canada africa partner reservation Five Key Kentucky Derby Weekend Takeaways

Five Key Kentucky Derby Weekend Takeaways


Tom Pedulla of America’s Best Racing presents five key insights from the Kentucky Derby weekend at Churchill Downs.

TWO FOR THE RECORD BOOKS: Trainer Ken McPeek accomplished a feat accomplished only three times before in 149 years by sweeping the 2024 Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1). Of Churchill Downs As we celebrate the 150th running of both races, it is notable that the last trainer to complete an Oaks-Derby double did so more than 70 years ago when Ben Jones won the 1952 Kentucky Oaks with Real Delight and the Derby with Hill Gail. the sweep when Thorpedo Anna won the Kentucky Oaks by 4 3/4 lengths and Mystical Dan held on to win the Kentucky Derby by a nose in front of a crowd of 156,710. Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. became the eighth jockey to score an Oaks-Derby double and the first since Calvin Borel did so on board Rachel Alexandra And Mine that bird in 2009.

COSTLY MISTAKE: Sierra Leone who missed the Kentucky Derby by less than the official nose as part of a three-horse photo featuring the victorious Mystik Dan and the Japanese Always young , jockey Tyler Gaffalione gave everything he had physically. From a mental standpoint, it appears the $2.3 million yearling is still missing. “I felt like I had enough horses,” Gaffalione said. “He wanted to lean forward (in the play) and made it a bit difficult. I had trouble keeping him straight and that certainly cost us something. He gives you everything, reacts very well, but he loses concentration.” The son of Rifle runner sent away as second choice when betting afterwards Ferocity suffered only his second defeat in six starts.

SHORTCOMING: Iowa-based Albaugh Family Stables thought it might finally have the right horse Catching freedom winner of the 1 3/16 mile Louisiana Derby (G2), became the eighth Derby starter since 2016. The son of Constitution seemed to be in perfect batting position for trainer Brad Cox and jockey Flavien Prat. “I traveled well and had a chance to cut every corner and save all the ground,” Prat noted. Catching Freedom came fourth ahead of Albaug, which settled for third place last year Angel of the realm . “Overall, I was very happy with Catching Freedom’s effort, I really was and the ride that Flavien gave him,” Cox said.

Terrible trip: With a field of 20 horses and jockeys desperate to get to the first corner in a good spot, the Derby could be over for some horses before it even starts. That was at Honor Marie , the well-known second place in the Louisiana Derby. “My race was over when I came out of the gate,” said jockey Ben Curtis. “I got speared from both sides. I lost an iron and had to put it back in. He almost fell on his head, but I gave him time to get up. He didn’t get the smoothest first quarter mile and then I just let him float around a bit. Given the circumstances, the son of Code of honor did well and finished eighth.

Sign up for

CAMP IS BACK: Idiomatic , winner of the 2023 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) and champion of older dirt bitches, looks to be having a huge season for 5-year-olds. She started her campaign with an impressive 3 3/4-length victory in the $1 million La Troienne Stakes (G1) on May 3 for Cox and jockey Florent Geroux. There was never any serious doubt about the outcome. She completed the mile and a sixteenth-place finish on a sloppy track in 1:43.24 for her sixth straight win. She improved her overall record to 10 wins, one second and two-thirds through 13 starts, while her earnings shot up to $3,076,840. “You could tell she was looking around a little bit. Sometimes she’s a little distracted,” Geroux said. “But she looks like she’s back to her old self.” It will be interesting to see if Cox will test the homebred Juddmonte against males this season in a bid to win Horse of the Year. The lack of such a match kept her from seriously being considered for that honor last year.