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Around The Backstretch: Waiting On The Derby

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Apr 14, 2012; Lexington, KY, USA; Jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard Dullahan celebrates in the winners circle after defeating Ramon Dominguez aboard Hansen in the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland Race Track. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE
Apr 14, 2012; Lexington, KY, USA; Jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard Dullahan celebrates in the winners circle after defeating Ramon Dominguez aboard Hansen in the Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland Race Track. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE

As we patiently await the arrival of the 2012 Kentucky Derby, there are lots of items making news around the world of horse racing. Derby contenders are heading to the track for the final tune-ups, the legendary Calumet Farm is reportedly about to be sold, Kentucky once again debates and votes on banning Lasix, the Jockey Club and the NTRA launch a new racing website for fans, and the flat season in Europe is awaking from its winter slumber. All this AND MORE!

2012 Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby 2012: Secret Circle will pass - Daily Racing Form
Secret Circle, a four-time stakes winner who was a well-beaten second to Bodemeister in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park last weekend, will be given a rest in coming weeks and will not start in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, trainer Bob Baffert said on Thursday.

Romans says dirt not an issue for Dullahan in Derby - Thoroughbred Times
Dullahan is a two-time Grade 1 winner on a synthetic surface, multiple graded-stakes placed on turf, and unplaced in three starts on dirt. Trainer Dale Romans is not concerned about his Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) contender.

Bodemeister: Start Of Something Special? - Daily Racing Form
Was Bodemeister\'s stunning 9 1/2-length victory in the Arkansas Derby a breakthrough performance that puts him head and shoulders above his contemporaries?

Take Charge Indy Breezes at Palm Meadows -
Chuck and Maribeth Sandford's Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Take Charge Indy worked an easy five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 April 19 at Palm Meadows.

Zayat, Baffert, and the Unbridled sire line of Bodemeister - Sid Fernando + Observations
Ahmed Zayat got into the business in 2005, and in 2006 he made the splashy $4.6 million yearling purchase later named Maimonides. A son of the ultra talented Seattle Slew 2-year-old Vindication, Maimonides was trained by Bob Baffert to win one of two lifetime starts. Obviously talented, he’d won his maiden by 11 and a half lengths at Saratoga in 2007, but he finished third to Majestic Warrior in the Grade 1 Hopeful next out at the Spa and never raced again.

Lukas still hoping Optimizer makes Derby field - Handicappers' Edge
luegrass Hall LLC's homebred Optimizer, most recently ninth in the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, is still being pointed to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, according to trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Creative Cause works at Hollywood Park - Thoroughbred Times
Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands contender Creative Cause turned in his first breeze since his runner-up effort in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) on Tuesday morning at Hollywood Park.

Castaway needs Lexington win to make Derby field - Handicappers' Edge
While trainer Bob Baffert has yet to fully commit Castaway to the Kentucky Derby on May 5, the white-haired conditioner has given every indication the Street Sense colt will wheel back off the two-week break if he captures Saturday's 31st running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.

2012 Kentucky Derby: Pletcher may shift Gemologist's work | Daily Racing Form
Trainer Todd Pletcher has scheduled Gemologist’s first work since his victory in the Grade 1 Wood for Sunday morning at Palm Meadows but could be forced to call an audible and move the drill up at least one day with rain in the forecast.

Derby, Oaks Mobile Application Launched -
Churchill Downs has launched an enhanced free mobile application for select smartphones and tablets that run the iPhone and Android operating systems for this year's Kentucky Derby and Oaks.

North American Racing

Aqueduct: Europeans liven up turf features - Daily Racing Form
European imports spice up a pair of turf allowance races scheduled as the co-features on Friday’s nine-race card at Aqueduct.

Emerald Downs: Cat On Base, Belvoir off to fast start - Daily Racing Form
Cat On Base equaled the track record for 5 1/2 furlongs last Saturday at Emerald Downs. The win was one of five for trainer Howard Belvoir on opening weekend.

Emerald: McCanna expanding his scope - Daily Racing Form
Tim McCanna spent much of the winter and early spring hauling horses the 700 miles between the San Francisco Bay Area and his ranch in Yakima, Wash.

Prairie Meadows: Changes aplenty as 24th season of racing begins - Daily Racing Form
Significant changes mark the beginning of the 24th year of Thoroughbred racing at Prairie Meadows, which begins Friday and runs through Aug. 11.

International Racing

Black Caviar will race twice in Australia before Royal Ascot - Daily Racing Form
Black Caviar, the unbeaten Australian sprinter, will have two starts in that country in coming weeks before traveling to England for the Royal Ascot meeting in June,

Frankel back on track for Lockinge Stakes at Newbury - Telegraph
Racing has spent much of this week dealing with bad news, but the first day of Newmarket’s Craven meeting on Wednesday coincided with something better; it is all systems go again for Frankel’s four-year-old career.

NEWMARKET Trumpet Major blows apart Craven field - Horse Racing News - Racing Post
TRUMPET MAJOR scooted home to win the Craven Stakes for Richard Hannon and Ryan Moore by five lengths from stablemate Crius.

Industry and Economic News

KHRC and the Lasix Debate: 'We just disagree' -
I thought about "We Just Disagree," Dave Mason's hit song from the late 1970s, as I drove away from Monday's meeting of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Minutes earlier, the hay, oats, and water movement suffered a stunning setback after the 14 commissioners were evenly divided over whether or not to approve a phase-out of race-day medication beginning with 2-year-olds in 2013 and a complete ban by 2015. The deadlocked vote meant the proposal was dead, at least for now.

Calumet Farm to be sold -
Just over 20 years after Polish-born aviation magnate Henryk De Kwiatkowski bought Calumet Farm from a bankruptcy auction, promising to “not change one blade of grass,” the famed Lexington, Ky., Thoroughbred nursery that produced Triple Crown heroes Whirlaway and Citation is in the process of being sold to billionaire Brad Kelley of Franklin, Ky., the Paulick Report has learned from multiple sources with knowledge of the pending deal.

Jockey Club, NTRA launch new fan-oriented website - Handicappers' Edge
he Jockey Club and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today the launch of a new fan-oriented website: America's Best Racing. The web address is