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Derby hopeful Pablo del Monte puts in final move at Keeneland
Blue Grass third-place finisher Pablo del Monte has 20 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and is 22nd on the list of point earners vying for the 20 positions in the starting gate for the May 3 race. On Friday morning, breeder, trainer and co-owner Wesley Ward worked the Giant's Causeway colt six furlongs in 1:11 1/5 over Keeneland's Polytrack to prepare for a possible start in the race.
John Velazquez rode Pablo del Monte, who worked in company with High Wire Kitten.
"We broke him off about 15 lengths behind (High Wire Kitten) today, and he kinda creeped up on her and got her at the wire," Ward said. "The time was maybe a little quicker than I wanted, but he had a nice breeze."
Clockers caught Pablo del Monte in fractions of :47 3/5 and 1:11 1/5 and he galloped out in 1:25.
Ward said Pablo del Monte likely would ship to Churchill Downs Tuesday evening. If the connections of horses with more points opt not to enter Wednesday, Pablo del Monte could find a place in the starting gate and become Ward's first starter in the race.
"It looks like we are waiting for the Preakness, still," Ward said, "but you gotta be there and be ready. It would be an honor to be in the race, especially with a horse like him. He just ran a valiant race (in the Blue Grass).
"(Churchill is) sort of a speed-favoring track, so you gotta be ready. With him being a front runner, he probably would be on the lead in the race. If you could win or run second or third in the Kentucky Derby, it would just be the thrill of a lifetime."
Ward owns Pablo del Monte in partnership with Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor. The chestnut has yet to win a stakes event, placing in the Hutcheson and Blue Grass while finishing fourth in the Gulfstream Park Derby and fifth in last season's Generous.
Also working at Keeneland for Ward Friday morning was his Judy the Beauty, winner of the April 12 Madison at Keeneland. Velazquez was aboard the five-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper, who breezed six furlongs in 1:12.
Ward said Judy the Beauty would make her next start at Churchill on Derby Day in the Grade 1, $300,000 Humana Distaff. The chestnut mare has captured three of her last four, with the loss coming as a half-length second in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint to multiple champion Groupie Doll.