Here & There – May 6

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Blanket finish at the 150th Kentucky Derby, with Mystik Dan (inside) edging Sierra Leone (2) and Forever Young (11). Coady Media/Churchill Downs.

Kentucky Derby 150 in the books – and the Oaks, too – and a spectacular showing for trainer Kenny McPeek and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. They swept, in case you missed either, with Thorpedo Anna in the Oaks and Mystik Dan in the Derby.

We’re ready to close the book and turn the page if you will. Next stop Old Hilltop for the Preakness. Who shows up and who doesn’t? That’ll be the news of the week and weekend ahead. Hi Ho Pimlico.

But first, the latest installment of Here & There to tie up all the loose ends and deliver some news. Enjoy and see you soon.

T-Shirts of the Day – Derby Day edition
Soup of the Day – Bloody Mary
Stuff is Happening

Worth Repeating
“We’re not committed to the Preakness. No, not yet. I ran him back once in two weeks and it completely backfired on me. We skipped the Rebel (because it was) back too quick as well. So we’ll just watch him over the next week. We’ll probably take it up to the last minute. But we’ll see. We’ll let him tell us. If he’s not in the feed tub, he won’t run. And he ran hard yesterday. Like I said, we’ll let him tell us.”
Trainer Kenny McPeek on Mystik Dan the day after the Kentucky Derby

“They’re getting crazy about all these ‘fests’ ”
Lexington’s Greg Charkoudian, checking out a local paper’s calendar of events

“It really started in the paddock. The horse was not acting good in the paddock. Not every horse can handle 100,000 people and this horse did not handle it well. I had to saddle him on the walk which I’ve never had to do with this horse.”
Chad Brown on I’m Very Busy, beaten favorite in Saturday’s Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic

“This horse is a very special horse to my career. I won my 2,000th race aboard him and I can’t thank his connections enough for keeping me aboard.”
Jockey Umberto Rispoli after winning the Grade 2 American Turf on Trikari

“I can’t remember the last time I was in the winner’s circle with Pat Day.”
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas after winning the Pat Day Mile with Seize The Grey

“The 680 people will want to vote for that. My vote will be the one that counts, but I’ll vote with them. We have nothing to lose. He earned his way to run in the Preakness. He’s qualified for it. He’s nominated for it. So why wouldn’t we give those people that opportunity? That’s what we’re getting paid for, to make that many people happy.”
Lukas on running Seize The Grey in the Preakness for owners MyRacehorse

“That was an unbelievable performance to win a Grade 1 on this type of stage is so special. It’s really hard to describe.”
Trainer Cherie DeVaux after saddling Vahva to victory in the Derby City Distaff

“Part of the perk of being involved in horse racing and being a racehorse trainer is the traveling and the experience of seeing things. I’ve been to Royal Ascot a couple times now and it’s a special place for the races. You could feel the energy there. Everyone loves the racing there. It’s a fantastic place win, lose or draw, and the fact that we won just put us all over the top. It’s a difficult accomplishment to win at Royal Ascot, especially shipping over there from America. It’s harder on a horse to ship. We don’t have homecourt advantage over there.”
George Weaver, who won the Group 2 Queen Mary at Royal Ascot last year with Gulfstream stakes winner Crimson Advocate

By the Numbers
96.34: Win payoff in dollars for Trikari in Saturday’s Grade 2 American Turf, highest on Kentucky Derby Day

16.7 million: Total audience for Saturday’s 150th Kentucky Derby on NBC, the highest since 18.5 million tuned into watch Sunday Silence defeat Easy Goer in 1989. Viewership peaked at 20.1 from 7-7:15, when Mystik Dan scored his upset victory.

926,855,960: Wagering in dollars on U.S. races in April 2024, down 11.4 percent from the same month a year ago.

3,516,968,001: Wagering in dollars on U.S. races for the first four months of 2024, down 6.1 percent from the same period last year.

320.5 million: Wagering from all sources in dollars on the Kentucky Derby Day program, a record that topped last year’s mark of $288.7 million. All sources wagering on the Derby race also set a record at $210.7 million, topping last year’s record of $188.7 million. All-sources handle for Derby Week also rose to a record $446.6 million, topping last year’s mark of $412 million.

Handicapper’s Corner
The Saratoga Special/This Is Horse Racing handicapping team came up with a few winners over Kentucky Oaks/Kentucky Derby weekend, albeit without tabbing Mystik Dan in the main event. Sean Clancy did pick him third, the only one of our nine-member squad with the $39 winner in their top three.

John Shapazian and Charles Bedard led the way with five winners apiece. They each came up with two winners on Derby Day – John with Knicks Go winner Strong Quality and Distaff Turf Mile winner Chili Flag and Charles with Strong Quality and Derby City Distaff winner Vahva. Joe Clancy also doubled on Derby Day with Cogburn in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint and Vahva. Alec DiConza, Sean Clancy and Joe Clancy each came up with four winners on the weekend; Tom Law and Rob Whitlock picked three; Jessica Paquette had two and Paul Halloran tabbed one.

The handicappers will return for the May 17 Black-Eyed Susan card and the May 18 Preakness Day card.

Strauss earns Honorary Postmaster for Preakness 149
Beverly Strauss, co-founder and executive director of Chesapeake City, Maryland-based MidAtlantic Horse Rescue, has been named Honorary Postmaster for Preakness 149.

A licensed Thoroughbred trainer with more than 50 years of experience around horses, Strauss will be recognized during the Alibi Breakfast May 16 at Pimlico Race Course. In addition to training, Strauss has worked with horses in numerous disciplines including eventing, racing, foxhunting, showing and providing lessons. A Graduate A of the U.S. Pony Club, she helped launch MAHR in 2002 with the goal of helping find and transition former racehorses to new homes.

MidAtlantic Horse Rescue began by saving three horses and has grown to rescue more than 2,600 horses since its inception, earning full accreditation from the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and national recognition. A federal 501(c)3 non-profit organization, MAHR buys ex-racehorses bound for slaughter and, after quarantine and careful evaluation, adopts them into good homes as pleasure and sport horses.