At the Races - Motion pictures Adiano in lights, cameras, action of Kentucky Derby

April 27, 2008|By LARRY YANOS

Maryland-based trainer Graham Motion has enjoyed tremendous success with thoroughbreds no matter where he works, in the Free State or around the country.

On Saturday, one of his newest stars will be in action at Churchill Downs.

The improving three-year-old Adriano will compete in the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby with newly elected Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado aboard.

Adriano earned a trip to the Kentucky Derby with a dazzling performance in the Grade II $500,000 Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park on April 22. It was the first stakes win for the Kentucky-bred horse, boosting his career earnings to $394,100 with a 7-3-1-0 lifetime record.

"I wasn't convinced I had a Derby horse until that race," said Motion, 43. "He won so impressively, effortlessly. It wouldn't be fair to the owners (Courtlandt Farms) or the horse not to give him a shot in the Derby. It looks like the race is wide open."


Adriano, a son of A.P. Indy, took command at the top of the stretch in the Lane's End and won by 2 1/2 lengths with Prado aboard. He covered the nine furlongs over the Polytrack in 1:50 1/5 as the nearly 5-1 third choice.

Most recently, in his first appearance on dirt, Adriano never factored in the Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park but then rebounded with the tremendous effort at Turfway Park.

"Early in his career, he ran on the turf because I couldn't find a spot for him on the dirt - there were no mile dirt surfaces for two-year-olds," Motion said. "He certainly has the pedigree to run on the dirt. And he favors a distance."

The veteran trainer has been "schooling" the horse carefully at Churchill Downs in the days leading to the Kentucky Derby.

"He's lovely to get on in the morning ... Very kind, but he sometimes has a tendency to get worked up. That has compromised him," Motion said. "A mile-and-quarter (Derby distance) would be his longest race but I don't think it will be an issue."

Adriano is out of the winning Gold Canyon (Mr. Prospector) and has a two-year-old half-sister named Gold d'Oro (Medaglia d'Oro).

It is the second Kentucky Derby experience for Motion and his wife Anita, who saddled Chilito in the 1998.

Motion does most of his training at the home base - Fair Hill Training Center in Fair Hill, Md. - and ships horses all over the country to compete.

In the Hall

Hats off to former Maryland-based jockey Prado and trainer Carl Nafzger who were elected to the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame last Monday.

Prado and Nafzger head the 2008 class which also includes two-time Kentucky Derby winner Ismael "Milo" Valenzuela, and horses Inside Information, Manila and Ancient Title.

The induction ceremony will be held on Aug. 4.

Inside Information, Manila, Prado and Nafzger were elected in the contemporary categories and Valenzuela and Ancient Title were selected for induction by the Historic Review Committee, which reviews candidates who have not been active in the sport for more than 25 years.

Pony tales

· Maryland-based jockey Eric Camacho worked Bsharpsonata at Churchill Downs last Wednesday and will be aboard the talented three-year-old thoroughbred Friday in the Grade I $1 million Kentucky Oaks.

The daughter of Pulpit worked 59.80 in her 5-furlong workout.

Since winning the Selima Stakes at Laurel Park last November, Bsharpsonata reeled off three consecutive stakes victories in Florida: Tropical Park Oaks (at Calder), Grade II Forward Gal Stakes (at Gulfstream Park) and Grade II Davona Dale Stakes (at Gulfstream Park) and then finished a game second in the Grade I Ashland Stakes at the Keeneland Race Course.

The 24-year-old Camacho, who rides first call for Maryland-based trainer Tim Salzman, has teamed up with Bsharpsonata for five stakes wins in her last seven starts.

· The Hollywood Casino at Penn National in Grantville,. Pa., will host Kentucky Derby festivities next weekend.

There will be an outdoor barbecue starting at noon at the casino and racing will be viewed on a 17-foot-by-24-foot Jumbotron screen in the infield.

Live racing follows at 6:45 p.m.

Full-card simulcasting from more than 40 tracks on Saturday starts with the Churchill Downs program at 11 am.

· Ten-cent superfecta wagering is now available on selected live races at the Hollywood Casino at the Penn National.

Superfecta betting is featured nightly on the third, sixth and ninth races on all live racing programs at Hollywood Casino. Racing is held every Wednesday through Saturday night beginning at 6:45 p.m.. at the thoroughbred oval in Grantville, Pa.

Larry Yanos covers horse racing for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at

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