Tag: robby albarado

Story by Jennie Rees, Eclipse Award winning turf writer


Talk Veuve to Me was a heavy favorite for a reason, she rallied home impressively for the win in the Grade III $200,000 Indiana Oaks for jockey Julien Leparoux. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Talk Veuve to Me was the toast of Indiana Grand, romping to a 4 3/4-length victory over Figarella’s Queen in Saturday night’s Grade 3, $200,000 Indiana Oaks.

 “She showed what I was expecting her to show,” said trainer Rodolphe Brisset, who began training only last year and earned his second graded stakes victory, following Quip in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby in March. “It was maybe a little quicker than what I was thinking on paper. But she took the lead pretty easy. You could see that she was looking around a lot, just went to the wire cruising.

 “She’s very unlucky being born in one of the best years —how many good fillies do we have this year? — between Monomoy Girl, Midnight Bisou and Red Ruby and I’m sure I’ve left out some. It’s a very, very strong year for 3-year-old fillies. I don’t know where everybody wants to go. She may have to face them and turn the table on some to be in the top three. But we are what we are.” (more…)

If a race was predicted at the start, Axelrod would not have been a strong contender for the win in the 24th running of the Grade III $500,000 Indiana Derby. However, it is how you finish that matters and Axelrod was full of momentum when he hit the wire, nabbing Trigger Warning for the win.

Florent Geroux never gave up on Axelrod, grabbing the victory in the Grade III $500,000 Indiana Derby Saturday, July 14 by the margin of a head at the finish line over Trigger Warning. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from post six, Axelrod and Florent Geroux broke slowly from the gate and was nowhere near the front runners of the nine horse field as Trigger Warning and Irwin Rosendo shot out to an early lead along the inside, tracked closely by Blame the Rider and Julien Leparoux just to their outside. Givemeaminit and Marcelino Pedroza sat third and Dark Vader with Corey Nakatani also showed early speed to sit in fourth just outside of Givemeaminit. Geroux chose to slip Axelrod over to the rail to save ground around the first turn and trail the field. Trigger Warning continued to set the brisk tempo and was showing no signs of letting up through the half, making it clear the field would have to fight him for the lead.

Around the turn, horses from the back of the pack began to make their move, including Axelrod who had chosen an outside path to move with horses toward the lead. At the head of the stretch, Trigger Warning had opened up by two lengths on the field and was not slowing down. Midway through the stretch, Geroux kept encouraging Axelrod for more speed and the three-year-old responded, surging toward the leader and getting the win in the very last step of the race by the margin of a head at the finish line in 1:43.00. Trigger Warning was a solid second over Title Ready and Ricardo Santana Jr., who also moved up late in the race to finish third over race favorite King Zachary and Robby Albarado.


Story by Jennie Rees, Eclipse Award winning turf writer

When Robby Albarado suffered a broken ankle in a gate mishap two weeks before last year’s Kentucky Derby, the jockey said that horse owner Tom Conway sent a text telling him not to worry, that “your Derby horse is in Dale’s barn.”

Robby Albarado has won the Indiana Derby three times. His last win was recorded in 2007 aboard Zanjero. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Conway, a Louisville attorney, was referring to the 2018 Derby, trainer Dale Romans and a young colt that Conway co-bred and owned outright that was a son of Curlin, whom Albarado rode throughout two Horse of the Year campaigns. King Zachary, the colt in reference who was still almost seven months from making his first start at the time of the text, missed the Kentucky Derby. But he is the 6-5 favorite in Saturday night’s $500,000 Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand. Albarado believes that King Zachary’s victory in Churchill Downs’ Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes last month and the Indiana Derby will prove just the start of a huge second half of the season for the youngster.

“We’ve always really, really been high on him,” Albarado, who has won the Indiana Derby a record three times and will be riding in the race for a record 11th running, said recently. “I really like the colt. He has a lot of characteristics of Curlin, not comparing them. But he’s tactically fast, he rates, he’s a smart horse, a nice physical specimen. I think he’s going to become special.”

King Zachary missed his chance at the Kentucky Derby when he finished sixth in New York’s Grade 2 Wood Memorial after winning a maiden race at Gulfstream Park by 7 3/4 lengths.


A field of nine has been drawn for the 24th running of the Grade III $500,000-guaranteed Indiana Derby Saturday, July 14 at Indiana Grand. The race, slated as the ninth on the 10-race card, will have an estimated post time of 9:48 p.m. The first race post is 5:30 p.m.

King Zachary before training at Churchill Downs on July 10, 2018, with exercise rider Faustino Aguilar aboard. (Jennie Rees photo)

King Zachary comes into the race off an impressive four-plus length win in the Grade III $100,000 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs in mid June. The flashy chestnut son of Curlin had a late start to his racing career, finishing third in his only start at two last fall at Churchill Downs. Since that time, he has progressively showed his talents on the track and is currently three for six in his career with only one start finishing off the board.

“He’s a good horse, just coming into his own,” said trainer Dale Romans by phone following the post position draw Wednesday, July 11 at Indiana Grand. “With top horses, post shouldn’t make a difference. As long as he’s in the gate is the main thing. We’re expecting him to come up and run huge.”

A $550,000 yearling purchase by longtime Louisville resident Tom Conway, King Zachary will begin from post eight as the favorite at odds of 6-5. Robby Albarado, a three-time Indiana Derby winning jockey, has ridden King Zachary in all of his career starts and will be aboard again for the Indiana Derby.


By Eclipse Award winning freelance writer Jennie Rees

Trainer Dale Romans long has said that King Zachary is as good as any 3-year-old in his large Churchill Downs-based stable.

 Owner Tom Conway has been talking up his homebred son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin long before King Zachary ever ran. 

King Zachary comes into the 24th running of the Grade III $500,000 Indiana Derby off a win at Churchill Downs in the Matt Winn. (Photo by Coady Photography)

 Now King Zachary takes another step toward backing up their beliefs when the strapping chestnut runs in Saturday night’s $500,000 Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand, where he’ll likely be one of the favorites after taking Churchill Downs’ Grade 3, $100,000 Matt Winn in his last start.

 “Tom and I talked about it (Sunday) night,” Romans said Monday. “It just made a lot of sense. A half-million dollars is a lot of money, and the timing is good to try to make the Travers at Saratoga with him. This is a really good horse. You know the (handicapping) number he ran in the Matt Winn is the same thing that (Triple Crown winner) Justify has been running.”

 Especially being a longtime Louisvillian, the 80-year-old Conway was very much hoping to run King Zachary at his hometown track the first Saturday in May. He did, just not in the Kentucky Derby, with King Zachary winning of an entry-level allowance that went off as the 13th race.

 “He got some ‘shins’ at a bad time last year and had a few little issues that kept him from getting into the Derby,” Romans said. “But he’s ready to run now.”

 Conway bred King Zachary in partnership with a lifelong friend, buying the colt outright for a bid of $550,000 at the Keeneland yearling sale, albeit having to put up only half that.

 “I’ve liked him since he was a baby,” said Conway, who is an attorney. “You know how sometimes a horse stands and its ears are up; and they’ve got a wandering eye, they’re looking around to see who’s watching them? Taking everything in. This horse has presence. I think he’s a classy individual.”

King Zachary started his career with a pair of thirds before winning March 18 at Gulfstream Park. But Conway says it was the second start, when King Zachary was a late-running third, that convinced jockey Robby Albarado that the colt was the real deal.


Retrospection has not been worse than second all year and proved that he cannot be overlooked as he paired up with Jockey Robby Albarado to take home the top prize in the 14th running of the $150,000 Governor’s Stakes Wednesday, Aug. 9. They covered the one mile and 70-yard event in a time of 1:42.66 to record their second win in five starts for 2017.

Retrospection and Robby Albarado were two length winners in the $150,000 Governor’s Stake Wednesday, Aug. 9. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from the outside post 11, Retrospection had intentions of getting up close to the pace early on, but a lot of traffic forced Albarado wide in the first turn as Shezaguy and Eddie Perez scooted up the inside to take advantage of the top spot early on. Evader and Marcelino Pedroza, also a longshot in the field, also made their presence known early, sitting to the outside of Shezaguy through the early portions of the race. Retrospection never let the top two get out away from them too far and maintained their position down the backstretch.


Mind Reader and DeShawn Parker were persistent in finding racing room and their persistency paid off, rallying home to the victory in the ninth running of the $100,000 Snack Stakes. The duo covered the one-mile turf course distance in a time of 1:36.80.


Mind Reader and DeShawn Parker pulled off a mild upset in the $100,000 Snack Stakes Wednesday, July 20 at Indiana Grand. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from post 10 in the bulky field of 11 Indiana bred three-year-olds, Mind Reader rallied out of the starting gate with the pack, settling in nicely among the second tier horses as Gifted Justice and Declan Cannon shot to the lead on the inside with Evader and Marcelino Pedroza three wide as Shezaguy and Juan De La Cruz held his ground between horses. The trio of horses continued their pursuit of the race down the backstretch as horses continued to stay close from the top to bottom in the field. Around the turn, the late closers began kicking in and Parker let Mind Reader out a notch just to keep positioning.


Retrospection and Robby Albarado proved to be the toughest pair in the ninth running of the $100,000 Hoosier Breeders Sophomore Stakes Wednesday, June 21. The duo found room at the top of the stretch and got through en route to their first career stakes win.

Retrospection and Robby Albarado (inside) edge out Mind Reader and DeShawn Parker for the win in the Hoosier Breeders Sophomore Stakes. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from post one in the 10 horse field, Albarado had Retrospection in contention early and was covered up by horses for a majority of the race, sitting in mid pack as Evader and Marcelino Pedroza led the way through early fractions of the one and one-sixteenth mile race. As the field approached the final turn, the field became even more bunched up leaving several horses on the inside searching for room, including Retrospection.

 At the top of the stretch, Retrospection found just enough space to get through his opponents and find a clear lane to run. Mind Reader and DeShawn Parker also found a place to accelerate and joined Retrospection for the stretch drive. In the end, Retrospection had the advantage on the inside to defeat Mind Reader by the margin of a head. Dox Folly and Malcolm Franklin rallied from the back of the pack to slide in for third.


Brooklynsway took control on the far turn and drew off to an 8 1/2-length romp over Pangburn in the $102,850 Mari Hulman George Stakes on Indiana Grand’s Indiana Derby undercard Saturday night.

Jockey Robby Albarado had Brooklynsway tracking a modest pace before turning the filly loose. While running away from the field, she was timed in 1:43.02 for 1 1/16 miles. Brooklynsway paid $3.80 to win, $2.40 to place and $2.10 to show as the odds-on favorite in the field of seven fillies and mares.

“She keeps going like she’s going, she’s going to beat somebody,” Albarado said. “She’s got all the attributes of a good one: Physically she’s big enough. Tactically fast. There’s not going to be a false pace or she’ll be the pacesetter there. She’s got a lot of qualities you want to see.”

The 4-year-old Brooklynsway, who was foaled in Ontario and had raced only at Woodbine near Toronto, has proven a savvy $180,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton November sale last fall by trainer Bernie Flint and owner Dr. Naveed Chowhan, both of Louisville. Saturday’s stakes was their sixth race this year; she also won Keeneland’s Grade III Doubledogdare at 25-1 and was second in Churchill Downs’ Grade II Fleur de Lis in her prior start.

“I’m telling you, I’m amazed that as much as I’ve run her, she’s still strong and durable,” Flint said. “She doesn’t carry her race with her. She’ll come from behind. She’ll go to the front. She’ll work with the group she’s in there with. We’ve been beaten a few times, but every time she got beat, something had to happen. Either she stumbled, she fell, she got shut off or in tight where you couldn’t make a run. That goes with horse racing. But today, absolutely, she came through and shined really brightly.”


By Jennie Rees, Eclipse Award-winning freelance writer


If all 12 start, this will be the largest Indiana Derby field ever. Here we take a look at the pros and cons of betting each horse:


Post 1 – Discreet Lover (jockey Jose Flores, trainer Uriah St. Lewis, owner Trin-brook Stables)

Pros: Philadelphia shipper has been knocking at the door, including finishing third in the Ohio Derby at 87-1 odds. He’s been working very well and could pull off the upset if there’s a hot pace.

Cons: Other closers are faster than he is. His 1-for-13 record doesn’t inspire confidence as far as hitting winners circle, though he has four seconds and two thirds.


Post 2 – Cherry Wine (jockey Luis Saez, trainer Dale Romans, owners William Pacella, Frank Jones and Frank Shoop)

Pros: No other horse in the field ran in the Triple Crown, and he finished second in the Preakness, beating Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist. His 100 BRIS speed figure in the Preakness tops the field.

Cons: Finishing seventh in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont might have taken some starch out of him. He needs a fast pace up front, which is no sure thing.