Local News

Derby Contenders Meet Again for Belmont Stakes

Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom will face Preakness Stakes winner Shackelford tomorrow in the final leg of the Triple Crown—the Belmont Stakes.

The two horses are the most talked-about in the field of 12, and Animal Kingdom is the early oddsmakers’ favorite, breaking from the number nine post.

Derby runner-up Nehro has strong odds heading into the race as well and will break from the six post. In the tenth post position will be third-place Derby finisher Mucho Macho Man, which is the only horse in the Belmont to have run in the Derby and Preakness but not win either. European-trained colt Master of Hounds rounds out the list of favorites and will run from the first position.

And while a triple crown is out of the question, a victory for Animal Kingdom or Shackelford could help secure the title of Horse of the Year.

Local News

Asher Ready for Derby, Rain or Shine

The 137th Kentucky Derby comes on the heels of the wettest April on record for Jefferson County, but Churchill Downs spokesperson John Asher says it feels like Louisville is buzzing a little more than usual over this year’s Derby.

“We’ve got no seating left, and the hotels–many of them–have been sold out for weeks,” says Asher. “Indications are, if it’s a good weather day we’ll have a pretty good day so what that’ll be I don’t know.”

Asher says with the emergence of good weather, the enthusiasm in the community is palpable.

Here and Now Local News

Thursday Here and Now: Oaks and Derby, Bullying, and Time to Cut Pakistan Loose?

Here’s some of what we’re getting ready for today’s show:
What Does Bin Laden’s Death Mean For The Afghan War & US Military? Defense analyst and author Tom Ricks says because Osama Bin Laden was found hiding in plain sight in Pakistan “the jig is up” and the U.S. should curtail relations with Pakistan. We’ll explore the consequences of that with him.

Three high school students are expected to accept plea arrangements today in a Massachusetts courtroom in the case of Phoebe Prince. We’ll look at what’s going on in state capitols around the country to stop bullying.

We’ll also look ahead to Oaks and Derby. And a memoir of homesteaders who wanted to get away from it all, but couldn’t leave their family problems behind.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

Amid Complaints Over Thunder Seating, Derby Festival Director To Speak With Metro Council Committee

Derby Festival executive director Mike Berry will talk with members of the Metro Council Tuesday.

Berry is scheduled to address the Parks, Libraries, Zoo and Cultural Assets Committee about the festival. His appearance coincides with rising complaints about a change to Thunder Over Louisville seating arrangements.

Pegasus Pins—which cost $4—will be required to enter a portion of the Great Lawn at Waterfront Park. Community groups and at least one council member have complained about the change, saying it’s unfair for festival officials to charge visitors to sit in the park.

Festival officials have said the change is meant to stop early visitors from reserving large portions of the space. Further, they say only about 10 percent of the lawn will be fenced off.

Local News

Super Saver Being Readied For May 15 Preakness

by Gabe Bullard

The winner of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby is now being prepped for the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore.

Super Saver brought trainer Todd Pletcher his first career Derby victory.   He says the horse has met all expectations leading up to the Derby.   

“This horse didn’t particularly have any setbacks. He just needed some time to really get going as well as he can go. There’s nothing…he didn’t miss any days of training. He was just kind of getting a little better as went along,” he said.

But while Super Saver won the Derby, the colt Ice Box ran a strong race, staying near the outside of the track and finishing second.

Ice Box trainer Nick Zito says he hasn’t decided whether he’ll enter his horse in the Preakness.

Local News

Borel, Pletcher Talk Derby Win

by Gabe Bullard

Trainer Todd Pletcher’s “Derby drought” ended Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Prior to this year, Pletcher had trained 24 Kentucky Derby contenders, but he never trained a winner until Saturday, when the colt Super Saver beat out 19 other horses to win the Derby.

Pletcher had four horses in this year’s Derby, including ninth and tenth place finishers Mission Impazible (Impossible) and Devil May Care. He says he’s happy to win a Derby, but it isn’t necessarily a reflection of his talent as a trainer.

“It’s like I said before, I’m not better trainer today than I was yesterday, no better than when I woke up this morning,” he says. “I wont’ be any better tomorrow. We’ll try to keep doing everything the way we’ve always done it.”

Saturday also marked the third Derby win in four years for jockey Calvin Borel, who won last year and in 2007.

With the track in sloppy condition after a day of rainfall, Borel stuck close to the rail to steer Super Saver to victory. Borel used the same strategy last year on longshot Mine That Bird, and it’s become known as his signature strategy, earning him the nickname ‘bo-rail.’ But Borel says riding the inside track can only be done with the right horse.

“Some horses don’t like to be there…you’ve got to go around,” he says. “I was just taught that’s the shortest way around. I love to ride the fence. I think the horse is very comfortable there because they’re always there all the time.”

It’s now on to the May 15th Preakness Stakes for Pletcher, Super Saver and Borel. Borel also won last year’s Preakness atop filly Rachel Alexandra.

Local News

Coalition To Protest Arizona Law Outside Of Derby

by Gabe Bullard

Drivers and pedestrians heading to the Kentucky Derby may see demonstrators protesting the new immigration law in Arizona.

Among other things, the Arizona legislation allows law enforcement officers to ask anyone for proof of citizenship. The Kentucky May Day Coalition will pass out fliers denouncing the law at intersections around Churchill Downs.

Coalition co-convener Stephen Bartlett says the fliers highlight the role immigrants play in the horse industry.

“The whole Kentucky Derby could not take place without the immigrant workers who work in the horse industry at all levels, including even the jockeys,” he says.

Bartlett says the fliers will encourage people to call Senator Mitch McConnell and ask him to support federal immigration reform that’s friendly to immigrants.

“The system is broken,” he says. “Basically, the Arizona law is a terrible omen on what could happen to tear our society apart. A new Jim Crow Law, in effect, that’s going to take effect in three months in Arizona.”

The fliers will be distributed from 10 am to 1 pm.

Local News

Baffert Confident In Gomez For Derby

by Gabe Bullard

The 136th running of the Kentucky Derby is tomorrow and a full field of 20 horses is set to compete.

The two horses with the best early odds bookend the Derby field. At the top is early favorite Lookin’ At Lucky, which will break from the farthest inside post position. On the other end of the gate, at post position 20, is second favorite Sidney’s Candy.

The inside and outside positions are considered two of the worst to break from, but Lookin’ At Lucky trainer Bob Baffert is confident that his jockey, Garret Gomez, can handle it.

“I think I have the right guy on him,” he says. “He’ll maneuver him around there—he breaks well. But the main thing is he’s a good horse and he’s trained well coming into the race, and that’s very important. I think the 20 probably would’ve been worse.”

Gomez rode Pioneerof The Nile to a second place finish in last year’s Derby.

Post time is 6:24 pm.

Local News

NWS: Derby Day Will Be Wet

by Stephanie Crosby

Derby day will be a wet one according to the most recent forecasts from the National Weather Service. Forecaster Mike Callahan says Louisville will see a burst of heavy precipitation early Saturday morning and then again that evening.

But – he says – although there is a flash flood watch in place, the most dangerous time for flooding won’t be Saturday.

“The problem is the next day: Sunday,” says Callahan. “Sunday could be a really tricky day because the ground is going to be saturated from the rain on Saturday. We have more, heavier rain moving in on Sunday, in fact, on Sunday there could even be some severe weather.”

Callahan says throughout the weekend, some areas could see as much as six inches of rain.

Local News

Derby Post Position Drawing Reverts To Traditional Method

by Gabe Bullard

The draw for post positions for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby will be held Wednesday at noon at Churchill Downs.

For the last twelve years the draw determined the order in which trainers would choose their horses’ post position. Churchill Downs spokesperson Darren Rogers says that’s not the case this year.s1

“We’re going to revert back to our traditional pill pull where horses’ entry blanks, they’re pulled simultaneously with a numbered pill to determine what stall a horse will break from in the starting gate,” he says.

Rogers says the decision was made after ESPN decided not to broadcast the draw.

Positions for the Kentucky Oaks were drawn Tuesday. Early favorite Blind Luck will run from post position 5.