, he was doing it in hand but that’s the way he works,” Baffert said of the move. “Mr. Zayat was wondering if he was going too fast but that’s the way he does things. He does things really effortlessly. He galloped out strong, came back and wasn’t blowing. He hasn’t regressed and looks great.

“You watch him today and it looks like he is not moving. And you look at your watch and go wow.”

Even with undefeated multiple Grade I winner Dortmund as his stablemate, American Pharoah has owned a large chunk of the pre-Derby hype. The reigning juvenile champion has won four of five career starts with his lone defeat coming in his career debut at Del Mar last  August 9.

Since missing the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with what the Zayats termed a foot injury and possible tweaked suspensory, the bay son of Pioneerof the Nile hasn’t been asked to take to  a deep breath, winning the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park gate-to-wire by 6 1/4 lengths and then drawing off in the Arkansas Derby.

Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia has already declared his plans to make American Pharoah the morning-line favorite when post positions are drawn on Wednesday, and Sunday’s move did nothing to dispel the notion that the colt who has won his last four starts by a combined 22 1/4 lengths may be an extra cut above what has been a depth-laden 3-year-old class.

“The higher up you are, if you get beat, the fall is pretty steep,” Baffert said. “But…we feel really strong coming in here. The main thing right now, we just focus on preparing, having them ready. Today’s work was typical American Pharoah.

“(The draw) will probably be the last stressful moment we have,”  he continued. “It’s like when they send a man into space and they’re shooting off those stages, like ‘Stage 1, okay all looks good’. But at the same time, we want to enjoy it.”

On Saturday, Daily Racing Form reported on a protective plate covering the sole of American Pharoah’s left front foot that the colt has been racing and training with. When asked about the plate following his work, Zayat dismissed it as a non-issue, saying it has been in place since around February.

“It’s old news. He’s had that since he came back into training,” said Zayat, who watched the work alongside his 23-year-old son Justin Zayat, who is the racing and stallion manager for  Zayat Stables. “It’s not a bar shoe bar. It’s to protect the frog (of the foot). He’s raced in it.  It’s a non issue for us. It’s nothing for us.”

 

 

 

Carpe Diem settled in final pre-Derby move

Multiple Grade I winner Carpe Diem put in his last serious piece of work in advance of his slated start the 141st Kentucky Derby, covering four furlongs in 48 3/5 under the cover of dark Saturday morning at Keeneland.

With his regular rider, Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, in the irons, the Blue Grass Stakes winner emerged from Barn 6 around 5:45 a.m. and broke off on his own as Pletcher led a contingent that included WinStar president Elliott Walden and Stonesteet Farm agent John Moynihan into the stands. Carpe Diem posted splits of 13, :25, and  :48 3/5 with a gallop out in 1:01 1/5; 1:14 4/5; 1:29 2/5 in a move Velazquez said was marked by the colt’s trademark consistency.

“Very good, we took it little by little in the first part of the work and then finished up really good,” said Velazquez, who will be aboard Carpe Diem in the Derby. “He’s always been like that. I think he fits really well (in the Derby) obviously.”

Pletcher also gave the move his seal of approval and added Carpe Diem would likely ship to Churchill Downs on Monday.

“There is very little I would change about the work,” Pletcher said. “He was very settled. It was a very good, progressive breeze and he picked it up each eighth.  He galloped out good, we got it in over a perfect surface. Very  happy with everything.

Carpe Diem has been residing at Keeneland since his victory there in the Blue Grass Stakes on April 4. Given that the son of Giant’s Causeway can get worked up at times, Pletcher has said he prefers keeping the chestnut runner in the quieter environment.

“We know he likes the surface,  and it’s a little more quite environment we know he is thriving in,”‘ Pletcher said. “He’s just doing so well there. He’s happy, he’s in a good routine.”

Owned in partnership by WinStar and Stonestreet Stables, Carpe Diem has won four of five lifetime starts with earnings of $1,519,800.

 

 

Madefromlucky out, Keen Ice in for Kentucky Deby

Trainer Todd Pletcher sent four of his Kentucky Derby hopefuls out for their final serious works at Churchill Downs Friday morning. Three of them confirmed to the seven-time Eclipse Award winner they deserved to start in the first leg of the Triple Crown.

With rain in the forecast for Saturday, Pletcher made the decision to move his contingent’s works up a day. While unbeaten Florida Derby winner Materiality and Grade II winner Itsaknockout made positive impressions when they breezed four furlongs in 48 flat on a cool, clear morning, Madefromlucky’s status as a Derby contender was downgraded after he struggled to keep pace with stablemate Stanford when those two also worked a half mile.

Madefromlucky was credited with four furlongs in 48.40 while his stablemate was clocked in 48.60. Jockey John Velazquez, who was aboard Madefromlucky, said the chestnut colt struggled to get a hold of the track causing the Hall of Fame rider to noticeably get after him in the lane as Stanford finished about a length in front.

Pletcher concurred with that assessment and said he will not run the son of Lookin At Lucky in the Kentucky Derby and would  instead consider pointing the fourth place finisher in the Arkansas Derby to a race like the Grade II Peter Pan at Belmont Park on May 9.

“He didn’t handle the turns particularly well, and we kind of noticed that at Arkansas,” Pletcher said of Madefromlucky. “The big turns at Belmont might suit him well. We’d be looking more at the Peter Pan-Belmont Stakes route with him.

Added Velazquez, “He worked okay. It was not a bad work but the other horse (Stanford) worked much better.”

Prior to Friday, Pletcher had said the only  contenders of his he considered definite for the Derby were multiple Grade I winner Carpe Diem – who is slated to work at Keeneland Saturday morning – and Materiality.

By holding his own against the latter, Itsaknockout earned his own Derby green light from Pletcher,  notching splits of 12, 23.60, and  35.60 with a gallop out  in 1:01 and 1:14.60. And though Pletcher seemed most on the fence about Stanford heading into Friday’s move, the Louisiana Derby runner up showed real affinity for the Churchill surface as he ran off splits of 12.40 and 24.20 with a gallop out in 1:01.60 and 1:15.

“I thought Itsaknockout breezed really well and I thought assuming he comes out of it as good as he breezed today, that he earned his way in,” Pletcher said. “Stanford arguably  breezed as good as anybody this morning. I thought his gallop out was particularly good. A lot of the success you’re going have here is based on how the horses handle the surface. It can be a quirky surface and it’s certainly not for all horses. He handled it really well.”

With Madefromlucky being taken out of Kentucky Derby consideration, it allows Donegal Racing’s Keen Ice – most recently fourth in the Grade II Louisiana Derby – to get into the field that is limited to 20 runners.

Trained by Dale Romans, Keen Ice broke his maiden at Churchill Downs last September 6 but is winless in five tries against graded stakes company.

“He’s going to be an extremely live longshot,” Romans said Friday morning when informed of the news. “I’m absolutely confident he will go the distance, which is a big factor in the Derby. I know there will be pace in this race, there always is, and he has not had enough pace in front of him.

“We don’t control our own destiny in this race. We do have to have some pace, we do have to have a clean trip. But with those two things, this is a prototype Derby horse. We’ll be running at the end.”

Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux will have the mount on Keen Ice for the Derby.

Danzig Moon, Far Right breeze
Impending rain also prompted the connections of  Derby hopefuls Danzig Moon and Far Right to work their horses on Friday instead of waiting for the weekend.
After recording what assistant trainer Norman Casse deemed too quick of an outing last Saturday when he covered five furlongs in a bullet 58 flat, Danzig Moon was much more settled Friday morning as he worked four furlongs in 48.80 in company.
“Very pleased with the work. We wanted to be a little more controlled, last week got a little out of hand,” said Casse. “Things couldn’t have been any better today. Now all the heavy stuff is done.”
Far Right worked solo for trainer Ron Moquett, covering four furlongs in 49 flat.
“He’s a very efficient horse that basically..can go forever,” Moquett said.

 

 

Trainer Gorder suspended 14 months by KHRC

Kentucky-based trainer Kellyn Gorder has been suspended a total of 14 months  and fined $5,000 by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission stewards after a horse in his care was found to test positive for methamphetamine at Churchill Downs last November 22 and another search of his barn found improper injectables and syringes.

According to the ruling, Bourbon Warfare, a Colonel John filly owned by Bourbon Lane Stables, tested positive for methamphetamine after finishing first in the 11th race at Churchill Downs on November 22, 2014. Methamphetamine is classified as a Class A drug by the KHRC as a drug that has “no legitimate therapeutic value in the equine athlete”. The sample was detected by testing done by LGC Science, Inc, the official testing laboratory of the commission and confirmed at the University of California, Davis.

Gorder has been handed a one year suspension effective May 1, 2015  through April 29, 2016 for the above infraction. He was also handed an additional 60 day suspension from April 30,2106 to June 28, 2016 after a search of his barn on December 27, 2014 at Keeneland turned up injectable medications, hypodermic syringes, and a needle “by a person other than a veterinarian licensed to practice veterinary medicine” and oral medication “not properly labeled or validly prescribed by a veterinarian”

Gorder said he planned to appeal and, in a statement issued Wednesday, said he believed the positive concerned Bourbon Warfare was due to contamination.

“I am devastated, not just for me but for my clients and my employees,’ Gorder said in the statement. “I love horses. Period. They are my passion, my profession, my life. I would never, ever do something or give something to one of my horses that would in any way put them or the people around them in jeopardy, or gain them an unfair advantage over their competition. To put it bluntly, I did not, nor would I ever, give a horse methamphetamine, nor have I ever done or been in contact with methamphetamine.

“The levels of methamphetamine found in Bourbon Warfare’s bloodstream suggests this is a contamination situation rather than doping. I have drug tested all 31 of my employees since learning of this positive, and all came back clean for methamphetamine and all other Class A drugs. I don’t know whether it was a person walking through the barn one day with something on their hand and fed a horse a mint, or someone touched paper money with residue on it and then tied a tongue tie before her race. I am completely puzzled. I want to get to the bottom of it and find out where the contamination came from. I am looking into an appeal so I can better present my case before the authorities.”

Gorder’s statement further went on to add with regard to his second violation:

“In early 2014 there was a horse in my care for training who had an infected artenoid chondroma and needed fourteen days of Naxcel nebulizer treatments, which had been prescribed by a veterinarian. The protocol for administering Naxcel, which is an antibiotic, via the nebulizer includes the use of a syringe and a needle to combine the Naxcel and sterile water and put it in the nebulizer so the horse can inhale the antibiotic treatment. I keep syringes in my barn to give oral medications and eye medications as well. I never injected the horse with the Naxcel. I only used the needle for the nebulizer treatments. The horse shipped out in June of 2014 and unfortunately I did not dispose of the medication and needle upon his departure properly as I should have, thus they were found in my possession when my stable was searched.”

 

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