LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Two Kentucky Derby hopefuls, War Story and Mr. Z, turned in five-furlong breezes over a fast track Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs.
Working first on his own as the track opened at 5:45 a.m. was Loooch Racing Stables, Glenn Ellis and Christopher Dunn's War Story.
With Dylan Davis aboard for trainer Tom Amoss, War Story produced fractions of :12.80, :24.60, :36.40, :49 and out six furlongs in 1:15.60. The five-eighths move was the seventh fastest of 20 at the distance for the morning.
"That was a typical work for him," Amoss said. "He definitely knows the difference between practice and a race. To say that he is a lazy work horse is accurate."
It was the third local work for War Story since finishing third in the Louisiana Derby (GII). He was ridden that day by Joe Talamo, who has the Derby call.
"This work was similar to his others except that his extension of stride was nicer this morning," Amoss said. "This will probably be his last work. This is the plan we used before the Risen Star (working 10 days before the race) and that worked well."
A winner of his first two starts and graded stakes-placed in his next three, War Story won his only start at Churchill Downs with that coming last fall.
"He has improved daily and I see an enthusiastic horse," Amoss said. "War Story deserves to be in the Derby. Off his past performances, it would be accurate to say that he is a contender would be a reach. He has got to improve dramatically to win this race."
After the morning renovation break, Zayat Stables' Mr. Z worked five furlongs in 1:01 in company with Majestico.
Starting a length in back of his workmate and finishing on even terms, Mr. Z produced fractions of :12.80, :25, :37, :48.60 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.60.
Exercise rider Edvin Vargas was aboard Mr. Z for the work that was the fourth fastest of the morning.
"I thought it was fine," trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. "You don't get paid at 8:30 in the morning."
Ramon Vazquez, who rode Mr. Z to a third-place finish in the Arkansas Derby (GI), will have the Kentucky Derby mount.
Mr. Z broke his maiden at first asking here and has added seven graded-stakes placing in a career that spans 12 races.
"He is probably the most seasoned horse in the race and didn't need to do too much," Lukas said. "Plus, he has an affinity for this race track."
OTHER KENTUCKY DERBY NOTES
AMERICAN PHAROAH – Zayat Stables' American Pharoah galloped 1½ miles after the renovation break with exercise rider Jorge Alvarez aboard for trainer Bob Baffert. American Pharoah is scheduled to work Sunday.
BOLD CONQUEST – The Ackerley Brothers Farm's Bold Conquest galloped after the renovation break with exercise rider Abel Flores up for trainer Steve Asmussen.
DANZIG MOON – John Oxley's Danzig Moon stood in the starting gate and then galloped 1½ miles after the break under exercise rider William Cano for trainer Mark Casse. Danzig Moon is scheduled to work Saturday.
FAR RIGHT – Harry Rosenblum and Robert LaPenta's Far Right jogged two miles shortly after 6 o'clock under exercise rider Laura Moquett for trainer Ron Moquett. It was the first day back on the track for Far Right, who had walked the previous two days. "He is definitely fit and we don't need to do much with him," Ron Moquett said. "He will work Saturday or Sunday depending on the weather."
INTERNATIONAL STAR – Ken and Sarah Ramsey's multiple graded stakes winner International Star galloped 1¼ miles at the nearby Trackside training center under Joel Barrientos for trainer Mike Maker. International Star is scheduled to work at Churchill Downs.
ITSAKNOCKOUT/MADEFROMLUCKY/MATERIALITY/STANFORD – Trainer Todd Pletcher's quartet of Tuesday Churchill Downs arrivals galloped 1¼ miles Wednesday morning. Starlight Racing's Itsaknockout went out in Pletcher's first set of the day shortly after the track opened with exercise rider Carlos Cano aboard. Going out after the break at 8:30 in the time reserved for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders were Alto Racing's Materiality, with Cano aboard; Stonestreet Stables, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's Stanford, with Isabelle Bourez aboard; and Cheyenne Stables' Madefromlucky, with Ezequiel Perez aboard. Pletcher's fifth Kentucky Derby hopeful, WinStar Farm and Stonestreet Stables' Carpe Diem, continues to do his training at Keeneland, where he galloped 1½ miles early this morning under exercise rider Patti Krotenko. Pletcher's four Churchill Downs-based colts are scheduled to work Saturday and Carpe Diem Sunday at 6:30 at Keeneland.
KEEN ICE – Donegal Racing's Keen Ice galloped a mile after the morning renovation break with exercise rider Faustino Aguilar aboard for trainer Dale Romans.
MUBTAAHIJ – UAE Derby (GII) winner Mubtaahij cantered a lap Wednesday morning at Arlington. Assistant trainer Trevor Brown said the horse emerged from Tuesday's three-eighths work in good order.