UAE DERBY WINNER LANI PUTS IN 3-FURLONG BREEZE;
VENUS VALENTINE WORKS HALF-MILE FOR OAKS
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Wednesday, April 27, 2016) – Koji Maeda’s Lani, winner of the UAE Derby (Group II) in his most recent start, worked three furlongs in :37.40 with blinkers on over a track labeled fast during the 8:30-8:45 a.m. training period reserved for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders.
With jockey Yutaka Take aboard, Lani jogged right onto the track, galloping easily once around before beginning his work at the three-eighths pole. Clockers timed Lani in :14 for his first eighth and had a gallop-out time of :50.60 for a half-mile. The work was the fifth fastest of eight at the distance.
Lani pulled up at the three-quarters pole, backtracked to the mile chute where he walked for a few minutes before returning to the barn.
“He was a little shy to start, but after the quarter pole we got a good gallop for two furlongs,” Take said via interpreter Keita Tanaka, the agent for the owner. “It was supposed to be five furlongs, but he wanted to stop. Back home in Japan he has done that before, so it is not a concern.”
Take has ridden the Tapit colt in five of his six starts.
“His temperament is that he is not willing to run always,” Take said. “If he does (want to run), he has a big chance (in the Derby).”
And when would Take know his charge wants to run?
“After the gate,” Take said with a laugh.
Wednesday marked the first time Take had been at Churchill Downs since riding two horses in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup. Prior to that, he had ridden in the 1995 Kentucky Derby, finishing 14th on Ski Captain.
“That was schooling for me. It was a good experience,” Take said. “For all riders, it is extremely difficult to ride in the Derby and I know how precious it is. It is one of my biggest ambitions (to win the Derby) and to have a horse here is exciting.”
Take left Japan on Tuesday to come in for the work and is scheduled to return to Japan on Thursday. He will be back in Louisville next Friday.
OTHER KENTUCKY DERBY NOTES
BRODY’S CAUSE/CHERRY WINE – Toyota Blue Grass (GI) winner Brody’s Cause galloped 1 ½ miles after the renovation break with exercise rider Miguel Garcia aboard. Trained by Dale Romans, Brody’s Cause will be ridden in the Derby by Luis Saez.
Also galloping 1 ½ miles at the same time for Romans was Cherry Wine, the third-place finisher in the Toyota Blue Grass. Faustino Aguilar was aboard Cherry Wine, who stands 25th on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
CREATOR/GUN RUNNER – Hall of Fame electee Steve Asmussen’s two Kentucky Derby hopefuls, Creator and Gun Runner, galloped a mile after the renovation break.
It was the first day back on the track since the duo worked Monday: Gun Runner going six furlongs in 1:12.20 and Creator five furlongs in 1:02.80.
DAZZLING GEM – Dazzling Gem, 24th on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, galloped about a mile and a half after the break under exercise rider Fernando Espinoza for trainer Brad Cox.
DESTIN/OUTWORK – Trainer Todd Pletcher’s two Kentucky Derby hopefuls, Destin and Outwork, galloped after the break.
Ovel Merida was aboard Destin, winner of the Sam F. Davis (GIII) and Tampa Bay Derby (GII) in his past two starts. Hector Ramos partnered Outwork, winner of the Wood Memorial (GI) in his most recent outing.
DISCREETNESS – Discreetness, 26th on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, had a strong gallop in company with Paul Griffith aboard for trainer Jinks Fires.
EXAGGERATOR – Big Chief Racing, Head of Plains Partners and Rocker O Ranch’s Santa Anita Derby (GI) winner Exaggerator was scheduled to land at Louisville International Airport before 3 this afternoon and then van to Churchill Downs.
Julie Clark, assistant to trainer Keith Desormeaux, said Exaggerator would go to the track in the morning.
FELLOWSHIP – Fellowship, 21st on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, galloped after the break under Brian O’Leary for trainer Mark Casse.
MAJESTO – Florida Derby (GI) runner-up Majesto galloped after the break under J.J. Delgado for trainer Guatavo Delgado.
MOHAYMEN – Four-time Grade II winner Mohaymen galloped after the renovation break with exercise rider Miguel Jaime aboard for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
MOR SPIRIT – Santa Anita Derby (GI) runner-up Mor Spirit walked the shedrow the morning after working five furlongs in :59.80.
“We are all good here,” said Jim Barnes, assistant to trainer Bob Baffert, who returned to California after the work.
MO TOM – LeComte (GIII) winner Mo Tom galloped two miles under exercise rider Mario Garcia, going onto a track labeled as “good” following overnight rain.
“He took to the track early (at 6:10) and that probably will carry over to his work Friday,” trainer Tom Amoss said.
MY MAN SAM/SHAGAF – “They all galloped super this morning,” trainer Chad Brown reported of his Derby duo of My Man Sam and Shagaf as well as his Kentucky Oaks contender Lewis Bay.
Daniel Bernardini partnered My Man Sam, runner-up in the Toyota Blue Grass in his most recent start, and Gian Cueva was on Shagaf, winner of the Gotham (GIII).
OSCAR NOMINATED – The Mike Maker-trained Oscar Nominated galloped 1 ¼ miles at the nearby Trackside Training Center under Joel Cano.
Oscar Nominated is expected to make the short trip to Churchill Downs Friday or Saturday.
SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS – Arkansas Derby (GI) runner-up Suddenbreakingnews jogged a mile and galloped a mile at 6:15 under exercise rider Ramiro Gorostieta for trainer Donnie Von Hemel.
TOM’S READY – Louisiana Derby (GII) runner-up Tom’s Ready galloped after the break under Emerson Chavez for trainer Dallas Stewart.
WHITMORE – Arkansas Derby (GI) third-place finisher Whitmore galloped after the break with Laura Moquett aboard for trainer Ron Moquett.
KENTUCKY OAKS NOTES
CARINA MIA – “We are still hanging in there,” trainer Bill Mott said of the Kentucky Oaks chances of Carina Mia. “I think we are 17.”
The Oaks is limited to the top 14 point earners on the Road to the Oaks that pass the entry box next Tuesday.
Winner of the Golden Rod (GII) here last fall and fourth in the Central Bank Ashland (GI) in her 2016 debut, Carina Mia galloped after the break under Penny Gardiner.
DREAM DANCE – Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) runner-up Dream Dance walked the shedrow under tack and will return to the track Thursday morning according to trainer Neil Howard.
GO MAGGIE GO – Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) winner Go Maggie Go galloped 1 ½ miles under Tammy Fox after the break for trainer Dale Romans.
LEWIS BAY – Gazelle (GII) winner Lewis Bay galloped before the renovation break with exercise rider Gian Cueva aboard for trainer Chad Brown.
MO D’AMOUR/RACHEL’S VALENTINA/THRILLED – Spinaway (GI) winner Rachel’s Valentina and Plum Pretty winner Thrilled were the first of trainer Todd Pletcher’s Oaks hopefuls to gallop Wednesday morning with both going out before 7 o’clock.
Amy Mullen was aboard Rachel’s Valentina and Ovel Merida was on Thrilled.
After the break, Mullen partnered Mo d’Amour, who was third in the Gazelle (GII0 in her most recent start.
MOKAT – JK Racing’s Stable’s Mokat was scheduled to arrive at Louisville International Airport before 3 this afternoon and then van to Churchill Downs.
Runner-up to the undefeated Songbird in her most recent start in the Santa Anita Oaks (GI), Mokat is trained by Richard Baltas and will be ridden in the Oaks by Flavien Prat.
NICKNAME/ROYAL OBSESSION/TAXABLE/TERRA PROMESSA – All of trainer Steve Asmussen’s Kentucky Oaks hopefuls, Nickname, Royal Obsession, Taxable and Terra Promessa, galloped a mile before the renovation break over a track that was labeled as “good.”
Asmussen said that the status of Nickname, No. 13 on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard, is still up in the air as far as whether she would go in the Oaks or the $200,000 Eight Belles (GII) on the undercard.
“She galloped well this morning,” Asmussen said of Nickname, who finished second in the Beaumont (GIII) in her most recent start. “We still have to talk to the owners as far as where she’ll run.”
PAOLA QUEEN – Paola Queen, 15th on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard, galloped a little more than a mile and a half under J.J. Delgado before the break for trainer Gustavo Delgado.
VENUS VALENTINE – Rachel Alexandra (GII) winner Venus Valentine worked a half-mile in :49.40 on her own shortly after the track opened for training at 5:45 Wednesday morning.
With exercise rider Mario Garcia aboard, Venus Valentine posted fractions of :12.40, :25, :37.40, :49.40 and out five furlongs in 1:02.20 over a track labeled “good.” The work was the 14th fastest of 23 at the distance.
“I thought it went well,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “On her own, she is a good work horse.”
Venus Valentine, fifth in the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) in her most recent start, wore blinkers in the work.
“That will be a change to blinkers on for the Oaks,” Amoss said. “She is acclimating to the blinkers. She is plenty fit. This was her last work and she will gallop into the race.”
WEEP NO MORE – Central Bank Ashland (GI) winner Weep No More galloped 1 ½ miles after the break under exercise rider Alex Gonzales for trainer Rusty Arnold.
PROSPECTIVE FIELDS FOR UPCOMING STAKES
$100,000 KENTUCKY JUVENILE (Entries taken Saturday, race Thursday, May 5) – Probable: Classic Empire, Hey Mike, Lawton, Polar City, Rapa Iti.
$400,000 ALYSHEBA (GII) (Entries taken Tuesday, race Friday, May 6) – Probable: Coin Broker, Departing, La Macchina, Looks to Spare, Majestic Affair, Natchez, Noble Bird, Regally Ready. Possible: Blue Tone, Eagle.
$300,000 LA TROIENNE (GI) (Entries taken Tuesday, race Friday, May 6) – Probable: Angela Renee, Curalina, Penwith, Sheer Drama.
$200,000 EIGHT BELLES (GII) (Entries taken Tuesday, race Friday, May 6) – Probable: Blast, Blip n’ Th Bye, Durango, Frozen Hannah, Put Da Blame On Me, Stageplay. Possible: Cash Back.
$150,000 EDGEWOOD (GIII) (Entries taken Tuesday, race Friday, May 6) – Probable: Adore, Believe in Bertie, Catch a Glimpse, Dothraki Queen, Enjoy Yourself (GB), Harmonize, Jeremy’s Legacy (IRE), Nodiac (IRE), Outsider Art, Sky My Sky. Possible: Ava’s Kitten.
$150,000 TWIN SPIRES TURF SPRINT (GIII) (Entries taken Tuesday, race Friday, May 6) – Probable: Billy Two Hats, Guns Loaded, Latent Revenge, Mongol Bull, Something Extra, Speightsong. Possible: Alsvid, Power Alert (AUS).
$500,000 WOODFORD RESERVE TURF CLASSIC (GI) (Entries taken Wednesday, May 4, race Saturday, May 7) – Probable: Big Blue Kitten, Bolo, Chocolate Ride, Danish Dynaformer, Divisidero, Finnegans Wake, Grand Arch, Reporting Star, Roman Approval, Tourist, World Approval. Possible: Tepin.
$300,000 HUMANA DISTAFF (GI) (Entries taken Wednesday, May 4, race Saturday, May 7) – Probable: Dancing House, Kathbalu, Sarah Sis, Spelling Again, Stonetastic, Taris, Wavell Avenue.
$500,000 CHURCHILL DOWNS (GII) (Entries taken Wednesday, May 4, race Saturday, May 7) – Probable: Barbados, Holy Boss, Kobe’s Back, Limousine Liberal, Squadron A.
$300,000 CHURCHILL DISTAFF TURF MILE (GII) (Entries taken Wednesday, May 4, race Saturday, May 7) – Probable: Bureau de Change, Cash Control, Celestine, Isabella Sings, Josdesanimaux, Mississippi Delta, Rainha Da Bateria, Super Saks. Possible: Tepin.
$300,000 AMERICAN TURF (GII) (Entries taken Wednesday, May 4, race Saturday, May 7) – Probable: Airoforce, American Patriot, Azar, Camelot Kitten, Converge, Dressed in Hermes, J R’s Holiday, Surgical Strike, Two Step Time.