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KENTUCKY DERBY 135 NOTES -- Giant Oak Out of Consideration For Derby 135; Three, Perhaps Four, Workers Set for Tuesday
CHOCOLATE CANDY – The Sid and Jenny Craig Trust’s Chocolate Candy visited the paddock and then galloped a mile and a half over a muddy Churchill Downs track Monday morning with exercise rider Lindsey Molina up.
Galen May, assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, said Chocolate Candy would work Tuesday morning, most likely after the break.
“We are going to work all of them tomorrow,” May said referring to Rendezvous, who is being pointed to Saturday’s Grade III Derby Trial, Sugar Mint (IRE), a candidate for the Humana Distaff (Grade I) or Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (Grade II).
DESERT PARTY/REGAL RANSOM – The Godolphin duo of Regal Ransom and Desert Party jogged Monday morning with exercise rider Bob Chapman handling the duties on both.
Regal Ransom was the first colt out shortly after the track opened at 6 o’clock and Desert Party follows about an hour later.
Rick Mettee, assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor, is due to be back in Louisville on Wednesday. Henry Spiller is overseeing morning training in Mettee’s absence.
FLAT OUT – Oxbow Racing’s Flat Out galloped a mile and three-quarters under exercise rider Walter Aguilar early Monday morning.
Trainer Charles “Scooter” Dickey remains hopeful Flat Out can get into the Derby field despite having only $32,500 in graded stakes earnings. If Flat Out does not make the Derby field, Dickey said “there are three or four options out there, but we haven’t made a decision.”
FLYING PRIVATE – Grand Slam Farm LLC’s Flying Private galloped Monday morning under exercise rider Taylor Carty for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
Lukas said the son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus would likely work Tuesday morning, “weather permitting.”
Robby Albarado is scheduled to ride Flying Private in Kentucky Derby 135.
GENERAL QUARTERS – Owner-trainer Tom McCarthy sent Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Grade I) winner General Quarters out for a mile and a half gallop under exercise rider Julie Sheets.
“He had a slow gallop over a muddy racetrack,” McCarthy said. “I didn’t see too many going fast out there this morning.”
Julien Leparoux has the Kentucky Derby riding assignment on General Quarters.
GIANT OAK – The Virginia H. Tarra Trust’s Giant Oak, runner-up in the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) at Churchill Downs and the recent Illinois Derby (GII), is out of consideration for Kentucky Derby 135.
Trainer Chris Block told Churchill Downs officials on Monday that the homebred son of Giant’s Causeway would get some time off before focusing on a summer campaign that could include a return to the grass. Block’s colt won his racing debut over that surface.
Giant Oak was considered by many to be a major contender for the “Run for the Roses” after his strong effort in last fall’s Kentucky Jockey Club, but he had a star-crossed winter at Fair Grounds that included a fifth-place finish in the Risen Star (GII) and a fourth-place run in the Louisiana Derby (GII). He returned home to his Chicago base to run second to Musket Man in the Illinois Derby (GII), but Block said he continued to be concerned by the colt’s mental outlook. So Giant Oak will get some time off for freshening
“Physically he’s ready, mentally he’s not,” said Block by telephone. “He just hasn’t gone forward mentally enough. What I’d be scared to death of is the experience of the Derby is tough on some of those 3-year-olds who aren’t mentally prepared. I’m afraid we’d take major steps backwards. We’d love to be there, but in the best interests of him, I think we’ll wait it out and look for something else.”
Block said a Kentucky Derby bid was tempting, but the ultimate decision to skip the race was not a difficult one.
“It was pretty easy after we considered everything,” he said. “We waited to see how he came out of the Illinois Derby, and he came out of it good. He’s been good mentally since the race, but we kind of looked back over our experience of the last three or four races and I thought the only really solid performance was the race last fall there at Churchill. Things didn’t go well in New Orleans where we could get a real good read, and I’m not sure we learned a ton more in the Illinois Derby that would make us think that we’re worthy of running with those top 10 in the Kentucky Derby.”
Giant Oak has a career record of 2-2-0 in seven races with earnings of $218,396.
I WANT REVENGE – IEAH Stables, David Lanzman and Puglisi Racing’s I Want Revenge had a leisurely stroll through the barn area while some maintenance work was being done on the track Monday morning.
“Just doing a little trail riding,” said Bobby Troeger, assistant to trainer Jeff Mullins.
After “trail riding” was complete, I Want Revenge jogged in the mile chute and then galloped a mile under former jockey Joe Deegan.
I Want Revenge is scheduled to work Tuesday morning after the renovation break with jockey Joe Talamo coming in for the work.
MUSKET MAN – Eric Fein and Vic Carlson’s Musket Man jogged early Monday morning with exercise rider Salvador Dominguez up.
Trainer Derek Ryan, who never has started a horse at Churchill Downs, said Musket Man “probably would work Saturday, weather permitting.”
Eibar Coa has the Derby riding assignment on Musket Man.
PAPA CLEM – Arkansas Derby (Grade II) winner Papa Clem walked the shedrow at Barn 10A on Monday morning, a day after working five furlongs in 1:04.60 on Sunday.
PIONEEROF THE NILE – Zayat Stables’ Pioneerof the Nile galloped a little more than a mile and a half with exercise rider George Alvarez up after the renovation break.
“He goes well over everything, but today was his first time on slop,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “He’s got a big, long stride. He seems to be more focused here than at Santa Anita.”
Baffert, who has won the Kentucky Derby three times, plans to work Pioneerof the Nile on Tuesday morning.
“I might wait until Wednesday, but the track was OK today and I don’t see a problem,” Baffert said. “He’s pretty ready. Then he would come back next Monday or Tuesday.”
Baffert’s most recent Kentucky Derby win was in 2002 with War Emblem. He enjoyed his first Kentucky Derby success in 1997 with Silver Charm and won again the following year with Real Quiet.
“Coming in that gate and seeing the Twin Spires with a contender, it’s like ‘Here we are!’ There are a lot of great memories,” Baffert said. “I am going to have fun. You’ve got to appreciate it, because you never know when you will be back.”
Baffert said the key question with any Kentucky Derby horse is whether they can handle the mile and a quarter distance.
“The distance is what separates a lot of them and that is one thing I love about this horse is the distance will not be a problem,” Baffert said. “People ask me to compare horses but he is maybe like Real Quiet, I knew he’d get the mile and a quarter.”
WEST SIDE BERNIE – George and Lori Hall’s West Side Bernie galloped a mile and three-quarters with trainer Kelly Breen up.
West Side Bernie, second to I Want Revenge in the Wood Memorial (Grade I) in his most recent start, is slated to be ridden in the Kentucky Derby by Stewart Elliott, who piloted Smarty Jones to victory in the 2004 Derby.
As for a work schedule, Breen said, “I don’t think he will breeze until next week.”
KENTUCKY DERBY 135 ARRIVAL SCHEDULE – Two prospective Kentucky Derby starters are scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Tuesday according to Director of Stalls Mike Hargrave.
Double Eagle Ranch and Bueno Suerte Equine’s Mine That Bird is due in tomorrow night after vanning from Sunland Park. Trained by Bennie Woolley Jr., Mine That Bird will be stabled in Barn 42, Stall 22.
J. Paul Reddam’s Square Eddie, third in last Saturday’s Coolmore Lexington Stakes (Grade II) at Keeneland, is scheduled to arrive Tuesday afternoon and will be housed in Barn 17.
Anticipated to arrive on Wednesday is Drs. K.K. and Vilasini Jayaraman’s Summer Bird, trained by Tim Ice. Summer Bird will be going to Barn 42, Stall 11.
Coming Thursday are WinStar Farm’s Mr. Hot Stuff and Jer-Mar Stable’s Win Willy.
Trained by Eoin Harty, Mr. Hot Stuff will be going into Barn 41 and Win Willy, trained by Mac Robertson, will be housed in Barn 45.
Another WinStar runner, Hold Me Back, is at Keeneland and will move into Bill Mott’s Barn 19 when he ships to Churchill Downs.
Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm’s Friesan Fire, trained by Larry Jones, is expected to arrive Friday afternoon and will be stabled in Barn 45.
Not expected to arrive until April 28 are Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor’s Dunkirk, who will go into Barn 34 with trainer Todd Pletcher’s string, and Edward P. Evans’ Quality Road, trained by James Jerkens. No barn assignment has been made for Quality Road.