Kentucky Derby 150 Notes

Kentucky HBPA communications has provided some outstanding resources to handicap the upcoming Kentucky Derby 150 on May 4, 2024. This includes interviews with trainers of the connections.

Kentucky Derby 150 Notes – Monday, April 22

Part 1 of interview with Brook T. Smith. Video starts with b-roll of Keeneland’s G1 Toyota Blue Grass winner Sierra Leone, in whom Louisville philanthropist and entrepreneur Brook Smith owns 16 percent.
Part 2 of Brook T. Smith: Sierra Leone’s 16-percent owner issues a challenge to 150 Churchill Downs owners or horses to raise money for the Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs. ‘I almost thought about creating a challenge. If we could just get 150 owners, or 150 horses, and 1% of that 150 (gets donated to the Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs), since it’s Derby 150, that moves a bigger needle than people realize.’ You won’t get a bigger platform than now. So get it started! ‘You heard me. That was kind of a challenge, I guess. Let’s find 150 horses running at Churchill and winning money and let’s ask those owners to think about 1 percent….’ The Derby winner’s total purse will be about $3.1 million out of the total purse of $5 million

Uncover the Winner and the Automatic Tosses in Kentucky Derby 150 from guru Derek Simon’s Kentucky Derby Betting Guide – just released.

Here’s the work description from today’s Derby/Oaks update by Kevin Kerstein:
RESILIENCE – Emily Bushnell and Ric Waldman’s Resilience had a serious tune up for Kentucky Derby 150 Monday with a five-furlong move in 1:01.60 under jockey Junior Alvarado, who has the mount in the “Run for the Roses.” Resilience galloped about one-mile before he worked Monday at 9 a.m. The winner of the Wood Memorial (GII) breezed an opening quarter-mile in :25.80 and easily galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.60, according to Churchill Downs Clocker John Nichols.
George Krikorian’s Ashland (GI) runner-up Just F Y I returned to the work tab Monday with a sharp five furlong breeze in :59.80 at Churchill Downs. Trained by Bill Mott, Just F Y I cruised through opening eighth-mile fractions of :12.20, :24.20 and :36 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:12.20 and seven furlongs in 1:25.40. She completed one mile in 1:40.20 while remaining in hand under jockey Junior Alvarado.

Nyquist KY Derby 2016

Kentucky Derby 150 Notes –

Sunday, April 21

Steve Asmussen interview. Fresh off driving all night after Saturday’s races at Oaklawn Park, Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen was at Churchill Downs dark and early Sunday morning for workouts for his Kentucky Derby contender Track Phantom (5 furlongs in 1:00.80 in company with Carbone) and Kentucky Oaks contender Our Pretty Woman (5 furlongs in 1:00 in company with stakes-winner Otto the Conquerer.
Interview with trainer Val Brinkerhoff, who in addition to have New York’s G3 Gazelle winner Where’s My Ring is working on relocating a string of horses from Southern California to Kentucky. Video begins with some b-roll of Where’s My Ring.

Kentucky Derby 150 Notes – Saturday April 20

We caught up with trainer Chad Brown after Keeneland’s G1 Toyota Blue Grass winner Sierra Leone worked Saturday morning at the Lexington track (half-mile in 48.80 in company with White Palomino). In pursuit of his first victory in the Kentucky Derby, Chad also is running Tampa Bay Derby winner Domestic Product. According to the Keeneland clockers, Sierra Leone logged splits of :12.40, :24.20 and :36.80 before galloping out in 1:01.20 and 1:15.60 under exercise rider Kriss Bon. Click here for Keeneland’s video of the work.
B-roll of Sierra Leone, with exercise rider Kriss Bon aboard on the inside, working with stablemate White Palomino.
Eric Foster talks about having his first Kentucky Oaks winner in Turfway Park’s Bourbonette Oaks winner Everland, claimed out of a $30,000 maiden-claiming race, and Maxisuperfly, an $18,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase who could go in Churchill Downs’ Eight Belles or the Edgewood on turf.  Eric Foster is from Utica, KY near Owensboro and is a regular fixture at Ellis Park. He comes into the Kentucky Oaks fresh off his first trainer’s title, taking the crown at Turfway Park.

Kentucky Derby 150 Notes – Thursday April 18

Kenny McPeek on Kentucky Oaks contender Thorpedo Anna “They better bring a bear, because I’m bringing a grizzly.”
Trainer Kenny McPeek on his go-to jockey Brian Hernandez. The men, who both make the Louisville are their home, will team to try to win their first Kentucky Derby and/or Kentucky Oaks in two weeks.
Outriders keep Dornoch, others safe (starring Lee Lockwood!): On the racetrack, little unexpected happenstances become part of the daily routine. The key is for them not to become big adverse happenstances. For instance, earlier this week, trainer Danny Gargan sent Fountain of Youth winner Dornoch to the track for what was to be a routine gallop under exercise rider Priscilla Schaefer. Another horse unseated its rider behind Dornoch and started running. As it turned out, Dornoch was right in front of Gargan, in a viewing stand, who yelled at Schaefer to keep going, to keep the horse behind her. Meanwhile (and the point of this video), outrider Lee Lockwood got the riderless horse down by the outer rail, collecting him in one of the moves the Churchill Downs outriders make look routine. (Before you watch and say, ‘I could have caught that horse,’ try reacting in time and getting into position to position the horse to get it to that spot.)
“The outriders did a phenomenal job,” Gargan said afterward. “The outriders here are the unsung heroes at these racetracks… .They’re the police of the backside. I tell you, it was impressive how he could stop that horse as fast as he stopped him.” Shot Thursday, April 18

Kentucky Derby 150 Notes – Saturday April 13

Lexington: Hear from trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux after they team to win the last Kentucky Derby points race with Godolphin’s Encino, who now ranks No. 21 in points – giving him a good chance to make the field. We also speak with Mike Maker, trainer of The Wine Steward, who in his first start.

Kentucky Derby 150 Notes – Monday, April 8

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott on Wood Memorial winner Resilience. He also talks about winning the Derby with Country House, who crossed the line second in the 2019 Kentucky Derby but inherited the victory upon the disqualification of Maximum Security for interfering with other horses.
Bill Mott on champion Just F Y I’s second in Friday’s Central Bank Ashland Stakes in her first start of the year after being scratched from Gulfstream Park’s Davona Dale when she spiked a temperature on race day.
Whit Beckman, who has his first Kentucky Derby horse since his first full season of training in 2022, talks about Louisiana Derby runner-up Honor Marie, last fall’s Kentucky Jockey Club winner at Churchill Downs.

Kentucky Derby 150 Notes – Sunday, April 7

Trainer Danny Gargan on Fountain of Youth winner Dornoch’s fourth place finish in Keeneland’s Grade 1, $1 million Toyota Blue Grass at Keeneland and Society Man’s second at 106-1 odds in Aqueduct’s Grade 2 Wood Memorial to secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby.
Keith Mason, part owner of Dornoch and Society Man through the West Paces Racing syndicate he started with Larry Connolly.
The West Paces Racing partnership, among the owners of ToyotaBlue Grass fourth- place finisher Dornoch, started their day at Keeneland watching another one of their horses, Society Man, run in New York’s Wood Memorial. His finish at 106-1 odds puts him in the Kentucky Derby with his stablemate. Just imagine if Society Man had WON the Wood. (He finished second behind Resilience, but earned 50 points to ensure a spot in the Derby.)

Kentucky Derby 150 Notes – Saturday, April 6

From earlier in the day: interview with former MLB star Jayson Werth, a partner in Dornoch, who finished fourth in the Blue Grass.
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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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