A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

$20 million Saudi Cup purse money withheld due to doping investigation involving trainer Servis

By Mark Hansel KyForward managing editor The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia (JCSA) announced Monday it will withhold purse money from the $20 million Saudi Cup, pending the results of an internal investigation. Maximum Security, owned by Gary and Mary West, and trained by Jason Servis, won the inaugural Saudi Cup on Feb. 29, at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh. Jason Servis (center) trained Maximum...

Tiz the Law retakes lead in NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll; voting to be suspended amid COVID-19 cancellations

Of all the impressive statements made by the sophomore male class thus far in 2020, the emphatic victory by Tiz the Law in the March 28 Grade 1 Florida Derby may resonate the loudest during a most uncertain time as the bay colt again established a clear lead in the latest National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top 3-Year-Old Poll. After slipping to the No. 2 spot in the poll behind undefeated...

Kentucky Derby to be postponed until Sept. 5 in response to Covid-19 pandemic; Preakness may follow

Even Kentucky’s most famous rite of spring is not immune to the spread of COVID 19. Churchill Downs has announced that the 2020 Kentucky Derby, originally scheduled for May 2 (the first Saturday in May) will be postponed until September 5. Churchill Downs Incorporated CEO, Bill Carstanjen released the following statement: “Throughout the rapid development of the COVID-19 pandemic, our first priority...

Road to the Derby: Gary West’s weekly rundown of the top 20 prospects 146th Kentucky Derby

By Gary West Thoroughbred New Service (Number, Horse (Trainer), Starts-Wins-Seconds-Thirds, Earnings, Sire) 1. Dennis’ Moment (Dale Romans) 4-2-0-0 $167,800 Tiznow Dennis’ Moment worked an easy half-mile in 48.05 seconds Sunday at Gulfstream Park in preparation for his seasonal debut in the Fountain of Youth Stakes. And he galloped out strongly, reportedly getting five-eighths in 1:01.42. So what...

UK grad’s design, ‘Pegasus in Bloom,’ selected for 2020 Kentucky Derby Festival poster

By Gabriela Antenore University of Kentucky A design by University of Kentucky alumnus Casey McKinney was unveiled as the 2020 Kentucky Derby Festival poster. McKinney’s artwork, named “Pegasus in Bloom,” was chosen to represent the Kentucky Derby Festival because of its colorful design. The poster features a pegasus racing through a field of colorful flowers and shapes, with fireworks and...

Dale Romans’ trainee Dennis’ Moment set to begin road to the Derby in Saturday’s Fountain of Youth

By Jennie Rees Thoroughbred News Service Trainer Dale Romans believes he has a “superstar” in Dennis’ Moment. That leads him to feel both confidence and anxiety as Albaugh Family Stables’ standout colt prepares to run in Saturday’s $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes, a Grade 2 stepping stone to the Kentucky Derby. After all, it’s the first race since Dennis’ Moment stumbled...

Road to the Derby: No Derby preps on weekend schedule, but plenty of workouts to analyze

By Gary West Thoroughbred New Service (Number, Horse (Trainer), Starts-Wins-Seconds-Thirds, Earnings, Sire) 1. Dennis’ Moment (Dale Romans) 4-2-0-0 $167,800 Tiznow It would be a mistake to make too much of a workout, but also a mistake to ignore its insinuation. And so, for the moment, let’s just agree that the recent workout by Dennis’ Moment is intriguing. Saturday at Gulfstream Park, he breezed...

Gary West: Trainer Steve Asmussen knows a Kentucky Derby victory is out there, it just hasn’t happened yet

Have you ever won the Kentucky Derby? That’s the question everyone asks because that’s the race everyone knows. A few races are richer and a few might possess more championship heft, but throughout America’s vast cultural landscape, on the promontory of popular awareness, only the Kentucky Derby sits so high that everyone can see it. And on the first Saturday in May, the entire nation stops to...

Churchill Downs announces plans for $300 million renovation project set to begin in December

Churchill Downs Racetrack on Wednesday announced a number of major capital investments to offer a variety of new VIP guest experiences, including the construction of permanent stadium seating, a hotel and historical racing machine (HRM) facility in the first turn at the racetrack as well as a renovation project of Millionaires Row. Hotel, HRM Facility and New Permanent Seating Pending final approval...

Churchill Downs applies to bring new $200M Latonia Racing & Gaming thoroughbred facility to NKY

By Mark Hansel KyForward managing editor Churchill Downs has announced plans to build a new $200 million Latonia Racing and Gaming Facility in Northern Kentucky. The historic twin spires of Churchill Downs . Churchill Downs has announced plans to build a new $200 million Latonia Racing and Gaming Facility in Northern Kentucky and has requested racing dates traditionally reserved for Turfway Park in...

Tacitus, War of Will headline Saturday’s Belmont Stakes to conclude unusual Triple Crown season

By Liane Crossley Special to KyForward Tactitus, third in the Kentucky Derby, is the 9-5 morning line favorite among 10 three-year-olds entered for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes. Preakness Stakes winner War of Will is second choice at 2-1. Previewing the race requires a brief recap of arguably the most talked first two legs of the Triple Crown since the Kentucky Derby and Preakness were inaugurated nearly...

Preakness winner War of Will remains atop NTRA 3-Year-Old Poll heading into Belmont Stakes Weekend

This weekend’s loaded slate of Grade 1 races slated to take place at Belmont Park will feature the leaders of both the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top 3-Year-Old Poll and NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll, respectively, in Preakness Stakes winner War of Will and multiple Grade 1 winner Bricks and Mortar. Click to enlarge Gary Barber’s War of Will is set to become the only horse this...

Stuart Sanders: Controversy over Kentucky Derby finish continues, but at least there wasn’t a brawl

While this year’s Kentucky Derby lasted about two minutes, the controversy surrounding the race is far from being over. Stewards at Churchill Downs disqualified the horse Maximum Security for interference. Shortly thereafter, they suspended that horse’s jockey, Luis Saez, for 15 days. Saez said that he will appeal his suspension. Furthermore, the owners of Maximum Security have filed a federal...

Preakness Stakes winner War of Will edges past Maximum Security in NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll

Gary Barber’s War of Will has a new bragging right to go along with his classic victory in the Preakness Stakes as the son of War Front earned 16 first-place votes and a total of 322 points to take over the lead position in this week’s National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top 3-Year-Old Poll. (Click to enlarge) War of Will’s total edged him past Maximum Security by a single point and...

Maximum Security remains atop NTRA 3-Year-Old Poll; Preakness winner War of Will is second

War of Will’s statement-making victory in the 144thPreakness Stakes was heeded as the Mark Casse-trained colt earned 18 first-place votes and 411 points to move up to second overall in this week’s National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top 3-Year-Old Poll. Click to enlarge War of Will came into the middle leg of the Triple Crown after avoiding disaster in the Kentucky Derby Presented...

Maximum Security to skip Preakness Stakes, but remains atop the NTRA three-year-old poll

Their respective outings at Churchill Downs on May 4 continue to resonate for Maximum Security and fellow Grade 1 winner Bricks and Mortar as each remains out front in this week’s National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top 3-Year-Old Poll and NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. Click to enlarge Maximum Security, who crossed the wire first in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve but...

‘Kidney’ husband returns to Churchill downs with wife on KY Oaks day to celebrate their good fortune

By Mark Hansel KyForward managing editor When Shaun McCarthy came to the Kentucky Oaks by himself last year from his home in Maine, he was on a mission. Shaun McCarthy wore this jacket to the 2018 Kentucky Oaks in the hopes of finding a kidney donor for his wife Stacey. His story went viral and Stacey Received a successful transplant of a kidney that came from Cincinnati on Oct. 30 (file photo) This...

Despite Derby DQ, Maximum Security moves to the top of NTRA 3-Year-Old Poll; Country House is third

His winning effort in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve was made null and void via disqualification, but Maximum Security has been deemed the leader of his class by voters in the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top 3-Year-Old Poll. Click to enlarge Maximum Security, who crossed the wire first in the Kentucky Derby but was disqualified and placed 17thdue to interference,...

Country House declared winner of 145th Kentucky Derby following disqualification of Maximum Security

By Mark Hansel KyForward managing editor For the first time in the 145-year history of the Kentucky Derby, the horse that crossed the finish line first was not declared the winner. Maximum Security and jockey Luis Saez (pink silks) cross the finish line ahead of Country House and Flavien Prat (yellow silks). Maximum Security was taken down for interference and placed 17th. Country House finished second,...

Serengeti Empress wins 145th Longines Kentucky Oaks before large crowd at Churchill Downs

By Mark Hansel KyForward managing editor LOUISVILLE, KY — Joel Politi’s Serengeti Empress grabbed the advantage out of the gate and repelled a stretch bid from Liora by 1 3⁄4 lengths to win the 145th running of the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) for 3-year-old fillies before a crowd of 105,719 at Churchill Downs. Jockey Jose Ortiz aboard Serengeti Empress prepares to high-five trainer...