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Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands Update for Monday, April 21
VICAR'S IN TROUBLE (No. 2) / GENERAL A ROD (No. 15) / HARRY'S HOLIDAY (No. 20) – Trainer Mike Maker reported Monday morning that his trio of Kentucky Derby possibilities “were doing just fine” at the nearby Trackside Training Center.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Vicar’s in Trouble galloped at Trackside Monday morning and is scheduled to breeze at Churchill Downs this Saturday along with Harry’s Holiday, who is owned by Skychai Racing, Terry Raymond and Jana Wagner.
J. Armando Rodriguez’s General a Rod also galloped at Trackside Monday and is scheduled to work at Churchill Downs most likely on Wednesday.
DANZA (No. 6) – Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Danza, runaway winner of the Arkansas Derby (GI) in his most recent start, galloped after the morning renovation break at Churchill Downs under exercise rider Nick Bush.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Danza is scheduled to get some Derby company in Barn 34 Tuesday with the arrival of Starlight Racing’s Intense Holiday and Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s We Miss Artie. Those two colts worked Sunday at Palm Meadows and are scheduled to ship to Louisville tomorrow.
A fourth Pletcher possibility, WinStar Farm and Twin Creek Racing Stables’ Vinceremos is scheduled to come to Churchill Downs Wednesday from WinStar according to Ginny DePasquale, Pletcher’s assistant here.
HOPPERTUNITY (No. 7)/CHITU (No. 12) / BAYERN (No. 23) – Tanma Corporation’s Chitu and Kaleem Shah’s Bayern worked a half-mile together in :47.60 after the morning renovation break over a fast track at Churchill Downs.
Chitu, with Joel Rosario up, started about three-quarters of a length in front of Bayern, who was ridden by Rosie Napravnik. Fractions for the work were :12, :23.80 and :35.60 with a five-furlong gallop out time of 1:01 for Chitu while Bayern went out in 1:00.20 and six furlongs in 1:13.40.
Jim Barnes, assistant to trainer Bob Baffert, said the works went well and that Baffert would arrive in Louisville on Wednesday.
Slated to arrive at Churchill Downs Monday afternoon was Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman’s Hoppertunity from Southern California.
WILDCAT RED (No. 9) – Honors Stable Corp.’s Wildcat Red, who worked Sunday at Gulfstream Park, is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs on Tuesday for trainer Jose Garoffalo.
RIDE ON CURLIN (No. 11) – Daniel Dougherty’s Ride On Curlin, runner-up in the Arkansas Derby (G1), galloped after the renovation break under exercise rider Bryan Beccia for trainer Billy Gowan.
Ride On Curlin is scheduled to work Saturday or Sunday depending on weather according to Gowan. Three-time Kentucky Derby-winning rider Calvin Borel has the mount for Derby 140.
TAPITURE (No. 13) – Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC’s Tapiture, winner of the Southwest (GIII) and fourth in the recent Arkansas Derby (GI), hit the fast Churchill Downs track early to work five furlongs in 1:02.80.
The Steve Asmussen-trained son of Tapit, winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) over the Louisville surface last fall, was ridden by Abel Flores and was recorded by Churchill Downs’ clockers in fractional splits of :13.40, :25.80 and :38. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:16.40. The work was Tapiture’s first significant training move since the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on April 12. He was on the track with Asmussen’s second set of workers at approximately 6 a.m. (EDT).
"I loved how relaxed he was, pre-breeze and stuff,” Asmussen said. “He went around there nice and smooth. I think that it’s a very big deal for both him and (Winchell’s Kentucky Oaks contender) Untapable to have all the time that they’ve spent here at Churchill previously – just to settle back in and get into a routine.”
With the Arkansas Derby run behind Tapiture – a race in which he was favored and finished 7 ¼ lengths behind the victorious Danza – Asmussen is hoping for a step forward in the Kentucky Derby.
“It’s not the trip that he needs,” Asmussen said. “I think we identify that and hopefully he’ll bounce back and run a huge race here. I think it (the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands) is a tremendously competitive race, with California Chrome possibly standing out from a ‘numbers’ standpoint. But he’s got to do that here. We’ve got nothing but respect for him, but I think everybody else is kind of in the same boat.”
Tapiture will be ridden in the Kentucky Derby by Ricardo Santana Jr., and his career record stands at 7-2-2-2 with earnings of $490,838 heading into the May 3 “Run for the Roses.”
MEDAL COUNT (No. 16) – Spendthrift Farm’s Medal Count, runner-up in the Blue Grass (GI) last time out, galloped after the renovation break under exercise rider Faustino Aguilar for trainer Dale Romans.
CANDY BOY (No. 17) – C R K Stable’s Candy Boy, third in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) in his most recent start, was scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Monday afternoon after a flight from Southern California.
Trained by John Sadler, Candy Boy is scheduled to be ridden in the Run for the Roses by three-time Derby-winning rider Gary Stevens.
COMMANDING CURVE (No. 21) – West Point Thoroughbreds’ Commanding Curve, third in the Louisiana Derby (GII) in his most recent start, galloped after the renovation break under exercise rider Emerson Chavez for trainer Dallas Stewart.
Commanding Curve stands 21st on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard Presented by TwinSpires.com.
BIG BAZINGA (No. 25) – Derby Dreamers Racing Stable’s Big Bazinga, fourth in the Blue Grass Stakes (GI) in his most recent start, was scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs from Keeneland shortly after noon Monday for trainer Katerina Vassilieva.
Big Bazinga remained at Keeneland after the Blue Grass in hopes that his 14 points accumulated on The Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by TwinSpires.com would be enough to make the field.
Big Bazinga will be housed in Barn 35 with Vassilieva’s assistant Amber Mayers overseeing preparations initially.