11 Weeks to Derby: Churchill Downs talks top Derby picks, Survivors Parade
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Kentucky Derby is only 11 weeks away, and Churchill Downs is providing weekly updates ahead of the first Saturday in May.
Churchill Downs’s Senior Director of Communications shared that Louisville-based horse trainer Brad Cox won his 2,000th career race over the weekend with nine to 10 horses on their way to the Derby leaderboard.
“The Championship Series is up now and underway, it started last weekend with the Risen Star (Stakes) down at our sister racetrack in New Orleans,” Rogers said. “Angel of Empire was able to get the win and the points for Brad Cox under jockey Luis Saez, and they came from the back of the pack. It was a fast pace, but with 50 points, it almost assures yourself one of the 20 spots in the (Kentucky Derby) starting gate. So that’s good news for Brad.”
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Other top contenders in the series include Forte for trainer Todd Pletcher and a horse currently trained by Bob Baffert, Arabian Night, that must be transferred to another owner to qualify for points.
Baffert will not take part in the 149th Kentucky Derby after losing a federal case for an injunction for Churchill Downs’ two-year ban on Feb. 17.
“We’re pleased that the judge ruled with us and worked with us to protect the integrity and safety of horse racing,” Rogers said. “That’s why we’ve got this ban in place and that’s why we’re standing firm behind it. It’s year two, it should end at the end of this year. But we’ll see.”
Rogers also reminded that the deadline to apply for participation in the 2023 Survivors Parade on May 5 is coming up on Wednesday.
This is the 15th year for the parade, created to honor breast and ovarian cancer survivors and encouraging those still fighting cancer.
“We’ve had a record number of submissions,” Rogers said.
Churchill Downs will select the 149 guests to participate in the parade on Saturday, with the announcement to be shared on the Kentucky Derby website.
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