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Feb 18, 2011

American Turf Club Lead

By: Joe Girardi

            As we continue to thaw out from what was a brutal winter here in New York we have to realize that we are just a little over two months away until the horses are in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby. For those of you who receive this publication early by email this is a heads-up for those who want to get involved in the Kentucky Derby Future pool. There are three future pools with pool 2 set for March 11-13 and pool 3 from April 1-3. The morning line favorite for the opening pool is the field at 5-2 morning line and UNCLE MO, last year’s two year old champion is the 9-2 morning line second choice. Every year since Churchill Downs began offering pari-mutuel futures in 1999, the field has closed as the favorite in Pool 1. A Pool 1 field horse has wound up winning the Derby in five of those 12 prior years, the latest being Mine That Bird in 2009.        Speaking of UNCLE MO it looked like he would definitely be headed to the Tampa Bay Derby on March 12th as his first prep for the Derby, however Gulfstream Park has thrown a wrench into the mix. They wrote a one-mile overnight handicap for three year olds to be run on March 12th. The race is called the Timely Writer and will offer a purse of $100,000 and will carry no conditions, making it open to all three year olds. “We were looking to put up a prep race for 3-year-olds who have already earned enough graded points to get into the Kentucky Derby but might not have wanted a race as tough as the Fountain of Youth at this point of the winter,” said Tim Ritvo, vice president of racing at Gulfstream Park. “We are also looking at this race as a possible alternative for 3-year-olds not quite ready for the Fountain of Youth who needed a little later prep to make the Florida Derby.” You can read the rest of the article on

            Moving out to Southern California where jockey Joel Rosario recorded his 1000th win of his career aboard COO CACHOO on February 17th, 2011 for trainer Julio Canani. He did it in wire to wire fashion easily scoring over the second place finisher. Rosario is a rising star in California and has shown he can ride with the best of them scoring in a Breeders’ Cup race just a few months ago. It won’t be too long before we are talking about his 2000th win if he continues riding at this pace.   

In unfortunate news trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. was suspended again this time for a total of 90 days by New York Stewards for two separate infractions. He will be permitted to train until a hearing is held. He currently has horses stabled in Florida and New York. Dutrow was suspended 60 days for the finding of the painkiller Butorphanol, a Class 3 medication, in the post-race sample of Fastus Cactus, who won the third race at Aqueduct on Nov. 20, 2010. That horse, who was claimed from Dutrow that day, was ordered unplaced in the order of finish and the purse would be redistributed if the ruling stands. Dutrow also received a 30-day penalty for the finding of hypodermic needles during a search of his Aqueduct barn on Nov. 3. Dutrow was at Churchill Downs that day, preparing horses for a variety of Breeders’ Cup races that weekend. Dutrow who is most well known for winning the 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness with BIG BROWN is not a stranger to suspensions. In 2009 he served 30 days for a clenbuterol positive. In 2005 he served another 60 days for two more medication infractions, it was originally 120 days for the medication infractions and for a violation of claiming rules. However, it was reduced to 60 days. This has not been a good winter for Dutrow, his top two year old and last year’s Hopeful Stakes winner BOYS AT TOSCONOVA was taken out of training with no timetable for a return.

As the prep races for the Derby start to get underway in the coming weeks we will take a look as these results as we try to clear up the Kentucky Derby picture.





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