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Ride On Curlin Gallop Impresses Gowan / Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands Update for Friday, April 25
Trained by Art Sherman, California Chrome is scheduled to ship to Louisville on Monday and be ridden in Kentucky Derby 140 by Victor Espinoza.
VICAR’S IN TROUBLE (No. 2)/GENERAL A ROD (No. 15)/HARRY’S HOLIDAY (No. 20) – Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Vicar’s in Trouble and SkyChai Racing, Terry Raymond and Jana Wagner’s Harry’s Holiday galloped Friday under exercise rider Joel Barrientos.
J. Armando Rodriguez’s General a Rod, who worked Wednesday, returned to the track Friday to jog under Barrientos.
Vicar’s in Trouble, who won the Louisiana Derby (GII) and LeComte (GIII), and Harry’s Holiday, the Spiral (GIII) runner-up, will work Saturday at distances to be decided, trainer Mike Maker said.
“Undecided” is still the jockey for Harry’s Holiday, said Maker, who laughed at the suggestion that Undecided is a good rider. “He’s always riding the card,” Maker said.
Harry’s Holiday, who has run on synthetic surfaces in his past four races, is handling the Churchill track well, Maker said. “He broke his maiden over this track,” he said. “He ran second in an allowance race on this track. So we don’t have any worries about that.”
Winner of the Blue Grass Stakes (GI) in his most recent start, Dance With Fate is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs on Monday. Corey Nakatani has the Derby mount.
WICKED STRONG (No. 4) - Centennial Farms’ Wicked Strong worked seven furlongs under exercise rider Kelvin Pahal in 1:27.11 Friday morning on the training track at Belmont Park. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens wanted the colt to go around two turns on the the one-mile oval, so Pahal started the work at the work at the half-mile pole, finished up at the five-eighths pole and galloped another furlong to get a mile.
“I said between between 1:27 and 1:28, gallop out an extra eighth and that’s it, just pull him up,” Jerkens said. “I thought he went perfect.” Jerkens said that Wicked Strong, winner of the Wood Memorial (G1) turned in a consistent effort in his final work before the Kentucky Derby.
“It was nice. It was good,” Jerkens said. “He went the first eighth in :13 and every one after that was almost exactly the same. He went good. He went real good.”
Jerkens said he timed the colt getting the half-mile in :49.80 and galloped out the mile in 1:40.40. “He had plenty of energy. I thought he looked great,” Jerkens said. “He worked good and cooled out quick. We’re very happy.”
Jerkens has finalized his shipping plans. The colt will ride on a van from New York to Louisville with Jerkens and Pahal following in a car. Jerkens said they plan to begin what he expects to be a 14-hour trip at 2 p.m. Saturday and will arrive Sunday morning.
SAMRAAT (No. 5) – Trainer Rick Violette followed form Friday and had Samraat breeze a mile in his final pre-Derby work. Under veteran exercise rider Rodney Taime, the My Meadowview Farm colt covered the distance in 1:45.91 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
“The target was 1:45 and let him finish a little bit after a bunch of :13s (eighths of a mile),” Violette said. “I was more concerned today about going too fast. He’s fit. He’s danced at all the dances and he’s run well off this type of mile. We wanted to do that without squeezing too much. They got him in 1:45 4/5 and I got him in 1:46. It was terrific. He actually galloped out another eighth in :12 and change.
“It was exactly what we asked for. He finished well, cooled out well and scoped well. He’s eating his lunch. All systems are great.”
Samraat won the first five starts of his career, including the Withers (GIII) and the Gotham (GIII) and finished second in the Wood Memorial (GI). The one-mile prerace work has been part of the program for the son of Noble Causeway and Violette stayed with that routine prior to the Kentucky Derby.
“It has worked for him since before his first start going two turns, the Damon Runyon (Dec. 18 at Aqueduct),” Violette said. “We kind of backed into it and he seemed to thrive off it and we’ve done that before all of his last races, including the Wood.”
Taime, who has worked for Violette four about 11 years, was able to give the veteran trainer the time that he requested.
“It’s easy to make mistakes going that far,” Violette said. “If you go off in :12 and change and you think you’ve gone off in :14, a mile in 1:45 can easily turn into a mile in 1:39 or 1:40 and that would have been too much. It’s quite important that you nail the early fractions.”
He will be flown to Louisville from New York Monday afternoon.
DANZA (No. 6)/INTENSE HOLIDAY (No. 8)/WE MISS ARTIE (No. 10)/VICEREMOS (NO. 19) – Trainer Todd Pletcher’s four Kentucky Derby probables galloped after the morning renovation break as they continued to train toward Derby 140. Pletcher plans to work all four colts on Sunday, weather permitting.
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Danza was partnered by Ezequiel Perez, Nick Bush was on Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s We Miss Artie, Isabelle Bourez was on Starlight Racing’s Intense Holiday and Ovel Merida was on WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ Vinceremos.
A victory by Bayern in Saturday night’s Derby Trial (GIII) would shake up the Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by TwinSpires.com leaderboard. Bayern has 20 points, but would move from 23rd to 19th with a victory that would be worth at least $93,000 and push his non-restricted stakes earnings past those of Vinceremos (No. 19) and Harry’s Holiday (No. 20).
However, it appears unlikely that Baffert would wheel Bayern back in one week.
Wildcat Red, who arrived here from Florida on Tuesday, had galloped 1 1/8 miles the previous two mornings.
Trainer Jose Garoffalo was en route to Louisville from the sales in Ocala and plans to be at the barn Saturday morning. Garoffalo said Wildcat Red would work Sunday with jockey Luis Saez aboard.
"I think we’re getting good,” trainer Billy Gowan said. “I sure like the way he went today.”
Groom Bridget Lambert, who led Ride On Curlin off the track, also is optimistic. “They’ve got to outrun him,” Lambert said. “He’s peaking at the right time.”
Gowan, who worked Ride On Curlin six days before he finished second in the Arkansas Derby (GI), is sticking with the same spacing and will work the colt Sunday.
“There’s no reason to change anything now,” Gowan said.
RING WEEKEND (No. 14) – St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Ring Weekend worked six furlongs on dirt in 1:12.80 at Fair Hill (Md.) Training Center.
Trainer Graham Motion said Ring Weekend worked on his own under Robbie Walsh and would ship to Churchill Downs on Monday.
Alan Garcia has the Derby mount on Ring Weekend.
Runner-up in the Blue Grass Stakes (GI) in his most recent start, Medal Count is scheduled to work after the break in the morning.
Robby Albarado has the Derby mount.
“I thought the track was excellent early because it was harrowed and not sealed,” Sadler said of the conditions following light showers overnight. “He galloped a little stronger today leading up to his work tomorrow.”
Jockey Gary Stevens is scheduled to work Candy Boy after the break Saturday.
UNCLE SIGH (No. 18) – Wounded Warrior Stables and Anthony Robertson’s Uncle Sigh worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 over the Belmont Park Training Track with Nick Santagata aboard for trainer Gary Contessa.
“I had him galloping out in 1:13 and the mile in 1:43. It was perfect; Nick hit it right on the head,” Contessa said.
Uncle Sigh is scheduled to van to Churchill Downs on Saturday with a scheduled departure of 4 a.m. from Belmont.
“He will jog Sunday,” said Contessa, who plans to be here that day. “I may do something with him Wednesday, but it will be a gut feeling.”
Trainer Dallas Stewart said Commanding Curve will work Saturday.
“He works solid,” Stewart said. “He’ll probably work a 1:01 five-eighths, that’s kind of a plan.”
Although, as of Friday, Commanding Curve remained out of the top 20 in points among possible Kentucky Derby entrants, Stewart said he’s not thinking about how the status of other horses might change.
Last year, Stewart finished second in the Derby with Golden Soul, who had moved into the top 20 days before race.
“Just have to wait and see,” Stewart said. “I just concentrate on training my horse and making sure I’m all in on everything I’m doing with him. I can’t control any of them.”
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 told the Keeneland publicity office. “The time was maybe a little quicker than I wanted, but he had a nice breeze.”
Clockers caught Pablo Del Monte in fractions of :47.60, 1:11.20 and 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 (G1), still,” he 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.”
“At this moment, I don’t think we’ll ship to Kentucky. It doesn’t make sense to pay a $25,000 entry fee, plus all the other expenses, when you’re 24th and also-eligible,” Sanchez told the Gulfstream Park publicity office. “He’s going to train here and then we hope to get a prep for the Preakness. We’ll make a final decision on Monday.”
Trainer Katerina Vassilieva was on hand to watch the morning activities of Big Bazinga who finished fourth in the Blue Grass Stakes (GI) in his previous start.
With a shot at the Derby looking increasingly unlikely, Vassilieva is contemplating a possible run in next Saturday’s $250,000-added American Turf (GII) for which the gelding would have to be supplemented.
“If we know we are not going to get in the Derby, we won’t train for it. That (the American Turf) would be a good backup plan,” Vassilieva said for Big Bazinga, who finished second in his lone try on the turf. “He will work tomorrow and we will consider our options and see where we are about the Derby.”