Pioneerof the Nile–2nd in the 2009 Kentucky Derby to Mine That Bird–would be proud to know that his son, American Pharoah, got the win two weeks ago in the 2015 Kentucky Derby. Hopefully Pharoah will also have better luck in the Preakness than his papa, who finished 11th behind Rachel Alexandra in the ’09 edition.
Untapable was out for an early gallop while I was at Churchill Downs one morning during Derby week. The lighting for photos isn’t the best before the sun comes up, but she shines through anyway!
Once American Pharoah made it back to Baffert’s barn after the Derby, I stopped by to watch him get his legs hosed off and walk the shed row. As they were finishing up with him, I heard a whinny behind me. Who was it? Kelly’s Landing! His stall is directly in front of the area where Baffert usually bathes his horses, which is also where the media has been camped out all week.
A few years ago, the cameras would have been focused on Kelly’s Landing. This gelding is now Eddie Kenneally’s stable pony, but he was a really good sprinter in his day. He won several graded stakes, including the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen in 2007, and earned over $1.8 million during his career.
I have an affinity for horses with interesting markings, and this guy is one of my favorites. Tapit Wicked‘s blaze looks a bit like a witch and his dam’s name is Wicked Deed, so he also has a great name to go with that fantastic face.
As I was looking through some older files, I found a series of Musical Romance from several years ago. This photo was taken at Churchill Downs in May 2012 as she was schooling in the paddock a few days before her run in the Humana Distaff, where she was 2nd to Groupie Doll. She was always on her toes and such a lovely mare.
If you look closely, you can see the Twin Spires reflected in her eye. I think that’s fitting, considering her biggest career win was in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs in 2011 against the likes of Switch and Turbulent Descent.
…I’ve ever been to $100,000 in cash!
I love the quiet of mornings at the track.
I’m planning on spending a week in Louisville for the Derby, but until then, old pictures will have to suffice. These were all personally taken by me at Churchill Downs during 2012, 2013, and 2014 Derby weeks.
Regally Ready (More Than Ready x Kivi) is seven years old this year, and while he may no longer be a Grade 1 caliber horse, he’s done rather well with a slight step down in class. He’s made eight well-spaced starts so far in 2014 for Steve Asmussen, with three stakes wins and a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Arcadia. He has five wins overall on the year, one of which was an allowance optional claiming race that I was able to catch in person at Churchill Downs. I’ve seen him race at that particular track a few times, including when he won the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
Elevated, a lovely gray colt by Jump Start, caught my eye at Pimlico back in May. He didn’t run particularly well that day, but he’s previously won and placed in stakes races. I thought his blinkers were interesting, as they have a full, enclosed cup over his left eye:
It turns out there’s a good reason for this gorgeous guy to wear those blinkers.
He only has one eye!
Ben’s Cat is one of those horses that almost always finds a way to win, having a record to date of 41 starts, 27 1st place finishes, 4 seconds, and 3 thirds with earnings of over $2.1 million. The tough little gelding turned eight years old in 2014, but that hasn’t slowed him down. While we were in Baltimore for the Preakness, we had the pleasure of seeing his versatility on display as he won the Jim McKay Turf Sprint for the third time–a race that actually came off the turf and was run on the main track due to a ton of rain the night before.
We have the owner, trainer, and breeder of Ben’s Cat to thank for his longevity. King Leatherbury gave him the time and care necessary to recover from a broken pelvis at age 2, so that he would finally make the races at age 4. The rest is history!