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Road to the Ruby (and Derby): Encino wears down Epic Ride in Battaglia
Godolphin's homebred Encino wore down heavily favored Leonatus Stakes winner Epic Ride Saturday night to capture Turfway Park's $150,000 John Battaglia Memorial, a Kentucky Derby points race, by a length under Axel Concepcion. Afterward we talk to Godolphin's COO Dan Pride, winning trainer Brad Cox's Turfway assistant Tessa Walden and John Ennis, trainer of Epic Ride. Both horses figure to go on to a major Kentucky Derby prep, either Turfway's $700,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3), Keeneland's Toyota Blue Grass (G1) or another points race.
Road to the Jeff Ruby: training b-roll of G3 Iroquois winner West Saratoga
Harry Veruchi's 3-year-old West Saratoga, Churchill Downs' G3 Iroquois winner and most recently third in Tampa Bay Downs' G3 Sam Davis, trained Feb. 23 at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington. Companion video to interview with trainer Larry Demeritte (here's that link: https://youtu.be/b09qULvT1f0)
Road to the Jeff Ruby: Trainer Larry Demeritte on West Saratoga
We catch up with trainer Larry Demeritte at his The Thoroughbred Center base in Lexington to talk about Harry Veruchi's 3-year-old West Saratoga, who is training up to Turfway Park's $700,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks on March 23. West Saratoga, a $11,000 Keeneland September yearling, won last fall's G3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs and most recently was third in Tampa Bay Downs' G3 Sam Davis Stakes. Correction in the video: Jennie refers to West Saratoga's fifth-place finish in his last race at 2 as being the Kentucky Jockey Club. It actually was Keeneland's Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity. Note: B roll of West Saratoga on separate video (here's link: https://youtu.be/BCKmCHOTjR4) @keenelandofficial @churchilldowns @turfwayparkvideos @tampabaydowns7594
Meet John Ennis: from County Meath to perhaps being on Derby trail (Part 2)
This is the second part of an interview with John Ennis, shot outside his barn at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington on Feb. 22, 2024. John talks about growing up in County Meath, Ireland, a lackluster jockey career and ultimately coming to Kentucky as an exercise rider, slowly building his own stable and having a breakthrough the past two years. That includes Turfway Park's Leonatus winner Epic Ride, the likely favorite for Saturday's $150K John Battaglia, where a big effort will continue Derby Dreams. Note: Video starts out with b-roll on Ennis watching a set train. That's Epic Ride he's in the stall with. As with Part 1, this video is available for any media use as part of the Kentucky HBPA's outreach to promote Kentucky horsemen, their horses and racing while providing news outlets with supplement racing content. Here's link to Part 1, which concentrates on Epic Ride https://youtu.be/Ru3yBDBv0i0.
KY Road to KY Derby: John Ennis on Battaglia-bound Epic Ride
In Leonatus winner Epic Ride, trainer John Ennis has won of the favorites for the $150,000 John Battaglia Memorial, a Kentucky Derby points race March 2 at Turfway Park. We chat with Ennis at his The Thoroughbred Center stable about Welch Racing's Blame colt and the Irish-born horseman's dream of having his first Kentucky Derby starter. John talks about getting into race in Ireland, coming to America, building a stable and his breakthrough the past couple of years in another video. Like everything on the Kentucky HBPA Youtube channel, this video is available for any media use as part of the HBPA's initiative to provide supplementary racing content to news outlets. Credit to the Kentucky HBPA, where feasible, is appreciated. Video shot 2.23.24 by Jennie Rees. Here's link to part 2, where John discusses his journey from County Meath to Kentucky https://youtu.be/sLWpMz0g5rs
Intricate has look of KY Oaks contender with Golden Rod romp
We speak with jockey Tyler Gaffalione and trainer Brendan Walsh after the 2-year-old filly Intricate rolls to a 5 1/4-length victory over heavily favored Thorpedo Anna in Churchill Downs' $400K, Grade 2 Golden Rod. Gaffalione and Walsh teamed to win the 2023 Kentucky Oaks with Pretty Mischievous, who finished third in the Golden Rod.
Fourth generation of Lukases see 2-year-old Just Steel win Ed Brown
As D. Wayne Lukas said at the Churchill Downs' toast following Just Steel's victory in the $222K, 6 1/2-furlong Ed Brown Stakes, "all these 2-year-olds get to be 3." Making the stakes victory even more special for the 88-year-old dean of American racing is the presence of his great-grandsons, in attendance with Lukas' two grandchildren Brady Wayne Lukas and his sister Kelly Lukas Roy. Video includes from left to right: David Roy holding Jonathan James Roy, Kelly Roy, Brady Wayne Lukas holding Walker Wayne Lukas and Dani Lukas. ("We got Johnny Walker!" David Roy observes) Photo of race by Jetta Vaughn for Coady Photography.
Honor Marie ($19.62) gives Beckman first graded-stakes win in KY Jockey Club
Louisville product Whit Beckman, who saddled plenty of graded-stakes winners when he was an assistant to Todd Pletcher and Chad Brown, earned his first graded-stakes victory on his own as Ribble Farms' Honor Marie closed with a rush to capture Churchill Downs' Grade 2, $400,000 Kentucky Jockey Club by two lengths over Real Men Violin. We catch up with jockey Rafael Bejarano and Beckman.
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