Kentucky Derby field has minor shakeup with first defection

By Robert Kieckhefer, UPI Racing Writer
Skippylongstocking wins Saturday's $1.25 million Oaklawn Handicap. Coady Photography, courtesy of Oaklawn Park
1 of 2 | Skippylongstocking wins Saturday's $1.25 million Oaklawn Handicap. Coady Photography, courtesy of Oaklawn Park

April 22 (UPI) -- A minor shakeup in the Kentucky Derby lineup and some promising performances from 3-year-olds looking farther down the Triple Crown trail kept things jumping in the world of Thoroughbred racing with less than two weeks to go to the 150th Run for the Roses.

Among the older horses, Skippylongstocking, Kingsbarns and Mr Frisk all gave a good account of themselves. And there was turf racing from New York to Southern California.


Three-year-olds and 2-year-olds also were in action on the international front, from Australia to France.

Away we go ...

The Road to the Roses

The first defection from the top 20 Kentucky Derby candidates found Gotham Stakes winner Deterministic going to the sidelines and Grand Mo the First drawing into the field Sunday.

Deterministic finished eighth in the Wood Memorial on April 7, and trainer Christophe Clement announced after a Sunday morning workout the colt will stay in New York for now.


Grand Mo the First was a distant third behind the winner, Fierceness, in the Florida Derby on March 30.

While most of the other Kentucky Derby candidates honed their edges at Churchill Downs, still more talented 3-year-olds were making a case to move forward, perhaps to the Triple Crown trail, in races in other jurisdictions.

At Oaklawn Park in Arkansas, Informed Patriot pressed the pace in Saturday's $200,000 Bathhouse Row Stakes, moved to the front when he turned for home and held off stablemate Imperial Gun by a head for the win. Both are trained by Steve Asmussen.

Informed Patriot finished fifth in the Arkansas Derby, but Asmussen said the performance showed improvement.

At Laurel Park in Maryland, Copper Tax raced five-wide through the stretch to catch pacesetting favorite Speedyness and win Saturday's $125,000 Federico Tesio Stakes, a traditional Preakness test.

3-year-old fillies

While the colts were strutting their stuff, some 3-year-old fillies were on display, too, including some improvers.

At Oaklawn, Winnable wore down pacesetting favorite Neom Beach in the stretch run and was just up to win the $200,000 Valley of the Vapors Stakes by a head over that one.

At Laurel Park, Call Another Play surged to the lead in the stretch in the $125,000 Weber City Miss Stakes and shook loose from four rivals, winning by 3 1/2 lengths, with Kentucky invader and favorite Shimmering Allure eased in the stretch to finish last.



Skippylongstocking pressed the pace into the stretch turn in Saturday's $1.25 million Oaklawn Handicap, easily assumed the lead and got clear to win by 2 lengths as the favorite in a tough field.

A rapidly improving Highland Falls was second, followed by last year's Bath House Row winner Red Route One and graded stakes winner Reincarnate.

Skippylongstocking, a 5-year-old son of Exaggerator, ran 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:49.00 with Jose Ortiz in for the ride.

At Keeneland, Kingsbarns strode out impressively through the stretch run of Saturday's $300,000 Grade III Ben Ali and posted a comfortable, 3 1/4-length victory. War Campaign was second and Archie the Giza finished a long-shot third.

Kingsbarns now has five wins from seven starts and his only finish worse than second was a 14th in the Kentucky Derby.

At Santa Anita, Mr Fisk caught pacesetting favorite Judge Miller in the stretch run of Saturday's $100,000 Grade III Californian and drew clear to a 2 1/4-length victory. Judge Miller held second, 1/2 length better than Mixto.

Mr Fisk, a 4-year-old Arrogate colt, ran 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:49.41 with Kazushi Kimura in the irons for trainer Bob Baffert.



Raging Sea had no trouble disposing of six rivals in Friday's $300,000 Grade III Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland. After tracking the early leaders, the 4-year-old Curlin filly got the go-ahead from jockey Flavien Prat, shot to the front and won by 3 1/4 lengths.

Coffee in Bed dueled down the lane with Super Shine and the favorite, Desert Dawn, in Sunday's $200,000 Grade II Santa Maria Stakes before putting her neck in front under the finish line.

Turf / Turf Mile

Silver Knott continued the Godolphin conquest of colonial racing with a convincing victory in Saturday's $350,000 Grade II Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland.

The 4-year-old Lope de Vega gelding raced just back of the pace for jockey Flavien Prat, rallied boldly approaching the stretch and kicked clear to win by 1 1/2 lengths from Missed the Cut.

Spirit of St Louis rallied five-wide into the stretch and got by much of the field to win Saturday's $150,000 Danger's Hour Stakes at Aqueduct by 1 3/4 lengths over fellow closer Equitize. the favorite.

Dataman rallied from last of five to capture Saturday's $100,000 Henry S. Clark Stakes at Laurel Park by 1 1/4 lengths over English Bee.


Filly & Mare Turf / Turf Mile

Five Towns raced last through the early furlongs of Saturday's $100,000 Dahlia Stakes at Laurel Park, surged to the front late and won by 1 1/4 lengths. She's a daughter of Japanese star Lord Kanaloa.

Odds-on favorite Medoro worked to get by pacesetter Shiloh's Mistress in the stretch run of Saturday's $100,000 Grade III Providencia Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita, and then survived a second effort by that one to win by a nose.

Spirit and Glory got off to an easy lead in Sunday's $150,000 Plenty of Grace Stakes at Aqueduct and extended the advantage through the stretch to win by 5 lengths over Midnight Mile. The favorite, Marvelous Maude, was third.

Turf Sprint

Johnny Podres came from off the pace to win Sunday's $100,000 Siren Lure down the Santa Anita hillside course by 1/2 length over the favorite, First Peace.

Johnny Podres, named for the pitcher who migrated west with the Dodgers, finished the 6 1/2 furlongs on firm going in 1:11.57 under Geovanni Franco.

Witty rallied from next-last of nine to win Saturday's $100,000 King T. Leatherbury Stakes at Laurel Park by a neck over Outlaw Kid with Charging another head back in third.


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