With this year’s Kentucky Derby a little over two months away on May 3, here are 10 things to know about this year’s Triple Crown series.
1) The penultimate Kentucky Derby future wager closes Saturday at 4:17 pm, post time for the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York. The race carries a total of 85 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby: 50 points to the winner, 20 to the second-place finisher, 10 to the third, 5 to the fourth. The current favorite in the future pool is “all other 3-year-olds” at odds of 2-1; the current co-favorite individual betting choices are Honor Code and Candy Boy at 11-1. Honor Code is trained by Claude “Shug” McGaughey, who trained last year’s Kentucky Derby winner, Orb.
You can wager online by opening an advance deposit wagering account (ADW) if it’s legal in your state; two popular ADWs are TwinSpires and NYRA Rewards. The latter is open to New York State residents only and features a “Bet $100, Get $100” promotion.
2) Cairo Prince, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, sits at #8 in the Kentucky Derby points standings and is 13-1 in the future pool. It was announced Friday that Darley Stable, owned by Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed, had purchased a majority interest in Cairo Prince. The horse has won of three of four lifetime starts, most recently the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on January 25; he finished second by a nose in his only loss last November. He’s expected to run next in the Florida Derby on March 29. Cairo Prince was purchased at auction for $250,000 as a yearling.
3) Can’t afford a seat with a great view at the Kentucky Derby? Fear not. Churchill Downs and Panasonic are partnering on a $12 million, 15,224-foot high, high definition, LED video screen, to be constructed along the track’s backstretch.
4) Interested more in music than in horses? This year’s featured musical artist at the Preakness Infield Fest on May 17 is Lorde.
5) No idea who to root for in the Derby? Including Saturday’s Gotham, there are 14 prep races that will be run between now and April 19. With each race carrying a minimum of 50 points to the first-place finisher, winners are assured of a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate.
6) NBC will televise two of those preps, according to the Daily Racing Form: the Florida Derby on March 29 at Gulfstream Park and the Santa Anita Derby on April 5 at Santa Anita Park.
7) NBC and Churchill Downs Incorporated reached a deal this week to televise the Kentucky Derby through 2024, the 150th running of the race.
8) The current leader in Kentucky Derby points standings is Intense Holiday, winner of last weekend’s Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. Intense Holiday is trained by Todd Pletcher, who won his sixth Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer earlier this year and who currently leads all North American trainers in purse earnings for 2014.
9) Heretofore dependent on the possibility of a Triple Crown on the line for Belmont Stakes buzz, the New York Racing Association has added stakes races and purse money to its Belmont Day racing card, making it the second richest day in North American Thoroughbred racing.
10) In all the Kentucky Derby fervor, don’t forget about the fillies: the Kentucky Oaks is run the day before the Derby and has its own prep schedule, including this week’s Santa Ysabel at Santa Anita. Last year’s Oaks winner, Princess of Sylmar, paid $79.60 and won her next three races, all Grade 1s. She earned $1.6 million last year and has recently resumed training for her 4-year-old season.
Check out this week’s Derby Prep Alert at Hello Race Fans! for my preview of the Gotham and a look at the Santa Ysabel; you can sign up there for weekly news on the road to the Kentucky Derby.
Source: Forbes Business