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4.16.2018:

Xpressbet, Santa Anita to Offer $35K Guaranteed Tournament on April 21

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 13, 2018) - Santa Anita’s $500 April Handicapping Challenge shapes up as a “must play” for handicappers, as The Great Race Place and Xpressbet will guarantee $35,000 in prizes on Saturday, April 21.  The guaranteed prize pool includes: (3) Entries into Santa Anita’s Preakness Challenge on May 19 and May 20, 2018 (2) Entries into the 2019 National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) A $10,000 Cash Prize Pool to the top four finishers, courtesy of Xpressbet.com The total value of the prize pool will increase to $45,000 at 150 total entrants in the contest and $55,000 at 200 total entrants. Horseplayers will be able to compete on-track at Santa Anita with VIP accommodations, or online through Xpressbet.com. Buy-in is just $500 per entry, with $300 going to the player’s bankroll and $200 directed toward the prize pool.  The contest format includes win, place, show, exacta, trifecta and Daily Double wagers on Santa Anita races on April 21.  Players are encouraged to signup online at santaanita.com/contests or by logging in to their Xpressbet account.  For additional information, please call Santa Anita Marketing at (626) 574-6384. Log In and Register at Xpressbet.com

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4.14.2018:

Magnum Moon Stays Perfect, Wins G1 Arkansas Derby

HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, April 14, 2018) – Robert and Lawana Low’s Magnum Moon is now a perfect four for four and holds the top position on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard after scoring an impressive victory in Saturday’s $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) before a crowd of 64,500. The Todd Pletcher-trainee added 100 points to his 50 from winning Oaklawn’s March 17 Rebel Stakes (G2) to bring his total to 150 points, 16 more than champion Good Magic. Total handle for the 12-race card was $16,159,771.31, a record for a single day card in Oaklawn’s 114 history. Ridden by Luis Saez, Magnum Moon, the 4-5 favorite, grabbed the lead from the break and never looked back, proceeding to set fractions of :23.34 and :48.60 for the first half mile, while being tracked closely by Quip. The winner shied in the stretch, but quickly overcame it to draw off to win by four lengths over Quip, who earned 40 points for second, in 1:49.86 over a fast track. Solomini, the Rebel Stakes runner-up, came from sixth in the nine-horse field to finish third and earned 20 points. He was followed by Combatant, Tenfold, Plainsman, Dream Baby Dream, Beautiful Shot and Machismo. Magnum Moon, a Malibu Moon colt, has now earned $1,177,800. He returned $3.60, $2.80 and $2.40 as the heavy favorite. Live racing will resume January 25, 2019. $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) Quotes: Todd Pletcher (Magnum Moon) – “I thought it (his race) was very good. I’m very pleased with the outcome. A little concerned that he drifted out the last part, but it looked like he sort of halfway thought about jumping over the tire marks when he went the by the eighth pole where the gate was and sort of skipped over those. I think he was maybe just drifting away from that. Aside from that, I thought he finished with good energy and was pulling away from some nice horses. He showed his versatility. He's won a number of different ways now and I think he's proven that he's the kind of horse that doesn't need the race to unfold a certain way, that he's able to kind of make his own race.” Magnum Moon is scheduled to return to Palm Beach Downs on Sunday, Pletcher said, and “tentatively” fly to Churchill Downs on April 23. Will breeze once at Churchill Downs - “probably” eight days before the Kentucky Derby. Winning owner Robert Low (Magnum Moon) – “He had me worried to death when I saw we were on the lead. But, Luis (Saez) gave him a masterful ride.” Winning Jockey Luis Saez (Magnum Moon) – ”I thought there was going to be a little speed. We were in a good position, he broke really sharp. I’m not going to choke him. I am just going to stay there and he was very comfortable into the turn. He was traveling pretty good. When I came to the stretch I felt like he was looking at the gate marks so when we got there I touched him a little and he went. We will see what happens.” Trainer Rodolphe Brisset (Quip, second) – “I guess that's just the way the race set up (when asked if he expected Magnum Moon to be on the lead). We could have tried to go on the lead. I think Florent (Geroux) did the right thing.” Jockey Florent Geroux (Quip, second) –”We had a good trip. He always breaks sharp and is always forwardly placed. When Luis (Saez on Magnum Moon) smooched to his horse, I knew he wanted the lead. I let my horse settle and he did very nicely. My horse ran hard. Solomini is a nice horse too. I’m very satisfied with his race.” Racing Manager Justin Zayat (Zayat Stables LLC. co-owner of Solomini) – “He didn’t break as sharply as we would have liked. He was third best today. The winner is a really nice horse. We’ll talk to Bob (Baffert), but I thought it was a good race and now it’s on to Kentucky.” Jockey Flavien Prat (Solomini, third) – ”We broke well and then settled off the pace. He ran a nice one.”

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4.14.2018:

My Boy Jack Wins G3 Lexington; Earns Spot in KY Derby Field

Trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by his brother Kent Desormeaux, My Boy Jack covered the 1 1/16 miles on a fast main track in 1:44.22. Greyvitos led the field of 10 through early fractions of :23.28 and :47.11 while under no pressure as My Boy Jack raced far back in next to last. Approaching the far turn, Telekinesis went after Greyvitos while Desormeaux began picking off horses on the outside. Turning into the short stretch, Telekinesis put away Greyvitos, but was quickly joined by My Boy Jack, who surged past in the final yards. The victory was worth $120,000 and increased My Boy Jack’s earnings to $645,145 with a record of 10-3-3-2. It marked the second Grade 3 victory for My Boy Jack, who took the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park in February. A Keeneland sales graduate, My Boy Jack is a Kentucky-bred son of Creative Cause out of the Mineshaft mare Gold N Shaft. My Boy Jack returned $5, $3.20 and $2.40. Telekinesis, ridden by Javier Castellano, returned $4.60 and $3.40 with Pony Up finishing another 2½ lengths back in third under John Velazquez and paying $3.40 to show. It was another half-length back to Greyvitos, who was followed in order by Seven Trumpets, Zanesville, Honor Up, Navy Armed Guard, Gracida and Arched Feather. Stonestreet Lexington Stakes Quotes Kirk Godby (whose Don’t Tell My Wife Stables co-owns winner My Boy Jack with Sol Kumin’s Monomoy Stables) On My Boy Jack earning 20 qualifying points to the Kentucky Derby to increase his total to 52 and secure a place in the Kentucky Derby “Unbelievable. Everyone knows we came here to get points and he got the job done today. We’re just thrilled. When I saw (jockey) Kent (Desormeaux) bring him out down the backstretch and we were within six or seven lengths, I felt pretty good about it. I was just hoping he had the gas to get home in the short stretch.” Kent Desormeaux (winning rider of My Boy Jack) “He was very, very comfortable in his stride and that was pretty much a repeat of his last start. Fortunately I didn’t grab a hot dog at the quarter pole and that made the difference.” (My Boy Jack closed from the back in the Louisiana Derby-G2 to finish third by three-quarters of a length.). On the effects of his come-from-behind style in the Kentucky Derby “I think it will (suit him) probably even better. We always tend to get a true, honest pace in the Kentucky Derby and I think he’ll enjoy that.” Javier Castellano (rider of runner-up Telekinesis) “My trip was perfect. I was in a beautiful position – it was what I was looking for. I cut the corner and saved a lot of ground. I tried to get the jump, but the other horse (My Boy Jack) came way from the outside. Unfortunately, the other horse has been running more lately. My horse has great potential for only running three times.” Mark Casse (trainer of Telekinesis) “I was very proud of him. He is playing catch-up. This is only his third start, so for him to run as well as he did, I think he is a superstar.” John Velazquez (rider of third-place finisher Pony Up) “The first part he seemed like he was a little bit sluggish. The first eighth of a mile was like, 'Come on, buddy, we need to be a little bit closer here.' Then, geez, the last part he came running. I needed to be a little bit closer the first part. But he ran well.” Joel Rosario (rider of fourth-place finisher Greyvitos) “He broke sharp and it seemed like he had a lot of energy. He looked good the whole way, it just looked like in the last part they ran by me. I kept trying but he got a little tired in the last part.” Robby Albarado (rider of fifth-place finisher Seven Trumpets) “He ran well. It was a nice bunch of horses he ran with out there today, but he’ll catch up to them.”       

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4.9.2018:

Big Bet Sweepstakes Returns; Winner Receives Preakness Trip & $25K Bet

April 9, 2018 (Washington, PA) – Interested in making the bet of a lifetime?  Is a VIP trip to the Preakness Stakes on your horse racing bucket list?  If so, then Xpressbet’s $25K Big Bet Sweepstakes is for you!  For the sixth consecutive year, Xpressbet is rewarding a lucky customer with a trip to the Preakness, as well as the opportunity to make a $25,000 Win bet on the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.  One of Xpressbet’s most popular promotions, the Big Bet Sweepstakes has taken five prior winners to Baltimore for the Preakness Stakes, where they’ve enjoyed lavish VIP accommodations while cheering their horse down the stretch at Pimlico.  Two previous winners even parlayed winning the Sweepstakes into a life-changing score, while all five left Baltimore with memories they’ll never forget.  “The Big Bet is not just an opportunity for us to reward one of our customers with a trip and a potentially life-changing bet, but it also allows us to connect a passionate fan with one of our sport’s most prestigious and historic races,” said Xpressbet Senior Vice President of Marketing, Kerry Carlson.  “It gives us a lot of pride to see our winner experience the Preakness and soak up everything that makes it one of the world’s greatest sporting events.”  In addition to the opportunity to make a $25,000 bet, the Grand Prize Package also includes a trip for two to Baltimore for the Preakness, complete with hotel, airfare and tickets on Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan Days.  Fifty Second Prize Winners each receive a $100 Xpressbet wagering voucher.  To play, Xpressbet customers just need to register and bet the races.  Customers receive an entry for every bet they make between April 2 and May 6, 2018, and can earn bonus entries for wagers made on weekdays and on Stronach Group tracks, including Gulfstream, Santa Anita, Laurel, Pimlico and Golden Gate Fields.  For more information and to sign up for an Xpressbet online wagering account, simply visit https://www.xpressbet.com/preakness-stakes-big-bet.  To learn more about the Preakness and to purchase tickets and merchandise, please visit https://www.preakness.com/. About Xpressbet Xpressbet provides legal and secure online wagering services to horseplayers in the United States.  It is the industry’s most comprehensive and user-friendly wagering site, allowing customers to wager on more than 300 of the world’s best racetracks from their computer, phone or mobile device.  Xpressbet operates XB SELECT, the industry’s premier destination for high-volume wagering, and XB Net, which connects bet shops and wagering sites from around the world to North American racing.  Xpressbet is a Stronach Group company, which also owns and operates Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Rosecroft Raceway, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness Stakes.  The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, the award-winning Adena Springs operation, AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology, and Monarch Content Management, horse racing’s leading simulcast purchase and sales agent.   

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4.9.2018:

2018 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #4 Results

Here are the full results for Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #4 (April 6 - 8, 2018): 1. Audible (Pletcher) - 7/1 ($16.60)2. Bolt d'Oro (Ruis) - 9/1 ($21.00) 3. Bravazo (Lukas) - 65/1 ($133.20) 4. Combatant (Asmussen) - 66/1 ($135.60) 5. Enticed (McLaughlin) - 27/1 ($56.80) 6. Flameaway (Casse) - 42/1 ($87.60)  7. Free Drop Billy (Romans) - 47/1 ($96.40) 8. Good Magic (Brown) - 9/1 ($20.60) 9. Gronkowski (J. Noseda) - 61/1 ($124.60) 10. Hofburg (Mott) - 22/1 ($47.80) 11. Instilled Regard (Hollendorfer) - 104/1 ($210.80) 12. Justify (Baffert) - 3/1 ($8.40) 13. Lone Sailor (Amoss) - 78/1 ($159.40) 14. Magnum Moon (Pletcher) - 8/1 ($19.80) 15. Mendelssohn (O'Brien) - 5/1 ($12.60) 16. Mississippi (Casse) - SCRATCHED17. My Boy Jack (Desormeaux) - 27/1 ($57.60) 18. Noble Indy (Pletcher) - 31/1 ($64.60) 19. Promises Fulfilled (Romans) - 98/1 ($198.80) 20. Quip (Brisset) - 31/1 ($64.80) 21. Runaway Ghost (Fincher) - 53/1 ($109.40) 22. Solomini (Baffert) - 25/1 ($53.80) 23. Title Ready (Asmussen) - 285/1 ($573.80) 24. All Other 3YO's - 17/1 ($36.80)   Printer-Friendly Version, with Exacta Will Pays  

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4.9.2018:

Laurel has Record $295K Pick 6 Carryover Friday

LAUREL, MD – A Maryland state record 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot carryover of $295,762.95 will greet bettors when live racing returns to Laurel Park Friday, April 13 with a nine-race program. The popular multi-race wager went unsolved for the 28th consecutive program Sunday, when $129,183 was bet on top of a carryover of $254,426.59 from Saturday’s card. Multiple tickets were sold with all six winners, each worth $304.60. The previous state record for the largest Pick 6 carryover was $275,322, reached heading into closing day of Pimlico Race Course’s spring meet on June 6, 2015. A mandatory payout that day produced multiple returns of $12,518.28. In the Rainbow 6, the carryover jackpot is only paid out when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 60 percent of that day’s pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners while 40 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool. No single bettor has taken down Laurel’s Rainbow 6 since it was solved for a $5,896.30 payout on Feb. 4. Friday’s Rainbow 6 covers Races 4-9, highlighted by a $35,000 entry-level allowance for Maryland-bred 3-year-olds and up going one mile in Race 7 and a $45,000 second-level optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up at 5 ½ furlongs in Race 8. There will also be a carryover of $2,404.11 in the $1 Super Hi-5 for Friday’s opener. First race post time is 1:10 p.m. Private Terms Winner V. I. P. Code Working This Weekend for Federico Tesio Everest Stables’ homebred V. I. P. Code, the 36-1 upset winner of the Private Terms Stakes March 17, is scheduled to return to the work tab this weekend ahead of an anticipated start in the $125,000 Federico Tesio for 3-year-olds April 21. The 1 1/16-mile Private Terms was the third win with two seconds and two thirds from nine starts for V. I. P. Code, a Maryland-bred City Zip colt who beat a field that included multiple stakes winners Still Having Fun, the betting favorite, and Whirlin Curlin. All three are among 37 sophomores nominated to the Tesio. V. I. P. Code was third in the Frank Whiteley Jr. Jan. 27 and fifth in the Miracle Wood Feb. 17, the first two of four races in Laurel’s series for 3-year-olds on the way to the 143rd Preakness Stakes (G1) May 19 at historic Pimlico Race Course. “He’s been doing good. I was really happy to have this time between races instead of running him right back on three weeks’ rest. Like horses at this time of year, he’s growing a lot,” trainer Phil Schoenthal said. “As he gets taller he gets leaner, so you’re trying to keep weight on him. We’ve been kind of backing off him a little bit. He’s eating really good and he’s gaining weight. I’m going to breeze him this coming weekend and then we’ll plan to run on the 21st.” For the third straight year, the 1 1/8-mile Tesio offers Triple Crown-nominated horses such as V. I. P. Code a ‘Win and You’re In’ berth to the Preakness, the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. “I think it’s going to be a good race. I think you’ll probably get most of the horses that were in there the last time to come back, and there’s always going to be one or two new shooters from New York or wherever else. It’s just a good race,” Schoenthal said. “If he were to win I think we are intending on running in the Preakness, which is a once in a lifetime kind of thing for guys like us. You kind of feel like you’re right on the doorstep, you’re in the Elite Eight and one more win will get you to the big dance so there’s a little bit of anticipation and excitement that way that you wouldn’t normally have. “It would be a lot of fun to have a local Maryland-bred horse in the Preakness,” he added. “I’m not going to put the cart before the horse; he’s still got to win and it’s going to be a good race. Let the best horse win and if it’s us, thank God and if not, then God bless the winner and good luck to him. It’s just fun to be a part of it and to have a horse of that caliber.” Notes: Jockey Julien Pimentel rode a pair of winners for the second straight day, finishing first with Springtime Wind ($14.60) in the second race and Big City Blues ($2.40) in the eighth.

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4.7.2018:

Good Magic Cruises to Victory in Keeneland's G2 Blue Grass

E Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables’ champion Good Magic roared past Flameaway in the upper stretch and went on to score a 1½-length victory in the 94th running of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2) for 3-year-olds before a crowd of 14,269 on a brisk Saturday afternoon. For the day, Keeneland set wagering records for all-sources handle, Pick 4 and Pick 5 pools. Total all-sources handle was $22,634,861, eclipsing the previous record of $21,736,983 set on April 9, 2016. The All-Stakes Pick Four ending in the Toyota Blue Grass did $1,065,002 versus the previous record of $733,800 set on April 8, 2017. The All-Stakes Pick Five handled $899,196, smashing the previous record of $653,827 on April 20, 2013. On Sunday, Keeneland will offer a Pick 6 carryover of $30,688. In the Toyota Blue Grass, Good Magic, trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Jose Ortiz, covered the 1 1/8 miles on the fast main track in 1:50.18. It was the first victory in the race for Brown and Ortiz. The victory also gave Good Magic 100 points toward the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) to be run May 5 at Churchill Downs. Good Magic has 134 points toward the Derby, a total that will safely get him in the Derby starting gate that is limited to 20 starters. The victory was worth $600,000 and increased Good Magic’s earnings to $1,855,000 with a record of 5-2-2-1. His other victory came in last fall’s Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) that earned him the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old of 2017. Purchased for $1 million at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Good Magic is a Kentucky-bred son of Curlin out of the Hard Spun mare Glinda the Good. Longshot Arawak led the field of 14 through early fractions of :23.55 and :47.40, with Flameaway in closest pursuit. Meanwhile, Ortiz had Good Magic racing in the clear in fifth place. As the field reached the far turn, Flameaway took over with Good Magic moving to his immediate outside and Sporting Chance ranging up in third. Good Magic took charge early in the stretch and erased any doubt of the outcome. However, in deep stretch, Sporting Chance veered to the outside under Luis Saez and forced Free Drop Billy and Irad Ortiz Jr. to alter course. Sporting Chance finished three-quarters of a length in front of Free Drop Billy but was disqualified from third to fourth because of interference. The elevation of Free Drop Billy gave him 20 Derby points and 44 overall. Sporting Chance received 10 points to raise his total to 12. Good Magic returned $5.20, $3.60 and $2.80. Flameaway, who has 70 points toward the Derby, returned $5 and $3.80 under Jose Lezcano with Free Drop Billy returning $3.60 to show. Following Sporting Chance in order were Blended Citizen, Kanthaka, Tiz Mischief, Marconi, Zing Zang, California Night, Gotta Go, Machismo, Determinant and Arawak. Racing continues Sunday with a nine-race program that begins at 1:05 p.m. ET. Headlining the card are two stakes for 3-year-old fillies, the $200,000 Appalachian (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association at a mile on the turf and the $150,000 Beaumont (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select contested over the Beard Course of 7 furlongs, 184 feet on the main track. Quotes from the $1 Million Toyota Blue Grass (G2) Chad Brown (winning trainer of 8-5 favorite Good Magic) On the difference between Good Magic’s Toyota Blue Grass victory and his third-place finish in the Fountain of Youth (G2) on March 3 in his last start “In hindsight, (heading into the Fountain of Youth) he was probably a couple of works short.  If you want to stay on the (Kentucky) Derby (G1) trail, you have to run when it’s time to get started. This horse came out of that race real well – bigger, stronger and has had some impressive workouts since. We were pretty confident coming into this race. I love the way he did it today. “We’ll get him over to Churchill (Downs) and give him at least one work over the track and hopefully get him out to a mile and a quarter and hopefully he can handle it.” On whether today’s performance resembled Good Magic’s win in the 2017 Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) “It did remind me of it. Jose (Ortiz) rides this horse so well, and once again he put him in a position to win the race. I loved where he was all throughout the race – became a matter of is he good enough and fit enough today? “I thought it was an outstanding performance. He was well-placed early and kept steady throughout. Maybe we dock one point where it looked like he jumped a shadow near the wire, but that’s him. He’s going to look around a little bit. I was really happy how he ran today. For only two starts this year, I was hoping to be peaking for the Derby and hopefully we’ll advance another step on Derby Day. Looks like is a very good crop of horses this year and it’s going to be a tough race. “This is our first Blue Grass – we ran second the last two years. Once you get a little taste of that – Keeneland in the spring – you start looking to bring one back next year to win this race. It’s important – I’m so happy to win this race.” On seeing snow on the ground this morning “I was worried. The timing for the Derby – I really don’t’ want to run (Good Magic in a Derby prep) beyond today. As happens in Kentucky, (the weather) can change by the hour. Thankfully it turned out to be a wonderful day. “He seems to love Keeneland. I’m going to think about (his schedule leading to the Derby), talk to my staff about it, talk to my team. Right now, I’m leaning toward leaving him here a couple of weeks, maybe getting his first breeze out of the way here, on a track I know he likes. Then get him over to Churchill – he’ll have at least one work at Churchill.” Jose Ortiz (winning rider) “It was perfect, we had a good trip. We broke really well and everything went really well. The way I planned was to sit back a little bit off the front and everything turned out perfect. I was pretty confident on him because I know he’s a good horse out of the gate. I knew he was going to help me a lot and I was going to have a clear road to the first turn.” On the meaning of winning the Toyota Blue Grass for Chad Brown “It means a lot. I really love Keeneland, I’m going to stay here for the whole meet. I really want to win a title here.” Jose Lezcano (rider of runner-up Flameaway) “I got pressured the whole way around; (Flameaway) never got a breather. And you see, he's very tough. He keeps running and he kept trying. I was happy to see him do well.” Mark Casse (trainer of Flameaway) “He never gave up. He’s just so classy, you’ve got to love him. I got what I asked for. I said I wanted a fight at the top of the lane, and we got one. Unfortunately, we were second-best today. I think Chad (Brown) did a tremendous job. It’s one thing to train a horse to be a champion, and another to train them after they’re champions. We’ve beaten the winner of the Wood (Memorial-G2, Vino Rosso) twice already. I think we can hold our head high. (Flameaway will) be heading home (to Churchill Downs) probably tomorrow.” Irad Ortiz Jr. (rider of Free Drop Bill, who finished fourth and was elevated to third following the disqualification of Sporting Chance) “He ran a good race. When I ask him, he goes. I finished fourth, but he ran a good race. He did everything I wanted him to do. I'm pretty happy with him. He'll be all right in the Derby.”  Luis Saez (rider of Sporting Chance, who finished third and was disqualified to fourth) “I thought he was going to win. He was perfect (until) we came to the wire. When I hit him he (veered) out. He did it twice today. I don't know why he does that. He was perfect today up until then.” D. Wayne Lukas (trainer of Sporting Chance) “He has shied twice with Luis with the left-handed stick and I guess he doesn’t like it. He has never given any indication in the morning (training sessions). He is probably the easiest horse in the barn to train. “We needed those 40 points (for second place) to get to the Derby and now we only have 12.” Julien Leparoux (rider of sixth-place finisher Kanthaka) “We had a good trip. He traveled very nice for me. The winner came from the outside of me, and went by pretty early. I just could not keep up with him.” Corey Lanerie (rider of seventh-place finisher Tiz Mischief) “I had a good trip. My horse didn’t show any speed. I was lucky enough to find a path on the rail, but when he got through, he just couldn’t get it done today.”

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4.7.2018:

Vino Rosso Punches Kentucky Derby Ticket by Winning G2 Wood Memorial

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable's Vino Rosso got his breakthrough victory on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack, surging from off the pace to outkick Grade 3 Gotham winner Enticed to win the 94th running of the Grade 2, $1 million Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets by three lengths and pick up 100 points, securing a bid in the Kentucky Derby. It was the first stakes victory in three tries for Vino Rosso, who finished a close third in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis and was fourth in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby, where he added blinkers for the first time and stalked the early pace before dropping back under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. Saturday's win also gave trainer Todd Pletcher his fifth in the Wood Memorial. In the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial, Vino Rosso settled in mid-pack through the early going as Gotham runner-up Old Time Revival seized the early lead in the field of nine. Old Time Revival drew off up the backstretch by six lengths or more ahead of Enticed, the 6-5 favorite, and California import Restoring Hope through an opening quarter-mile in 22.96 seconds and a half in 46.68. Vino Rosso, a chestnut colt by Curlin, began his march toward the leaders in the far turn as Old Time Revival relinquished control to Enticed and Restoring Hope after six furlongs in 1:11.44. Turning for home, Restoring Hope backed off slightly, leaving Vino Rosso and Enticed, ridden by Junior Alvarado, to lock horns in heated stretch duel. Vino Rosso shook clear in the final strides to complete the route in 1:49.79. There was a stewards' inquiry and a jockey's objection lodged by Alvarado into the stretch run of the race, but no action was taken. "I got close to him and he was coming out," said Velazquez. "So, I made my horse switch leads and when he switched, I leaned on him a little bit, and then he pushed me out and my horse went right back on him. That's what happened. I got him easy, anyway. He was holding his ground out and I was holding him back in. He was the horse to beat and I wasn't going to give him a chance." Sent off at 4-1, Vino Rosso returned $10.40 for a $2 win wager. Vino Rosso was a $410,000 yearling purchase at the 2016 Keeneland September sale and has bankrolled $620,500 in five career starts, including back-to-back maiden and optional claimer wins last fall. "I was a little worried right at the start, because his hind-end kind of slipped out leaving the gate, and it looked [like] it took him about a hundred yards to get engaged," said Pletcher, who also won the Wood Memorial with Eskendereya (2010), Gemologist (2012), Verrazano (2013), and Outwork (2016). "He was a little farther back than I thought he would be, but when you take the pacesetter out, he really was close to the contenders," he continued. "I felt good about it. I was just hoping he would sustain his momentum around the turn, and he finished up and did great. We're feeling like we're seeing a horse that has that talent, and he's doing well, and we felt like that mile and an eighth is something he's looking for. This is the performance we've been looking for." As part of the official Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series, the Wood Memorial awarded Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Enticed an additional 40 qualifying points to bring his total to 103. "We ran very well to finish second, but I thought [the stewards] could have put us up," said McLaughlin. "It was an excellent race, we finished second, and he deserved to win. I'm sure there will be no change [in our plans to continue to the Kentucky Derby]. He ran a great race." Restoring Hope held on for third, 2 ¼ lengths behind Enticed, to earn 20 Derby points. It was another six lengths back to Grade 1 Champagne winner Firenze Fire, who earned an additional 10 points for a total of 39. Heartfullofstars, King Zachary, Evaluator, Old Time Revival, and Catch Twenty Two completed the order of finish.

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