The “Five” top performances on the road to the “Kentucky Derby”!

With the Kentucky Derby just a bit more than 2 weeks away, we thought we’d share with you our top 5 performances of the 2011 “Derby Trail” season!

We’ll start in Louisiana at the Fairgrounds with the Grade II Louisiana Derby!

Pants on Fire runs like his pants were on fire here but watch “Nehro” come within inches of winning here up the rail! Both were great performances this year!

The Big Apple and Uncle Mo is our next top performance of this 3yo season!

Watch as old “Mo” gets passed first, by Arthur’s Tale and then Toby’s Corner weaving his way thru traffic to score the big upset win! It was tops in the “Big Apple” this year!

Sunny California and the Santa Anita Derby is on our hit parade next!

Watch as “Midnight Interlude” has to check in mid-stretch and then goes on to win by a head over a very game “Comma to the Top”! They ran the best time of 1:48.34 for all the 1 1/8 mile derby preps!

The Florida Derby makes it to our list this year too! See why below!

Shackleford who is on the “earnings-bubble” right now should make the derby field off this great performance but Dialed In’s was even better!

The Arkansas Derby’s finish was “one for the ages”. See this great ending below!

Archarcharch’s stretch run to victory is “Kentucky Derby” worthy to be sure but Nehro’s near-victory here should scare the pants off all the other Derby contenders this year!

So those were our top 5 picks as the best of all the “Derby Prep” races for 2011. Hope you saw your favorites in there as we think you just saw the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner amongst all of these replays! It’s almost time to “loaded them up and watch’em run”!

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“Leaders” a new feature here at “downthestretchs”

"downthestretchs" announces "new" feature today!

We’ve added a “new” feature to our “Racing Information” tab that’s a top our homepage called “Leaders.

“Leaders” takes you to the top money earners page for all of horse racing so far in 2011. There’ll be tabs for horses, jockeys, trainers and owners!

So click on “Leaders” and find out where your favorites stand this year! 

“You Asked” and “Buhhda Provides”!

“Duke Of Mischief” slops home the winner of $1 million “Charles Town” Classic!

Duke of Mischief wins Charles Town Classic Stakes!

Duke of Mischief  won this 1 1/8 mile, for 4yo & up, $1,000,000,  GIII Charlestown Classic Stakes

Coming 2nd was Game On Dude back 2 1/4 lengths, 3rd to Tizway by a head further behind and your super spot was filled by Tackleberry back another 1 3/4 length.

 Researcher who was the 2-time reigning champ here with on the A/E list but never made the field here tonight.

Duke of Mischief  took control of this slop-fest down the back stretch of this 1 1/2 lap contest and never gave it up! It seemed none of the 10 entries were dealing comfortably with the conditions here tonight.

Some take aways!

Duke of Mischief jumps up into the” handicap division” top money winners list out of this effort and snaps a long drought of win-less efforts. Don’t know if he’ll do better now in a more conventional setting, but he’ll get the invites out of this effort!

Tackleberry left the confines of the Florida circuit to be here tonight and our guess is he’ll be back in Calder’s next big handicap division’s contest there!

Tizway and Game on Dude both managed board hits here tonight, under these tough conditions, but you can bet your bottom dollar they will find a 2-turn race, over a larger oval more to their liking next trip out!

The wet track, no Researcher in the final field of just ten, turned this race into our standard wagering strategy of grouping favorites into tri’s and supers! Looks like those strategies should have worked out just fine here too!

So the Charles Town “Bull-Ring” had the added disadvantage of a wet track tonight and anyone could have easily won this multi-lap contest! But it was fun to watch the top Handicap Division’s runners have to deal the with a short track race like this one!

 Just a little something different to end a full day of Thoroughbred action!

Click here to see race replay!

“Archarcharch”, wins-wins-wins $1 Million,GI “Arkansas Derby”!

Archarcharch (seen here) did what champion’s do on big race days, bring their “A”-games! Winning by just a neck over the equally hard-charging Nehro in the 75th running of the GI Arkansas Derby for 3yo’s only, going 1 1/8 mile for a $1 million purse!

Coming 3rd by another 1 1/2 length was City Dance and the super spot went to Sway Away 1 1/2 back more!

As for the favorite and newly installed, now uninstalled Kentucky Derby favorite “The Factor” finished 7th and even worst than we had predicted!

The winning time of 1:49.34 for the 1 1/8 mile covered here today is a good Kentucky Derby prep race time and translates out well for a 1 1/4 miles Kentucky Derby run too!

So Archarcharch and Nehro both move on to Louisville next month and right now they’d be in my top 5 candidates to win the this year’s “Run for the Roses”!

As to our picks, well, if you could get past The Factor hype here today. We did give you the first 4 finishers here as alternates to consider! We did pick-up $52.60 here today on again multiple win bets as we learned our “Uncle Mo” lesson from last weekend!

So the GI Arkansas Derby is now in the books and the lone GII Lexington/Coolmore Stakes at Keeneland next Saturday is the final Derby prep of 2011! Want to bet a long shot wins that one too! 

See race replay below!