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Derby dash dates to fall

Prospective, center, wins the Tampa Bay Derby in March. Prospective was last in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November, but the Oldsmar win sparked a Kentucky Derby bid.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

Prospective, center, wins the Tampa Bay Derby in March. Prospective was last in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November, but the Oldsmar win sparked a Kentucky Derby bid.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Hansen was there, edging out hard charging Union Rags. Dullahan ran, too, as did Daddy Long Legs, Creative Cause, Take Charge Indy, Alpha, Optimizer and Prospective.

The same horses are expected to line up again in Saturday's Kentucky Derby, six months after the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on the same Churchill Downs track.

Though no horse is a clear favorite heading into Wednesday's post position draw, as many as nine horses that will start Saturday also ran in the premier race for 2-year-olds.

"When you look back at the race, it was a key," Union Rags trainer Michael Matz said. "And a lot of those horses have done well. I think this is a pretty competitive crop."

The top five graded stakes earners are from the 13-horse field that started at the Juvenile.

Hansen held off Union Rags, winning the 11/16-mile race in 1 minute, 44.44 seconds. Creative Cause was third, followed by Dullahan and Take Charge Indy. Optimizer, who needs one horse to pull out to get in the Derby, was eighth.

The Juvenile also helped solidify decisions on what horses would continue on the Kentucky Derby trail, something Prospective trainer Mark Casse saw even though his horse finished last that day.

"I think he's developed well," Casse said. "When this horse ran in the Juvenile, he only trained on dirt for about 10 days. So, when we thought … maybe we have a Derby horse, we took him right down and started training him on dirt."

Prospective won the Tampa Bay Derby in March at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar to vault into the Derby conversation.

Conditions Sunday were muddy after a violent storm swept through Louisville on Saturday night.

Trainer Bob Baffert sent his favored colt, Bodemeister, out for his last work and was scheduled to send his other, Liaison, for final preparation today. Bodemeister is one of several contenders that either didn't run as a 2-year-old or skipped the Juvenile.

"Part of what we want to do is try to have Derby horses and have horses ready for the spring of the year," said Elliott Walden of WinStar Farms, which owns Gemologist. 'Part of that is that we don't over-race them at 2, so typically, you know, you don't see any of our juveniles come to hand in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. We typically stay away from that race."

Wood Memorial Stakes winner Gemologist, one of trainer Todd Pletcher's two horses, is unbeaten in five starts.

"He's been perfect his whole life, so we're hoping to see more of what we've seen," Pletcher said. "He's had a really good time since the Wood. Everything's gone smoothly with the exception of catching a little rain here the last few days. We're very happy with him."

BARBARO'S SIRE DIES: Dynaformer, the sire of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, died at Three Chimneys Farm in Lexington, Ky., two weeks after having a heart attack. The 27-year-old was one of the most successful sires in the thoroughbred industry, with 21 crops that have earned more than $105 million, including 130 stakes winners and 18 millionaires. Barbaro won the Derby but broke down in the 2006 Preakness Stakes and was euthanized.

.FAST FACTS

138th Kentucky Derby

5 p.m. Saturday (post time 6:24), Churchill Downs, Louisville, Ky.

TV: Ch. 8

Friday: Kentucky Oaks, 5 p.m. (post time 5:45)

TV: NBC Sports Network

Derby dash dates to fall 04/29/12 [Last modified: Sunday, April 29, 2012 9:41pm]
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