After spending the winter on synthetic surfaces in California, Zayat Stables Pioneerof the Nile and the Sid and Jenny Craig Trust’s Chocolate Candy got a feel for the traditional dirt track at Churchill Downs on Friday as they began their first full day at the home of the Kentucky Derby.
The Bob Baffert-trained Pioneerof the Nile, whose win in the Santa Anita Derby (GI) marked his fourth straight stakes victory, and Chocolate Candy, the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained runner-up in the Santa Anita Derby, both jogged over a “fast” surface after the mid-session break for track maintenance on Friday.
The two horses arrived at Churchill Downs early Thursday afternoon. Chocolate Candy is scheduled to work on Tuesday, April 28 at Churchill Downs with new jockey Mike Smith in the saddle. Smith, who won the 2005 Kentucky Derby aboard Giacomo, piloted the homebred Candy Ride colt in his last work before his departure from California. Hollendorfer will accompany Smith to Kentucky for the work.
Trainer Bob Baffert is scheduled to arrive in Louisville Friday evening and will be at Barn 33 on Saturday to supervise the training of Pioneerof the Nile and Kentucky Oaks (GI) hopeful Gabby’s Golden Gal.
Four Kentucky Derby contenders are scheduled to work at Churchill Downs over the weekend:
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, a four-time winner of both the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, has arrived on the scene with Kentucky Derby hopeful Flying Private and Oaks candidate Be Fair. Lukas said Flying Private would work “Monday or Tuesday,” and was leaning toward the latter. Be Fair is set for a Sunday breeze.
Wood Memorial (GI) winner I Want Revenge is scheduled for a Tuesday work.
Three other Kentucky Derby contenders are on the grounds at Churchill Downs. Toyota Blue Grass (GI) winner General Quarters, Wood Memorial (GI) runner-up West Side Bernie and Smarty Jones winner Flat Out all galloped on Friday.