04/24/2013 4:44PM

Kentucky Derby: Trial critical to Titletown Five's chances of making field

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas would like to see Titletown Five move on to next weekend's Kentucky Derby if he runs well in Saturday's Derby Trial.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A field of nine 3-year-olds is set to clash Saturday night at Churchill Downs in the Derby Trial, the traditional spring-meet opener that may or may not yield a final starter for the 139th Kentucky Derby a week later.

Titletown Five, owned by a large local group that includes football legend Paul Hornung, definitely would run back in the Derby, but beyond that, the potential implications of the Derby Trial are less clear. The Grade 3, $175,000, one-turn-mile race offers 20 “wild card” points to the winner in the new eligibility system that guides entry into the 20-horse Derby field.

[DERBY WATCH: Top 20 Kentucky Derby contenders with odds and video]

Titletown Five was a fading ninth at 15-1 in his second and most recent start as a 3-year-old, the March 30 Louisiana Derby. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has said all winter he has been playing catch-up in trying to make the Kentucky Derby after Titletown Five underwent minor surgery last fall following a nine-length maiden victory at Churchill. He returned with a second in a minor Oaklawn Park sprint stakes in early March prior to the Louisiana Derby.

From the rail, this is the Trial field: Officer Alex, Ruler of Love, Zee Bros, Forty Tales, Ruble, Capo Bastone, Tour Guide, G. T. Tabu, and Titletown Five.

One horse considered for the Trial but not entered was Treasury Bill, who will instead stay home in California to compete in the Came Home, Affirmed, and Swaps, said trainer Ron Ellis.

The Trial is carded as the 10th of 11 opening-night races. First post is 6 p.m. Eastern, with the Trial set for 10:36 and the last race going at 11:10.

This is the third year Churchill has opened the spring meet with an evening card. Previous Trial winners under the lights were Machen (2011) and Hierro (2012).

Churchill also will host Downs After Dark programs on the last three Saturdays (June 15, 22, 29) of its 38-day spring meet. The first of those cards will include the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap.

After the Saturday opener, Churchill will go dark Sunday and Monday before the five-day Derby week commences Tuesday afternoon.

John Stevelberg More than 1 year ago
The CAPO will go WAPO to T5 and all who dare !
Honnimae More than 1 year ago
Bastrone will smash this field , He so how slipped through the Cracks
LimitPokerCraig More than 1 year ago
Anybody who knows how to read a form knows this race goes through Zee Bros...The horse is just better than the rest of the field...problem is he will only pay 5.20 to win
scott More than 1 year ago
Illinois derby over the derby trial... it"s a no brainer
Dave More than 1 year ago
Yeah run him a mile and then 1 1/4 a week later. Great idea. The Derby Trial should not be worth Derby points. Anyone care about the horse's well-being?
not impressed More than 1 year ago
Horses used to run in the Derby trial all the time before the Derby years ago. Today's TB's are just plain weaker.
Bau Ho More than 1 year ago
Horses well-being. These days, trainers complain five-week stretch, three races are too much for their horses. Whiners - Look at Citation, won the Derby Trial, won the Kentucky Derby 4 days later, won the Preakness two weeks later, won the Jersey Stakes two weeks later, and then the Belmont Stakes two weeks later.
Dave More than 1 year ago
The breed is different now. Is football the same as it was in 1947? Is basketball? Is baseball?
Steve More than 1 year ago
Fundamentally, Yeah, the same. it's only the humans and money/greed involved in those sports that are different
Steve More than 1 year ago
Mott just shipped a horse that lost by 30 lengths in fla and won a grade 1 in Kentucky of a 1 well layoff. That's probably tougher than running twice at Churchill. Not that it will happen, but it wouldn't be the biggest shocker in racing
Justin Mato More than 1 year ago
I'd rathersee Tiz A Minister
Jason Hart More than 1 year ago
Me too....... Especially if it rains.
Neil More than 1 year ago
So much speed. Love Rosario on Forty Tales
FMeatball More than 1 year ago
Capo Bastrone !! ALL The Way !
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
he was (is) my KD future bet at 57-1. That was a $40 throwaway
Jd Staton More than 1 year ago
you mean pletcher may have 7 horses in the derby. thats crazy
RockaFelter21 More than 1 year ago
and none of them will win easy game bro