Six trainers making Kentucky Derby debut, hoping for Roses - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Six trainers making Kentucky Derby debut, hoping for Roses

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The 140th Kentucky Derby has its share of trainers familiar with the Run for the Roses – from Baffert to Pletcher,  Asmussen to Romans.

But six trainers are making their first appearance in the race, including two whose horses were the first- and second-betting choices Saturday afternoon. Here’s a brief look at their resumes, based on Equibase and Churchill Downs data:

Gary Contessa. The trainer of the New York-bred Uncle Sigh, who comes into the Derby off a fifth-place finish in last month’s Wood Memorial, Contessa set a New York Racing Association record when 159 of his horses won races. Among his notable wins was Do It With Style in the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland in 1991.

Peter Eurton.  A former jockey, Eurton started training in 1985. Among his notable horses was Wemissfrankie, who won the Grade I Del Mar Debutante in 2011 and went on to finish third in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. 

Unlike favored California Chrome and his trainer, Art Sherman, Eurton and Derby starter Dance With Fate have largely avoided the media spotlight.

“This is a great little spot,” Eurton said at his barn earlier this week. “I mean, people have to find him, actually. ‘Where is he at?’ You know. We’re up in the north forty up here, but it’s great.”

Jose Garoffalo. A native Venezuelan, Garoffalo brings Wildcat Red into the Derby off a runner-up finish in March’s Florida Derby. He has been training horses in North America since 1999, but two of his three wins in graded stakes races have come with Wildcat Red.

William G. Gowan. Louisville-based “Bronco” Billy Gowan has a small stable of horses. His Derby-bound Ride On Curlin accounts for four of his seven starts in 2014.

James A. Jerkens. Jerkens, the son of famed trainer Allen Jerkens, has won two Breeders’ Cup races and had a third-place finish in the 1998 Belmont Stakes. His past horses include Artie Schiller and Florida Derby winner Quality Road. His Derby horse, Wicked Strong, was the second choice at 7-1 as of 3:45 p.m.

Art Sherman. As has been well documented, the 77-year-old Sherman rode with 1955 Derby winner Swaps by train from California to Kentucky. Also a former rider, he has started horses in more than 12,000 races and will send 5-2 favorite California Chrome out to the Derby.

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