Steve Coburn and Perry Martin’s Kentucky Derby (Grade I) hero California Chrome galloped 1 ½ miles with Willie Delgado aboard shortly before 7 o’clock Thursday morning at Churchill Downs.
California Chrome stood in the gap leading to the track for about five minutes and did not move a muscle as photographers recorded the scene and horses went to and from the track. After the exercise, California Chrome walked quietly back to Barn 20.
“His temperament is excellent,” said Alan Sherman, assistant to his father Art Sherman. “He got a little fired up on the walkover (before the Derby) but he settled down once he got in the paddock.”
California Chrome is expected to ship to Maryland for the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes (GI) at the earliest on Monday whenever a charter flight is ready. For Delgado, it is a trip back home; for Alan Sherman, it’s a first.
“Never been there,” Alan Sherman said. “I think my dad rode at Bowie. I am 45, and that was long before I was around.”
RIDE ON CURLIN TO PICK UP PACE SATURDAY
Daniel Dougherty’s Ride On Curlin repeated his exercise program of Wednesday by walking to the track from Barn 47 at Churchill Downs to the six-furlong gap where exercise rider Bryan Beccia hopped aboard and then followed with an easy gallop of 1 1/8 miles.
“He’ll do the same thing tomorrow then Saturday gallop two miles and maybe pick it up late,” trainer Billy Gowan said of the seventh-place Kentucky Derby finisher. “Sunday and Monday will be easy gallops and the first day at Pimlico on Tuesday will be an easy mile and then an easy half-mile breeze on Wednesday. I don’t have to do too much with him.”
Ride On Curlin and Derby winner California Chrome appear to be the only Kentucky Derby runners lining up for the Preakness and of the prospective field, they are the most experienced. California Chrome has 11 starts and Ride On Curlin 10.
“The seasoning definitely helps and I think it is a big advantage,” Gowan said of his battle-tested colt. “Now if we can get a little more early pace this time; it may not hurt him (California Chrome), but it will help us.”
Beccia will be making a return trip to Pimlico with a Kentucky Derby veteran. Beccia was the exercise rider for 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos.
Monarchos ran the second-fastest Derby in history, but failed to reproduce that form in the Preakness, finishing sixth behind Point Given, a colt he had beaten by 11 ½ lengths in the Derby.
“Monarchos came out of the Derby just as good as Ride On Curlin,” Beccia said. “Monarchos shipped good and trained well. He was a happy horse and you can look at pictures of him galloping in the stretch with his ears pricked.
“Unfortunately, the real Point Given showed up (at the Preakness). Hopefully, after the Preakness and Belmont, the real Ride On Curlin will have shown up.”
ROUTINE GALLOPS THURSDAY FOR PREAKNESS HOPEFULS AT CHURCHILL DOWNS
In addition to California Chrome and Ride On Curlin, three other horses stabled at Churchill Downs put in routine 1 ½-mile gallops Thursday morning over a fast track as they continued their Preakness preparations.
Kaleem Shah’s Bayern galloped after the renovation break with exercise rider Jorge Alvarez up for trainer Bob Baffert. Bayern is scheduled to work Monday.
John Oxley’s Illinois Derby (GIII) winner Dynamic Impact galloped before the renovation break under exercise rider Marco Cano. Trained by Mark Casse, Dynamic Impact is scheduled to work Saturday.
Christopher Dunn and Loooch Racing Stable’s Ria Antonia galloped under Maurice Sanchez for trainer Tom Amoss.
After finishing sixth in Friday’s Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), Ria Antonia was moved from Baffert’s barn to Amoss, who trains a string of horses for Ron Paolucci (of Loooch Racing).
“That’s the first time I have had one moved into my barn that close to a Grade I race,” said Amoss, who has Ria Antonia scheduled for a Monday work.
However, Ria Antonia was not a total unknown to Amoss.
“I did not see her last fall when she was in the Breeders’ Cup, but I got to watch her train for two weeks before the Oaks when she came out in the 8:30 time slot (reserved for Oaks and Derby horses),” Amoss said. “She was very impressive and that is what I want to see now.”
SWEET CASSIOPEIA FACES SEVEN RIVALS IN SATURDAY’S UNBRIDLED SIDNEY
Dan Considine and Steve Snowden’s Sweet Cassiopeia headlines a field of eight fillies and mares for Saturday’s $65,000 Unbridled Sidney at five furlongs on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
Trained by Bill Connelly, Sweet Cassiopeia enters Saturday’s sprint off a third-place finish in the Giant’s Causeway on April 19 at Keeneland.
“She came out of that race good,” Connelly said of Sweet Cassiopeia, who was coming off a nearly five-month layoff. “We had planned a break for her at the end of last year and just turned her out for the winter.”
Joe Rocco Jr., who was aboard in the Giant’s Causeway, has the return call Saturday and will break from post position seven.
Three horses that finished behind Sweet Cassiopeia in the 5 ½-furlong Giant’s Causeway are back to try again: Point to the Wild, fourth), Saturday Nthe Park (eighth) and To My Valentine (FR) (10th).
The field for the Unbridled Sidney, from the inside out: Saturday Nthe Park (Robby Albarado, 123 pounds), Queen Negwer (Corey Lanerie, 121), Point to the Wild (Brian Hernandez Jr., 121), Costly (Oriana Rossi, 121), To My Valentine (Leandro Goncalves, 121), Marcasite (Calvin Borel, 121), Sweet Cassiopeia, Rocco Jr., 121) and Dixie Jackpot (Dylan Davis, 121).
FRIDAY, MAY 9 KICKS OFF CHURCHILL DOWNS’ FRIDAY HAPPY HOURS
Friday, May 9 marks the first Happy Hour of the Churchill Downs Spring Meet, featuring live music and drink specials in the Plaza.
Live music this Friday will be from Hog Operation and $2 Bud Lights and $3 Stella Artois will be available in the Plaza from 3-7 p.m.
In addition to traditional grilled food items (burgers, hot dogs, brats) there will be a different specialty food item offered each week in the Plaza and guests also can register for box seats for the 2015 Kentucky Derby and Oaks.