Posts tagged with "kentucky derby"

2021 Could Be A Record-Breaking Year In Horse Racing

There is so much to look forward to in 2021 around the world in horse racing. Over in the UK, it is just weeks until two of the biggest National Hunt meetings in the sport, the Cheltenham Festival, and the Grand National. Over in the States, the best three-year-olds will begin their Triple Crown campaigns.

Here is a look at where history can be made this year with some storylines you do not want to miss.

Al Boum Photo’s Gold Cup Hat-Trick

As you can see from the Cheltenham race results, Al Boum Photo has won the last two renewals of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, so goes into this year’s contest looking for a hat-trick.

Watch video HERE.

Not many horses in the history of the Cheltenham feature have won it on three occasions. Since 1960, only Arkle and Best Mate have managed that feat, so Al Boum Photo would be joining great company. Willie Mullins’ runner made a winning return to action in Savills New Year Day Chase at Tramore earlier this year, so a triple win could be looking promising. Al Boum Photo also tops the betting to prevail in the Blue Riband event in the sport again on March 19.

Tiger Roll Bidding For Grand National History

A month after the Cheltenham Festival, the Grand National takes center stage at Aintree. There is one horse people will be talking about ahead of this year’s race and that is Tiger Roll. The 2018 and 2019 winner will be vying to become only the second horse to win the marathon contest three times.

The great Red Rum won his third Grand National in 1977, in what was his fifth appearance in the race. This will be Tiger Roll’s third run in the world’s most famous steeplechase, so his achievement would arguably be even greater.

Like Red Rum in the 70s, Tiger Roll has a huge fan following. He is currently the +1400 favorite with the bookmakers after being handed a weight allocation of 11st 9lb by the handicapper. Only three horses in the race have been given more weight than the reigning champion, so he faces a tough task ahead.

Bob Baffert Could Win Seventh Kentucky Derby

Watch video HERE.

Legendary US trainer Bob Baffert matched Ben Jones’ record of six Kentucky Derby wins in 2020. Authentic prevailed at Churchill Downs in the race which is considered to be the “two most exciting two minutes in sports.”

Baffert has had some excellent three-year-olds in his yard over the last three decades. It will be interesting to see who the next star could be from his barn. The early evidence suggests that it could be Life Is Good who is the ante-post favorite for the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

Life Is Good made a winning start to his career at Santa Anita back in January. He looked a smart prospect when claiming the Grade Three Sham Stakes in a 1m contest. Big things are expected from the colt who may have a good chance of becoming the latest Triple Crown winner in the US.

Hopefully, 2021 lives up to be a great year in horse racing and at the end of it, there will be a number of champions who go down in the history books in the sport.

Horse and Jockey illustration by Ivory Rowen

A New Day For Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is the Run For The Roses. It’s about mint juleps, gloriously-oversized hats and singing My Old Kentucky Home.

It’s known as the fastest two minutes in sports.

And it’s always held the first Saturday in May, contested in front of the famous twin spires at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

Well, almost always.

Among the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic is the Kentucky Derby’s status as the launching pad to Triple Crown glory in thoroughbred horse racing. When racing in the state of Kentucky was put on hiatus during the coronavirus lockdown, among the events shelved was the Derby.

Instead, the Kentucky Derby will now be contested on Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, as the entire Triple Crown order was juggled and reorganized. This year, it was the Belmont Stakes, normally the third jewel in the Triple Crown, that set the stage. The Belmont moved from June 6 to June 20. 

The Derby will serve as the middle leg in this triumvirate of races to determine the legacy of the world’s best three-year-old thoroughbreds. The Preakness Stakes, normally a mid-May race and the second leg of the Triple Crown, could potentially crown a Triple Crown winner for the first time ever when it completes the 2020 Triple Crown circuit at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore on Oct. 3.

It’s just the second time in history that the Derby was rescheduled. In 1945, the Derby was moved from May 5 to June 9 due to World War II. 

A Different Challenge

The Triple Crown is considered the most daunting quest in horse racing, and since just 13 horses have managed to win all three of its races, certainly the mark of a true champion.

Normally a rugged five-week grind, this year’s Triple Crown is requiring an entirely different approach for those who condition the world’s best three year olds.  

“Would have preferred the traditional Triple Crown but we are all just trying to get through this,” two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert told Sports Illustrated. “Glad they didn’t cancel them. It will still be very exciting races and probably tougher because of the time between races.”

Interesting that Baffert, who’s sent out Triple Crown winners American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018), finds the longer time frame between races to be a more difficult challenge but there’s good reason for that. 

At the age of three, a racehorse is still physically maturing. Just like kids, some get there earlier in the year, while others are late bloomers. The horse that finished up the track in June at the Belmont, or was in fact not yet ready for prime time, could be in prime condition when the Preakness rolls around in October. 

As well, champion race horses tend to operate like world-class race cars. They can go out of tune very easily and lose their winning edge in the blink of an eye. 

Rule Of Law

Tiz The Law was established as the horse to beat and the only one left with a shot at the Triple crown off his impressive victory in the Belmont at Belmont Park. Across the board in the current Kentucky Derby Vegas odds, the Barclay Tagg trainee owned by the Sackatoga Stable is listed as the 5-2 favorite. The same trainer-owner tandem teamed up to win the 2013 Derby with Funny Cide. 

Eleven weeks is a long stretch between races, though. A lot can happen in such a lengthy passage of time. Tiz The Law is expected to tune up for the Derby by competing in the $1 million Travers Stakes for three year olds on Aug. 8 at Saratoga Race Course. Interestingly, only Whirlaway (1941) has ever been able to win both the Triple Crown and the Travers Stakes.

Another contender to keep an eye on is Santa Anita Derby winner Honor A.P. The John Shirreffs trainee is at 5-1 in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. Shirreffs sent out 2005 Derby victor Giacomo at odds of 50-1.

Perennial contender Baffert, who’s won the Derby on five occasions, has four contenders listed among the Derby future book. A name to keep an eye on could be Uncle Chuck (20-1). He posted a four-length victory for Baffert in Saturday’s $150,000 Los Alamitos Derby.

You Can Leave Your Hat On

While the Belmont was contested without spectators, the Derby remains hopeful that its annual festival of outlandish headgear will continue unabated. However, the race that normally draws an attendance in excess of 100,000 will be conducted under strict guidelines to limit crowd density due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following consultation with Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and state and local health officials, Churchill Downs has agreed to reduce the capacity permitted in general admission, outdoor reserved seating, premium dining and the track’s suites. Those in attendance will be strongly encouraged to wear masks, practice social distancing and to wash and sanitize their hands frequently.

The Kentucky Derby is one of those events on every hardcore sports fan’s bucket list, though. These restrictions have served to drive up ticket prices in the secondary market. Currently, the average price for Derby tickets is a reported $1,423 according to Ticket IQ.

Essence & Trifecta Gala Team Up For Kentucky Derby

ESSENCE ANNOUNCED AS OFFICIAL MEDIA SPONSOR FOR THE 2019 TRIFECTA GALA AT THE KENTUCKY DERBY

Louisville, KY- Thursday, April 18, 2019: The Trifecta Gala, an official event of the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Derby Festival has announced that ESSENCE will serve as the official media sponsor for this year’s event.  The 2019 Trifecta Gala is the premier Derby Eve event of the Kentucky Derby, and will be held on Friday, May 3, 2019 at the KFC YUM! Center in downtown Louisville.  The annual celebration, presented by former NBA star and Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Company CEO Junior Bridgeman and his family, is known for bringing together influential individuals within sports, music, politics, business and cinema, in order to raise awareness and develop a call-to-action for disadvantage youth as well as for cancer and autism research in various communities.

For nearly 50 years, ESSENCE has been a passionate resource; providing information and inspiration for women across the globe to achieve their dreams.  Today, ESSENCE is once again 100% Black-owned and has evolved beyond its flagship magazine to serve Black women deeply as a digital-first, content, technology and commerce company.  ESSENCE is also the producer of the annual ESSENCE Festival, the world’s largest cultural, entertainment and empowerment experience and celebration of Black culture.

“For years our family has relied on Essence magazine as guide to news and what’s happening in and around our community,” says Eden Bridgeman, daughter of Junior Bridgeman and chair of this year’s Trifecta Gala.  “Because theirs is a media brand that celebrates cultural and relevant excellence, we are confident this is a partnership that will only enhance the overall guest experience and event itself!”

“The Bridgeman family and the Trifecta Gala represent our culture and our community, and the event’s purpose-driven mission is aligned with the spirit of the ESSENCE brand.,” says Moana Luu, ESSENCE Chief Content & Creative Officer.  “As the official media partner for this year’s fete, we are thrilled to present our storytelling at the storied Kentucky Derby!”

In addition to the recent ESSENCE partnership, the 2019 Trifecta Gala is shaping to be one of the Kentucky Derby’s most talked about events.  Last month, The Bridgeman family announced that R&B superstar Usher will headline the event during an exclusive and limited performance at the gala.

Sponsored by Coca-Cola, Baccarat, GH Mumm, Miss Jessie’s, Tito’s Vodka, Diageo-Circoc, Crown Royal, Bulliet, Churchill Downs, Bachman Auto Group and Meijer, the 2019 Trifecta Gala will benefit several charities that have partnered with the Bridgeman Charitable Group for this special occasion, including The V. Foundation, The Louisville West End School and The University of Louisville Autism Center.

Tickets are available for purchase at www.trifectagala.com.

About ESSENCE Communications Inc. 

ESSENCE Communications is the number one media, technology and commerce company serving Black women and inspires a global audience of more than 17 million through diverse storytelling and immersive original content. With a multi-platform presence in publishing, experiential and online, ESSENCE encompasses its signature magazine; digital, video and social platforms; television specials; books; as well as live events, including Black Women in Music, Black Women in Hollywood, Street Style and the ESSENCE Festival. Essence Communications is owned by Essence Ventures, an independent Black-owned, technology-driven company focused on merging content, community and commerce to meet the evolving cultural and lifestyle needs of people of color.

About The Trifecta Gala

The Trifecta Gala presented by the Bridgeman Charitable Group is an annual Kentucky Derby fundraiser benefiting various charitable organizations.  For the past 18 years, retired NBA guard Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman and his family have hosted the most exclusive events during the Kentucky Derby weekend, drawing the likes of notable celebrities, influencers, top-athletes, as well as international CEOs and chairmen from diverse industries.  Each year, The Trifecta Gala celebrates the Derby while raising funds for specific charities pledging to make the world a better place through an evening to remember.  For more information on The Trifecta visit trifectagala.com.

About the V Foundation for Cancer Research

The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State University basketball coach and ESPN commentator. The Foundation has funded more than $225 million in cancer research grants nationwide. The V Foundation awards 100 percent of direct donations to cancer research and programs. The V Foundation’s endowment covers administrative expenses.  The Foundation awards peer-reviewed grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Committee. For more information on the V Foundation or to make a donation, please visit www.jimmyv.org.

About The West End School

The West End School is a free, private, college preparatory elementary and middle school for at-risk young men. Admission is open to boys entering pre-kindergarten through sixth grade who are on free or reduced lunch, are capable of doing academic work at grade level or above and who would benefit from a safe environment & high expectations. Middle school students board Monday through Friday and return home on the weekends.

About The University of Louisville Autism Center

The University of Louisville Autism Center at Kosair Charities is an ideal environment for targeting each child’s specific needs while fostering group thinking and strategies among practitioners. This approach allows parallel treatments to occur and makes the best use of the time available.

CONTACT:

BJ Coleman

Image Elevators

213.568.3875

abjcoleman@imageelevators.com

Finlandia Drinks for Kentucky Derby

The countdown for the Kentucky Derby is on!  
Finlandia has created a number of exciting and delicious cocktails such as The Finlandia Oaks Lily (Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby) and the Finnish Line to celebrate the most exciting two minutes in sports. Whether you’re in attendance or at home watching on the big-screen, everyone can be a part of the fun with Finlandia drinks!

The Finlandia Oaks Lily®
1 ¼ oz. Finlandia Classic Vodka
1 oz. Sweet and Sour Mix
¼ oz. Triple Sec
3 oz. Cranberry Juice
Combine ingredients over crushed ice in glass. Garnish with a fresh blackberry and lemon peel.

The Finnish Line
1 ¼ oz. Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka
4 oz. Sparkling Grapefruit Water
Grapefruit Slice
Combine ingredients over crushed ice. Garnish with a grapefruit slice.