Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) winner American Pharoah galloped a mile and three-sixteenths after the morning renovation break at Churchill Downs.
Also galloping after the break were the 2-3 finishers from the Derby, Firing Line and Dortmund.
For American Pharoah and fellow Bob Baffert trainee Dortmund, it was their first galloping session since the Run for the Roses last Saturday. Both colts had jogged Thursday.
Owned by Zayat Stables, American Pharoah had regular morning partner Jorge Alvarez aboard. First on the track at the 5 ½-furlong gap, American Pharoah backtracked to the front side before galloping.
Kaleem Shah’s Dortmund, with Dana Barnes up, followed right behind and galloped a similar distance.
Baffert is scheduled to return to Louisville Sunday night from his Southern California base.
“Everything went very nice and we did exactly what Bob told us to do,” said Jim Barnes, the Baffert assistant who is overseeing things in Louisville. “When they walk for four days, they can get a little quiet. You get them back to the track and they begin to wake up. We didn’t do much this morning. Normally we gallop a mile and a half and I would imagine we would be back to that distance soon.”
Arnold Zetcher’s Firing Line, who had jogged the previous two mornings, galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Humberto Gomez for trainer Simon Callaghan.
Firing Line came on the track shortly after the Baffert duo headed back to the barn.
“For the first day, that was a comfortable gallop,” Gomez said. “He is the same as he was before the Derby, which is a good sign. He is what I would call scary calm. He is so professional.”
Assistant Carlos Santamaria is overseeing things for Callaghan here until the colt leaves for Baltimore on Wednesday.
Three other horses based here under possible consideration for the Preakness galloped before the renovation break.
John Oxley’s Danzig Moon, fifth in the Derby, galloped under William Cano for trainer Mark Casse; Zayat Stables’ Mr. Z galloped a little more than a mile under Edvin Vargas for trainer D. Wayne Lukas; and Charles Fipke’s Tale of Verve galloped 1 5/8 miles under Cortez Walker for trainer Dallas Stewart.
ANOTHER SAEZ FINDS THE WINNER’S CIRCLE – Apprentice jockey Sebastian Saez scored his first career victory in Churchill Downs’ last race Thursday evening aboard Bob’s Gone Wild for trainer James Durbin.
The 16-year-old Panamanian said that he was very happy to finally win his first race and dedicated his first victory to his late older brother Juan Saez, who died of catastrophic head injuries in a riding accident at Indiana Grand a little more than six months ago on Oct. 14.
“I wanted to win so badly for my brother Juan. I felt like Juan was riding with me through the race,” Saez said with agent Julio Espinoza translating.
Juan Saez won the riding title at Ellis Park last summer in his first year of riding before his fatal injury and his other older brother, Luis, rides on the New York and Florida circuits.
"I want to thank all the trainers for giving me this opportunity,” Saez said. “I want to keep learning and keep getting better for them so hopefully I can continue riding for them.”
Espinoza, who also was Juan Saez’s agent, has high hopes for Sebastian and went on to say that “in one month, he will be a totally different rider. He’ll improve on things like pace, position and knowing when to stay inside and when to get out. These are things that I need to teach him. He’s got the talent, and when they’ve got the talent, they’re a lot easier to teach.”
Saez and Espinoza went on to discuss their future plans for the remainder of the year, which includes riding at Ellis Park for their summer meet and moving up to ride on the New York circuit after the Ellis Park meet is over. These were the original plans for Juan last year.
“We have the same plan that we had with his brother last year,” Espinoza said. “Unfortunately the accident happened in Indiana, but the Lord will be good to us this time. That was a horrible disaster. Everybody loved him [Juan Saez]; he was such a humble good kid. Not only was he very talented, but he was also a great person. We’ve got to do it for him.”
BRADLEY SAVORS DIVISIDERO’S AMERICAN TURF VICTORY – Trainer William “Buff” Bradley enjoyed a graded stakes victory on the Kentucky Derby undercard when his rising star Divisidero beat a field of 12 rivals in the American Turf (Grade II), giving the trainer his first graded stakes victory since his champion filly Groupie Doll took the Hurricane Bertie (GIII) last winter at Gulfstream Park.
The son of Kitten’s Joy won his first graded stakes in only his third career start. Bradley reflected on the win discussing his original plans to run in the Transylvania (GIII) on Keeneland’s opening day, but altered those plans when the race was pushed back 12 days.
“When that race [Transylvania] was coming back it put us 10 days later and it was going to push us pretty close to this [American Turf],” Bradley said of the race that was one of four that was canceled on the card because of inclement weather.
“I scoped him and he had a little bit of some mucus in him. It wasn’t much, but we thought we could clear it up. I told the owners that if we wait on him and be patient I could have him ready for this race [American Turf] without putting this race [Transylvania] in him.”
In three career starts, Divisidero broke his maiden first time out at Gulfstream Park before finishing a close third in the Palm Beach (GIII).
Bradley is excited about the colt’s future and said that a trip to Belmont Park for the Belmont Derby Invitational (GI) on July 4 is a potential spot for him, with perhaps one race between now and then.
“There isn’t a whole lot between now and the Belmont Derby, but there are a few races that we are going to look at and maybe get a race in him before then,” Bradley said. “It [Belmont Derby] is an invitational and my phone hasn’t rung yet to invite me. But I’m sure that it will if he runs well next time.”
Bradley, a native of Frankfort, Ky., trained two highly successful thoroughbreds with millionaire Brass Hat and multiple Eclipse Award-winner Groupie Doll. He discussed how great it is to have a horse such as that in his barn and he thinks Divisidero could potentially be a horse of that caliber.
“It’s fun to think that way and it’s fun to have a horse like this in your barn,” Bradley said. “I think that since he’s a very nice looking individual, and he’s got it all upstairs, that it will help him be a very nice horse.
"The owner [Tom Keithley] and racing manager [Josh Stevens] had lunch the other day and they’re liking to dream a little bit as well. We’re having fun with it. So far I really like working with them because they’re patient and what I say, they listen to.”
NEW HORSE RACING RADIO SHOW DEBUTS SATURDAY FROM 10-11 A.M. ON ESPN 680/105.7 – “Inside Churchill Downs,” a new horse racing radio show co-hosted by Churchill Downs Racetrack’s John Asher and Darren Rogers, will debut Saturday from 10-11 a.m. on ESPN 680/105.7. The one-hour program will air every Saturday throughout the Spring Meet and follows the popular HRRN Equine Forum hosted by Mike Penna from 8-10 a.m.