Follow the preparations of your favorite Kentucky Oaks contender every morning with the Churchill Downs Notes Team, providing daily updates on the contenders for Kentucky Oaks 135!
BE FAIR / TWEETER – Thomas Van Meter and Charles Kidder’s Be Fair worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 under exercise rider Omar Golon. The move, taking place shortly after the track opened, was the fourth-fastest of 24 at the distance over a track rated as “fast.”
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, a four-time winner of the Kentucky Oaks, said, “She went just perfect.” Lukas added, “Have you ever heard a trainer not like a horse’s work?”
Marylou Whitney Stables’ Tweeter galloped shortly after the track opened at 6 a.m. Lukas is still not definite on her final work plans, but has indicated it would come Monday or Tuesday.
FLYING SPUR – Mike Rutherford’s Flying Spur galloped a mile and quarter under exercise rider Joanna Trout before the renovation break Sunday morning.
Trainer Bill Mott indicated Flying Spur, runner-up in the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks to Rachel Alexandra, would work Monday morning, probably before the renovation break.
Garrett Gomez, winner of the 2007 Kentucky Oaks on Rags To Riches, has the riding assignment on Flying Spur.
GABBY’S GOLDEN GAL – The lightly raced (four starts) winner of the Sunland Park Oaks, Gabby’s Golden Gal, had her final major move for Friday’s Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs Sunday morning when she clipped off five furlongs in 1:00.40 shortly after the renovation break.
With trainer Bob Baffert taking it in from the track’s grandstand, the smallish daughter of Medaglia d’Oro had former rider Joe Steiner in the tack as she went generously through the drill.
The thoughtful Steiner gave the move a literal and figurative thumbs up.
“She just cruised around there for me,” he said. “And she galloped out strong. I said ‘OK, that’s good,’ when we finished up. She’s just a little thing, but she feels big under you. She’s coming up to it right; doing all she can do. She’ll be hooking into a tough one (solid favorite Rachel Alexandra), but she’s going to be ready to do her part. Sometimes it’s just a matter of being ready and getting lucky.”
Victor Espinoza has the call on Gabby’s Golden Gal for the nine-furlong Oaks.
JUSTWHISTLEDIXIE – West Point Thoroughbreds’ Justwhistledixie walked the shedrow at Barn 42 for a second consecutive morning. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee worked a half-mile in :49 on Friday and is scheduled to go back to the track in the morning.
Julien Leparoux, who rode Justwhistledixie to victory in the Grade II Bonnie Miss on March 27 in her most recent start, has the Oaks riding assignment.
NAN – J. Paul Reddam’s Nan returned to the track for a light jog under exercise rider Jose Castanon after walking the shedrow on Saturday.
The Craig Dollase trainee had her final pre-Oaks work on Friday with a five-furlong drill in company in 1:00.20.
Corey Nakatani, a two-time Kentucky Oaks winner, has the riding assignment on Nan.
RACHEL ALEXANDRA – L and M Partners’ Rachel Alexandra galloped a mile and half before the renovation break under exercise rider Rudy Gallegos.
The probable Kentucky Oaks favorite is scheduled to work a half-mile after the renovation break in the morning with jockey Calvin Borel up.
“I am looking for her to go in about :48 and maybe let her gallop out,” trainer Hal Wiggins said.
Wiggins, whose horses occupy most all of Barn 30, will have plenty to keep him busy this week along with Rachel Alexandra. “I’ve got one in on Tuesday, I’m entering one for Thursday and we’re running Abbott Hall in the Edgewood on Friday,” Wiggins said.
Abbott Hall is owned by Dolphus Morrison, breeder and co-owner of Rachel Alexandra.