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Kentucky Derby 136 Update for Feb. 19: Stars Turn Out for Major Preps in Florida, Louisiana and Arkansas
FLORIDA / BUDDY’S SAINT MAKES 2010 BOW IN FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH – An important weekend of preps for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) offers opportunities to view intriguing contenders in several locations, but few of those 3-year-olds will attract more scrutiny than Buddy’s Saint.
WEST / BLIND LUCK TAKES THRILLING LAS VIRGENES – Odds-on favorite Blind Luck, the likely early favorite for the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) on April 30 at Churchill Downs, launched a desperate rally from last in a field of five to run down Evening Jewel in the final stride to win the $250,000-added Las Virgenes (GI) at Santa Anita by a nose.
The cream of this year’s crop of 3-year-old Thoroughbreds has risen to the top once again as 366 members of that class have been nominated early for the 2010 renewals of America’s three classic races that comprise horse racing’s highly sought Triple Crown.
Prominent Thoroughbred owner and breeder Robert LaPenta will honor one his most accomplished horses and boost the significance of the final major prep for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) after reaching an agreement with the historic track to sponsor this year’s 86th running of the $200,000-added The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (GIII).
Horsemen across the country and abroad will be looking closely at their 3-year-old Thoroughbreds during the coming days as the nomination period for the 2010 Triple Crown races gets into full swing.
Clark Handicap Regains Grade I Status; Pocahontas, American Turf Receive American Graded Stakes Committee Upgrades
Churchill Downs’ Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare, a race that shares a rich history with the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) and the Kentucky Oaks (GI), has been elevated to Grade I status by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’ Association’s (“TOBA”) American Graded Stakes Committee (“AGSC”).
WinStar Farm’s Super Saver rolled to a five-length victory over William’s Kitten in stakes-record time to win the 83rd running of the $191,250 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (Grade II) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs.
Jerry Romans’ Sassy Image pulled away from Decelerator in mid-stretch and went on to a 3 3/4-length victory in the 66th running of the $163,200 Golden Rod Stakes (Grade II) for 2-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs.
Blame Outduels Misremembered, Defending Champion Einstein to Claim 135th Running of the Clark Handicap
Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s Blame outdueled fellow 3-year-old Misremembered by a neck in a heated stretch run and fended off a late charge from Einstein (BRZ) to win Friday’s 135th running of the $460,600 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (Grade II) at Churchill Downs.
Robert Courtney Jr.’s Rahystrada, dismissed at odds of 56-1, romped to a 2 ¼-length victory over Rahy’s Attorney to win Friday’s 32nd running of the $112,700 River City Handicap (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Byron Hughes and ridden by Leandro Goncalves, Rahystrada covered the 1 1/8 miles over a Matt Winn Turf Course rated as “firm” in 1:49.18.