- Racing & Wagering
- News / Videos / Photos
- Plan Your Visit
- Parking / Maps / Directions
- Entering Churchill Downs
- General Information
- Guest Services
- Hotel Partner
- Group Sales
- Junior Jockey Club
BE FAIR – Thomas Van Meter and Charles Kidder’s Be Fair breezed five-eighths of a mile in a move that trainer D. Wayne Lukas described as “fantastic” on Monday morning over a track rated as “sloppy” with exercise rider Omar Golon up.
“She was flying through the lane,” Lukas said. “I got her in :23 in the lane.”
GABBY’S GOLDEN GIRL – Arnold Zetcher LLC’s Gabby’s Golden Girl worked five furlongs in 1:02 with former rider Joe Steiner board for the move after the renovation break over a sloppy track.
“I got her in 1:27-and-four for the seven-eighths,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “I worked her seven, but started at the five-eighths pole. She started off a little slow, but picked it up strong. She did not get tired and that was a tiring track this morning.”
NAN – J. Paul Reddam’s Nan jogged a mile after the renovation break with exercise rider Jose Castanon up.
RACHEL ALEXANDRA – L and M Partner’s Rachel Alexandra, the likely favorite for Kentucky Oaks 135, had the morning off as scheduled and walked the shedrow according to Brent McClellan, assistant to trainer Hal Wiggins.
KENTUCKY OAKS 135 ARRIVAL SCHEDULE – Two potential Kentucky Oaks starters are scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Wednesday afternoon. The West Point Thoroughbreds’ duo of Justwhistledixie and Fitz Just Right, currently stabled at Keeneland, are expected to train at the Lexington track that morning and ship over to Louisville in the afternoon.
Another Oaks hopeful at Keeneland, Mike Rutherford’s Flying Spur, will ship into trainer Bill Mott’s Barn 19 upon arrival at Churchill Downs.
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.
Churchill Downs Racetrack, host of the Kentucky Derby® and the Kentucky Oaks®, wants you to help support the fight against breast cancer by purchasing tickets to Kentucky Oaks 135 at www.KentuckyOaks.com/Komen! The Kentucky Oaks is scheduled for Friday, May 1, 2009, one day before the famed “Run for the Roses.”
To help raise money and awareness for Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, Churchill Downs has planned an exciting day of events for race-goers. There will be a “First Lady of Fashion” contest, Survivors Parade and even the first-ever Kentucky Oaks winner’s circle formed by breast cancer survivors. Churchill Downs will also create special areas in the infield where Komen for the Cure supporters can gather and enjoy Oaks Day. Komen survivors and supporters will also have a chance to meet Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, who will be honored as the inaugural First Lady of Oaks.
Here’s how it works. Churchill Downs will donate at least $100,000 to Komen from funds from Kentucky Oaks 135 general admission and reserve seating attendance. If Komen survivors and supporters at Oaks 135 sets a new attendance record (current Oaks Day record is 111,243), Churchill Downs will donate $1 for every Oaks attendee, up to a maximum donation of $135,000. Komen supporters will also have the chance to purchase tickets to two Infield Suites that will be specifically reserved for them. Komen will receive $100 for every designated Infield Suite ticket sold.
With pink being the official color of the day, Churchill Downs is staging a total “Pink Out” at the track on Oaks Day. So pull out your cutest or most handsome pink outfit and show your support!
Even if you can’t make it to Louisville, you can get involved by visiting www.kentuckyderbyparty.com for a specially designed Passionately Pink for the Cure ® branded invitation and everything needed to throw an Oaks or Derby party as a fundraiser at home.
To build on the excitement of the day, Bravo will air a special featuring the food, fashion and celebrity experience associated with Kentucky Oaks Day! The program will include special on-track events related to the new partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and will air from 5-6 p.m. EDT on May 1.
And as if things couldn’t get any more exciting, “Top Chef: The Tour” will be part of Churchill’s new Infield Club hospitality area. The Top Chef Tour stop at the Kentucky Oaks will feature some of the show’s “chef’testants” hosting four interactive shows in the Infield Club, with limited reserved seating available. Cooking demonstrations, gourmet tips, show secrets and food tastings will be highlighted from the Top Chef Tour unit, a state-of-the-art customized traveling kitchen with expansive space to accommodate cooks and fans alike. Top Chef: The Tour will also include trivia contests, information kiosks, and an opportunity for Infield Club guests to interact with the “chef’testants.”
Churchill Downs will also help to raise money for Horses and Hope, a breast cancer initiative of Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear and the Kentucky Cancer Program, on Oaks Day.
For more information on the Kentucky Oaks and the partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, please visit http://ww5.komen.org/ContentSimpleLeft.aspx?id=16122&terms=Oaks and follow @komenforthecure and @derbyoaks on Twitter.
About Churchill Downs
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 2, 2009. The track’s 2009 Spring Meet will take place from April 25 through July 5. Churchill Downs is scheduled to host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for a record seventh time on Nov. 5 and 6, 2010. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.
About Susan G. Komen for the Cure®
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure®, we have invested more than $1.3 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world. For more information about Susan G. Komen for the Cure, breast health or breast cancer, visit www.komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN.
Bravo is a program service of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. Bravo has been an NBC cable network since December 2002 and was the first television service dedicated to film and the performing arts when it launched in December 1980. Information about Bravo can be found on the Internet at www.bravotv.com.
Bo Hirsch’s homebred Papa Clem, winner of the Arkansas Derby (Grade II), breezed an easy five furlongs in the rain on Sunday in the Kentucky Derby (GI) contender’s first serious training move over the track at Churchill Downs.
Jockey Miguel Mena was in the saddle for the move, which was planned for seven furlongs, but received an official five-furlong clocking of 1:04.60. A steady rain was falling as the colt work over a “good” track and was timed in fractions of :12.40 and :38.60. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:19.
The breeze ranked 25th out of 28 at the five-furlong distance, but trainer Gary Stute said he was more worried about how much ground Papa Clem actually covered than the time it took to complete the move.
“I didn’t care I just wanted to get seven-eighths in him,” said Stute. “It was a little slower than I probably originally wanted. This was just for him to get a feel of the track. I think I had him in 1:30-and-change for seven-eighths.”
Stute said Papa Clem would have one more work before the May 2 “Run for the Roses.” Saturday is the most likely day for that move.
Although the Arkansas Derby was the first stakes victory for Papa Clem, the son of Smart Strike had competed well through the winter against California-based stars Pioneerof the Nile and I Want Revenge. Papa Clem finished between those two in the Robert B. Lewis (GII) over the synthetic Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita on Feb. 7. His only lopsided loss was a runner-up finish to Derby contender Friesan Fire in the Louisiana Derby (GII) at Fair Grounds, where he finished 7 ¼ lengths back off the winner over a sloppy track.
“I definitely think I’ve got a shot,” Stute said. “I don’t think I’m just coming in here to run.”
The Arkansas Derby victory improved Papa Clem’s career record to 2-2-0 in six races with earnings of $790,940.
There was one other work by a possible Derby contender on Sunday at Churchill Downs as Starlight Partners’ Take the Points breezed four furlongs in :47:40 over a “good” track for trainer Todd Pletcher.
The gray son of Even the Score worked with a stablemate as he covered the distance in fractions of :12 and :23 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.80. Horacio De Paz was aboard Take the Points, who worked over a “good” track just after the renovation break.
“He went very well, but I’m not sure where he is going yet,” said Mike McCarthy, assistant to Pletcher.
Take the Points has accrued $85,000 in graded stakes earnings, which may not be enough to secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate that is limited to 20 horses. Preference is given to entrants with the highest earnings total in graded stakes races.
The workmate for the Sham (GIII) runner-up was Schramsberg, a unstarted 3-year-old by Storm Cat out of Serena’s Song. The colts finished on even terms and their work times tied as the fastest of 43 moves at the distance.
It was a quiet morning for other Kentucky Derby contenders on the grounds. Here is a rundown of their morning activity:
CHOCOLATE CANDY – The Sid and Jenny Craig Trust’s Chocolate Candy galloped a mile and a half shortly after the track opened for training at 6 a.m. Sunday with exercise rider Lindsey Molina up.
Galen May, who has been an assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer since 2002, said Hollendorfer would be in Louisville on Monday night with a work scheduled for Tuesday for Chocolate Candy, runner-up in the Santa Anita Derby (Grade I) in his most recent start and the winner of the El Camino Real Derby (GIII).
Mike Smith, winner of the 2005 Kentucky Derby on Giacomo, will ride the homebred son of Candy Ride in Kentucky Derby 135. Smith is scheduled to be aboard Chocolate Candy for Tuesday’s work at Churchill Downs.
DESERT PARTY/REGAL RANSOM – The Godolphin duo of Desert Party and Regal Ransom walked the shedrow at Barn 41 a day after turning in five-furlong works on Saturday.
“They are both doing well and should go back to the track to jog on Monday,” said Henry Spiller, deputizing at the barn for Rick Mettee who is scheduled back in Louisville on Wednesday. Mettee is an assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
Regal Ransom was timed in :59.80 for his work and Desert Party was clocked in 1:00.20. Exercise rider Bob Chapman was aboard for both works.
FLAT OUT – Oxbow Racing’s Flat Out, winner of the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park, galloped 1 ¾ miles Sunday under exercise rider Walter Aguilar.
Trainer Charles “Scooter” Dickey said the son of Flatter continues to do well, but he has not determined when Flat Out would work again.
FLYING PRIVATE – Grand Slam Farm LLC’s Flying Private galloped Sunday morning with exercise rider Taylor Carty up.
Fifth in the Arkansas Derby (Grade II) in his most recent start, Flying Private’s work schedule is flexible according to trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
“We are pretty much not under the gun here with him because he just ran (on April 11),” Lukas said. “It will depend on the weather, but we have some time to work with.”
The Derby riding assignment for Flying Private has not been finalized by Lukas.
GENERAL QUARTERS – Tom McCarthy’s General Quarters galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Julie Sheets.
Winner of the Toyota Blue Grass (Grade I) at Keeneland in his most recent start, General Quarters will have a new rider in the Kentucky Derby in Julien Leparoux. However, McCarthy said when General Quarters works next, Sheets will be aboard.
“He will probably work Thursday or Friday, depending on what the weather does this week,” McCarthy said. “But Julie would handle the work.”
I WANT REVENGE – David Lanzman and IEAH Stables’ I Want Revenge jogged a mile and galloped a mile under Joe Deegan early Sunday morning.
Winner of the Wood Memorial (Grade I) and Gotham (Grade III) in his past two starts, I Want Revenge is scheduled to have his second Churchill Downs work on Tuesday with jockey Joe Talamo coming in from California for the work.
MUSKET MAN – Eric Fein and Vic Carlson’s Illinois Derby (GII) and Tampa Bay Derby (GIII) winner Musket Man walked the shedrow a day after working six furlongs in 1:13 under jockey Eibar Coa.
“It was a good work and I think Eibar was more impressed with the work than the race (in Illinois),” trainer Derek Ryan said. “If it keeps raining like this, I may just shedrow him tomorrow or he’ll jog.”
PIONEEROF THE NILE – Zayat Stables’ Pioneerof the Nile, riding a four-race win streak, galloped Sunday morning under exercise rider George Alverez.
“All of my horses galloped good this morning and we got out there before the heavy rain,” said trainer Bob Baffert, who has eight other horses here in addition to Pioneerof the Nile.
Winner of the Santa Anita Derby (Grade I) in his most recent start, Pioneerof the Nile worked a half-mile at Santa Anita in :46.20 on Wednesday, a day before shipping to Louisville. Baffert said the colt’s next work this week would depend on the weather.
WEST SIDE BERNIE – George and Lori Hall’s West Side Bernie galloped a mile and seven-eighths with trainer Kelly Breen up Sunday morning.
Breen has not finalized a work schedule for West Side Bernie, one of six horses Breen has stabled here. No trainer has served as the exercise rider for a Derby winner since Don Combs got on Dust Commander in 1970 and Johnny Longden the year before on Majestic Prince.
KENTUCKY OAKS 135 NOTES
Sunday, April 19, 2009
L & M Partners, LLC’s Rachel Alexandra, the likely favorite for the 135th running of the Kentucky Oaks (GI) on Friday, May 1, returned to the track on Sunday to highlight an easy morning for the handful of Oaks candidates stabled at Churchill Downs.
BE FAIR – Thomas Van Meter and Charles Kidder’s Be Fair galloped Sunday morning at Churchill Downs with exercise rider Omar Golon up for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, a four-time winner of America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies.
Be Fair finished fourth over a synthetic Polytrack surface in the April 4 Ashland Stakes (Grade I) at Keeneland in her most recent start.
GABBY’S GOLDEN GIRL – Arnold Zetcher LLC’s Gabby’s Golden Girl, 13-length winner of the Sunland Park Oaks on March 29, galloped Sunday morning with exercise rider George Alverez up for trainer Bob Baffert.
NAN – J. Paul Reddam’s Nan, fifth in her most recent start in the Ashland Stakes, galloped a mile and a quarter under exercise rider Jose Castanon. The daughter of High Yield is trained by Craig Dollase.
RACHEL ALEXANDRA – L and M Partners, LLC’s probable Kentucky Oaks favorite Rachel Alexandra returned to the track Sunday morning before the renovation break to gallop a mile and a half under exercise rider Rudy Gallegos.
The daughter of Medaglia d’Oro had worked five furlongs in :59.40 on Thursday with jockey Calvin Borel up.
“Today was her first day back and she went well,” said trainer Hal Wiggins, who has Rachel Alexandra’s final work penciled in for April 27.
Rachel Alexandra will bring a string of four consecutive stakes victories into the May 1 Kentucky Oaks that includes the Golden Rod (GII) at Churchill Downs, the Martha Washington at Oaklawn Park, the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) and the Fantasy (GII) at Oaklawn.
Dubai-Based Regal Ransom, Desert Party and Illinois Derby Winner Musket Man Sharp in Saturday Works at Churchill Downs
Godolphin’s pair of contenders for the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) – Desert Party and Regal Ransom – turned in sharp works Saturday in their first serious training at Churchill Downs, while Illinois Derby (GII) winner Musket Man worked a strong six furlongs under Derby jockey Eibar Coa.
UAE Derby (GII) winner Regal Ransom turned in one of the best works of the day as he zipped five furlongs over a “fast” track in :59.80 under exercise rider Bob Chapman. The son of Distorted Humor worked shortly after the track opened for training on the perfect spring morning and carved out fractions of :12/60, :24.20, :35.80 and :48 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.
Desert Party, winner of last fall’s Sanford (GII) at Saratoga and the UAE 2000 Guineas and runner-up to Regal Ransom in the UAE Derby at Nad Al Sheba, worked just after the mid-session break for track maintenance and breezed five furlongs in 1:00.20. Chapman was aboard as the son of Street Cry covered the distance in fractions of :12.20, :24.40, :37 and :48.80 and galloped out strongly with six furlongs in 1:13.20.
“Both of them seemed to grab the track really good,” said Rick Mettee, assistant to Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor. “This is the first these two have worked over a dirt track since last fall. Of course they ran over the dirt at Nad Al Sheba, but that’s one reason why Saeed wanted to get them in here earlier. They’ve been training at the (synthetic) Tapeta track over at Al Quoz and then before they got there they trained over the conventional Polytrack at Keeneland.”\
Desert Party had some unexpected company on the track as he encountered Nowhere to Hide, the Nick Zito-trained fourth-place finisher in the Risen Star (GIII), Tampa Bay Derby (GIII) and Illinois Derby (GIII), at the head of the stretch and quickly blew past that colt as he split Zito’s colt on the rail and a galloper to the outside.
“He had some competition there turning for home and that kind of spurred him on a little bit,” said Mettee. “He grabbed the track fine and galloped out good and we’re really happy with that. He probably isn’t as a good a work horse as the other. The track might not have been quite as fast as it was early. That’s what my rider said.”
Mettee said there has still been no formal decision as to whether both colts will run in the 135th Kentucky Derby on May 2, but said today’s efforts by Regal Ransom and Desert Party could accelerate that decision.
“I think we wanted to kind of get past this hurdle and see how both of them were doing,” he said. “Both of them worked good before we left – both of them worked sharp halves. So this was the next step. Saeed and Shiekh Mohammed will go over that, and it probably won’t be that long before they make a decision.”
Mettee said Regal Ransom and Desert Party would have one more work in the days leading up to the Derby.
“We’re kind of ahead of the game now, so we could go anywhere from Saturday to Tuesday of next week,” he said. “Depending the weather and the track, we’d just wait and see.”
Desert Party has a career record of 4-1-0 in six races and has earned $688,467. Regal Ransom’s record stands at 2-2-0 in five races with earnings of $1,297,200.
Meanwhile, Eric Fein and Vic Carlson’s Musket Man, the winner of the Illinois Derby (GIII) and Tampa Bay Derby, breezed six furlongs in the company of a stablemate for trainer Derek Ryan. Coa guided the son of Yonaguska through the distance in 1:13 just after the break for track maintenance.
Musket Man pulled away from his workmate, the 3-year-old colt Bull Toccet, at the top of the stretch and was about four lengths clear at the finish. Bull Toccet covered the distance in 1:13.80.
The work started at the 5 ½ furlong pole and finished up at the 7 ½ pole, and clockers caught Musket Man through his final quarter mile in :24.40.
“I was pretty happy the way he worked,” said Coa. “He just sat next to that horse all the way to the eighth pole and when I asked him he really finished up good. That was what we were looking for today, and he did it the way we wanted to.”
It was the first work over the track for Musket Man since his arrival at the track on April 5, the day after his victory in the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Park.
“It went very well – it couldn’t have been a better work,” said trainer Derek Ryan. “I always work him in company. Every work he’s ever had has been in company, because he’s a little bit laid-back on his own and we needed to get a good work in him.”
Musket Man has won five of six career starts with earnings of $572,600.
BAFFERT RETURNS TO THE CHURCHILL FOR DERBY – Three-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert was back at Barn 33 on Saturday to oversee the training of Zayat Stable’s Pioneerof the Nile in the two weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby.
The son of Empire Maker galloped Saturday morning following the break for track maintenance with Baffert looking on. Baffert last participated in the Kentucky Derby when he saddled three horses in 2006.
“It’s good to be back,” said Baffert. “You miss having a good horse for it. But if you don’t have the right horse, you don’t miss it. It’s not the same – it doesn’t get the juices flowing. This time, coming here with a horse like this, I feel like I have a good chance to win it, so it’s exciting when you know you have a good horse.”
Pioneerof the Nile has won four consecutive stakes races, including the Santa Anita Derby in his most recent outing on April 4. Baffert’s colt has yet to run on traditional dirt – all of his previous races have been on turf or synthetic courses – but Baffert is encouraged that horses that he had beaten in California – such as Wood Memorial (GI) winner I Want Revenge and Arkansas Derby (GII) winner Papa Clem – traveled East and performed well on dirt courses.
“It’s good that horses that left town to get away from him did well,” he said. “This horse is improving and I think he should move up on the dirt, but you never know.”
Baffert said Pioneerof the Nile would work Tuesday or Wednesday.
SUNDAY WORKS – Trainer Gary Stute said Bo Hirsch’s homebred Papa Clem, winner of the Arkansas Derby (GII), would work seven furlongs at Churchill Downs on Sunday.
Stute, who was traveling to Louisville on Saturday, said the colt would work close to the break for track maintenance.
Also scheduled to work on Sunday is Starlight Partners’ Take the Points, the runner-up in the Sham (GIII) who could enter the Kentucky Derby picture if there are defections from the list of possible starters over the next few days. Take the Points is trained by Todd Pletcher.
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:
- Godolphin’s pair of Kentucky Derby hopefuls will work on Saturday. UAE Derby winner Regal Ransom is scheduled to work as soon as the track opens at 6 a.m. (all times EDT), while UAE 2000 Guineas winner Desert Party will work just after the maintenance break around 8:30 a.m.
- Illinois Derby (GII) and Tampa Bay Derby (GIII) winner Musket Man will work just after the break with jockey Eibar Coa up.
- Arkansas Derby (GII) winner Papa Clem will work seven furlongs on Sunday, according to trainer Gary Stute.
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.
L & M Racing’s Rachel Alexandra did nothing to diminish her status as the possible favorite for the 135th running of the Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) when what was planned as an easy work on Thursday at Churchill Downs became another sizzling display of her considerable talent.
The 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro had regular jockey Calvin Borel in the saddle as she zipped five furlongs on a “fast” track in :59.40 – which tied as the fastest of 21 works at the distance. Borel was motionless in the irons as Rachel Alexandra covered the distance in fractions of :12.60, :24.40, :36 and :47.60. She galloped out six furlongs in 1:11.60 and seven-eighth of a mile s in 1:24.20.
“She’s just unbelievable, and she just gets better and better and better and better,” said Borel. “I don’t know how good she can be."
The breeze was the next-to-last piece of serious training before the May 1 Oaks. Trainer Hal Wiggins said she would probably breeze an easy half-mile on the Monday before the race.
“She does it so easy,” Wiggins said. “The main thing we want to do now is just keep her fresh and keep her ready.”
Rachel Alexandra won the Fantasy (GII) at Oaklawn Park last time out – her fourth consecutive stakes victory dating back to the Golden Rod (GII) at Churchill Downs in November. She has six wins in nine career races and earnings of $621,440.
Other Kentucky Oaks candidates on the grounds at Churchill Downs include Arnold Zetcher, LLC’s Gabby’s Golden Gal, who scored a 13-length victory for Baffert in the Sunland Park Oaks for trainer Bob Baffert, and J. Paul Reddam’s Nan, fourth to champion Stardom Bound in the Santa Anita Oaks (GI) for trainer Craig Dollase.
GOMEZ TO RIDE STARDOM BOUND IN OAKS – Stardom Bound, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2008, will have a new jockey when she attempts to get back on the winning track in the Kentucky Oaks. Eclipse Award winner Garrett Gomez.
Mike Smith had been aboard the champion throughout her career, including a third-place finish in the Ashland (GI) at Keeneland that snapped a string of five consecutive wins in Grade I stakes races.
IEAH Stables’ Michael Iavarone announced the rider change and said the filly, now trained by Rick Dutrow Jr., would ship to Churchill Downs next week.
McLAUGHLIN HAS PAIR OF OAKS HOPES – Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has one of the favorites for the Kentucky Oaks in his care in West Point Thoroughbreds’ Justwhistledixie, but there’s a chance McLaughlin could saddle a pair of fillies in the big race on May 1 at Churchill Downs.
Justwhistledixie, who made Gulfstream Park’s recent Bonnie Miss (GII) her fifth consecutive victory, is considered definite for the Oaks. But McLaughlin is also looking at the Kentucky Oaks as a possible destination for Fitz Just Right, the runner-up in the Bourbonette Oaks (GIII) at Turfway Park.
“She is training so well,” McLaughlin said about Fitz Just Right. “We were hoping to go to the Black-Eyed Susan (Grade II at Pimlico on May 15) with a fresh horse, but she is doing so well, you have to take a look at it.”
Both fillies are scheduled to work Friday morning on Keeneland’s synthetic Polytrack surface.
J Paul Reddam’s Square Eddie, who started the year near the top of almost anyone’s list of contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), makes a late return to the road to Churchill Downs when he faces 10 rivals in Keeneland’s $300,000 Coolmore Lexington (GII).
The 1 1/16-mile race on the synthetic Polytrack surface will be the first start for Square Eddie since January. Twelve 3-year-olds were entered in the Coolmore Lexington, but Team Valor’s Barry Irwin was unhappy with the outside post draw by Hull and said that colt would scratch and run in next week’s Derby Trial (GIII) at Churchill Downs.
The Doug O’Neill-trained Square Eddie won last fall’s Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland before he turned in a strong runner-up finish behind eventual 2-year-old champion Midshipman in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) over the Pro-Rid surface at Santa Anita. Square Eddie opened the year with a runner-up finish to the then-unknown The Pamplemousse in Santa Anita’s San Rafael (GII).
But Square Eddie went to the sidelines with sore left front shin and his chance to run in the Kentucky Derby appeared slim as he was out of training for a month. But he bounced back quickly and Square Eddie comes into the Coolmore Lexington off a pair of strong six-furlong works at Hollywood Park.
“Three months ago, I would not have been surprised to be here; two months ago, yes,”
said O’Neill. “His past two works have been exceptional, signaling to us that he is ready to get back at it.”
Edgar Prado will ride Square Eddie, who will carry co-high weight of 123 pounds with El Crespo, winner of the Palm Beach (GIII) on the Gulfstream Park turf. They are the only graded stakes winners in the field.
O’Neill hopes that Square Eddie will run well enough in his return to racing to earn at trip to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby in two weeks.
“I would want to see a really good effort and have him come out of it in good shape,” O’Neill said. “Then we would huddle with Team Reddam.”
The field for the Coolmore Lexington, from the rail out, includes: Jeranimo (Brice Blanc, 117 pounds), Omniscient (Robby Albarado, 117), Pitched Perfectly (Alan Garcia, 117), Brave Victory (John Velazquez, 117), His Greatness (Rene Douglas, 117), Masala (Eibar Coa, 117), Conservative (Kent Desormeaux, 117), Square Eddie (Prado, 123), El Crespo (Javier Castellano, 123), Parade Clown (Julien Leparoux, 117), and Advice (Garrett Gomez, 117).
The race will be telecast from 5-6 p.m. (all times EDT) on ESPN2.
OLD FASHIONED UNDERGOES SURGERY, RETIRED FROM RACING – Fox Hill Farm’s Old Fashioned, at one time the early favorite for Kentucky Derby 135, was retired from racing this week after undergoing knee surgery.
The Larry Jones-trained son of Unbridled’s Song suffered a slab fracture in a runner-up finish to Papa Clem in last Saturday’s Arkansas Derby. He underwent surgery this week at Rood & Riddle equine hospital near Lexington.
Old Fashioned won his first four races, a string that included easy wins in the Remsen (GII) and Southwest Stakes (GIII). He suffered his first loss in a runner-up finish to Win Willy in the Rebel (GIII) at Oaklawn Park, and followed that effort with his run in the Arkansas Derby.
I WANT REVENGE WORKS AT CHURCHILL DOWNS – Wood Memorial (GI) winner I Want Revenge, who could be the betting favorite in the May 2 Kentucky Derby, got a feel for the Churchill Downs track on Tuesday when the colt worked an easy four furlongs for trainer Jeff Mullins.
The son of Stephen Got Even covered the distance in :50 over a muddy surface under 19-year-old jockey Joe Talamo, who flew in from California for the move.
“I think it was pretty much what we wanted,” said Talamo. “He didn’t really need much coming out of his last race and he’s plenty fit. He handled it great. Actually, for all the rain we had I thought it felt pretty good.”
“He just needed to do enough to keep himself safe,” said Mullins. “He’s been tearing the barn down and we had to do something with him. If they get to feeling too good, they might get themselves hurt.”
Several Kentucky Derby contenders entered the grounds at Churchill Downs this week, including Thursday’s arrival of Pioneerof the Nile and Chocolate Candy, the 1-2 finishers in the Santa Anita Derby (GI). Papa Clem made the trip from Oaklawn Park to Churchill Downs on Tuesday. Other Kentucky Derby contenders at Churchill Downs include Toyota Blue Grass (GI) winner General Quarters; Illinois Derby (GII) winner Musket Man; Wood Memorial (GI) runner-up West Side Bernie; the Dubai-based duo of Regal Ransom and Desert Party, the 1-2 finishers in the $2 million UAE Derby (GII); and Churchill Downs-based Flat Out, winner of the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn.
Before his departure for Kentucky, Zayat Stables’ Pioneerof the Nile turned in an impressive four-furlong work on Wednesday at Santa Anita. The Bob Baffert-trained son of Empire Maker covered the distance in :46.20 – the fastest of 29 moves at the distance.
“I didn’t think he went that fast,” said Baffert. “It’s probably the best he’s ever worked.
MAFAAZ CHANGES BARNS, WILL NOT RUN IN DERBY 135 – Mafaaz, winner of the Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes at Britain’s Kempton Park, will remain in the United States but will not compete in the Kentucky Derby.
The win at Kempton earned Mafaaz a first-ever guaranteed spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate, but his status for the Derby became cloudy after he finished eighth to General Quarters in the Toyota Blue Grass (GI) at Keeneland. Late in the week the colt was moved from the care of British trainer John Gosden to Kiaran McLaughlin, but his new trainer said Thursday that plans were uncertain for Mafaaz, but the colt would not run in the Kentucky Derby.
West Coast Stars Pioneer of the Nile, Chocolate Candy Arrive for Derby 135; Flat Out Still In Derby Picture
Two more contenders for the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) joined the scene at Churchill Downs Thursday afternoon when the 1-2 finishers in the Santa Anita Derby (GI) – Pioneerof the Nile and Chocolate Candy – arrived at Churchill Downs
Zayat Stables, LLC’s Pioneerof the Nile and the Sid and Jenny Craig Trust’s Chocolate Candy arrived in Louisville following a flight from Southern California. The two horses made the short journey form Louisville International Airport to Churchill Downs in separate vans and arrived at the home of the Kentucky Derby at approximately 12:30 p.m. (EDT).
Pioneerof the Nile, who is bidding to give trainer Bob Baffert his fourth Kentucky Derby victory, is stabled in Barn 33. Chocolate Candy, who is stabled in Barn 42, is trained by Northern California legend Jerry Hollendorfer, who is looking for his first victory in the “Run for the Roses.”
The Santa Anita Derby victory for Pioneerof the Nile was his fourth straight stakes win and the son of 2003 Kentucky Derby runner-up Empire Maker brings a career record of 5-0-1 in eight races and earnings of $1,234,200 to Churchill Downs.
Chocolate Candy, a homebred son of Candy Ride and winner of the El Camino Real Derby (GIII), has a record of 4-2-1 in nine races and earnings of $532,500.
Neither Baffert nor Hollendorfer accompanied their horses to Churchill Downs. Baffert is scheduled to arrive in Louisville on Friday and will be at the barn on Saturday.
Meanwhile, trainer Charles “Scooter” Dickey said he still has Kentucky Derby hopes for Oxbow Racing’s Flat Out, winner of the $50,000 Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park and sixth behind Papa Clem in last week’s Arkansas Derby. The Florida-bred son of Flatter has a record of two wins in five races and total earnings of $87,700.
Flat Out, who is stabled in Barn 48 for the Churchill Downs-based Dickey, galloped at Churchill Downs Thursday in his first trip to the track since the Arkansas Derby and his return to the Louisville track.
The colt missed valuable training time over the winter in Arkansas following a troubled fourth place finish behind Old Fashioned in the Southwest Stakes (GIII). He suffered a bruised heel in that race and missed a scheduled start in the Rebel. Flat Out raced in the Arkansas Derby off a break of almost two months. Normally a stretch runner, Flat Out was second to pacesetter Old Fashioned with a half-mile to run in the Arkansas Derby and faded in the stretch to be beaten by 8 ¼ lengths.
“He’s an awful good horse and he had a lot of bad luck when he got hurt in that other race,” Dickey said. “He’s just now coming back to himself. He was just too fresh in the Arkansas Derby – he didn’t want to lay up that close.”
A lot of things would have to happen for Flat Out to make it in to a maximum field of 20 for the Derby. The colt has graded stakes earnings of $32,500, which ranked 33rd on Churchill Downs’ latest list of graded stakes earnings by possible Derby starters. The Kentucky Derby field is limited to 20 horses with preference based on total earnings in graded stakes races.
“He’s doing fine now and we got that race in him down there,” Dickey said. “We’re looking for better things.”
Thursday’s arrival of the two West-Coast based Kentucky Derby contenders and the addition of Flat Out raised the roster of possible starters brings the number of Derby 135 horses on the grounds to 10. Also in that group are Wood Memorial (GI) winner I Want Revenge; Toyota Blue Grass (GI) winner General Quarters; Arkansas Derby (GII) winner Papa Clem; Illinois Derby (GII) winner Musket Man; Wood Memorial (GI) runner-up West Side Bernie; and the Dubai-based duo of Regal Ransom and Desert Party, the 1-2 finishers in the $2 million UAE Derby (GII).
Likely Oaks Favorite Rachel Alexandra Zips; 'Pioneer', Chocolate Candy Due To Arrive Early Thursday Afternoon
Trainer Hal Wiggins was looking for an easy work on Thursday for L & M Racing’s Rachel Alexandra, the likely favorite for the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) at Churchill Downs on May. But ‘easy’ is a relative term when it comes to describing the training activity of the star of Wiggins’ stable.
Rachel Alexandra zipped five furlongs in :59.40 over a “fast” track with jockey Calvin Borel in the irons. The move, which came just after the break for track maintenance, tied as the fastest of 21 at the distance.
Churchill Downs clockers caught Rachel Alexandra in fractions of :12.60, :24.40, :36 and :47.60. She galloped out six furlongs in 1:11.60 and seven-eighths in 1:24.20.
Despite the rapid time, Borel said the winner of the Fantasy (GII) and Fair Grounds Oaks (GI) completed her task with ease and without urging.
“I’ve never asked her – it’s scary,” said Borel. “I’ve been on her all the time and I’ve never asked her. She’s just unbelievable, and she just gets better and better and better and better. I don’t know how good she can be.”
“As usual, she went a little bit faster than I really wanted, but she does it so easy,” Wiggins said. “The main thing we want to do now is just keep her fresh and keep her ready.”
Wiggins said Rachel Alexandra would have “a little easy breeze” on Monday, April 27 and that would complete her serious preparation for the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks, America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies. He said that work would likely be a four-furlong move.
Rachel Alexandra is on a four-race winning streak, all in stakes races, and her recent romp in the Fantasy at Oaklawn Park improved her record to six wins in nine races with earnings of $621,440.
Borel, who won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) with Street Sense in 2007, has been aboard Rachel Alexandra for that string of wins that started last fall in the Golden Rod (GII) at Churchill Downs. He said she was good then, but is a much better filly now.
“I’d say she’s about 40 percent better, just because of the way she’s blossomed,” Borel said. “Now she’s got so much power, it’s just unbelievable. I don’t know how good she is, to tell you the truth. She’s an awesome filly.”
Other Kentucky Oaks candidates on the grounds at Churchill Downs include Arnold Zetcher, LLC’s Gabby’s Golden Gal, who scored a 13-length victory for Baffert in the Sunland Park Oaks, and J. Paul Reddam’s Nan, fourth to champion Stardom Bound in the Santa Anita Oaks (GI) for trainer Craig Dollase.
PIONEEROF THE NILE, CHOCOLATE CANDY ARRIVE THIS AFTERNOON FOR DERBY 135 – The 1-2 finishers in the Santa Anita Derby (GI) – Zayat Stables’ Pioneerof the Nile and the Sid and Jenny Craig Trust’s Chocolate Candy – are scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs early Thursday afternoon.
The flight carrying the horses from Southern California is scheduled to touch down in Louisville at 11:50 a.m. (all times EDT). Vans carrying the two horses should arrive at Churchill Downs sometime around 12:30 p.m.
Pioneerof the Nile is trained by three-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert, while Chocolate Candy is trained by Northern California training legend Jerry Hollendorfer.
Barn 33, the regular home for Baffert’s horses at Churchill Downs, will be the destination for Pioneerof of the Nile, while Chocolate Candy and three Hollendorfer-trained stablemates will be stabled in Barn 42.
WORK TAB (Track: FAST) – New Orleans Handicap (GII) and 2008 Derby Trial winner Macho Again breezed four furlongs in :51.20. … Secret Gypsy, winner of the Distaff (GII) at Aqueduct breezed four furlongs in :48.40, the second fastest of 33 moves at the distance. The Ronny Werner trainee is scheduled to run next in the Humana Distaff (GI) on Kentucky Derby Day. … Three-time Louisville Handicap (GIII) winner Silverfoot breezed a half-mile in :50 … Arlington-Washington Lassie (GIII) winner C.S. Silk breezed five furlongs in :59.80.