It has been a long journey since we began The Derby Post in January, but we have come full circle as derby week has finally arrived with great anticipation. Horses, owners, trainers, and jockeys are making their final preparations as the Run for the Roses commences in 6 short days. We here at The Derby Post will be making our own final preparations, but we will be working tirelessly to bring you the fans as much information as possible to help you narrow down the field in hopes of winning the most famous race in all of sports.
Derby week officially kicked off last night under the lights and twin spires of Churchill Downs. The feature race on the card was the 87th running of the G.3 Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial. The Derby Trial was once considered the final prep race leading to the Kentucky Derby. However, training purposes have all but eliminated this possiblity, but horses can use the famous race as a spring board to the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Da’Tara ran 5th in the Derby Trial in 2008 before heading to New York and winning the Belmont Stakes.
Since it’s inaugural running in 1924, five horses won the Trial before capturing the Kentucky Derby. Black Gold first accomplished this feat in 1924 followed by Citation (1948), Hill Gail (1952), Dark Star (1953), and Tim Tam (1958). What is more impressive is that the Derby Trial used to be run on the Tuesday before the derby, leaving a span of 4 days in between races. The Derby Trial was moved in 1982 to coincide with the opening day of the spring meet.
This year’s field did not include any possible runners in the derby, but boasted a strong field. Machen, unraced at 2, electrified the crowd with a blazing stretch run in the final furlong to win the Derby Trial by a neck (Replay) over Dominus. JJ’s Lucky Train finished 3rd. After 2 disappointing performances in the Rebel and Louisiana Derby, it appears trainer Neil Howard has found a suitable distance for his improving colt and we look forward to seeing him compete down the line although it will not be in the Triple Crown.
In today’s activity, horses made their way to the track at Churchill Downs on a sloppy track to prepare for Saturday’s race.
Pant’s On Fire worked 4F in 47.96
Stay Thirsty worked 5F in 1:01.48
Uncle Mo worked 5F in 1:01.28
Comma to the Top worked 5F at Hollywood Park in 1:oo.40; he will ship to Churchill on Tuesday
Toby’s Corner worked 6F in 1:15 at Fair Hill; he will also ship to Churchill on Tuesday
Also in derby related news, Anthony’s Cross is officially out of the derby field and Rafael Bejarano has picked up the mount on Watch Me Go.
It’s an exciting time for racing fans and we couldn’t be more excited here at The Derby Post. Good luck this week to all racing connections and derby fans. We hope you enjoy the festivites and countdown with us as we approach the Greatest Two Minutes in Sports, the Kentucky Derby.
Written by Big Brink