LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – It was beat-the-rain day at Churchill Downs on Friday with six Kentucky Derby and six Kentucky Oaks hopefuls putting in works over a fast main track.
The work tab for the Derby included half-mile works for the Todd Pletcher quartet of Itsaknockout, Materiality, Stanford and Madefromlucky; Danzig Moon for trainer Mark Casse and Far Right for trainer Ron Moquett.
Working toward the Oaks with half-mile breezes for Pletcher were Angela Renee and Eskenformoney. Working five furlongs were Forever Unbridled for trainer Dallas Stewart, Sarah Sis for Ingrid Mason, Oceanwave for Wayne Catalano and Condo Commando for Rudy Rodriguez.
Scheduled to work at Churchill Downs on Saturday are International Star, Tencendur and Keen Ice; slated for a Keeneland work is Carpe Diem; Frosted and Upstart are scheduled to work at Palm Meadows and arrive here Tuesday; Mubtaahij (IRE) is scheduled to work at Arlington and arrive here Monday; El Kabeir is slated to work at Belmont, weather permitting, and arrive here Monday; and, the undefeated Dortmund is scheduled to work at Santa Anita and arrive here Sunday as is Firing Line.
Working at Keeneland on Friday morning was Frammento, for two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Nick Zito. Frammento, 22nd on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, covered a half-mile in :48 and would ship to Churchill Downs on Tuesday. The move was the fourth best of 57 on a fast track.
Working Friday at Santa Anita was Golden Pegasus Racing and Earle Mack's Bolo for trainer Carla Gaines. With jockey Rafael Bejarano up, Bolo covered five furlongs in company on a fast track in :59.60.
OTHER KENTUCKY DERBY NOTES
AMERICAN PHAROAH – Arkansas Derby (GI) winner American Pharoah galloped 1.5 miles under exercise rider Jorge Alvarez on Friday morning at Churchill Downs after the morning renovation break. The Pioneerof the Nile colt owned by Zayat Stables is scheduled to work Sunday morning for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.
BOLD CONQUEST – The Ackerley Brothers Farm's Bold Conquest galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Abel Flores after the morning renovation break for trainer Steve Asmussen.
CARPE DIEM/ITSAKNOCKOUT/MADEFROMLUCKY/MATERIALITY/STANFORD – Not wanting to take a chance of working on an off track, trainer Todd Pletcher sent his four Churchill Downs-housed Kentucky Derby hopefuls to the track for half-mile works during the 8:30-8:45 window reserved for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks hopefuls.
Working first together were the 1-4 finishers from the Florida Derby (GI) Alto Racing's Materiality and Starlight Racing's Itsaknockout. The horses raced as a team through a half-mile in :48 with fractions of :12, :23.60, :35.60 and out five furlongs in 1:01 and six furlongs in 1:14.60. The moves were the seventh fastest of 76 at the distance. Javier Castellano was on Materiality and Ezequiel Perez on Itsaknockout.
Following right behind in company were Stonestreet Stables, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor's Stanford, with Isabelle Bourez up, and Cheyenne Stables and Mac Nichol's Madefromlucky with John Velazquez aboard.
Stanford was clocked in :48.40, the 19th fastest of 76, with fractions of :12.40, :24.20 and out five furlongs in 1:01 and three-quarters in 1:13.80. Madefromlucky was timed in :48.60, the 28th fastest, with fractions of :12.40, :24.20, out five furlongs in 1:01.60 and three-quarters in 1:15.
"I was happy with all of the works," Pletcher said. "Materiality and Itsaknockout worked very well and I thought they both got over the track very well. Stanford breezed really well today and I thought his gallop out was particularly good."
Pletcher said he was leaning against running Madefromlucky in the Derby and that he would recommend a race like the May 9 Peter Pan Stakes (GII) at Belmont Park, but he needed to confer with the owners before an official decision was made.
"I am thinking that Belmont Park with its sweeping turns might be a good fit for him," Pletcher said.
Pletcher's other Derby hopeful WinStar Farm and Stonestreet Stables' Carpe Diem galloped late Friday morning at Keeneland under Patti Krotenko.
"We are still watching the weather closely and he will likely work very early there tomorrow and then come here Monday," Pletcher said.
Velazquez has the mount on Carpe Diem. Javier Castellano will ride Materiality and Luis Saez will have the mount on Itsaknockout. Regarding Stanford, Pletcher said, "No decision has been made yet on running. Florent Geroux rode him the last time in the Louisiana Derby (GII) and he would be a possibility."
DANZIG MOON – With jockey Julien Leparoux aboard, John Oxley's Danzig Moon worked a half-mile in company in :48.80. Working with maiden winner Bollente, Danzig Moon posted fractions of :12.80, :25, :37 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.80.
"We just decided to get the work done and not worry about it," assistant trainer Norman Casse said of moving the work up a day for Danzig Moon. "He always works in company and we just wanted a good, even work."
Danzig Moon comes off a runner-up effort to Carpe Diem in the Blue Grass Stakes (GI).
"His preparation could not be any better and I feel he has moved up since the Blue Grass," Casse said. "Other than the Tampa Bay Derby (GII), he has run well every time. There were two reasons for the Tampa Bay results; one, he didn't handle the track at all and came back with cuts on his hind legs and two or three days after that he came down with a virus that may have affected the performance."
Casse said Danzig Moon would walk tomorrow and return to the track Sunday. A paddock schooling session is scheduled for Wednesday.
FAR RIGHT – Harry Rosenblum and Robert LaPenta's Far Right worked a half-mile in :49 under Greta Kuntzweiler for trainer Ron Moquett. Fractions on the work, which was the 38th fastest of 76, were :12.40, :24.20 and out five furlongs in 1:03.
"I was worried it would be too quick," Moquett said of the work that came after the morning renovation break. "I wanted a Far Right work, not a :47, just a steady, grinding work."
Moquett initially had planned to work Far Right on Saturday but moved the drill up because of the rainy forecast.
"I'm glad that we can put that behind us and now we can go on and worry about something else," Moquett said.
INTERNATIONAL STAR – Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Louisiana Derby (GII) winner and Road to the Kentucky Derby points leader (171) International Star galloped 1 1/4 miles at the Trackside training center with exercise rider Joel Barrientos aboard – the same routine he has kept every day this week – according to trainer Mike Maker. The New York-bred colt by 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus is scheduled to work Saturday morning at Churchill Downs but those plans are subject to change.
"Mother Nature is going to dictate," Maker said. "If the weather is good we'll go at 8:30 [a.m.]."
If there are showers Saturday morning that muddy the track, as currently expected, then International Star's breeze would "most likely" be pushed back to Sunday, the trainer said. Another possibility – less likely but also under consideration – would be to train Saturday at Trackside as soon as the track opens to beat the rain.
KEEN ICE – Donegal Racing's Keen Ice, galloped 1.5 miles after the morning renovation break with exercise rider Faustino Aguilar aboard for trainer Dale Romans. Keen Ice is scheduled to work Saturday.
MR. Z – Zayat Stables' Mr. Z jogged under exercise rider Edvin Vargas after the morning renovation break for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. It was the colt's first day back at the track following a five-furlong work in 1:01 on Wednesday.
MUBTAAHIJ – Mubtaahij cantered one lap Friday at Arlington under Lisa Moncrieff, a day in advance of another anticipated breeze. "They are popping at the moment, really ready to go," said assistant Trevor Brown about the Derby prospect and Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI) hopeful Umgiyo. "We are ready to go today if we needed to. Their prep here has been superb, they are blossoming."
OCHO OCHO OCHO – DP Racing LLC's Delta Jackpot (GIII) winner Ocho Ocho Ocho left trainer Jim Cassidy's barn at Santa Anita Park in Los Angeles at 4:15 a.m. PDT bound for Kentucky on a H.E. Tex Sutton charter flight. He was bedded down at Barn 41 at 2:40 p.m. EDT. The Street Sense colt tired to third in the Blue Grass (GI), his second start of the year. Though Cassidy was disappointed by that effort he remains positive based on what he has seen in back in California. Wednesday morning, Ocho Ocho Ocho breezed six furlongs, handily, from the gate in 1:13 3/5. "Everything's gone right since the Blue Grass," Cassidy said. "He worked really well the other day.” Ocho Ocho Ocho, named for his hip number, 888, at the 2014 Ocala Breeders' Sales April juvenile sale, will test the Churchill Downs surface for the first time Saturday at 8:30 a.m. during the Oaks and Derby training session after the renovation break. Assistant trainer Matt Williams will supervise Ocho Ocho Ocho until Cassidy arrives Monday.
TENCENDUR – Phil Birsh's homebred colt Tendendur galloped 1 3/8 miles under exercise rider Blair Golen Friday and is scheduled to work Saturday morning. Golen said that jockey Manny Franco will be in from New York to breeze the colt, who will work in company with stablemate Wake Up in Malibu. Trainer George Weaver typically sends Tencendur out with a workmate for his breezes. "We do that with him because he gets a little distracted out there by himself and it just keeps him focused," Golen said. With rain in the forecast, Golen said Weaver has not decided what time he will have the colt do his five-furlong work. "We might go at 6 o'clock or we might go at 8:30 (the time reserved for Oaks and Derby candidates). We're going to keep an eye on the weather. We're all going to be here early and decide at 4:30 or 5 in the morning. Golen chuckled at a question about the chilly morning at Churchill Downs Friday. "We were in New York. He's trained in 5-degree temperatures, so 37 is nothing for him," she said. "He handled the winter very well and he's a New York-bred who grew up at Phil's farm near Saratoga. This weather is not a big deal to him."
WAR STORY – Loooch Racing Stables, Glenn Ellis and Christopher Dunn's War Story jogged after the morning renovation break for trainer Tom Amoss. It was the colt's first day back at the track after working five furlongs in 1:02 on Wednesday.
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