Week of April 25, 2011
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder

It’s official, the 2011 Kentucky Derby prep season is finally over. And perhaps there’s no better way to send Kentucky Derby trail 2011 on its way than saying Adios Charlie! The two graded races for 3-year-olds this weekend had no impact on the current graded earnings, so now it’s just a waiting game to see who decides to run. There’s still plenty that could change in the course of two weeks and given the way it’s unfolded this year, why should we expect any less?

After displaying an impressive will to win by fighting back after being passed in the Jerome Handicap, Adios Charlie, may point to the in the Preakness or the Peter Pan. Lexington Stakes winner Derby Kitten was pointing specifically to that race, so there is currently no word on his next move, although it seems likely to be on the turf or synthetics.

It was finally announced that Jaycito, formerly #19 in the graded earnings, will not compete in the Kentucky Derby but point to the June 6 Belmont Stakes. Owner of The Factor stated that it’s unlikely that The Factor will compete in the Derby, leaving Baffert with late-blooming Midnight Interlude as his only starter.

Mucho Macho Man, Stay Thirsty, Shackleton and Pants on Fire all posted positive works over the weekend while Animal Kingdom’s connections were disappointed with the Spiral Stakes winner’s work. The Twitter account of the Churchill Down communication department (@DerbyMedia) is a great way to keep tabs on all the Derby and Oaks contenders as they work, jog, walk the shedrow and arrive at Churchill Downs. You can also keep up with workouts at Raceday 360.

The “jockeying” for Derby mounts has begun in earnest as well with Corey Nakatani picking Nehro over Comma to the Top, who will be ridden by Patrick Valenzuela. Alan Garcia will remain aboard Soldat and Shaun Bridgmohan will be aboard Santiva while Calvin Borel has yet to finalize a riding assignment.

Oaks contenders R. Heat Lightening, Kathmanblu, Summer Soiree and Zazu have put in recent solid works. Holy Heavens and Joyful Victory are slated to work tomorrow. The 2011 Kentucky Oaks could see a full field this year. It’s never too late to get to up to speed on the contenders!

It’s the time of the year when meets begin and end. Hollywood Park opened this weekend while Aqueduct and Gulfstream Park both closed their meets. Belmont, Calder, Monmouth Park, Arlington Park and Churchill Downs are all preparing for the opening of their upcoming meets.

We’ve done a bit of spring cleaning here at the site! In addition to our revamped Beginners’ Corner, we’ve renamed HRF This Week to Weekly Roundup and moved them from the About section to the Races section. If you subscribe to the RSS feed for HRF This Week you’ll want to subscribe to the new Weekly Roundup feed. We’ll also be posting our final piece of our handicapping foundations series this week: Introduction to Pace. Other posts in the series include Introduction to Class and Introduction to Speed.

Don’t forget to join our Road to the Roses League!
League Identifier: 3337801406
Activation Code: 2066491149

And as always, keep up with all the 2011 Kentucky Derby and 2011 Kentucky Oaks commentary at Raceday 360 Wire!

Last Week’s Races

2011 Appalachian Stakes Replay
Winter Memories makes a strong impression in her seasonal debut.

2011 Doubledogdare Stakes Replay
Embur’s Song sets a polytrack stakes and polytrack track record.

2011 Ben Ali Stakes Replay
Exhi scores a front-running victory in his first start since October.

2011 Jerome Handicap Replay
Adios Charlie fought back after being passed by Justin Phillip and pulled away to win by over 2 lengths.

2011 Lexington Stakes Replay
Derby Kitten won’t make the Derby but did fly home to take the last official Kentucky Derby prep.

2011 Inglewood Handicap Replay
Liberian Freighter takes them wire to wire, holding off the Ryehill Dreamer and The Usual QT.

Upcoming Graded Stakes Races

Check probable starters at Horse Racing Nation’s Stakes Tracker

See you at the track!

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