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2024 Derby Prep Race Leader: Getting To Know Timberlake

The road to the 2024 Kentucky Derby is heating up, and one thoroughbred has consistently galloped into the limelight as the derby prep races are underway, capturing the hearts and bets of horse racing fans worldwide. 

Timberlake, a sleek bay colt with a gaze as sharp as his stride, has effortlessly clinched victories in several key Derby prep races. Let’s explore and peel back the layers about Timberlake to discover what makes him the horse to watch out for at the Derby this year.

Early Beginnings

Timberlake’s early beginnings are as humble as they are inspiring. Rooted in the rolling pastures of Kentucky, this future champion first opened his eyes to the world in the spring of 2021.

Born to mare Pin Up from Ireland, who has a modest racing record, and sire Into Mischief, known more for his stamina than speed, Timberlake’s prospects were not immediately promising.

Timberlake started his racing career in 2023, participating in his first MSW race, finishing sixth. In the same year, he tried MSW once again and ended up as the winner.

Timberlake’s debut race was a testament to his raw potential. Though he finished a modest sixth, he demonstrated a remarkable speed, hinting at his capability to dominate the field. It wasn’t long before he secured his first victory, setting the pace in a maiden special weight race and finishing with a comfortable lead. 

This victory was more than just a win; it was a harbinger of the successes that were to follow, marking the beginning of Timberlake’s ascent in the world of horse racing.

With his amazing performances, it’s no surprise that he is one of the best point earners in the Road to the Kentucky Derby this year. If you plan to bet, you might already have checked out the 2024 guide to betting on the Kentucky Derby. One of its tips is to root for the favorite to increase your chance of profiting. 

Path to Glory

After winning his second MSW race, Timberlake has officially started his professional racing career. Below are the races he participated in throughout it. 

The Breakthrough at the 2023 Hopeful (G1)

Timberlake burst onto the scene with a stunning performance at the 2023 Hopeful (G1) and finished second. The race was a competitive field with a mix of tactical speed and raw power. Although he didn’t win the race, he showed unparalleled talent, putting him on the horse analysts, fans, and bettors’ radar. 

Timberlake was behind the winner, Nutella Fella, by 1 ½ lengths, leaving the third placer, Pirate, by a neck. The close race put the spectators on the edge of their seats.

2024 Derby Prep Race Leader: Getting To Know Timberlake

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Dominance at the Champagne Stakes

His next race was the Champagne Stakes, where he successfully dominated. Timberlake secured victory in the 2023 Champagne Stakes (Grade 1) held at Belmont at the Big A, ensuring his entry into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile through the “Win & You’re In” initiative. 

This Into Mischief colt made a strong comeback after finishing second in his previous race, the Hopeful Stakes (Grade 1). 

Guided by Brad Cox with Florent Geroux as the jockey, the commanding win in the one-turn mile race, held on a wet and sealed track, secured the Into Mischief colt a guaranteed spot in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Furthermore, Timberlake earned the full allotment of points in the 10-5-3-2-1 format for the Kentucky Derby preparatory race.

His 2023 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Journey

After qualifying for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile through the “Win & You’re In” initiative, he brought his prowess to Santa Anita Park last November 3, 2023. However, Timberlake fell short and only ended up in fourth place in the race. 

Victory At The 2024 Rebel Stakes

Another victory Timberlake acquired is his recent race, the 2024 Rebel Stakes, a qualifier race for the upcoming 2024 Kentucky Derby. Timberlake didn’t let his loss in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race bring him down. 

Instead, he and his team use it as an inspiration to do better. True enough, they succeeded and won the Rebel Stakes. Coached by Brad Cox, Timberlake secured a place in the Kentucky Derby (G1) by earning 50 qualifying points with his third win in six races. 

This guarantee gives the $1,094,350 prize winner a chance to compete in the Run for the Roses, provided he maintains his form for the coming 2 1/2 months. This achievement comes after he was purchased as a yearling for $350,000 and bred by St. Elias Stables.

The Team Behind Timberlake

Behind every great racehorse is a dedicated team, and Timberlake’s is no exception. Trained by Hall of Famer Brad Cox and cared for by a seasoned and passionate crew, it’s clear that Timberlake’s success is not just due to his natural talent but also the result of meticulous preparation and care.

Brad Cox is a testament to dedication, skill, and passion in horse training. He rapidly rose to become one of the most notable figures in thoroughbred racing. Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Cox was practically in the shadow of Churchill Downs, breeding a deep-rooted love for horse racing from a young age. 

His career, blossoming from humble beginnings as a hot walker to becoming a leading trainer, illustrates a profound commitment to the sport and his equine charges. This passion turned him into one of the most sought-after horse trainers of his time. 


Timberlake represents the dream of every horse trainer, owner, and fan—an equine athlete whose story writes itself with each powerful stride toward victory. His remarkable performances in the lead-up races have set the stage for what could be a historic run at the Kentucky Derby. Whether he will seize the rose garland in triumph remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: Timberlake is a shining star in the galaxy of thoroughbred racing.

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