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The Kentucky Derby was postponed from May until September for the purpose of allowing fans in the stands at Churchill Downs.

It will not happen.

Much like last Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 and the upcoming U.S. Open tennis and golf tournaments, Churchill Downs Incorporated announced last Friday that the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby will be held without spectators.

“The Kentucky Derby is a time-honored American tradition which has always been about bringing people together,” the company said in a statement. “With the current significant increases in COVID-19 cases in Louisville as well as across the region, we needed to again revisit our planning.

“We have made the difficult decision to hold this year’s Kentucky Derby on September 5 without fans…We deeply regret the disappointment this will bring to our loyal fans.”

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear supported the announcement by CDI, noting that Jefferson County, where Churchill Downs is located, had more than 2,300 new cases in the last week.

The announcement by CDI included no spectators for all live racing at Churchill Downs for Derby week (Sept. 1-5), including Kentucky Oaks Day Sept. 4.

Post positions for the Kentucky Derby will be drawn next Tuesday.

Rispoli continues to impress

Jockey Umberto Rispoli is riding at Del Mar for the first time this summer after riding all over Europe and most recently Hong Kong before coming to the U.S. With two weeks left in the Del Mar meet, Rispoli is the leading jockey with 36 wins, two more than defending champ Flavien Prat. From his 36 wins, Rispoli has 25 wins from 73 turf mounts, a win percentage of 33.7.

Scotty McClellan, who is Rispoli’s agent, has handled the successful careers of jockeys like Marco Casteneda, Chris McCarron, Alex Solis and Joe Talamo in Southern California. McClellan was asked by host Mike Willman on our Thoroughbred Los Angeles radio show Sunday why Rispoli has become so successful so quickly.

“He might forget his jacket, his sunglasses, or his watch, but when it comes to horses, he remembers everything,” McClellan said. “He is probably the hardest working jockey I have had. He is constantly studying video tape.

“Four months ago, he showed me a tape of a Group I race in Europe. I asked him what is that jock doing, moving so early? He told me it was him and he would use that move sometime here to win a race.”

That time was Saturday in the Grade II Del Mar Handicap aboard Red King. Rispoli knew that heavily favored United is a grinding sort and does not possess instant acceleration. The key would be to get the jump on the favorite, open up some daylight, and hang on.

Red King raced in the back half of the field early, behind United who was saving ground. Rispoli decided to move entering the far turn the final time, looped the field, and opened up three lengths on United before that rival could get going. United closed ground late, but Red King held on by a head.

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“I texted Umberto after the race to see if that was the move he showed me on the tape. He said yes,” said McClellan.

Jockeys are not allowed to work horses at Del Mar in the morning, and since there are mostly three race days per week, Rispoli has to do plenty of exercise to keep fit and still must reduce three to four pounds each race day.

One thing has become very obvious — neither McClellan nor horseplayers need worry about his work ethic.

Another star for Baffert?

Trainer Bob Baffert not only got plenty of congratulation messages on Maximum Security’s dominating win in Saturday’s Grade I Pacific Classic, he raised more than a few eyebrows with a debuting two-year-old filly named Princess Noor in the Saturday opener.

Princess Noor was the highest priced two-year-old to sell at auction in 2020 when she brought $1.35 million at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale in June. She broke on top from her inside post, established the pace without being asked, and jockey Victor Espinoza never moved while maintaining a clear lead through the stretch.

She won so easily she could come back on short notice in the Del Mar Debutante over Labor Day weekend. Mark her down as one to follow.

Lindo Report Play for Gaming Today: Del Mar Friday, Race 4 — Debt Monger (No. 5). Improving gelding showed in his first start vs. winners he could stand the raise in class. He gets another confident class boost and shows a positive work pattern since his last race.

About the Author

Jon Lindo

Jon Lindo is a syndicated handicapper, long-time thoroughbred owner, and publisher of the Lindo Report. Jon is also a regular contributor to Race Day Las Vegas Radio show on KSHP 1400 in Las Vegas and Thoroughbred Los Angeles Radio show, heard in Las Vegas at

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