Kentucky Oaks and Derby hopefuls take center stage Saturday [Sports]

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On Fire Baby

With the Breeders’ Cup World Championships behind us, attention now turns to the Triple Crown trail and Kentucky Derby hopefuls.

A new star might emerge from the second “Stars of Tomorrow” of the Churchill Downs meet on Saturday. The program features 12 races, all for 2-year-olds, including two stakes races: the Golden Rod for fillies and the Kentucky Jockey Club.

The card is known for producing future stars. Last year Shackleford, fourth in the Kentucky Derby and winner of the Preakness Stakes, broke his maiden in the fourth race of the Stars of Tomorrow program.

Super Saver, the 2010 Kentucky Derby winner, showed promise with a win in the 2009 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.

This year’s edition features quite a few intriguing prospects. Leading the 11-horse field in the Kentucky Jockey Club is Ever So Lucky, a son of Indian Charlie who raised eyebrows with his effortless debut win at Churchill on Nov. 11. Veteran trainer Jonathan Sheppard is hoping the promising colt will be the first Kentucky Derby starter of his career. Ever So Lucky drew the rail post and has the meet’s current leading jockey, Julien Leparoux.

A top challenger is Gemologist, a son of Tiznow trained by Todd Pletcher. The colt is 2 for 2 including a win at this race’s distance, 1 1/6-miles. Also a threat is Cyber Secret, who conquered a muddy track in his debut and beat Perfect Trippi, who came back to win impressively at Aqueduct on Thursday.

Topping the 11-horse competitive field in the Golden Rod is On Fire Baby, the Pocahontas Stakes winner at Churchill on Oct. 30. She’s 2 for 2 on dirt.

Six runners are making their first start on dirt in the Golden Rod, including: Customer Base with Leparoux for trainer Tom Proctor, Karlovy Vary with jockey Robby Albarado for trainer George Arnold, and Spirited Miss with jockey Javier Castellano for trainer Mark Casse.

Post time is 12:40 p.m.

Photo by: J.J. Hysell

 

 

About J.J. Hysell
Horse racing/sports writer involved in sports/news media for 15 years. We miss you Hunter S. Thompson.
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