04/22/2011 4:28PM

Churchill Downs: Five point for Derby Trial in its first nighttime running


At least five candidates are being readied for the $200,000 Derby Trial, which opens the spring meet at Churchill on Saturday with a program that starts at 6 p.m. Eastern. Those 3-year-olds likely for the one-mile Trial include Dominus, J J’s Lucky Train, Machen, Ruler On Ice, and Travelin Man. The Trial, worth $124,000 to the winner, will be run at 9:39 p.m.

This will be the first night running of the Trial, marking yet another transformation for a race that dates to 1924. In bygone days, it was a serious prep run the Tuesday before the Derby, but as it became less relevant, it was moved back to opening day in 1982. It also has been run at various distances and has had its purse fluctuate up and down.

Meanwhile, Flashpoint, the Hutcheson winner who was fourth in the Florida Derby, is not a candidate for the Derby Trial but is under consideration for the Preakness, said John Fort, who manages the Peachtree Stable that owns the Rick Dutrow-trained colt.

KENTUCKY DERBY NEWS: Track all the 3-year-olds on the Triple Crown trail