DERBY WINNER SUPER SAVER WORKS THREE FURLONGS IN :36.60 – WinStar Farm’s Super Saver worked three furlongs in :36.60 under jockey Calvin Borel after renovation break over a track rated as “fast.”
Working on his own, Super Saver notched fractions of :12.40, :36.60, out a half in :49.20 and five-eighths in 1:02. The move was fifth fastest of 29 at the distance.
“I was very pleased with the work,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “We are very encouraged by what we’ve seen since the Derby from him. Everything is good. I got him in :36 and change and out in :49.”
“It was real good – just what we wanted,” said Borel. “He switched leads on key – we’ve been working on that a little bit. I was perfect. You couldn’t ask for better, I don’t think.”
Super Saver is scheduled to ship to Baltimore on Wednesday and Pletcher said that Super Saver would gallop at Pimlico on Thursday and Friday and have a paddock schooling session on Thursday.
Pletcher is seeking his first Preakness victory, which would give him a Triple Crown of sorts bookended by Super Saver’s Kentucky Derby triumph and Rags to Riches’ victory in the 2007 Belmont.
“He is pretty unique,” Pletcher said of Super Saver when asked to compare him with other horses he has trained. “He is very athletic, a good mover and very efficient.”
Borel said Super Saver made great progress since his runner-up finish to Line of David in the Arkansas Derby on April 10. While he had displayed sharp speed early in his career, the colt rated off the pace that day and relaxed so well on Kentucky Derby Day that he settled more than eight lengths off of a fast pace in the mile and a quarter classic. His rider believes that Super Saver’s new versatility will serve him well in Saturday’s 1 3/16ths-mile Preakness.
“That’s a great feeling,” he said. “He’s not like a horse like Street Sense [2007 Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness runner-up] who’s got to come out the back door. He doesn’t have to be on the lead – if they give to me, good – if they don’t, no. That’s a big plus – he plays with me. I can do what I want with him.
“Todd did a good job with him – him and his assistant [Mike McCarthy] and exercise rider [Kevin Willey]. When I rode him last year as a 2-year-old he was a pretty aggressive colt. He wanted to run pretty early, and now he’s on-command. That’s what you want in these kind of races because you never know what they’re going to throw at you – there might be a ‘rabbit’ or two, so you want get him to relax and not to be there fighting with them and go from there.”
Also working for Pletcher after the break was Twin Creeks Racing Stable’s Mission Impazible, the ninth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby. With exercise rider Kevin Willey up, Mission Impazible covered three furlongs in :36.40. The move was third fastest of 29 at the distance. Fractions for the breeze were :12 and out a half-mile in :49.60.
“I thought he worked well,” Pletcher said. “We are still on the fence with him about the Preakness. I am going to get with the owners this afternoon.”
Dogwood Stable’s Aikenite walked the shedrow Monday a day after working five furlongs in 1:01.40.
“He came out of the work fine,” Pletcher said of Aikenite, who will be ridden in the Preakness by Javier Castellano.
BAFFERT SAYS LOOKIN AT LUCKY IS LIKELY FOR PREAKNESS – It’s looking more likely that reigning juvenile champion Lookin At Lucky will get a chance at redemption in the 135th Preakness (Grade I) following his sixth-place run behind Super Saver in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) on May 1.
Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman’s 3-year-old son of Smart Strike galloped 1 ½ miles over a “fast” surface Monday under exercise rider Peter Hutton and trainer Bob Baffert said he was expecting to run the beaten Kentucky Derby favorite in the Preakness. The colt is scheduled to board a flight to Baltimore on Wednesday for Saturday’s race at Pimlico Race Course.
“I’m planning on it unless I see something between now and getting on the plane,” said Baffert. “There’s no urgency. I told everybody yesterday to go on and get their [hotel] rooms and stuff.”
Baffert said Lookin At Lucky would not have a workout between his troubled Kentucky Derby run and the Preakness.
“We’ll just gallop him into the race,” said Baffert. “He’s a different kind of horse. He doesn’t need a work.”
If Lookin At Lucky does go in the Preakness, Baffert said Martin Garcia is expected to ride in what would be his debut in the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Garrett Gomez had ridden the colt in all of his previous nine starts, but has already accepted a mount on Dublin for the Preakness.
“It’s not for sure yet – I’ve got a lot of other calls from different riders, but Martin’s on hold,” said Baffert. “Martin knows the horse. He’s worked him.
“I think he’s got a lot of raw talent, but he’s young. He rides good for me – we’re clicking pretty good. Everywhere I send him he wins a race – he even won one for me here at Churchill. I think he’s just too young to understand the meaning of these races – but sometimes that can be good. Just like Affirmed and Steve Cauthen, he might have been too young to understand what the hell was going on.”
Kentucky native Cauthen was 18 when he won the 1978 Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown aboard Affirmed, the last 3-year-old to sweep the covered three-race series.
Garcia, a native of Veracruz, Mexico, is 26.
Baffert made the move to replace Gomez after Lookin At Lucky endured difficult journeys in both the Santa Anita Derby and Kentucky Derby, but said the move should be no reflection on Gomez’s ability.
"I love Garrett – it’s just luck,” he said. “We were just having bad luck on that horse. I told him it might be a one-shot deal. I just wanted to try something different.”
GOMEZ GUIDES LUKAS’ DUBLIN THROUGH HALF-MILE WORK IN :48.40 – Robert Baker and William Mack’s Dublin, seventh in the Kentucky Derby for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, worked a half-mile in company with Bird Empire in :48.40, the 15th fastest move of 69 at the distance.
With new rider Garrett Gomez aboard, Dublin posted fractions of :13, :25, and :37 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01 in the work that occurred immediately after the track opened at 6 o’clock.
“I liked what I felt under me,” said Gomez, who is replacing Terry Thompson on Dublin. “He was very responsive. Wayne wanted a good easy half and didn’t want much of a gallop-out. He wanted solid :12s.”
Gomez was asked if much could be learned about a horse like Dublin in a quick test run?
“Yes. He was nothing like what you may have heard about in Hot Springs (at Oaklawn Park) when he bolted a few times,” Gomez said. “He was no problem today. He’s just a big ol’ boy. I feel good about my chances.”
After the work, Lukas said to Gomez: “I hope you feel good about him.”
Gomez responded: “I do.”
“It was a very good work and he galloped out in 1:01.” Lukas said. “Garrett liked it. He’s enthused and that’s all that matters.”
Westrock Stables’ Northern Giant was the next out for Lukas, working three furlongs in :36.40, third fastest of 29, under Arielle Witkowski. Fractions were :12.60, :36.40 and out a half-mile in :49.80.
“He went well,” Lukas said of Northern Giant, on whom a rider has not been confirmed. “I want to see who shows up there for the other stakes” (before naming a rider).
JACKSON BEND DRILLS BULLET HALF FOR PREAKNESS – Robert LaPenta and Fred Brei’s Jackson Bend signaled his readiness for a run in Saturday’s Preakness by working a bullet half-mile in :46.60.
The move, accomplished shortly after 7 a.m., was the fastest of 69 at the distance. Working in company with Latigo Shore and with Stacy Prior in the saddle, Jackson Bend produced fractions of :11.80, :23, :34.80 and out five furlongs in :59.80.
“It was really quick, but the good thing about it is that he did it on his own,” trainer Nick Zito said. “Stacy was not asking him at all.
“If he has a good week, this is the shot you take. He will get a break after this.”
HURRICANE IKE WORKS SEVEN FURLONGS IN 1:25.80 – Ike and Dawn Thrash’s Hurricane Ike and jockey Robby Albarado had a seven-furlong, get-acquainted session after the renovation break.
The John Sadler-trained winner of Churchill Downs’ The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (GIII) on April 24, Hurricane Ike worked seven furlongs in 1:25.80 with the final five-eighths clocked in 1:01.40.
“I thought it went well. He hit the ground nice and I think I am in good shape,” Albarado said, adding with a laugh, “I put him in tight next to the fence so nobody can sneak inside of him.”
After the work, Albarado relayed his thoughts on the test run over the phone to Sadler’s assistant Larry Benavidez.
This work was more for me than for him to let me get a feel for him,” Albarado said after the call. “We broke off at the seven-eighths and I just eased him into the work.”
Tne other Preakness hopeful worked after the break, Steel Your Face Stables’ Yawanna Twist.
With assistant trainer Michelle Nevin up and working solo, Yawanna Twist covered five furlongs in 1:01.80. Fractions were :12.60 and :36.60 for the move that was 13th fastest of 27 at the distance.
“It was a basic work for him. It went well,” Nevin said of Yawanna Twist, runner-up in the Illinois Derby (GIII) in his most recent start.
Trainer Dale Romans had both of his Preakness prospects on the track Monday. Donald Dizney’s First Dude jogged two miles in his first day back at the track since a five-eighths work in 1:00.60 on Saturday. Donegal Racing’s Paddy O’Prado, third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, galloped a mile and a half.
RACHEL ALEXANDRA CRUISES IN FIRST WORK SINCE UPSET LOSS IN LA TROIENNE – Stonestreet Stable and Harold McCormick’s 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra returned to serious training following her upset loss in the $400,000-added La Troienne (GII) at Churchill Downs with an easy half-mile breeze on Monday at Churchill Downs.
The Steve Asmussen-trained 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro worked the four furlongs over a “fast” track under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan in :50. She covered the distance in fractional times of :13, :25.60 and :38.60 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:05.60.
“It was an easy first work back,” said Asmussen. “It’s nice cool morning and everything is ideal today. It’s another step in the process.”
Asmussen said there’s no target for Rachel Alexandra’s next race following back-to-back losses to Zardana by three-quarters of a length in the New Orleans Ladies on March 13 and Unrivaled Belle by the margin of a head in the La Troienne at Churchill Downs on the April 30 Kentucky Oaks Day program.
“All options are open,” Asmussen said.
Rachel Alexandra’s record stands at 11-4-0 in 16 races with earnings of $3,074,050.
WORK TAB (Track: FAST) – Emmy Darling breezed a half-mile in :48 under Calvin Borel for trainer John Sadler … Florida Oaks (GIII) winner Diva Delite breezed a half-mile in :50 for trainer Ian Wilkes … Ravi’s Song breezed four furlongs in :50 … multiple turf and dirt stakes winner Acoma breezed five furlongs in 1:00.40 for trainer David Carroll …Cash Refund, winner of the Duncan Kenner and F.W. Gaudin Memorial at Fair Grounds, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.60 for trainer Steve Margolis … Stay Put, an allowance winner on Derby Day and a possible Belmont Stakes candidate, breezed four furlongs in :49, also for Margolis … Kensei, winner of the 2009 renewals of the Dwyer (GII) and Jim Dandy (GII), breezed a half-mile in :48.80 for trainer Steve Asmussen.