Week of May 2, 2011
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder

It’s the penultimate week leading up to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks, and there’ll be plenty of coverage of the contenders every move. How are they working? How are they jogging? How are they eating? And don’t they look cute during a bath! Keep up with the action at Raceday 360 Wire.

Perhaps the most electrifying 3-year-old is not a Derby or Oaks contender, but the English-bred Frankel, who remained undefeated in six starts by winning the 2000 Guineas in a romp. At one point he lead by about 15 lengths and ended up winning by six. No word on what’s next for Frankel but his connections are considering the prestigious Epsom Derby on June 4.

Most of the non-Derby and Oaks weekend action was on the turf with two long-distance races to close out the Keeneland meet and several mile races. At Keeneland Keertana stretched out beautifully in the Elkhorn and 9-year-old Musketier turned the tables on Rahy’s Attorney in the Bewitch. At Hollywood Park Dubawi Heights seems to be finding her best her in the States as she clocked her third straight win and first in stakes win in the Wilshire Handicap. Southern California shippers were out of luck in the San Francisco Mile as local Our Nautique wired the field at 19-1. The owner of Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty recently claimed Caixa Electronica, the winner of the Westchester Handicap at Belmont, for $62,500. The former claimer upset Haynesfield, winner of the 2010 Jockey Club Gold Cup (replay) who was making his first start of the year.

Back on the Derby and Oaks scene, most of the action has been around workouts, and thankfully there’s plenty of information to around. The Churchill Downs communications department has done a great job of posting workers and their splits on their Twitter account (@DerbyMedia). The personal Twitter account of Grade One Racing clocker Bruno DeJulio has some hidden gems in it as well. And, of course, you should keep an eye on DRF clocker Mike Welsch’s daily video report. All of the trades are also publishing their accounts of both Derby and Oaks workouts.

Machen finally put all the pieces together, accelerating in the stretch to take the Grade 3 Cliff’s Edge Derby Trail. After running in the Risen Star (replay) and Louisiana Derby (replay), his win certainly flattered those contenders who also prepped at Fair Grounds: Pants on Fire, Mucho Macho Man and Nehro.

This week we’ll do our annual posts on who is most suited to excel at the Derby distance based on pedigree (last year we pointed out two of the top three finishers!) and we’ll breakdown the field by running style. We’ll also do picks for both Oaks and Derby day and bring you a Ten Things You Should Know about the Kentucky Derby.

But if you can’t wait until then, we already have plenty of Derby and Oaks content!

Historical perspective
Kentucky Oaks: A Springboard to Many Glittering Careers
Kentucky Oaks: Oaks Winners in the 3-year-old Classics
Kentucky Derby: He Alone Made it What it is Today
Kentucky Derby: Top Five Favorite Derbies

Handicapping perspective
The Major Prep Factor: a look which Derby preps have been the most productive
Mining Derby Data: a primer on how to mine Derby data
You Better Work: a primer on understanding workouts

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 Bewitch Stakes Replay
Keertana shows off her explosive last run.

2011 Elkhorn Stakes Replay
9-year-old Musketier (GER) kicks home to take the Elkhorn for the second consecutive year.

2011 2000 Guineas Replay
UK racing sensation Frankel remains undefeated.

2011 Westchester Stakes Replay
Former claimer Caixa Electronica picks up the pieces after a wicked pace.

2011 Derby Trail Stakes Replay
Machen comes out of the clouds to nip Dominus on the wire.

2011 Wilshire Handicap Replay
Dubawi Heights makes it three in a row in her first stakes win.

2011 San Francisco Mile Replay
Our Nautique (NZ) wires the field and pulls an upset at 19-1 over accomplished shippers Blue Chagall and Bold Chieftain.

Upcoming Graded Stakes Races

Check probable starters at Horse Racing Nation’s Stakes Tracker

See you at the track!

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