190408-spt-jockey VEKOMA - The Toyota Blue Grass G2 - 95th Running - 04-06-19 - R10 - KEE - Javier Castellano - 001

Jockey Javier Castellano accepts congratulations after Saturday’s race. Castellano and Vekoma will be heading to the Kentucky Derby on May 4.

MANCHESTER’S MIKE GATSAS probably got a good night’s sleep following Saturday’s Toyota Blue Grass Stakes. That is if he even slept at all.

Vekoma, the 7-5 favorite, pulled away in the stretch to win the 1⅛ mile Blue Grass Stakes and earn a spot in the May 4 Kentucky Derby. Gatsas Stables co-owns Vekoma with R.A. Hill Stable, and Gatsas told reporters before Saturday’s race that he hadn’t slept since Wednesday.

The lightly raced Vekoma won both of his races as a 2-year-old, and finished third in the Fountain of Youth — his only other race before the Blue Grass Stakes. Vekoma, who won’t be a true 3-year-old until several weeks after the Kentucky Derby, became the first horse to win the Blue Grass Stakes with only three previous starts since Coaltown in 1948.

“I personally believe that Derby horses are better served to have more races and be battle-tested and such, so it’s not by design that he’s lightly raced,” Vekoma trainer George Weaver told the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader. “It’s just the timing.

“I would prefer to have more races under his belt, but it doesn’t surprise me that he won the Blue Grass with just three races under his belt. Just because he’s been such an athlete. He really has. I haven’t had a colt like him.”

Vekoma, who completed the race in 1:50.93, was ridden by jockey Javier Castellano and paid $4.80, $3.20 and $2.60.

He’ll undoubtedly pay a lot more if he turns in a winning effort at Churchill Downs.


The Derryfield School boys’ lacrosse team will enter Tuesday’s Division II opener against Goffstown with a 53-game winning streak, which is the longest active boys’ lacrosse winning streak in the nation.

Derryfield hasn’t lost a game since 2016, and hasn’t been beaten by a Division II opponent since Goffstown beat Derryfield 9-8 in the 2015 Division II championship game.

According to the National Federation of High Schools record book, West Genesee of Camillus, N.Y., owns the record for consecutive victories in boys lacrosse. West Genesee won 91 games in a row from 1981 to 1984.


The Nashua athletics department is currently accepting nominations for its Hall of Fame. There were 107 members inducted from 1991 to 2000, but no one has been inducted since then. The 11th induction ceremony will be held in May of next year.

The Nashua Hall of Fame will recognize individuals from any one of the following Nashua public high schools: the former Nashua Senior High School, Nashua High School North, and Nashua High School South.

Categories for nominees:

• Student-athlete or manager

• Coach or athletic trainer

• Team

• Special Contributor

In most cases, the team or individual must have a minimum five-year separation from Nashua athletics before being considered for induction.

The deadline for nominations is Oct. 1. Nominees not chosen for the 11th induction will automatically be reconsidered for the next three cycles, and inductions will not occur more than every two years.

More information about the Hall of Fame, including nomination criteria and how to nominate a team or individual, can be found on the Hall of Fame page at either www.NashuaNorthAthletics.com or www.NashuaSouthAthletics.com.

The Exeter High School baseball team will be looking to make history this spring. The Blue Hawks have won the last two Division I championships, and no NHIAA Division I/Class L team has ever won three in a row. Portsmouth is the last program to win more than two consecutive titles. The Clippers won four straight Division II championships from 2008 to 2011.

Exeter will open its season Wednesday at Timberlane.


It appears the pool of candidates for the Bedford High School varsity football job has been whittled to two. One is a current NHIAA Division III head coach, and the other is a Division I high school assistant. A hire could be made as early as this week.


The New Hampshire Golf Association is offering a free rules clinic on Wednesday, April 17 (6-8 p.m.) at Cochecho Country Club in Dover.