While today's Kentucky Derby is the centerpiece of the 13-race card at Churchill Downs, the five stakes races leading up to the Derby feature some of the best horses in the country not running in the Derby. Wise Dan, the 2012 Horse of the Year, leads the field in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, the race immediately prior to the Derby, and Trinniberg, winner of last fall's Breeders' Cup Sprint, will run in the Grade 3 Churchill Downs Stakes in race nine.
Here's a quick look at the under card stakes races at Churchill Downs today:
Race 6: G3-Twin Spires Turf Sprint (Post Time: 1:19 pm Eastern)
The stakes portion of the card kicks off with a sprint race on the grass. Southern Dude and Berlino Di Tiger should contest the lead in what will certainly be a fast and furious five furlong dash to the wire. If the course gets a lot of rain and is downgraded to a rating of "Good" or worse, Regally Ready could be sneaky good in this spot. Regally Ready won the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs in 2011 over a turf course rated "Good" and he's three-for-three in his career on the Churchill turf course.
Race 7: G1-Humana Distaff (Post Time: 2:08 pm Eastern)
A speedy group of fillies and mares led by Richard Mandella's Rumor will sprint seven furlongs on the Churchill Downs main track. Jamaican Smoke will look to control the pace from her position on the rail, while Aubby K, winner of the G2-Inside Information at Gulfstream Park in her last start, will try and stalk the pace from the outside.
Race 8: G2-Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (Post Time: 2:59 pm Eastern)
Marketing Mix finished fourth in this same race a year ago but had a bit of traffic trouble that day in what was the worst finish for this mare over the past year. 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Stephanie's Kitten will look to sit back from what should be a strong early pace in order to make one big run to the front at the top of the lane. Stopshoppingmaria stretches back out to a mile after running in six consecutive turf sprints.
Race 9: G2-Churchill Downs Stakes (Post Time: 3:49 pm Eastern)
Trinniberg makes his first start since finishing a very disappointing 11th in the Dubai Golden Shaheen at Meydan on Dubai World Cup night a month ago. It remains to be seen how well he handled all the travel over the last month and he's not going to get anything handed to him in this very competitive field. Delaunay rides a five-race win streak into Churchill Downs and simply blew his rivals off the course in his races at the Fair Grounds this winter.
Race 10: G1-Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (Post Time: 4:44 pm Eastern)
Wise Dan has dominated everything and anything on the track over the past year, winning five consecutive races and eight of his last ten. He stretch out to 1 1/8 miles in today's Turf Classic after running in races at a mile during his current win streak, but that should be well within his abilities as he won the G1-Clark Handicap and G3-Ben Ali at nine furlongs in the past. The Woodford field is filled with quality from top to bottom, including Point of Entry, winner of the G1-Gulfstream Park Handicap over Animal Kingdom back on Feb. 9. Animal Kingdom went onto win the Dubai World Cup, the richest race in the world, in his next start.