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Frac Daddy Arrives, Brown Makes Training Plans for Normandy Invasion, Seaneen Girl Works Toward Oaks
Arkansas Derby (Grade I) runner-up Frac Daddy, ranked No. 15 on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by TwinSpires.com,” arrived at Churchill Downs on Wednesday morning at 4 a.m. (all times Eastern) and will be prepped for Kentucky Derby 139 beneath the Twin Spires.
Phil Bauer, assistant to trainer Ken McPeek, said Frac Daddy arrived in good order and would visit the track Thursday; however, it won’t be his first time on the Churchill Downs oval. A gray or roan son of Scat Daddy, Frac Daddy broke his maiden at Churchill Downs in November by 9 ¾ lengths and returned to finish a neck behind Uncaptured in the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII).
Frac Daddy is stabled in Barn 6 and is expected to be joined Thursday by Toyota Blue Grass (GI) winner Java’s War (No. 4). A bay son of War Pass, Java’s War also is no stranger to the Churchill Downs surface. He finished fifth at Churchill Downs in his career debut in June and returned in the fall to finish sixth in the Kentucky Jockey Club.
In other Kentucky Derby news, trainer Chad Brown made training plans for Wood Memorial (GI) runner-up Normandy Invasion (No. 14).
“I’m going to try to work him the next two Sundays and one of the times (jockey Javier Castellano) will come out,” Brown said. “He’ll most likely come the Sunday before the Derby (April 28) because he’ll be doing a little more then.”
Brown added that Normandy Invasion will work without company leading up to the May 4 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).
“He always worked in company up until the breeze right before the Wood,” Brown said. “I finally took the company away because he was starting to get strong going to the pole. Now he’s matured to where I can take him to the pole and count on him to do his work. I work a lot of horses in company, generally. Not that I work fast, but I want them to stay in the bridle through the work. He doesn’t need it anymore.”
Scheduled to work Thursday morning is Golden Soul (No. 23), who most recently finished fourth in the Louisiana Derby (GII). Trainer Dallas Stewart said Golden Soul will work without company at 6:15 a.m. if the weather permits.
In Kentucky Oaks news, Golden Rod (GII) winner Seaneen Girl (No. 13) recorded her first published workout since finishing third in the March 30 Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) and breezed five furlongs on the fast main track at Churchill Downs on Wednesday in 1:01.60. Working under exercise rider Rocky Seely, Seaneen Girl ran the last quarter-mile in :24.60 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:16. She was tentatively scheduled to work Thursday, but trainer Bernie Flint moved the work up due to the weather.
“We worked her in between the rain drops,” Flint said. “She’s doing great and if we keep on going like we’re going, I’m confident we’re going to go over there with a good, fresh horse,” Flint said. “I was (24-1) in the (Fair Grounds Oaks) and (31-1) in the Golden Rod and I’ll be 30-1 again (in the Kentucky Oaks), but I’m happy with where I am right now.”
Plans for who will ride Seaneen Girl in the Kentucky Oaks have not been finalized.
In other Oaks news, trainer Mark Hennig announced via Twitter on Wednesday morning that Live Lively, who was ranked No. 7 on the “Road the Kentucky Oaks” Leaderboard, is no longer under consideration for the Kentucky Oaks and will be pointed to the Black-Eyed Susan (GII) at Pimlico on May 17.
The defection moves the McPeek-trained filly Pure Fun up to No. 14 on the Leaderboard. Winner of the Hollywood Starlet (GI) as a juvenile, Pure Fun is entered in Saturday’s Coolmore Lexington (GIII) at Keeneland and McPeek said Wednesday she is still scheduled to run.
The Lexington is a Wild Card race on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by TwinSpires.com” and points will be awarded to the Top 4 finishers on a 20-8-4-2 scale. Any points earned by a filly in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series against open company will be credited to her point total in the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” series.
KENTUCKY DERBY POSSIBLE FIELD AS OF WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17 (listed in order preference): Orb (trained by Shug McGaughey, ridden by Joel Rosario, 150 points, $840,000 in non-restricted stakes earnings), Verrazano (Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez, 150, $810,000), Goldencents (Doug O’Neill, Kevin Krigger, 129, $1,208,000), Java’s War (Ken McPeek, Julien Leparoux, 122, $651,772), Overanalyze (Pletcher, Rafael Bejarano, 110, $908,381), Revolutionary (Pletcher, Calvin Borel, 110, $720,000), Lines of Battle (Aidan O’Brien, TBA, 100, $1,261,089 ), Vyjack (Rudy Rodriguez, Garrett Gomez, 70, $505,000), Will Take Charge (D. Wayne Lukas, Jon Court, 60, $512,971), Itsmyluckyday (Eddie Plesa Jr., Elvis Trujillo, 50, $593,600), Govenor Charlie (Bob Baffert, Martin Garcia, 50, $400,000), Black Onyx (Kelly Breen, Joe Bravo, 50, $317,130), Palace Malice (Pletcher, Mike Smith, 50, $200,000), Normandy Invasion (Chad Brown, Javier Castellano, 44, $258,000), Frac Daddy (McPeek, TBA, 44, $240,596), Mylute (Tom Amoss, Rosie Napravnik, 42, $363,365), Oxbow (Lukas, Gary Stevens, 36, $346,000), Super Ninety Nine (Baffert, TBA, 30, $308,000), Falling Sky (John Terranova, TBA, 30, $207,500) and Charming Kitten (Pletcher, TBA, 20, $206,000).
KENTUCKY OAKS POSSIBLE FIELD AS OF WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17 (listed in order of preference): Beholder (trained by Richard Mandella, ridden by Garrett Gomez, 164, $1,500,000), Rose to Gold (Sal Santoro, Calvin Borel, 164, $717,889), Unlimited Budget (Todd Pletcher, Javier Castellano, 160, $570,000), Dreaming of Julia (Pletcher, John Velazquez, 132, $719,000), Emollient (Bill Mott, TBA, 104, $359,000), Close Hatches (Mott, Joel Rosario, 100, $150,000), Flashy Gray (Mott, TBA, 60, $130,000), Princess of Sylmar (Pletcher, TBA, 50, $170,000), Fiftyshadesofhay (Baffert, TBA, 50, $146,250), Midnight Lucky (Baffert, TBA, 50, $120,000), Silsita (Pletcher, TBA, 50, $57,660), Manuka Honey (John Terranova, TBA, 40, $125,000), Seaneen Girl (Bernie Flint, TBA, 34, $193,621) and Pure Fun (Ken McPeek, TBA, 20, $269,800).
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