All fans’ eyes are turned to racing Mecca Churchill Downs in Kentucky in anticipation of the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby, the “Run for the Roses”, on Saturday, May 5.
The first salvo of the US Triple Crown (including the Preakness Stakes, set for May 19 at Pimlico, and the Belmont Stakes on June 9), the Kentucky Derby is the proving ground for the best thoroughbreds in the world.
This championship series is the model of our own local Triple Crown sponsored by the Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom).
Below, a story on the contenders, from sportsnetwork.com:
133rd Kentucky Derby set with 20 (2 May 2007)
Louisville, KY (Sports Network) – The field for the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs has been drawn with 20 of the finest three- year-olds entered. The $2 million race will be witnessed by, among others, Queen Elizabeth II of England and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh.
The Kentucky Derby is the opening race in thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown. The second leg is the Preakness Stakes on May 19 at Pimlico in Baltimore. The Belmont Stakes concludes the three race series on June 9. There has not been a Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
Arkansas Derby winner Curlin is the 7-2 favorite for Saturday’s 1 1/4 mile test. The undefeated colt has been made the morning line favorite even though he has just three lifetime starts. He will start from post 2 with Robby Albarado in the saddle.
“Disadvantages will be aplenty for horses in this race,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “I do not believe the three races, or not running as a 2-year- old, will be any excuse.”
Curlin is owned by Stonestreet Stables, Padua Stables, George Bolton, and Midnight Cry Stables. In addition to winning the Arkansas Derby last month, Curlin captured the Rebel Stakes in March at Oaklawn Park. He has $802,800 in earnings. Asmussen also trains longshot entrant Zanjero who will break from just to the outside of his stablemate.
Street Sense has an excellent chance to become the first winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to capture the Run for the Roses. Last year’s champion two-year-old is 4-1 in the morning line and will break from post seven.
Owned by James Tafel, Street Sense is trained by Carl Nafzger who won this race in 1990 with Unbridled. The colt is coming off a second place finish to Dominican in the Blue Grass Stakes. He has more than $1.5 million in earnings with three wins in seven career starts.
Wood Memorial winner Nobiz Like Shobiz is 8-1 in the program and will start from post 12 with Cornelio Velasquez riding. The bay colt is trained by Barcaly Tagg who saddled Funny Cide to victory in the 2003 Kentucky Derby.
Nobiz Like Shobiz has earned $804,900 for owner Elizabeth Valando. He opened this year with a win in the Holy Bull Stakes, but was third as the favorite in the Fountain of Youth Stakes…
Here is the complete field for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby in post position order: Sedgefield 50-1 Julien Leparoux, Curlin 7-2 Robby Albarado, Zanjero 30-1 Shaun Bridgmohan, Storm in May 30-1 Juan Leyva, Imawildandcrazyguy 50-1 Mark Guidry, Cowtown Cat 20-1 Fernando Jara, Street Sense 4-1 Calvin Borel, Hard Spun 15-1 Mario Pino, Liquidity 30-1 David Flores, Teuflesberg 30-1 Stewart Elliott, Bwana Bull 50-1 Javier Castellano, Nobiz Like Shobiz 8-1 Cornelio Velasquez, Sam P. 20-1 Ramon Dominguez, Scat Daddy 10-1 Edgar Prado, Tiago 15-1 Mike Smith, Circular Quay 8-1 John Velazquez, Stormello 30-1 Kent Desormeaux, Any Given Saturday 12-1 Garrett Gomez, Dominican 20-1 Rafael Bejarano and Great Hunter 15-1 Corey Nakatani.
All the of the runners will carry 126 pounds. Post-time is 6:10 p.m. (et) and the race will be televised on NBC.
In addition to the more than $1 million that the winning owners will receive, there is now a $1 million bonus. Yum Brands, the sponsoring company of the Kentucky Derby, has put up the bonus. The $1 million bonus will be awarded if the victorious horse wins by more than 6 1/2 lengths, the margin of victory that Barbaro posted last year.
Photo: Curlin (chestnut colt by Smart Strike-Sheriff’s Deputy), right, with Robby Albarado up, on his way to a 10 ½-length victory in the Arkansas Derby on April 14. (Danny Johnston/AP)