Follow the progress of your favorite Kentucky Derby contender through the Churchill Downs Notes Team, bringing you daily updates on the horses preparing for the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 2.
ADVICE / DUNKIRK / JOIN IN THE DANCE - WinStar Farm's Advice, winner of the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (Grade II) last Saturday, had his first trip over the Churchill Downs track Thursday morning, galloping under exercise rider Kevin Willey.
Advice had arrived at Churchill Downs from Keeneland on Wednesday, along with Join in the Dance, owned by Jake Ballis, Rashard Lewis, et al. Join in the Dance, fifth in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Grade I), galloped with Willey up.
Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's Dunkirk is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on April 28 along with trainer Todd Pletcher. Edgar Prado has the mount on Dunkirk.
CHOCOLATE CANDY - Triple stakes winner Chocolate Candy took one loop around the paddock and then jogged a mile on Thursday morning at Churchill Downs with exercise rider Lindsey Molina up.
Owned by the Sid and Jenny Craig Trust, Chocolate Candy enters Kentucky Derby 135 off a runner-up finish to Pioneerof the Nile in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby. Prior to that, the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee had won the El Camino Real Derby (Grade III) and the California Derby.
Hollendorfer is scheduled to return to Louisville on Saturday with the colt's final pre-Derby work slated for Monday or Tuesday. Mike Smith has the riding assignment.
DESERT PARTY / REGAL RANSOM - Trainer Saeed bin Suroor announced Thursday morning that Alan Garcia would ride Regal Ransom in Kentucky Derby 135 and Ramon Dominguez would have the mount on Desert Party for Godolphin.
"Alan is staying on the horse he rode in Dubai," bin Suroor said of the rider who won the UAE Derby (Grade II) by a half-length over Desert Party. "We have two very good riders."
Bin Suroor had not seen his two Derby hopefuls since they left Dubai for Churchill Downs, arriving here on April 9.
"I was surprised at how well they looked," bin Suroor said. "Sometimes horses don't travel well, but they look happy and in good condition. They look better to me than they did in Dubai."
Exercise rider Bob Chapman handled morning duties on both colts. First out was Desert Party, who galloped a mile and a quarter, and then Regal Ransom visited the starting gate and then galloped a mile and a quarter.
"Both of them will work Saturday and Bob will handle both works," bin Suroor said.
Godolphin is returning to the Derby for the first time since Essence of Dubai ran ninth in 2002. Previous Godolphin starters were Worldly Manner (seventh in 1999), China Visit and Curule (sixth and seventh, respectively in 2000) and Express Tour (eighth in 2001).
"We are hoping for good fortune this time," bin Suroor said. "I feel like we have better horses this time than we have had in the past. This is a tough race to win."
FLAT OUT - Oxbow Racing's Flat Out was "feeling good" Thursday morning according to trainer Charles "Scooter" Dickey. He galloped 1 ¾ miles with exercise rider and assistant trainer Walter Aguilar in the irons.
Dickey says he hopes to name a rider for Flat Out within the "next few days". He wants that rider to be aboard for Flat Out's final work which will be Sunday, Monday or Tuesday.
Flat Out is 22nd on the graded earnings list and will need a couple of defections in order to make the field for Derby 135.
FLYING PRIVATE - Robert Baker and William Mack's Flying Private jogged two miles with exercise rider Taylor Carty aboard. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Flying Private will put in his final work on Monday or Tuesday. Robby Albarado has the mount for Derby 135.
FRIESAN FIRE - Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm's Friesan Fire is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs from Keeneland on Friday afternoon. Trained by Larry Jones and scheduled to be ridden in the Kentucky Derby by Gabriel Saez, Friesan Fire will be housed in Barn 45.
GENERAL QUARTERS - Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Grade I) winner General Quarters turned in his final work for Kentucky Derby 135 by covering five furlongs in 1:01.80 under exercise rider Julie Sheets.
Working at 7 o'clock, General Quarters recorded fractions of :12.60, :24.20, :36.60, :48.80 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:16.20 according to Churchill Downs clockers. The move was the 13th fastest of 30 at the distance.
"I was looking for between 1:01 and 1:02, so this was perfect," owner-trainer Tom McCarthy said. "I wanted a nice, steady work, and that is what I got. I did not want anything like his work before the Blue Grass (:58.20 on April 4). I am happy with the work."
Sheets, who has been General Quarters' regular morning partner since the colt arrived here last month, said, "He went nice and easy, very comfortable."
McCarthy said General Quarters would walk on Friday.
HOLD ME BACK - WinStar Farm's Hold Me Back "made two rounds" of the track with assistant trainer Kenny McCarthy up according to trainer Bill Mott.
Winner of the Lane's End (Grade II) and runner-up to General Quarters in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Grade I) in his most recent start, Hold Me Back had arrived at Churchill Downs on Wednesday from Keeneland.
Mott said that Hold Me Back would work Sunday or Monday. Two-time Kentucky Derby-winning rider Kent Desormeaux has the mount.
I WANT REVENGE - Wood Memorial (Grade I) winner I Want Revenge galloped a mile and a half under Joe Deegan shortly after the racetrack opened for training.
Bobby Troeger, assistant to trainer Jeff Mullins, said I Want Revenge would visit the paddock on Friday as part of his morning activity.
Joe Talamo has the mount on I Want Revenge, who is owned by IEAH Stables, David Lanzman and Puglisi Racing. I Want Revenge is scheduled for his final pre-Derby work on Tuesday.
MINE THAT BIRD - Double Eagle Ranch and Bueno Suerte Equine's Mine That Bird jogged a half-mile and then galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Charlie Figueroa before the renovation break.
"He looked sharp this morning, came back bucking and play and he doesn't do that at home," trainer Chip Woolley said.
Calvin Borel has the Derby riding assignment and is scheduled to work Mine That Bird on Monday.
MR. HOT STUFF - WinStar Farm's Mr. Hot Stuff, third in the Santa Anita Derby, is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Monday following a flight from southern California. The son of Tiznow will work for trainer Eoin Harty on Sunday over the synthetic Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita.
Mr. Hot Stuff does not have a confirmed rider at this point, but Harty said there's no rush to make that assignment.
"We'll just wait and see what happens," he said. "Unfortunately, or fortunately, something could happen to one of the other horses and a rider will come available. There are plenty of riders out there, so we'll deal with that one when we come to it."
MUSKET MAN - Illinois Derby (Grade II) winner Musket Man galloped 2 ¼ miles under exercise rider Salvador Dominguez early Thursday morning.
"He two-minute licked the second time around," trainer Derek Ryan said of Musket Man, who is owned by Eric Fein and Vic Carlson. Eibar Coa, who was aboard for the Illinois Derby victory, has the Kentucky Derby riding assignment.
Musket Man is scheduled to have his final pre-Derby work on Saturday.
PAPA CLEM - Bo Hirsch's Papa Clem galloped a mile and a half before the renovation break with exercise rider Nate Quinonez up.
"He'll gallop a mile and a half in the morning and then work Saturday," trainer Gary Stute said.
Rafael Bejarano has the Kentucky Derby riding assignment.
PIONEEROF THE NILE - Zayat Stables' Pioneerof the Nile stood in the starting gate and jogged once around with exercise rider George Alvarez up.
Trained by three-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert, Pioneerof the Nile will be ridden by Garrett Gomez next Saturday. Winner of four consecutive starts, Pioneerof the Nile is scheduled for his final pre-Derby work on Monday or Tuesday.
SQUARE EDDIE - J. Paul Reddam's Square Eddie visited the paddock and then galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Tony Romero.
Leandro Mora, assistant to trainer Doug O'Neill, said more paddock schooling would be on tap for Square Eddie, whose final pre-Derby work is slated for Saturday or Sunday.
Corey Nakatani has the riding assignment on Square Eddie for Kentucky Derby 135.
SUMMER BIRD - Kalarikkal and Vilasini Jayaraman's Summer Bird galloped a mile and a half under jockey Chris Rosier after the renovation break.
Third in the Grade II Arkansas Derby in only his third start, Summer Bird is scheduled to work six furlongs after the break Friday morning with Rosier up for trainer Tim Ice.
This will be the second Kentucky Derby starter for Kalarikkal Jayaraman. Racing under the Tiffany Farms banner in 1989, Irish Actor finished seventh behind Sunday Silence. LeRoy Jolley was the trainer of Irish Actor.
WEST SIDE BERNIE - With trainer Kelly Breen up, George and Lori Hall's West Side Bernie galloped a mile and five-eighths before the renovation break.
West Side Bernie is scheduled to work Saturday morning.
Stewart Elliott, winner of the 2004 Kentucky Derby aboard Smarty Jones, has the Derby mount on West Side Bernie.
WIN WILLY - Jer-Mar Stable's Win Willy arrived at Churchill Downs shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday and settled in at Barn 45, Stall 21.
Trained by Mac Robertson, Win Willy is slated to be ridden in the Kentucky Derby by Cliff Berry.