Racing News

Commanding Curve, Unbridled Forever breeze in hopes of making Derby, Oaks

  • Unbridled Forever (Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography)

Kentucky Derby hopeful Commanding Curve, ranked No. 23 on the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" leaderboard, continued his preparations for a potential start in the "Run for the Roses" with a five-furlong move Friday morning at Churchill Downs in 1:00 2/5.

Working under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, who rode the colt to his maiden victory at Churchill Downs in November, Commanding Curve recorded splits of :12 3/5, :25 and :37 1/5 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:13 3/5 over the fast track.

"He looked very comfortable out there," trainer Dallas Stewart said. "He's got a great shot if he gets in (the Kentucky Derby)."

Commanding Curve will need defections to make the race. On Friday afternoon it was announced that No. 3 Dance With Fate, the Blue Grass winner who was previously uncommitted, would return to dirt for a start in the Derby. Vinceremos and Harry's Holiday are Nos. 21 and 22.

Friday's breeze by Commanding Curve was his second at Churchill Downs since placing third in the Louisiana Derby. His three-year-old campaign also includes a sixth-place effort in the Risen Star at Fair Grounds.

"We're just waiting," Stewart said. "These other horses have to earn their merit to run on this track, and the trainers have to believe they have a chance to win."

Commanding Curve's work was on the outside of stablemate Golden Soul, who was in very a similar on-the-outside-looking-in position before finishing second in last year's Kentucky Derby.

"We think he's got a good shot," Stewart said. "There's a lot of speed in this race, which I think will benefit him and he likes this distance."

Also working Friday for Stewart was Kentucky Oaks-hopeful Unbridled Forever, who is No. 16 on the preference list for the maximum 14-horse Oaks.

The Unbridled's Song filly breezed five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 under regular exercise rider Pedro Velez. Unbridled Forever, who recorded internal splits of :12, :24 and :36 1/5, galloped out six furlongs in 1:14 2/5. This was her second local workout since running third in the Fair Grounds Oaks on March 29. Prior to that start she won the Silverbulletday Stakes, also at Fair Grounds, in her sophomore debut on January 18.

California Chrome Cruises to Victory in 140th Kentucky Derby before Crowd of 164,906

Steven Coburn and Perry Martin's favored California Chrome, ridden by Victor Espinoza, took command at the head of the stretch en route to a 1 3/4-length victory over Commanding Curve to win the 140th running of the $2,202,800 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I). A sun-splashed crowd of 164,906, the second-largest attendance in Kentucky Derby history, watched California Chrome give jockey Victor Espinoza a second Derby victory to go with his triumph on War Emblem in 2002.

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