Kentucky Derby 135 and Kentucky Oaks 135 Notes

Apr 19, 2009 John Asher & Gary Yunt

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.

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.

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