Tag Archive | "Churchill Downs"

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California Chrome established as 5-2 favorite, draws fifth post in Derby

Posted on 30 April 2014 by WNST Staff

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The only time Victor Espinoza won the Kentucky Derby was aboard War Emblem in 2002. They broke from the No. 5 post, the same position he’ll start the 140th edition of the race with early 5-2 favorite California Chrome.

“Hopefully, that’s my lucky number,” Espinoza said Wednesday.

Eight horses have won from there, most recently Funny Cide in 2003.

“I think it’s a perfect spot,” trainer Art Sherman said. “I think we break clean, he’ll get out of a lot of trouble. He’s got a little gas leaving there.”

At 77, Sherman could become the oldest trainer to win the Derby, surpassing Charlie Whittingham’s record of 76 when Sunday Silence won in 1989.

California Chrome comes into the Derby having won his last four starts by a combined 24¼ lengths.

“Just an amazing horse to ride,” Espinoza said. “I let him do his own thing and I think he likes that.”

Hoppertunity was made the 6-1 second choice in the full field of 20 horses.

Hoppertunity, who lost to California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby, drew the No. 11 post for the race Saturday at Churchill Downs. He’s trained by Bob Baffert, a three-time Derby winner with two starters.

“Other than California Chrome, who’s proven he’s a really good horse, there’s a lot of horses in there that are pretty close,” Baffert said. “There’s a lot of parity in this field.”

His other horse, Chitu, is a 20-1 long shot that drew the No. 13 post.

Wicked Strong, named for the victims of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings, is the 8-1 third choice and will break from the 20th post on the far outside. He and the No. 10 horse, Wildcat Red, will be last ones loaded into the starting gate, so they won’t be in there very long.

Some trainers don’t like the No. 20 post because their horse is on the far outside and has to quickly make its way over toward the rail to save ground.

Calvin Borel will break from the No. 19 post aboard Ride On Curlin. The jockey nicknamed “Bo-rail” for his love of riding along the rail has won three Derbies since 2007, and he’ll have to hustle his horse over quickly to snag his favorite position.

California Chrome, Hoppertunity and Wicked Strong were the only horses listed at single digits by Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia.

Danza is the 10-1 fourth choice and drew the No. 4 post. He’s one of four horses trained by Todd Pletcher. The others are: Intense Holiday, 12-1; Vinceremos, 30-1; and We Miss Artie, 50-1.

“We made out well,” Pletcher said. “It doesn’t matter where you draw, you’re just looking for a clean trip.”

Mike Maker will saddle a trio of horses: General a Rod, 15-1; Harry’s Holiday, 50-1; and Vicar’s In Trouble, a 30-1 shot that drew the dreaded No. 1 post.

Rosie Napravnik will be aboard Vicar’s In Trouble trying to become the first female jockey to win the Derby. She was fifth last year with Mylute, the highest finish by a woman in history. Napravnik watched the draw from the jockey’s room at the track.

“I was just kind of shocked, being the first one drawn,” she said. “Vicar’s real sharp out of the gate and I think he’ll be able to get in good position. There’s been plenty of winners out of the one-hole, so Vicar’s not in trouble yet.”

Eight horses have won from the first spot in the starting gate, but none since Ferdinand in 1986. Most trainers despise the No. 1 hole because their horse starts next to the rail and could get pinched going into the crowded first turn.

The starting gate is loaded two horses at a time, and the first ones to go in will be Vicar’s In Trouble and No. 11 Hoppertunity, meaning they’ll have the longest wait while the rest of the field is loaded.

“He’s a pretty cool, calm horse so he should be fine in there,” Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith said about Hoppertunity.

Hoppertunity didn’t race as a 2-year-old, setting him up for a chance to break one of the Derby’s oldest jinxes: no horse since Apollo in 1882 has won the Derby without racing at 2.

The No. 10 post has produced the most Derby winners with nine, most recently in 2005, when Smith won with 50-1 shot Giacomo. Wildcat Red, trained by Jose Garrafalo, landed in that spot this time.

The other 50-1 shot in the race is Commanding Curve, who will break from the No. 17 post.

The 21st horse on the points list is Pablo Del Monte, an also eligible who would need a defection before 9 a.m. Friday, when Derby wagering opens, to get into the $2.2 million race.

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Your Monday Reality Check: Could a Triple Crown be in “Orb-it”?

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Your Monday Reality Check: Could a Triple Crown be in “Orb-it”?

Posted on 06 May 2013 by Glenn Clark

LOUISVILLE — After the horses cross the finish line every year at the Kentucky Derby, there are inevitably two instinctual reactions. (Unless you attend the race at Churchill Downs, because then there’s actually three-the first being to say “wait, which horse was that?”)

Immediately after NBC’s Larry Collmus identifies the victor (and how fantastic was Collmus’ “ORRRRRRBBBBBBB” exclamation as the #16 horse made his move down the stretch Saturday?), both hardcore and casual racing fans alike try to identify whether or not they won any money on the race and then start to wonder “could this be the one?”

They’re of course wondering that in terms of whether or not the horse is capable of winning the sport’s elusive Triple Crown, a feat not accomplished since 1978 (Affirmed) and so desperately desired to be seen for a first time by a generation of fans. Perhaps making the wait more excruciating has been the heartbreak that has come with so many close calls during the 35 year span. The wrenching has just finally begun to wear off from last year’s near miss, as the Doug O’Neill trained I’ll Have Another was scratched just 24 hours ahead of his date with destiny in the Belmont Stakes after suffering a torn tendon.

Last year’s Belmont Stakes had been a hope to provide joy to millions but instead appeared more like a memorial service for an older friend. There was the attempt at celebration of a horse’s career but the disappointment of the end of the run was much more prevalent. The horse and trainer had skyrocketed to superstardom in the weeks between their unexpected victory at Churchill Downs and that difficult Friday press conference near the barns in New York.

But with another Derby champion comes another hope to see history.

The Maryland Jockey Club and everyone involved with Pimlico was served well by owner J. Paul Reddam’s decision to partner with O’Neill in sending I’ll Have Another to Baltimore very quickly after the Derby last year. (O’Neill will be doing the same thing this year with Goldencents, who finished a disappointing 17th in the Derby.) O’Neill became the honorary mayor of Charm City, taking in practice with the Baltimore Ravens, throwing out the first pitch with the Baltimore Orioles and showing up on as many media outlets as the MJC could dream possible. The stardom was in place before the horse ever claimed the Black-Eyed Susans.

That’s of course because the advantage we have in Baltimore is knowing that as long as nothing terrible happens with the Derby winner, we’ll always have a shot a Triple Crown alive and well on the third Saturday of May. There have been years where we’ve been smart enough to know the chance was a longshot (most notably when Mine That Bird won the Derby at 50-1 odds and had to face off against the horse’s own jockey Calvin Borel and Kentucky Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra in 2009), but there’s always the possibility.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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HeatWave

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Hot Selections, in more ways than one, for Thursday Evening Races at Colonial Downs

Posted on 28 June 2012 by Gary Quill

The heat wave along the east coast is returning with triple digit temperatures predicted Friday thru Sunday. Thankfully, Colonial Downs runs in the evening hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It MIGHT behoove track management to consider moving the Sunday 12:55pm EDT 1st race Post to later in the day. The predicted record heat in the Louisville, KY area has prompted Churchill Downs officials cancel the Thursday racing card, move the Friday and Sunday daytime cards and Saturday’s 6:00pm start all to a 6:30pm EDT 1st post.

Recapping selections from Sunday, June 24th had 7 winners (2 Top Selections; payoffs in BOLD) having $2 WIN pay-offs being $4.00 (1st race), $10.20 (3rd), $6.00 (4th), $21.80 (5th), $4.80 (6th), $10.00 (7th), $5.40 (9th). The BEST BET of the Day (12 5-1-0) on a day when early speed was holding, this one was lone speed going a mile and gave it up midway down the stretch and faded to 4th @ 6-1. The LONGSHOT PICK (11 0-2-3) was a More Than Ready offspring, 1st time on turf. Jumped out of the get in good order, stalked the early speed but had enough when they turned for home and stopped.

Selections for Thursday evening, June 28th at Colonial Downs below are PRIOR TO SCRATCHES. Check back after scratches are announced (approx. 6:30pm EDT) for any updates. Selections posted were handicapped based on making multi-race wagers such as DOUBLE’s, Pick-3’s and Pick-4’s using all three (3) listed for each race in each leg. Please note: 1st race post is 7:00pm EDT.
UPDATED @ 7:19pm for scratches

1st race –$7,500 Maiden Claiming for 3 y.o. & up – 1 mile on Dirt
#6 – Yardsale On Wheels (5-1)
#3 – Narrow Back (3-5)
#4 – Leviticus (15-1)

2nd race – $5,000 Claiming NW2L for 3 y.o. & up – 1 mile on Turf
#8 – Eighteen Twelve (10-1) $$$ LONGSHOT PICK $$$
#5 – Peace Now (9-5)
#7 – Overcaster (10-1)

3rd race –$16,000 Maiden Claiming for F&M 3 y.o. & up – 1 mile on Turf
#4 – Baby Miah (5-1)
#7 – Euro Power (20-1)
#1 – Pietra Dura (6-1)
#2 – Powerful Juju (6-1) <--- added when #4 - Baby Miah SCRATCHED

4th race – $5,000 Claiming for 3 y.o. & up – 1 mile on Turf
#5 – Lipstick Traces (12-1)
#6 – Meg Of My Heart (5-1)
#3 – Just Me N You (1-2)

5th race – $5,000 Claiming NW2L for F&M 3 y.o. & up – 1 1/16 miles on Turf
#6 – Eat Cake (5-1) *** BEST BET ***
#9 – Wall Street Miss (4-1)
#11 – Pure Light (6-1)

6th race – $12,500 Maiden Claiming for 3 y.o. & up – 5½ furlongs on Turf
#10 – Boltin’ Out (6-1)
#2 – Silver Streak (7-2)
#4 – Rockstar Cowboy (15-1)

7th race – $5,000 Claiming NW2L for 3 y.o. & up – 1 mile on Turf
#7 – What A Wildcat (8-1)
#8 – Chill Out Cat (7-2)
#2 – Cool Heart (6-1)

8th race – $20,000 Optional Claiming N1X for F&M 3 y.o. & up – 1 1/16 mile on Turf
#3 – Top Striker (5-1)
#2 – Begginforgiveness (12-1)
#8 – Bundestag (9-2)

9th race – $5,000 Claiming NW3L for F&M 3 y.o. & up – 1 mile on Turf
#8 –Wadocashski (6-1)
#1 – Altruistic Tales (9-2)
#10 – Lucayan Princess (12-1)
#4 – Oh Sweet Angel(8-1) <-- added when #8 - Wadocashski SCRATCHED

Enjoy your Summer evenings following the night races at Colonial Downs and maybe even plan a trip there, it’s a short drive from Virginia Beach.

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I’ll Have Another on to Belmont Stakes

Posted on 21 May 2012 by WNST Staff

BALTIMORE, 05-20-12 – I’ll Have Another’s connections loaded their Preakness Stakes winner onto a van Sunday morning at Pimlico Race Course to begin their journey to Belmont Park in their continuing quest to sweep racing’s Triple Crown.

In front of a record crowd of 121,309, Reddam Racing’s chestnut colt edged Bodemeister by a neck in the 137th Preakness Saturday afternoon to become the first horse since Big Brown in 2008 to win the first two legs of the series. He will try to become the 12th horse to capture American racing’s most treasured prize – and the first since Affirmed in 1978 – in the Belmont Stakes on June 9.

Trainer Doug O’Neill said the colt and his team are ready for the challenge.

“My dreams always ended with winning the Kentucky Derby,” he said. “They never were followed up with winning the Preakness and going to the Belmont. That’s a new dream now I’m waiting to pull off.”

O’Neill said that I’ll Have Another came out of the race well and was happy with his appearance when he arrived at the barn at 6 a.m. Sunday morning.

“He looked great,” O’Neill said. “He had licked his feed tub. Once we cleaned the poultice off, his legs were ice cold. He had good energy.”

I’ll Have Another was loaded onto a van at 9:05 a.m. for the journey to Belmont Park.

The thrilling Preakness victory pushed I’ll Have Another’s record to 4-0 this season. He returned from a nearly five-month layoff due to sore shins with a win in the Robert Lewis (G2) on Feb. 4. On April 7, he added the Santa Anita Derby (G1) to his resume before winning the Kentucky Derby on May 5. O’Neill said the colt is well-suited to handle the demanding 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes, the longest of the three races and called “The Test of the Champion.”

“He’s got the mind,” O’Neill said. “You’ve seen the way he’s handled the attention in Kentucky and here in Baltimore. He’s got a great confidence about him and he’s got the stride of a horse that a mile and a half won’t be a problem. He’s got the pedigree; so much stamina on the female side.

“And he’s lightly raced. After winning the Bob Lewis it enabled us to give him plenty of time before his next start. He’s still a fresh, happy, thriving horse that just seems to be getting better and better.”

Meanwhile, O’Neill is prepared for the attention and demands on his time that will come his way between the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.

“Bring it on,” he said. “We’re ready.”

O’Neill spent a few hours at the post-race party in the barn area hosted by the Maryland Jockey Club, but ended his celebrating around 10 p.m.

“Lynette and I and the kids ended up going back to the hotel and getting room service,” he said. “And the kids were doing a lot of gymnastics moves off the bed. It was kind of a mellow evening once we got back into the hotel.

“Here it was just a fun house party. We kept saying ‘I hope mom and dad don’t show up. We’re all going to be in trouble.’ It’s something I had never experienced before in my life, the amount of enthusiasm and positivity and love for horse racing. It was a dream come true for anyone involved in the business.”

Assistant trainer Jack Sisterson and several members of O’Neill’s staff went with the colt to Belmont Park. O’Neill and his family were scheduled to fly home to California on owner J. Paul Reddam’s private jet. After checking on his horses at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita, O’Neill said he would probably travel to New York in about a week.

In all likelihood, O’Neill said, he won’t make any changes in I’ll Have Another’s training program during the three weeks leading up to the Belmont Stakes.

“We’ll have to play that by ear,” he said. “It depends on the weather and all that stuff, but we’ll maintain the same type of exercise that he’s had. There’s the old line about you can’t take a sprinter and train him two miles and make a router out of him and you can’t take a router and work them three-eighths every week and make a sprinter out of him.

“If we’ve got a true route horse, which we do, he’s going to maintain his fitness and his exercise. If they can go a mile and a half they will. And he will.”

While the Derby and Preakness had similar storylines with I’ll Have Another catching and passing Bodemeister near the wire, O’Neill said his personal emotions watching the stretch runs were not the same.

“Winning the Derby was an out-of-body experience. It was like, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe it.’” he said. “The Preakness, the expectations were obviously a lot higher. It was almost like, ‘C’mon boy, C’mon.’”

O’Neill acknowledged that there were moments in the duel through the stretch that it looked like I’ll Have Another might not overtake Bodemeister.

“He was running such a brilliant race and even if he had run second he would have run brilliantly,” O’Neill said. “You don’t want to run second when you run that good, and I’m glad he didn’t.”

BODEMEISTER – After another agonizingly tough loss to I’ll Have Another in the Preakness, Zayat Stables and Michel and Tiffany Moreno’s colt was flown back to California Sunday morning. He will remain in training, but will skip the Belmont Stakes.

“I’ve had enough,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert quipped.

Baffert said that Bodemeister appeared to be in good condition before leaving the Pimlico Stakes Barn for Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

“He was actually pretty happy today,” Baffert said. “He ate up, got on a plane and headed back to California. He came out of it really well.”

Bodemeister set the pace in the Derby and the Preakness and each time I’ll Have Another managed to catch and pass him near the finish line. The Arkansas Derby winner turned in gallant performances in defeat.

“He’s a pretty amazing animal,” Baffert said. “He didn’t act tired. After the race, he came back to the barn and he wasn’t as tired as he was after the Derby.”

Baffert said I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister showed in the Derby and the Preakness that they are at the top of a talented crop of 3-year-olds.

“They are two really good horses,” he said. “On any given year they could probably win those races. It was a tough year.”

Baffert said that the Zayat Stables’ colt Paynter might start in the Belmont Stakes.  Paynter, who won an allowance race in convincing style Saturday at Pimlico, was shipped to Belmont Park Sunday morning.

“We’re going to train him there,” Baffert said. “If it looks like he snapped out of his race, we’ll run him in the Belmont if he looks really good.”

CREATIVE CAUSE – The third-place finisher in Preakness 137 boarded a van Sunday morning to head for Baltimore-Washington International Airport for a scheduled 9 a.m. flight back to Los Angeles and his home base of Hollywood Park.

“He came out of the race OK,” said trainer Mike Harrington minutes before putting the son of Giant’s Causeway on the van.  “Back to California, regroup.”

Harrington surprised some observers when he sent Creative Cause home after his fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, before bringing him back to Pimlico the following week for the Preakness. He said he is now contemplating one more cross-country venture to compete in the Belmont Stakes.

“I’d say right now it’s 50-50,” said Harrington, who was scheduled to get on a flight Sunday evening with assistant/exercise rider John Cisneros for the trip home.

“He ran his heart out,” Cisneros said. “He didn’t have any trouble at all. He ran hard, and I thought he was going to win it. Today he was very alert and happy. Actually he was jumping up and down when he was walking.”

The Belmont would be Creative Cause’s sixth race midway through his sophomore season. The San Felipe (G 2) winner has only been out of the money once in 10 career starts, that coming in his fifth-place finish in the Derby.

ZETTERHOLM – Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said Sunday that the Winter Park Partners’ Zetterholm appeared to come out of his fourth-place finish in the Preakness in good order.

The New York-bred son of Silver Train was shipped back to Dutrow’s barn at Aqueduct Sunday morning.

“I got what I wanted from the race,” Dutrow said. “I was hoping and praying for a third or fourth-place finish.  We got the fourth-place finish and we left there satisfied, but I did not see my horse run big. I know he put in his little effort there, but I thought he could have run better. He didn’t change leads, which is very unlike him, and he didn’t get along so well with the track.”

TEETH OF THE DOG – Trainer Michael Matz reported that J. W. Singer’s Teeth of the Dog exited his fifth-place finish in Saturday’s Preakness in good condition.

“I was happy with the way he ran. He’s kind of inexperienced and he’s probably not as good as those horses right now,” said Matz from Fair Hill Training Center Sunday morning.

Teeth of the Dog will be not run in the Belmont Stakes, but Matz has the horse that may well be Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another’s most dangerous foe in his quest for a Triple Crown sweep. Union Rags, who finished a troubled seventh in the Kentucky Derby, was held out of the Preakness to train for the Belmont Stakes.

Union Rags captured the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park last fall. Matz is confident that Union Rags will be well suited to the 1 ½ -mile oval, the sweeping turns and the relatively deep racing surface.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a problem,” Matz said. “He’s won there before, so I don’t think that part of it will be a problem.”

OPTIMIZER – Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who won back-to-back stakes races on the Preakness undercard but finished sixth in the main event, exited Pimlico shortly after dawn with his entourage early Sunday for the long van ride back to Louisville.

“He’s fine; he came out of the race in good shape,” Lukas said by phone while on the highway home. “We’re going to get home and Mr. Kelley (owner Brad) and I talked last night and we’re going to talk a little bit further when we get back.”

Lukas said before the Preakness he believed the son of English Channel was probably better suited to the 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes than either the Kentucky Derby or Preakness. He finished 11th in the Derby in some traffic, then got going late to split the field in the Preakness at odds of 23-1.

“I would say we’re probable for the Belmont just because of the distance and the different configuration of the race track,” said Lukas, who has won the Belmont Stakes four times in his storied career. Lukas last took the Belmont in 2000 with long shot Commendable, following three consecutive victories from 1994-96 with Tabasco Cat, Thunder Gulch and Editor’s Note.

“I’d say it’s 50-50 right now,” he said. “The winner (I’ll Have Another) is a nice horse, but we’re not going to hand it (the Triple Crown) to him. He’s got to earn it.”

COZZETTI – The seventh-place finisher in Preakness 137 returned to his home base at Churchill Downs Sunday, where trainer Dale Romans will decide whether to continue on to Belmont or embark on a grass campaign to take advantage of his attractive turf pedigree.

“I’m not sure,” Romans said when asked if he would go onto the Belmont Stakes with Albaugh Family Stable’s son of grass champion Cozzene. “We’ll regroup. We’ve got to figure out why he’s not running better. He’s a better horse than he’s shown. Once we get back to Kentucky, we’ll figure him out.”

Even if Romans bypasses the Belmont with Cozzetti, he has another candidate that he’s more than a little excited about in Dullahan.

“He worked Saturday morning (five furlongs in 1:00.20, second-best of 26) at Churchill,” Romans said of the Blue Grass winner and Kentucky Derby show finisher. “He’s on track for a big Belmont.”

Romans, who won the 2011 Preakness with Shackleford, decided not to run in the Preakness and give Dullahan extra rest for the Belmont Stakes.

“It should help him,” he said. “He’ll be a fresher horse.”

WENT THE DAY WELL – Team Valor International and Mark Ford’s Went the Day Well was reported to have come out of  a 10th-place finish in the Preakness in good order.

“He seems OK. He has a couple of scrapes, but all in all, he’s good,” said trainer Graham Motion from Fair Hill Training Center Sunday morning.

Motion could offer no concrete reason for the disappointing effort that followed a strong fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.

“Maybe the Derby took more out of him that I realized. I just don’t know,” Motion said.

Went the Day Well is unlikely to go on to the Belmont Stakes.

“I think we’ll point to some of the summer races like the Travers,” Motion said.

TIGER WALK – Trainer Ignacio Correas and his eighth-place Preakness runner were back at Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Farm Sunday morning, having departed Pimlico Saturday night for the 20-minute van ride home.

“He came out of the race good,” Correas said. “He just walked today. He was probably a little tired.”

The Preakness was Tiger Walk’s fourth race as a 3-year-old, all stakes, but his only in-the-money finish came in the Withers (G3) at Aqueduct in February in his seasonal debut.

Correas said he thought the son of Tale of the Cat would probably not be heading to New York for the Belmont Stakes in three weeks.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I haven’t talked to Kevin about it yet. We’re going to talk during the week, but I don’t think so.”

PRETENSION – Trainer Chris Grove reported from Bowie Training Center that Kidwells Petite Stable’s Pretension came out of his 11th-place finish in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes in good order.

“He’s in great shape. No problems, “I think we’ll probably head for the Mike Lee in late June,” said Grove, referring to the Belmont Park stakes that’s restricted to New York-bred horses.

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Your Monday Reality Check-As Preakness week begins, I wish…

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Your Monday Reality Check-As Preakness week begins, I wish…

Posted on 14 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

Maybe I’m not the person to say this.

I probably won’t make it out to the Preakness Crab Derby. I doubt the Preakness Frog Hop is part of my week. I didn’t get to the Preakness Hot Air Balloon Festival. I’m going to miss my first Black-Eyed Susan Stakes in years. I don’t intend to get to Power Plant Live to see Buckcherry or Mr. Greengenes or Foxy Shazam.

Hell, I’m even thinking about going to Annapolis Saturday to check out Maryland-Johns Hopkins and Loyola-Denver in the NCAA Tournament at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. I don’t know if my girlfriend will go for it, but I’ve been leaning in that direction.

If you’re not aware, I made it down to Louisville again this year for the Kentucky Derby. (And how could you possibly NOT be aware when you were checking out pictures like the one below from the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs on my Facebook page during the trip?)

You fear that the rest of my column is going to be about how the Preakness isn’t nearly as good as the Kentucky Derby. Don’t. Everyone on the face of the planet knows that Preakness week isn’t Derby week. Despite how much breath you think I waste every afternoon during “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net, I don’t intend to waste more space here.

I don’t think Preakness week should be like Derby week. I think Preakness week should be the crowning moment of the entire calendar annually in Charm City.

At least…I wish it would be.

Drew Forrester and I used to try to figure out a way to correctly define the relationship between Preakness and the city of Baltimore when we would chat on “The Morning Reaction.” We would throw out terms like “the single biggest annual sporting event in the city” or “the most significant event the city hosts” or “the most important date on the sporting calendar every year” but never settled on one in particular. The truth is that based on attendance, Preakness is annually the single biggest event of any kind in the city. Economically, the Maryland Jockey Club has stated in the last two years that the event has an economic impact of $40-$60 million annually for the city and state.

Baltimore Orioles Opening Day has a significant economic impact for the area. Baltimore Ravens playoff games have significant economic impact for the area. The same can be said for the occasional NCAA lacrosse Final Four events. None have the impact of Preakness.

I wrote a similar column to this last year. Some of you were going to point that out. I’ll keep you from having to do just that by linking to it here. I hope you take a look if for no reason than to re-read the words of Newark Star-Ledger columnist Jerry Izenberg, who in 2010 described the relationship between Preakness and Baltimore so well the words should be engraved at Old Hilltop.

A year ago I was angry about how insignificant I felt Preakness had become in Baltimore. I’m not angry this year. I’m wishful. I wish it mattered more. I wish I was preparing to go out to Pimlico every afternoon this week to broadcast live. I wish my friends from around the country were calling me to let me know when they were getting in. I wish I had someone to blame for any of it.

I could blame the job the Maryland Jockey Club has done running the event and both Pimlico and Laurel Park. I could blame the city and state for not offering the level of support necessary to make the event the best it could possibly be. I could blame the sport of horse racing which has failed greatly to fully adapt to 2012 and in many ways still lives in 1942. I could blame us as Baltimoreans for spending too much time worrying about Washington’s pro hockey team and not enough time worrying about our own greatest event. I could blame area media for not treating the event with a level of reverence befitting an event that still annually involves the possibility of a Triple Crown winner.

(For years, the only conversation related to Preakness in Baltimore surrounded the concern that the race might leave the state for Florida. With that dialogue all but useless, area media members have been able only to fall back on “can (insert Derby winner name here) win the Triple Crown?”)

I’m going to talk to jockeys and trainers and horse analysts this week on my show. I’ll ask Kent Desormeaux (he’ll be riding Tiger Walk Saturday) about what it would mean to deliver a Preakness title to a Maryland group (Sagamore Farm). I’ll ask O’Neill about how the limited schedule for the Derby champ could keep his champ fresh for the second jewel. I’ll ask Mike Smith if a better ride aboard Bodemeister would mean the Bob Baffert horse would be coming to Baltimore with a chance to make history.

I’ll talk about horse racing like it mattered here. I’ll talk about the importance of the event to the city.

I wish I wouldn’t be the only one.

Carry on.

-G

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Trainer O’Neill set to join I’ll Have Another this week in Baltimore

Posted on 09 May 2012 by WNST Audio

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I’ll Have Another tracks down Bodemeister to win Kentucky Derby

Posted on 05 May 2012 by WNST Staff

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Bodemeister favorite, but plenty of good horses in Derby

Posted on 05 May 2012 by WNST Staff

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The inside Derby scoop from the men involved

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The inside Derby scoop from the men involved

Posted on 04 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

It’s been a great few days here at Churchill Downs in Louisville, as we’ve been broadcasting “The Reality Check” live from the track and preparing for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

On Friday morning, I ventured back to the barn area to talk to the connections of Derby horses, here are some of those conversations…

Optimizer trainer (and horse racing icon) D. Wayne Lukas…

Daddy Nose Best/Sabercat trainer (and two time Preakness winner) Steve Asmussen…

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 30 April 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Soccer-MISL DC United @ San Jose Earthquakes (Wednesday 10:30pm from San Jose live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS), DC United @ Toronto FC (Saturday 4pm from Toronto live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS); Pro Lacrosse-MLL Ohio Machine @ Chesapeake Bayhawks (Saturday 7pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on Comcast SportsNet/ESPN3.com); Women’s College Lacrosse: NCAA Tournament-Monmouth @ Towson (Saturday 7pm Unitas Stadium)

10. Lynyrd Skynyrd (Friday 6:30pm Pier Six Pavilion), Chicago (Sunday 6pm Pier Six Pavilion); Lupe Fiasco (Thursday 8pm Patriot Center); Slash feat. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators (Thursday 7pm Rams Head Live), George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic (Friday 8pm Rams Head Live), P.O.D. (Sunday 6pm Rams Head Live); Marilyn Manson (Tuesday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Korn (Friday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); The Bad Plus (Tuesday 8pm Howard Theatre); fun. (Thursday 7pm Friday 8pm 9:30 Club), Eric Hutchinson (Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club), Rusted Root (Sunday 7pm 9:30 Club), Willie Nelson and Family (Monday 7pm 9:30 Club); Bob Schneider (Wednesday 7:30pm Birchmere), Mint Condition (Thursday & Friday 7:30pm Birchmere); Norah Jones “Little Broken Hearts” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

If I were going to be in town, I’d head to the Inner Harbor to check out Chicago. Honestly…

I like Eric Hutchinson. I also like women. I understand this comes as a surprise to many.

Bob Schneider made one of the best tunes of 2012…

“This is a fun tune from Norah Jones” uttered the man for the first time EVER…

9. Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL (Saturday & Sunday 1st Mariner Arena); D.L. Hughley (Friday-Sunday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Gilbert Gottfried (Friday-Sunday DC Improv); “The Avengers” in theaters (Friday); “Haywire” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

I don’t like to speak out of line, but if you don’t go see “The Avengers” within hours of its’ release, you are almost certainly a terrorist.

Tony Stark is the greatest fake human being of all time.

Oh-and did you not remember Haywire? Haywire was the one where Gina Carano…you know I’m just going to go ahead and stop there.

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