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Michele and Cliff Love’s Xtra Luck grabbed the lead from pacesetter Majestic Harbor on the final turn and drew away in the stretch to beat For Greater Glory by 1 ½ lengths in Saturday’s 78th running of the $100,000 Louisville Handicap (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.
With his date with racing history in the June 6 Belmont Stakes (Grade I) on the near horizon, Zayat Stables’ Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and Preakness (GI) winner American Pharoah returned to Churchill Downs on Monday to prepare for the third jewel of racing’s Triple Crown.
Ramona Bass’ Courtesan, ridden by Corey Lanerie and trained by Christophe Clement, tracked pacesetter First Romance and ran down that rival late to win Saturday’s first division of the $58,740 Keertana overnight stakes at Churchill Downs.
Ike and Dawn Thrash and Janet and Sam Alley’s 4-year-old filly Katie’s Eyes pulled away from a field of eight fillies and mares inside the final 100 yards to win Saturday’s fifth running of the $66,029 Unbridled Sidney by 1 ¼ lengths over Free as a Bird on Saturday at Churchill Downs.
American Pharoah Wins 141st Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) Before Record Crowd of 170,513
Zayat Stables’ homebred American Pharoah, ridden by now three-time Derby winner Victor Espinoza and trained by now four-time Derby winner Bob Baffert, collared leaders Dortmund and Firing Line at the head of the stretch and drew clear for a one-length victory in the 141st running of the $2,178,800 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) on a sun-splashed afternoon before a record crowd of 170,513.
Victor Espinoza, jockey of American Pharoah, winner – “I feel like the luckiest Mexican on Earth. He has been a special horse since the first time I rode him. He has a lot of talent and is an unbelievable horse. Turning for home I started riding a little harder. At the eighth pole, I just couldn’t put that other horse (Firing Line) away, but he got it done.”
Bob Baffert, trainer of American Pharoah, winner/Dortmund, third – “We were ready to rumble. Since their last works I was hearing how good they were and I was hoping it would come true. I felt very confident going in.”
Simon Callaghan, trainer of Firing Line, second – “It is disap
Donegal Racing’s Finnegans Wake made the last run count as he got up in the final strides to win the 29th running of the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI) for 4-year-olds and up.
Good Friends Stable’s Private Zone put away longshot Nates Mineshaft at the eighth pole and drew off to post a 4 ¼-length victory and ruin the 2015 debut of Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) winner Bayern in the 81st running of the $500,000 Churchill Downs (GII) Presented by Twinspires.com for 4-year-olds and up.
Robert Masterson’s Tepin took the lead out of the gate and cruised to a 1 ½-length victory over defending race champion Coffee Clique to win the 30th running of the $300,000 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (GII) Presented by Longines for fillies and mares.