Follow your Kentucky Derby 135 favorites on www.churchilldowns.com, and get the rundown on how the contenders are training up to the first Saturday in May!
ADVICE / DUNKIRK / JOIN IN THE DANCE – Two of the three Todd Pletcher Kentucky Derby hopefuls galloped Friday morning at Churchill Downs.
Tampa Bay Derby (Grade III) runner-up Join in the Dance galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Kevin Willey. With $90,000 in graded earnings, Join in the Dance would need one defection for the list of possible Kentucky Derby starters to gain a spot in the starting gate.
Willey was out in the next set on WinStar Farm’s Advice, galloping a mile and a half. Advice won the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (Grade II) last Saturday.
Dunkirk, owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, is stabled at Palm Meadows in Florida and scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Tuesday, the same day as Pletcher. Edgar Prado has the mount on Dunkirk.
CHOCOLATE CANDY – El Camino Real Derby (Grade III) winner Chocolate Candy visited the paddock and galloped a mile and half under exercise rider Lindsey Molina shortly after the track opened for training at 6 a.m.
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is scheduled back in Louisville on Saturday to saddle Rendezvous in the Derby Trial (Grade III). Chocolate Candy, owned by the Sid and Jenny Craig Trust, is scheduled to work Monday or Tuesday. Mike Smith has the Derby riding assignment.
DESERT PARTY / REGAL RANSOM – The Godolphin duo of Desert Party and Regal Ransom galloped a mile and a quarter each before the renovation break with exercise rider Bob Chapman handling both activities.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said both colts would work Saturday morning with Regal Ransom going out at 6 a.m. and Desert Party after the break at 8:30. Chapman will handle both five-furlong works.
Ramon Dominguez will ride Desert Party in Kentucky Derby 135 and Regal Ransom will be piloted by Alan Garcia.
FLAT OUT – Oxbow Racing’s Flat Out had an easy day and just walked the shedrow in Barn 48. Trainer Charles “Scooter” Dickey still has not named a jockey and has not yet decided when Flat Out will work next.
Flat Out is 22nd on the graded earnings list and needs a couple of defections to make the field for Derby 135.
FLYING PRIVATE – Robert Baker and William Mack’s Flying Private galloped an unspecified distance according to trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Lukas says how far he went “doesn’t matter.” Exercise rider Taylor Carty was aboard.
Flying Private is scheduled to work unday or Monday according to Lukas. Robby Albarado has the Derby riding assignment.
FRIESAN FIRE – Louisiana Derby (Grade II) winner Friesan Fire arrived at Churchill Downs shortly after 3 p.m. (EDT) following a van ride from Lexington’s Keeneland Race Course.
Trained by Larry Jones for Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm, Friesan Fire is scheduled to be ridden in the Kentucky Derby 135 by Gabriel Saez. Friesan Fire will be stabled in Barn 45.
GENERAL QUARTERS – Owner-trainer Tom McCarthy reported all was well with General Quarters on Friday morning, a day after the colt worked five furlongs in 1:01.80 under exercise rider Julie Sheets.
Julien Leparoux, who has ridden in the past two Kentucky Derbies, has the call on General Quarters.
HOLD ME BACK – WinStar Farm’s Hold Me Back galloped a mile and a half under assistant trainer Kenny McCarthy before the renovation break Friday morning.
“And Twinkie had a good gallop, too, if anyone is asking,” trainer Bill Mott said with a chuckle, referring to his pony.
Mott is looking at Sunday or Monday as the final work for Hold Me Back, who will attempt to make Kent Desormeaux the first jockey in 26 years to ride back-to-back Kentucky Derby winners. Eddie Delahoussaye last turned the trick in 1982-83 with Gato Del Sol and Sunny’s Halo.
I WANT REVENGE – Wood Memorial (Grade I) winner I Want Revenge started the day with a paddock schooling session and then galloped a mile and a half under Joe Deegan.
Owned by IEAH Stables, David Lanzman and Puglisi Racing, I Want Revenge is scheduled to have his third work at Churchill Downs on Tuesday with jockey Joe Talamo slated to be aboard as he has been for the first two.
Trainer Jeff Mullins is scheduled to return to Louisville from his Southern California base on Saturday.
MINE THAT BIRD – Double Eagle Ranch and Bueno Suerte Equine’s Mine That Bird jogged a half-mile and then galloped a mile and half before the renovation break under exercise rider Charlie Figueroa.
“He looked sharp this morning,” trainer Chip Woolley said. “He will work Monday morning, a little after the break, around 8:50.”
Calvin Borel will have a get-acquainted session that morning on Mine That Bird, who comes into the Kentucky Derby off a fourth-place finish in the March 29 Sunland Derby.
MUSKET MAN – Eric Fein and Vic Carlson’s Musket Man galloped a mile and five-eighths under Salvador Dominguez early Friday morning and was scheduled for his final pre-Derby work on Saturday.
“When (Eibar) Coa gets here in the morning, we’ll work,” trainer Derek Ryan said.
Coa was aboard for Musket Man’s victory in the Grade II Illinois Derby on April 4 in his most recent start.
PAPA CLEM – Bo Hirsch’s Papa Clem galloped a mile and a half before the renovation break under exercise rider Mundo Gonzalez. Gonzalez is scheduled to be aboard for Papa Clem’s work Saturday morning.
“Mundo gallops for me in California and I was thinking that if we do good here and go on to Pimlico, I’d like to have my regular guy who gets on him,” trainer Gary Stute said.
Stute got an extra starter to watch over on Thursday when Kitty in the Bag arrived from Southern California to run in next Thursday’s Kentucky Juvenile (Grade III), the first graded stakes race of the year for 2-year-olds. Stute’s father, veteran California trainer Mel Stute, trains Kitty in the Bag, who won her debut by 3-1/4 lengths going two furlongs at Santa Anita on April 1.
“Dad’s coming in Sunday,” Stute said.
Mel Stute has trained two Kentucky Derby starters: Bold ‘n Rulling, who ran sixth in 1980 and Snow Chief, who ran in 11th in 1986 and came back two weeks later to win the Preakness (Grade I). Rafael Bejarano has the riding assignment on Papa Clem.
PIONEEROF THE NILE – Zayat Stables’ Pioneerof the Nile galloped a mile and a half after the renovation break with exercise rider George Alvarez up.
Trainer Bob Baffert has Monday penciled in as the next work day for Pioneerof the Nile, who will be ridden in the Derby by Garrett Gomez.
SQUARE EDDIE – J. Paul Reddam’s Square Eddie was on the track before 7 a.m. Friday for a mile and a half gallop under exercise rider Tony Romero.
Leandro Mora, assistant to trainer Doug O’Neill, was asked how the gallop looked to him.
“Pretty damn good,” Mora said with a smile.
Corey Nakatani is scheduled to ride Square Eddie, who is slated to have his final pre-Derby work Sunday with O’Neill expected to be on hand.
“We are working all three that morning,” Mora said, alluding to Claimboxdotcom, O’Neill and Sarno’s Informed, a candidate for next Friday’s Grade III Alysheba, and Reddam and Mark Schlesinger’s Modification, who is nominated to next Friday’s Grade II Louisville Distaff and the Grade I Humana Distaff scheduled for Derby Day.
SUMMER BIRD – K.K. and Vilasini Jayaraman’s Summer Bird, working after the renovation break with jockey Chris Rosier up, worked six furlongs in 1:15.80 from the five-eighths pole to the seven-eighths.
Summer Bird stood quietly in the six-furlong gap waiting for the track to reopen. The chestnut son of Birdstone then went about his business with Churchill Downs clockers recording fractions of :12.80, :25.20, :37.20, :49.40, 1:02.60 and out seven furlongs in 1:29.60 over a track rated as “fast”.
“I am happy as I can be with it,” Rosier said. “He was relaxed and calm all the way through.”
Trainer Tim Ice, who will heading to Lone Star Park on Saturday with Rosier and coming back Sunday, liked the work.
“I got him in 1:15 and 3, but he doesn’t work much by himself,” Ice said. “He needs something in front of him.
“He is a deep closer and he picked it up nice and galloped out strong. He gets better the longer he goes.”
Ice said Summer Bird would walk Saturday, jog Sunday morning and gallop into the race “with a two-minute clip down the lane on Wednesday, which is the same thing he did before the Arkansas Derby.” Summer Bird ran third in the Arkansas Derby, coming from 15 lengths back to finish 1 ¼ lengths behind Papa Clem in only his third start.
“We expected good things out of him, but didn’t expect as much of a jump right off the bat,” said Ice, who has saddled horses at Churchill Downs before as an assistant. “It’s a whole new experience having one for yourself for the Derby. There is no other race like it.”
WEST SIDE BERNIE – George and Lori Hall’s West Side Bernie galloped a mile and five-eighths before the renovation break with trainer Kelly Breen up.
Breen plans to work West Side Bernie after the break Saturday morning and hoes to have jockey Stewart Elliott aboard for the work.
WIN WILLY – Jer-Mar Stable’s Win Willy walked the shedrow at Barn 45, a day after arriving from Oaklawn Park where he finished fourth in the Grade II Arkansas Derby in his most recent start.
Cliff Berry is scheduled to ride Win Willy in the Derby for trainer Mac Robertson.