ALWAYS DREAMING schooling in the paddock and his trainer Todd Pletcher (complete with goatee) Cindy Pierson Dulay Photo



The rain has stopped for now at Churchill Downs but the track was a sea of slop on Friday (as it was at every other track virtually on the east coast).

As it is is not difficult to try and pick a horse or two to bet, on, now the track adds to the mystery.

Thoroughblog goes horse by horse with some comments and then selections below.  (In Case you missed it, my Kentucky Oaks analysis yesterday read as such:


Visually watching races coming up to this event, I liked DADDY’S LITTLE DARLIN (20 to 1) off her less-than-perfect run in the Ashland behind the slow pace.She has also won in the mud at Churchill Downs. Her ‘numbers’ are now very good, however, so that tempers my excitement. The big number gals are PARADISE WOODS and MISS SKY WARRIOR and either of them winning would be logical. However both could be involved in what could be a contested pace battle. My other picks are VEXATIOUS and ABEL TASMAN (Blinkers on).

The race ended up Abel Tasman, Daddy’s Little Darlin, Lockout and Vexatious. Exactor $200.

Here we go:


Saturday, Churchill Downs, post time: 6:46 p.m. EDT



1 Lookin At Lee  Lookin At Lucky L and N Racing, LLC Asmussen Lanerie 20-1

– deep, deep closer is improving and has run well in Churchill mud. his dam’s sire is Canadian-bred Langfuhr; he could be 4th or 5th.
2 Thunder Snow(Ire) Helmet (Aus) Godolphin Racing, LLC, Lessee bin Suroor Soumillon 20-1

– The Godolphin/Dubai invaders have had no luck in the Derby, but colt won UAE Derby in mud, will be close to pace

3 Fast and Accurate  Hansen Hansen, Skychai Racing,Miller &SandDollar Stable Maker Hill 50-1

  – Supplemented for somerthing like $200K to race in the Derby off slow win on Polytrack. no way

4 Untrapped                  Trappe Shot Michael Langford Asmussen Santana, Jr. 30-1

 –  one of a trio for Steve Asmussen, seeking 1st Derby win. Don’t think he wants distance, comes in off full effort

5 Always Dreaming    Bodemeister MeBRacing Stables LLC, Brooklyn Boyz Stables et al. Pletcher Velazquez 5-1

He has been a bear all week, aggressive in training and seemingly never getting tired., his dam won in mud, he romped in Florida Derby, he’s legit

6 State of Honor         To Honor and Serve Conrad Farms Casse Lezcano 30-1

    – Ontario bred is a cool dude but he has to prove he can pass horses, something he essentially has never done
7 Girvin                         Tale of Ekati Brad Grady Sharp Smith 15-1

  – Has had his foot repaired for a quarter crack, has Big Money Mike Smith on board but regular rider Brian Hernandez took McCracken; this is a really good colt but not sure if today is his day
8 Hence                         Street Boss Calumet Farm Asmussen Geroux 15-1

One of the colt’s who caught my eye all week, a bouncy, happy, handsome fellow; won the Sunland Derby with a 97 Beyer, has new rider
9 Irap                           Tiznow ReddamRacing, LLC O’Neill Gutierrez 20-1

Canadian-owned, from a Quebec-bred mare, broke maiden in Blue Grass when tracking a slow pace.. not convinced
10 Gunnevera                Dialed In Peacock Racing Stables, LLC Sano Castellano 15-1

 – Said he was a likely Derby winner way back when but then he pooped out in the Florida Derby;  he only needs to run close to his Fountain of Youth race to win; he has siblings who have won 13 mud races
11 Battle of Midway      Smart Strike Don Alberto Stable and WinStar Farm, LLC Hollendorfer Prat 30-1

 – a speedster who has not run a 90 Beyer Figure yet, ran big in SA Derby

12 Sonneteer                 Midnight Lute Calumet Farm Desormeaux Desormeaux 50-1

 – he’s a maiden who is getting better and he comes from miles behind; he could grab a small piece
13 J Boys Echo               Mineshaft Albaugh Family Stable, LLC Romans Saez 20-1

 – huge win in the Gotham, 102 Beyer, caught behind slow pace in Blue Grass..puzzler

14 Classic Empire          Pioneerof the Nile John C. Oxley Casse Leparoux 4-1

 – The Champion 2yo of last year put it all together in the Arkansas Derby and is red-hot

15 McCraken                    Ghostzapper WhithamThoroughbreds, LLC Wilkes Hernandez, Jr. 5-1

First loss came in Blue Grass off the minor ailment and when stuck behind slow pace; He’s looked great all week

16 Tapwrit                        Tapit Bridlewood, Eclipse Partners & LaPenta, Robert Pletcher Ortiz 20-1

 – Didn’t like his Blue Grass after the 96 in the Tampa Bay Derby but any kind of bounce back would be huge..not convinced he wants 10 fur.

17 Irish War Cry              Curlin Isabelle de Tomaso Motion Maragh 6-1

 – The hype horse off sudden big race in New York and the big ‘fig’s (he has two, 101’s); female family includes Bold Ruckus son Beau Genius; he’s the real deal, must use

18 Gormley                         Malibu Moon Mr. &Mrs. Jerome S. Moss Shirreffs Espinoza 15-1

 – edged clear in SA Derby after stalking rapid pace, has won in slop

19 Practical Joke               Into Mischief Klaravich Stables, Inc. and WilliamH. Lawrence Brown Rosario 20-1

 –  – is is the distance, does he hang? he is a serious contender but needs a bit more killer instinct

20 Patch                               Union Rags Calumet Farm Pletcher Gaffalione 30-1

 – The one-eyed guy will think he is in the race by himself from way out here, so lightly raced and will get so dirty


So, I will play around with these horses in exactors and bet a couple of them to win:





(Irish War Cry, Practical Joke and  for pieces)


Live Kentucky Derby Odds here:



GUNNEVERA, by Cindy Pierson Dulay






Filly was subject of controversial trainer change this spring


ABEL TASMAN came from last to win the Kentucky Oaks (red silks) under Big Money Mike Smith – Cindy Pierson Dulay Photo –



Declarations all day of a speed favouring track from fans, writers and horsepeople went out the window as a wild pace battle in the Kentucky Oaks set the race up for a closer.

Abel Tasman, owned by China Horse Club and Clearsky Farms and bred in Kentucky by Clearsky Farms, rallied from far back to win the Longines Kentucky Oaks by 1 ¼ lengths at odds of 9-1. Jockey Mike Smith won the race for the second time after his 2013 win on Princess of Sylmar. Trainer Bob Baffert won the race for the third time with prior victories in 1999 with Silverbulletday and in 2011 with Plum Pretty. The daughter of Quality Road out of the Deputy Minister mare Vargas Girl was the first Longines Kentucky Oaks winner owned by China Horse Club and Clearsky Farms and returned $20.40 for a $2 win wager.

Fans braved an all-day rain and the coldest Oaks Day since 1940. 

The Bob Baffert-trained filly gave ownership group China Horse Club, which bought a share of the horse in December from breeder Clearsky Farm, perhaps its most significant North American victory and raised the profile of a group that has grown in only four years into a global presence in racing and stallion operations.

China Horse Club is involved in racing in 10 countries, including in Australia and Europe, and Club president Ah Khing Teo hopes the Oaks win inspires fans and investors back home to become interested in the sport.

“We hope today’s race, which is very significant, will put the geographical location and the significance of the Kentucky Oaks in the minds of the Chinese,” he said. “To be able to win a very significant race here, especially in Churchill Downs, I think that says lots about the team.”

China Horse Club members begin with a $1 million initial investment in stallion prospects.

Now, CHC came under fire in the spring when the horse was taken away from trainer Simon and jockey Toe Talamo, apparently because the wrong silks were worn in the Santa Ysabel. story here…


The dreary weather, which kept thousands of fans at home, still resulted in attendance of 105,100. The highest all-time attendance record for the Kentucky Oaks of 124,589 was set just last year under perfect weather.

Wagering from all-sources on the full Kentucky Oaks Day race card of $48.9 million was down only slightly to 2016’s record-setting total of $49.0 million and represents the second highest all-sources wagering on Oaks Day. All-sources wagering on the Kentucky Oaks race of $14.9 million was also down slightly compared to 2016’s $15.0 million.

On-track wagering on the Kentucky Oaks Day race card of $9.3 million was down 22% compared to 2016. On-track wagering on the Kentucky Oaks race of $2.4 million was down 21% compared to 2016’s $3.0 million

ABEL TASMAN (same name as a Dutch explorer) from a mare who was unplaced in 8 races. This is the 4th foal of Vargas Girl who has also produced Grade 3 winner Sky Girl and multiple winner Yes It’s Jackie, who raced for Canadian owner Brad Auger.




story by Kris Dube – Fort Erie Times…

Woodbine Racetrack has been “consistently trying to destroy Fort Erie” for the last few years, says one of the top riders at the local border oval, which opens for its 120th season in a few weeks.

Melanie Pinto, who shared the top spot on the 2016 leaderboard at the Fort Erie Racetrack with fellow jockey Kirk Johnson, is not pleased with the more elite track that recently announced it will be imposing new rules on racing teams about making trips to Fort Erie.