LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 3, 2019) – Each week, the NTRA will provide a guide to the best stakes races in North America and beyond. Races are listed in chronological order (all times Eastern). Full previews when available can be found through the link for each race.
This week is all about the 145th edition of the $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve and its sister race, the $1,250,000 Longines Kentucky Oaks. Both signature tests headline a loaded slate of stakes action on each day featuring such standouts as Newspaperofrecord (IRE) and Bricks and Mortar – the current leader on the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll.
This year’s programming is again highlighted by extensive coverage from NBC Sports continuing through the winner’s circle celebration following the Derby early Saturday evening. Coverage of the Kentucky Oaks undercard will run from 12 p.m.- 3 p.m. on NBC Sports with live coverage of the Oaks running from 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. The Kentucky Derby undercard will be broadcast on NBC Sports May 4 from 12-2:30 p.m. NBC begins its coverage of the Kentucky Derby at 2:30 p.m. with the telecast running until 7:30 p.m.
HRRN is the exclusive radio home of the Kentucky Oaks. Coverage begins Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. On Saturday afternoon, from 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. HRRN has live coverage of the Kentucky Derby undercard with Kentucky Derby coverage from 5-7:30 p.m. (presented in partnership with NBC Sports and Westwood One) streamed live on horseracingradio.net. Tune into the show live on Sirius 219, XM 201, or online at horseracingradio.net.
Friday May 3
12:35 p.m.—$250,000 Grade 2 Eight Belles Stakes at Churchill Downs on NBCSN
Mother Mother, winner of the Rags to Riches at Churchill Downs last fall, tops a field of nine 3-year-old fillies entered for the Eight Belles going seven furlongs on the main track. Trained by Bob Baffert, Mother Mother comes into the Eight Belles off a narrow defeat in the Grade 3 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland on April 7.
1:17 p.m.—$250,000 Grade 3 Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs on NBCSN
Klaravich Stables’ Newspaperofrecord (IRE), winner of her three starts by a combined 20 lengths, headlines a field of seven 3-year-old fillies entered for the 35th running of the Edgewood Stakes scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Trained by Chad Brown, Newspaperofrecord has posted a steady stream of works at Palm Meadows in Florida as she prepares for her first start since her 6 ¾-length romp in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
2 p.m.—$400,000 Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs on NBCSN
Three-time Grade 1 winner McKinzie is the marquee name among a field of 11 4-year-olds and up entered for the $400,000 Alysheba Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Trained by Bob Baffert, McKinzie comes into the race off a nose defeat in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap on April 6. Mike Smith, who has been aboard the 4-year-old in all nine of his starts, has the mount and will break from post position one. One horse that has had success at Churchill Downs is Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Soul, winner of the 2017 Grade 1 Clark Handicap. Seeking the Soul comes in off an eighth-place finish in the Dubai World Cup.
2:53 p.m.—$500,000 Grade 1 La Troienne Stakes at Churchill Downs on NBCSN
Merriebelle Stable’s Blue Prize (ARG), winner of the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster at Keeneland last fall before closing her 2018 campaign with a fourth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, headlines a field of 10 fillies and entered for the La Troienne going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Trained by Ignacio Correas IV, Blue Prize is a three-time winner at Churchill Downs having taken the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis in 2018 and the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap and Grade 3 Locust Grove in 2017.
5:04 p.m.—$250,000 Grade 2 Twin Spires Turf Sprint Stakes at Churchill Downs on NBCSN
Wesley Ward’s Bound for Nowhere and Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables’ World of Trouble, two of the top turf sprinters in training, will meet in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint that drew a field of nine. Bound for Nowhere enters Friday’s race off a narrow loss in the Grade 2 Shakertown at Keeneland on April 6 following a six-month layoff. World of Trouble has won five of his past six starts with the only setback coming here by a neck to Stormy Liberal in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
6:12 p.m.—$1,250,000 Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on NBCSN
Kaleem Shah’s Bellafina, a three-time Grade 1 winner, has been installed as the 2-1 morning-line favorite for Friday’s 145th running of the Kentucky Oaks. Trained by Simon Callaghan, Bellafina brings a three-race win streak with her from Santa Anita where she won the Grade 2 Santa Ynez, Grade 2 Las Virgenes, and Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks this year. Her other Grade 1 victories came last year in the Del Mar Debutante and the Chandelier at Santa Anita. A winner of six of eight starts, Bellafina’s lone off-the-board finish came here last fall when she was fourth as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Saturday May 4
1:13 p.m.—$500,000 Grade 1 Humana Distaff Stakes at Churchill Downs on NBCSN
Cicero Farms’ Marley’s Freedom, a five-time graded-stakes winner and recent millionaire, heads a field of seven fillies and mares entered for the Humana Distaff at seven furlongs on the main track. Trained by Bob Baffert, Marley’s Freedom returns to Churchill Downs for the first time since finishing fourth as the favorite in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
1:36 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Stakes at Belmont Park on TVG
Stronach Stables’ three-time graded stakes winner Holy Helena will go for back-to-back wins in Saturday’s Sheepshead Bay over the inner turf course. Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, the 5-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper will be seeking to defend her title in the 1 3/8-mile event for fillies and mares. In her most recent outing, she scored a victory in the Grade 3 The Very One on March 2 at Gulfstream Park, a race which she also won last year en route to a win in the Sheepshead Bay.
1:55 p.m.—$400,000 Grade 3 Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile at Churchill Downs on NBCSN
Peter Brant’s Precieuse (IRE), a Group 1 winner in France in 2017 and winner of the Grade 3 Honey Fox in her most recent start, headlines a field of 10 fillies and mares for the Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile. Trained by Chad Brown, Precieuse won the Honey Fox following a seven-month layoff in making her second start in the U.S. Brown also will send out Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Environs (GB) who won her U.S. debut April 5 at Keeneland by 3 ½ lengths.
2:45 p.m.—$500,000 Grade 1 Churchill Downs Stakes at Churchill Downs on NBC
Autumn Hill Farms Racing Stables’ Bobby’s Wicked One extended his winning streak to three with a front-running victory in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes and aims to add to that momentum in the seven-furlong Churchill Downs. Trained by Al Stall Jr., Bobby’s Wicked One will be ridden by Miguel Mena and break from post position four while facing the likes of Grade 1 winners Whitmore and Promises Fulfilled.
3:37 p.m.—$400,000 Grade 2 American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs on NBC
Ivan Dalos’ Avie’s Flatter, the champion 2-year-old male in Canada in 2018 and winner of the recent Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland, tops a field of 13 entered for the American Turf, run at 1 1/16 miles. Trained by Josie Carroll, Avie’s Flatter has won four of five career starts with his lone defeat coming in the Grade 1 Summer Stakes at Woodbine in September.
4:08 p.m.—$100,000 Grade 3 Senorita Stakes at Santa Anita Park on TVG
Separated by just a head when last they met, Maxim Rate, Lady Prancealot and Hostess head a field of six sophomore fillies going one mile on turf in Saturday’s Senorita Stakes at Santa Anita.
4:28 p.m.—$400,000 Grade 3 Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs on NBCSN
Instagrand, third in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in his most recent start, tops a field of 14 3-year-olds entered for the 95th running of the Pat Day Mile. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Instagrand won his two starts in 2018 by a combined 20 ¼ lengths and opened 2019 with a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes before his run in the Santa Anita Derby.
4:40 p.m.—$125,000 Grade 3 Jacques Cartier Stakes at Woodbine on TVG
Multiple stakes champion and 2017 Canadian Horse of the Year Pink Lloyd makes his seasonal debut in Saturday’s Jacques Cartier Stakes, at Woodbine. Trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Robert Tiller and owned by Entourage Stable, Pink Lloyd, a 16-time winner from 21 starts, looks to record his third straight score in the six-furlong Jacques Cartier, a race that’s attracted 12 horses.
4:56 p.m.—$150,000 Grade 3 Fort Marcy Stakes at Belmont Park on TVG
Defending Belmont Park spring/summer meet leading trainer Chad Brown will look to sustain momentum entering a talented trio in the Fort Marcy for 4-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf. Headlining Brown’s threesome is Convento Viejo’s Grade 1 winner Robert Bruce, who is set to make his first start since finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Turf last November.
5:25 p.m.—$1,000,000 Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on NBC
In the race preceding the Kentucky Derby, Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Bricks and Mortar will shoot for his fourth consecutive victory as he heads a field of 13. Trained by Chad Brown, Bricks and Mortar won the Grade 2 Melvin Muniz Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds in his most start and prior to that won the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational at Gulfstream Park. Brown also will send out Peter Brant’s Raging Bull (FR), winner of the 2018 Grade 1 Hollywood Derby, and Ticonderoga, who is multiple graded -stakes placed.
5:40 p.m.—$200,000 Grade 3 Westchester Stakes at Belmont Park on TVG
Daniel McConnell’s Prince Lucky will go for his third consecutive graded stakes win and fourth straight victory overall in challenging an eight-horse field. Prince Lucky shipped up from his Florida training base at Palm Beach Downs, where he will attempt to build on back-to-back triple digit Beyer Speed Figures after a 4 ¾-length score as the 1-5 favorite in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Mile on March 30.
6:50 p.m.—$3,000,000 Grade 1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on NBC
With morning-line favorite Omaha Beach forced the scratch, the door is open for trainer Bob Baffert to earn a record-tying sixth Derby triumph as he sends out the trio of champion Game Winner, Roadster, and Improbable. Game Winner captured the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs last November but is seeking his first victory of 2019. Roadster bested his stablemate last time out in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby but he and his comrades figure to be tested by the likes of Grade 2 Wood Memorial winner Tacitus, multiple graded stakes winner War of Will, and Grade 2 Louisiana Derby hero By My Standards.
Sunday May 5
5:18 p.m.—$250,000 Grade 2 Ruffian Handicap at Belmont Park on TVG
Blue Devil Racing Stable’s Come Dancing will seek a second graded stakes victory, headlining a talented field of five fillies and mares in Sunday’s Ruffian going one mile over the Belmont Park main track. Trained by third generation conditioner Carlos Martin, the 5-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon won the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct in her most recent start where she went right to the front under jockey Manny Franco and drew off to win by 7 ¾ lengths. The win gave Martin his first triumph in a graded stakes race since Roar Emotion won Pimlico’s Grade 2 Black Eyed Susan in 2003.