Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Kentucky Derby Odds and Ends

Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, arrived as a plan in the mind of Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark, after the Colonel had visited Epsom Downs in 1872.  Churchill Downs was built on property that Colonel Lewis leased from his uncles, John and Henry Churchill.  Opening day at Churchill Downs featured three key races - the Kentucky Oaks, the Kentucky Derby, and the Clark Stakes.  These three races were patterned after the Epsom Oaks, Epsom Derby, and the St Leger Stakes.  All three races, plus several others, were the new track's greatest event on 17 May 1875.  Like the Epsom Derby, the Kentucky Derby was originally contested over one and a half miles; in 1896 it was shortened to it's current distance of one and one-quarter miles.  From 1875 until 1929, the Kentucky Derby "floated" on Saturdays in mid-May; in 1930, it was agreed that the Kentucky Derby would always take place on the first Saturday in May.

    If you've read my blogs about the Triple Crown before, you know I include all sorts of "strange" facts.  I do it for fun.  I am not addicted to gambling, and people who "follow the ponies" all have their own way of picking winners - past races, days run on, the jockey, the trainer, the track, the speed figures, The Daily Racing Form, the weather, the phase of the moon, and/or the astrology reading of the day.  I just like to look at everything - including the way the horse looks....
  We are expecting a full field of 20 horses to participate in Saturday's Derby.  So far, the top 20 point-earners are all in fine fettle.  So here are my, as usual odd, observations regarding the top 20 entrants:
   All horses are male this year; with 16 colts, 2 ridglings (Mor Spirit and Majesto), and 2 geldings (Suddenbreakingnews and Whitmore).
   Eighteen of the 20 were bred in Kentucky; two are Pennsylvania-bred (Mor Spirit and Tom's Ready).
   Three colts were sired by Tapit, the grey son of Pulpit (Creator, Lani, and Mohaymen).
   Three colts were sired by Uncle Mo, bay son of Indian Charlie (Nyquist, Outwork, and Mo Tom).
   Two of the colts were sired by Giant's Causeway, bay son of Storm Cat (Brody's Cause and Destin).
   Three of the colts were sales consignees of Warrendale Sales (Exaggerator, Mo Tom and Suddenbreakingnews).
   Of the coat colors of the 20 entrants,  3 are chestnut; 4 are grey or roan; and 13 are bays or dark browns.
   On birthdays, the chestnut gelding Whitmore was born on 23 January; the bay colt Mo Tom was born on 6 May; five colts were born in February, eight were born in March, three were born in April, and Mohaymen and Suddenbreakingnews were born on 2 May.
   Nyquist is the only undefeated entrant.
   Steve Asmussen trains two colts, Gun Runner and Creator.
   Todd Pletcher trains two colts, Outwork and Destin.
   Chad Brown trains two colts, Shagaf and My Man Sam.
   The Ramsey family owns Oscar Nominated.
   The grey colt Lani, son of Tapit and bred in Kentucky, has a Japanese trainer and jockey, and has raced in Japan and the Middle East.  He was the winner of the United Arab Emirates Derby.

NBC and NBCSN have announced their coverage of the Kentucky Derby weekend - on Wednesday, 4 May, at 5:30 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) NBCSN will cover the starting gate draw live.
   On Thursday, 5 May, NBCSN will cover 4 live races from Churchill Downs beginning at 4 p.m. (EDT).
   On Friday, 6 May, NBCSN will cover 7 live races, including the Kentucky Oaks, beginning at 12:30 p.m. EDT.
   On Saturday, 7 May, NBCSN will cover 9 races, beginning at 12 noon (EDT); the last three races of the day, including the Kentucky Derby will be shown on NBC stations.

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