Endlessly – ©Coady Media


Florida Connections: He was managed by Bloodstock agent Bob Feld for the owners the Amermans and then shipped to AbraCadabra Farms for early schooling and prepped by Barry Berkelhammer at AbraCadabra Farms in Ocala. Berkelhammer breaks and trains all the babies for the Amermans,  who also owned Oscar Performance the sire of Endlessly who was also started at AbraCadabra.

Jockey: Umberto Rispoli

Trainer: Michael McCarthy

Owner: Amerman Racing

Career record: 6 starts – 5 wins – 0 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $707,200

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 103

Kentucky Derby points: 100

Pedigree: Oscar Performance – Dream Fuhrever, by Langfuhr

Running style: Stalker/closer

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Endlessly’s career accomplishments place him among the top handful of contenders for the race, but they’ve all come while racing on turf courses or all-weather surfaces. A son of turf standout Oscar Performance, Endlessly has already won four stakes races in his six starts to date, and his only defeat came last November competing against some of the best 2-year-old turf horses in the world when he finished eighth by only 3 ½ lengths in the Prevagen Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. This year at age 3, Endlessly has made two starts in stakes on the all-weather Tapeta Footings surface, winning the El Camino Real Derby on Feb. 10 and then dominating the Jeff Ruby Steaks by four lengths on March 23. He has since moved to Churchill Downs and posted three timed workouts on the dirt track, and a decision will be made soon as to his next start: if he bypasses the Kentucky Derby, he is expected to target the American Turf Stakes on the May 4 Derby undercard, where he would be one of the favorites. If he stays in the Kentucky Derby, he’ll be coming from off the pace under jockey Umberto Rispoli, who’s been aboard Endlessly for both of his wins this year – and how well he handles racing on dirt for the first time will be the overriding factor in whether he makes an impact in the race.

Derby History: This will be Rispoli’s second Kentucky Derby appearance, and the first for Endlessly’s owner Amerman Racing and trainer Michael McCarthy. Berkelhammer’s AbraCadabra Farms in Ocala had three starters in last year’s Kentucky Derby, one of them being Albaugh Family Stables’ Angel Of Empire that ran a credible third.


Dornoch – ©Coady Media


Florida Connections: As reported in the popular column ‘Tales from the Crib’ by Kelie Reilly for, Dornoch had his early education with Raul Reyes at his famed Kings Equine in Ocala. At the academy that he operates with his wife, Martha, Reyes has tutored such stars as Hall of Famer Beholder. At one point Reyes noticed Dornoch was not moving as well in the behind. With his experienced eye, Reyes figured out the cause of the juvenile’s discomfort, a testicular issue. As a developing youngster one testicle did not descend. The simple solution was to remove it and horse still could have a future stud career, like Hall of Famer and leading sire A.P. Indy. Read more at ‘Tales from the Crib: Dornoch.’

Jockey: Luis Saez

Trainer: Danny Gargan

Owners: West Paces Racing, R. A. Hill Stable, Belmar Racing and Breeding, Two Eight Racing, and Pine Racing Stables

Career record: 6 starts – 3 wins – 2 seconds – 0 thirds

Career earnings: $552,275

Top Equibase Speed Figure: 102

Kentucky Derby points: 75

Pedigree: Good Magic – Puca, by Big Brown

Running style: Pacesetter/press the pace

Notable achievements and interesting facts: Dornoch was one of the leading Kentucky Derby contenders in future wager pools over the winter after he closed out 2023 with back-to-back wins, including a nose victory over Sierra Leone in the Remsen Stakes. He kept that status after winning his 3-year-old debut, the Coolmore Fountain of Youth Stakes, March 2 against a field that was reduced by four scratches on the day of the race. In his next start, the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, Dornoch settled off of the early pace for a change instead of contesting it, and did not muster much of a closing rally when asked by jockey Luis Saez, finishing a distant fourth behind last-to-first winner Sierra Leone. Much of the esteem surrounding Dornoch has diminished as a result of his final prep effort, but he could be eligible for a bounce-back effort at decent odds, especially if he reverts back to his forwardly placed running style. Dornoch has consistently posted speed figures that give him a chance to at least finish third or fourth in the Kentucky Derby if not win the race, and his pedigree is beyond reproach for handling the 1 ¼-mile classic distance: as a son of sire (father) Good Magic and out of the dam (mother) Puca, he’s a full-brother to last year’s Kentucky Derby winner Mage.

Derby History: Saez experienced the feeling of winning the Kentucky Derby for about 22 minutes in 2019, as his mount Maximum Security crossed the finish line in front. However, that colt was disqualified by stewards for drifting out and interfering with several horses at the top of the stretch, so as it stands, Saez’s best finish in the Derby from 10 prior starters came aboard third-place Essential Quality in 2021. Trainer Danny Gargan will also start Society Man in the 2024 Derby and made his first appearance in 2019 with Tax, who finished 14th. Randy Hill (R. A. Hill Stable) was co-owner of Tax and is the only member of this ownership group with previous Derby experience.

Dornoch’s brother Mage won the Derby, a win would mean the first-ever sibling double.

Return to the April 25 issue of Wire to Wire