Kentucky Derby

I Want Revenge sets the bar high

LOUISVILLE — Just as I Want Revenge exited the Churchill Downs track Tuesday, the rain that had been threatening all morning finally let loose.

Even Mother Nature didn't want to spoil the show the son of Stephen Got Even had skillfully put on.

Grade I winner I Want Revenge threw down the gauntlet in his final work before the Kentucky Derby, drilling 4 furlongs in a bullet :471⁄5 with jockey Joe Talamo up.

The work was the fastest of 48 moves at the distance as the Wood Memorial winner posted splits of :112⁄5, :231⁄5, and :352⁄5.

"I think we accomplished what we wanted to do today," trainer Jeff Mullins said. "We just wanted to see him move forward and into the work and happy. This is the final hurdle before the big show."

Michael Iavarone, president of IEAH Stables, which owns part of I Want Revenge, said he's even more confident heading into the Derby this year than he was in 2008 when he took the roses with Big Brown.

"I've been saying all along, I think we're going into this race with a better horse for this race," Iavarone said. "Last year, with Big Brown, there were more questions, but this horse has seen more than Big Brown had seen at this point. I'm not saying he's a better horse, but he's a better horse for this race."

Rachel Alexandrais Oaks favorite

Star filly Rachel Alexandra was deemed the overwhelming 3-5 morning-line favorite and will break from post-position six for the Grade I Kentucky Oaks on Friday.

The daughter of Medaglia d'Oro has rattled off four straight wins dating to last November and is coming off a stirring triumph in the Grade II Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

"I think she's the strongest favorite since Winning Colors' year if she had raced in the Oaks," said trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who will send out three fillies in the Oaks.

The second choice on the morning line at 5-2 is Justwhistledixie, winner of the Grade II Davona Dale and Grade II Bonnie Miss Stakes.

Zenyatta gains another fan

Lost in the shuffle of Derby madness is the fact that undefeated champion Zen yatta will make her seasonal debut in the Grade II Louisville Distaff on the undercard of the Oaks on Friday.

Though she will not be the headliner this weekend, Zenyatta's presence on the Churchill Downs backstretch has not gone unnoticed by top Derby contender Friesan Fire, who is stabled seven stalls down from the mare.

"He was on his toes before he knew Zenyatta was here," trainer Larry Jones said. "He is quite taken with her."