Churchill Downs Backside: April 24, 2014

by: Sean Nix

I  ventured out to Churchill Downs this morning to catch my first glance of the Kentucky Oaks and Derby contenders hitting the track.  A few things that really caught my eye this year versus previous years was the enormous new video board that was installed on the backside and the bleacher seating section along Central Avenue.  The new bleacher style seating looks like a great addition; the verdict is still out on the video board.

Horses began to hit the track around 8:30am.  Oaks Contender Aurelia’s Belle breezed in company with G1 winner Room Service. Aurelia’s Belle seemed to have the better of her workmate throughout the seven furlong work, stopping the watch in 1:28.60.  She looked very comfortable and within herself while skipping over the Churchill Downs oval.

Kentucky Derby contender, Medal Count, looked the part as he stretched his legs over the track this morning.  Trained by Dale Romans and owned by Spendthrift Farm, the Kentucky Derby will be his third race in the last 30 days.  For a horse that has run twice in April, he looked fresh and had no signs of being a tired horse.  Medal Count could play spoiler come race day.  Trainer Todd Pletcher had several hit the track this morning, including G1 Arkansas Derby winner Danza.  Danza looked well this morning and is starting to peak at the right time.

If you have a chance to make it out to Churchill Downs in the morning over the next week, I strongly urge to head out and take a look at the changes the historic track has undertaken and to get a close up look at these wonderful athletes.  If you happen to see me on the backside please come up and introduce yourself.

Danza Working towards the Kentucky Derby