Innisfree earns Kentucky Derby points in Beresford Stakes

Churchill Downs - Coady Photography He had to work harder than expected, but odds-on favorite Innisfree gallantly wore down pacesetting Shekham to win Sunday’s Beresford Stakes (G2) at the Curragh in Ireland by a neck. The Aidan O’Brien-trained 2-year-old faced challenging circumstances in the one-mile European Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race, which awarded qualification points to the top four finishers on a 10-4-2-1 basis. Rain reduced the course to “heavy,” which caused O’Brien to withdraw Innisfree’s [...]

Royal Dornoch edges Kameko in Royal Lodge Stakes

Under urging from jockey Wayne Lordan, Royal Dornoch re-rallied to win Saturday’s Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (G2) at Newmarket in England.

Churchill Downs releases Road to the Kentucky Derby schedule

It’s that time of year again—the 2019-2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby will kick off with the $200,000 Iroquois Stakes (G3) on September 14, according to the official schedule released by Churchill Downs.

European Representation Seems Unlikely in 2019 Kentucky Derby

When clear favorite U S S Michigan flattened out in the homestretch of the Cardinal Conditions Stakes at Chelmsford City Racecourse in England, the chance of having a European representative in the 2019 Kentucky Derby weakened considerably. The one-mile Polytrack race was the final stop on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby, a series designed to offer a spot in the Derby starting gate to the horse that accumulated the most points in seven qualifying races. But the first six [...]

U S S Michigan Seeks Kentucky Derby Berth in Cardinal Conditions Stakes

Churchill Downs - Coady Photography The European Road to the Kentucky Derby will conclude on Thursday with the running of the Cardinal Conditions Stakes at Chelmsford City in England, and I’d advise everyone to keep a close eye on what transpires in this one-mile race. Held over a Polytrack course similar in size and shape to Churchill Downs, the Cardinal Conditions Stakes has attracted nine starters, and while only two have been nominated to the Triple Crown, one of [...]

Jahbath, Playa Del Puente Prevail in European Derby Preps

The European Road to the Kentucky Derby took a couple of significant turns on March 6, as one noteworthy name lived up to expectations and another fell short in his first start of the season. Jahbath was a clear favorite to win the one-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition Stakes over the all-weather track at Kempton in England, which was hardly a surprise since he’d won his last three starts (including two course-and-distance victories) in decisive fashion. Securing a [...]

O’Brien Trio Embark on Derby Trail in Patton Stakes

Following a lengthy winter hiatus, the European Road to the Kentucky Derby will resume on March 1 with the one-mile Patton Stakes at Dundalk in Ireland. Last year, the Patton marked the successful seasonal debut for Mendelssohn, a highly-regarded colt campaigned by Ireland’s leading trainer Aidan O’Brien. Mendelssohn’s victory in the Patton served as a springboard to a productive 2018 campaign that included a romping victory in the UAE Derby and a start in the Kentucky Derby. O’Brien appears to [...]

2018-19 Road to the Kentucky Derby Year-End Review

The field rounds the first turn of the 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography With the running of the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun in Japan on December 19th, the final Kentucky Derby prep race of 2018 entered the history books, giving us an opportunity to look back on the season before the calendar turns over and we continue headlong toward the 2019 Derby. During the course of the primary Road to the Kentucky [...]

Early Impressions on the Road to the 2019 Kentucky Derby

The field rounds the first turn of the 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography With less than six months remaining until the 2019 Kentucky Derby, we’re about to enter what I like to consider the second stage of the qualification process. The first stage included the major Breeders’ Cup prep races such as the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) and American Pharoah Stakes (gr. I) and culminated with the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. [...]

Royal Lodge Stakes Could Have Breeders’ Cup, Kentucky Derby Implications

Whether you’re interested in the Breeders’ Cup, the Kentucky Derby, the 2019 European classics, or all of these combined, you absolutely won’t want to miss Saturday’s Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (Eng-II) at Newmarket in England. Won in the last decade by such talented horses as Frankel, Roaring Lion, Joshua Tree, and Daddy Long Legs, the one-mile Royal Lodge offers abundant options for the winner. In addition to being a logical stepping stone toward Europe’s major prizes in 2019, the race [...]