LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Monday, April 17, 2017) – Classic Empire, last year’s champion 2-year-old who won Saturday’s Arkansas Derby (Grade I), arrived at Churchill Downs on Monday morning to prepare for the Grade I, $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on Saturday, May 6.
Classic Empire, who is expected to vie for favoritism in the Kentucky Derby after his half-length Arkansas Derby triumph, was bedded down in trainer Mark Casse’s Barn 36 shortly after 10 a.m. Saturday’s race was his first in 10 weeks.
“It was incredibly rewarding to see Classic Empire return to his full potential,” assistant trainer Norm Casse said. “It was extremely frustrating and challenging this winter with his antics but it means so much to our team that he returned the way he did.”
The 3-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile owned by John C. Oxley has amassed $2,120,220 in earnings with a record of 7-5-0-1, which includes a win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) to close out his 2-year-old campaign. Classic Empire is expected to return to training Thursday or Friday at Churchill Downs.
Note: Norm Casse will be at Barn 36 from 3-3:30 p.m. Monday for media availability.
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