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Kentucky Derby Undercard
Midnight Cry Stable’s Einstein (BRZ) will be hoping the third time’s the charm Saturday when he takes on seven rivals in the 22nd running of the $400,000-added Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI), one of five graded stakes preceding the 134th running of the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) at Churchill Downs.
In addition to the Woodford Reserve on the Derby Day card that has a first post time of 11 a.m. (EDT), the 22nd running of the Grade I Humana Distaff will feature the return to Churchill Downs of Rancho San Miguel, George Todaro and Jerry Hollendorfer’s Hystericalady, who won the 2007 renewal by four lengths.
Trained by Helen Pitts, Einstein ran fourth in the 2006 Woodford Reserve and seventh last year in the mile and one-eighth race. A six-year-old son of 1985 Kentucky Derby winner Spend a Buck, Einstein has won two of three grass starts in 2008, including the Gulfstream Park Turf (GI) in February.
Einstein, who will break from post position five under Robby Albarado, will not be the only Grade I winner in the field.
David Heerensperger’s Artiste Royale (IRE), took the Clement L. Hirsch last fall at the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita for trainer Neil Drysdale. In his most recent start, Artiste Royale finished fourth in the one-mile Arcadia Handicap (GII) at Santa Anita.
Other graded stakes winners in the field include Stud TNT’s Out of Control (BRZ), Zayat Stables’ Thorn Song and Andrew Farm, Connie Scanlon and James Buckley’s Duveen.
Hystericalady’s Humana Distaff victory was one of three she registered in 2007, a year that concluded with a runner-up finish to champion Ginger Punch in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI). Trained by Hollendorfer, Hystericalady enters the Humana Distaff off a 3 ½-length victory in the March 9 Azeri (GIII) at Oaklawn Park.
Rafael Bejarano, who rode Hystericalady in last year’s Humana Distaff, has the call Saturday and will break from the rail in the field of nine.
Among her rivals are the 2-3-4 finishers from the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Monmouth Park in October: Puglisi Stables and Steve Klesaris’ Miraculous Miss, Roll Reroll Stables’ Miss Macy Sue and Zayat Stables’ Baroness Thatcher. Also in the field is Tom Grether Farms’ Intangaroo, winner of the Grade I Santa Monica Handicap at Santa Anita in February.
Other graded stakes on the Derby Day card are the 74th running of Grade II Churchill Downs, which drew a field of nine with Robert Yagos’ Spotsgone and George Bolton, Joan Corrigan and Antony Beck’s Noonmark share top weight of 120 pounds; the 53rd running of the Grade III La Troienne for three-year-old fillies going 7 ½ furlongs on the main track; and, the 19th running of the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile, a Grade III event featuring 2006 Eclipse Award winner Dreaming of Anna, who will be facing eight rivals, including Vinery Madison (GII) winner Ventura, owned by Juddmonte Farms.