Pletcher team drill half-miles at Palm Meadows

The countdown is on to the 136th edition of the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 1, and trainer Todd Pletcher had three colts from his all-star team working a half-mile Sunday morning at Palm Meadows.

Last-out Louisiana Derby (G2) hero MISSION IMPAZIBLE (Unbridled's Song) traveled a half-mile in :49 1/5, while Risen Star S. (G2) victor DISCREETLY MINE (Mineshaft) covered four furlongs in :51. Multiple Grade 3 scorer RULE (Roman Ruler), most recently third in the Florida Derby (G1), breezed a half in :49 4/5.

Blue Grass principals in good shape on Sunday

From Sunday's Keeneland notes:

STATELY VICTOR (Ghostzapper), who rewarded a record Blue Grass (G1) crowd of 33,727 with a record $82.20 payoff on Saturday, made a quick return to his Trackside Training Center base in Louisville, Kentucky.

"He came out of the race fine; excellent," trainer Mike Maker said of Stately Victor, who cruised to a 4 1/4-length victory.

Maker was asked if Stately Victor had not won Saturday, what would he have done with the colt.

Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, Kentucky Oaks 136 Barn Notes (April 11)

STATELY VICTOR WELL AFTER TOYOTA BLUE GRASS UPSET – Tom and Jack Conway’s Stately Victor is one of the newest entries to the Kentucky Derby 136 picture after his shocking 40-1 upset in Saturday’s $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Grade I) at Keeneland.  Now it’s on to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) for the son of Ghostzapper, whose win was the biggest surprise in the history of the Kentucky Derby prep.

Noble's Promise uncertain for Kentucky Derby

From Sunday's Oaklawn notes:

The Kentucky Derby (G1) status of Grade 1 winner NOBLE'S PROMISE (Cuvee) was in question on Sunday, one day after the Ken McPeek colt finished fifth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) after a troubled trip as the 8-5 favorite.

"He got cut up at the start," assistant trainer Walt Blum Jr. said. "They squeezed him out and someone stepped on his foot. (Jockey) Robby (Albarado) then let him run up in there on the turn and he got cut up on both front legs.

Top three from Arkansas Derby bound for Kentucky

From Sunday's Oaklawn notes:

The respective top three finishers from Saturday's Arkansas Derby (G1) -- LINE OF DAVID (Lion Heart), SUPER SAVER (Maria's Mon) and DUBLIN (Afleet Alex) -- were all doing well Sunday morning.

"He's feeling good, just like he never ran," Pedro Salazar, Line of David's groom, said while the chestnut colt munched on his feed. "He walked about 45 minutes this morning. He is in great shape."

Line of David is trained by John Sadler, who won the Santa Anita Derby (G1) last week with Sidney's Candy (Candy Ride [Arg]).

Jill Byrne's Weekend Prep Review April 9-11

Jill Byrne analyzes the Kentucky Derby prep races from the previous weekend

Graded Stakes Earnings Update: Line of David, Stately Victor Surprise to Earning Way Into Derby Field

The top two finishers in Saturday’s Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Line of David and Paddy O’Prado) and Arkansas Derby (Stately Victor and Super Saver) are now positioned within the Top 20 of the Graded Stakes Earnings list that determines the prospective field for Kentucky Derby 136 on Saturday, May 1 at Churchill Downs. Meanwhile, the results of Saturday’s “Road to the Kentucky Derby” prep races now leave Jackson Bend, Backtalk, Aikenite and Make Music for Me on the outside looking in.

Line of David upsets Arkansas Derby

Ike and Dawn Thrash's LINE OF DAVID (Lion Heart) scooted over from his outside post position to take the lead in Saturday's $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on Oaklawn Park's closing day, and gutted out a neck victory over challengers Super Saver (Maria's Mon) and Dublin (Afleet Alex). Trained by John Sadler, the chestnut colt captured his stakes debut in this 1 1/8-mile event when stopping the clock in 1:49 1/5, and has now earned his shot at Kentucky Derby (G1) glory with the $600,000 winner's paycheck.

Stately Victor pulls off a shocker in Blue Grass

The largest payoff in Blue Grass S. (G1) history prior to Saturday's $750,000 renewal at Keeneland was in 1970, when the unheralded Illinois-bred Dust Commander paid $72.80. Dust Commander returned nine days later to capture the Kentucky Derby, and the connections of STATELY VICTOR (Ghostzapper) hope for the same outcome three weeks from now after seeing their colt blow away a field of nine as the 40-1 longest shot in the 1 1/8-mile Polytrack event.

Endorsement records first work since Sunland Derby score

ENDORSEMENT (Distorted Humor), who punched his ticket to the May 1 Kentucky Derby (G1) by winning the Sunland Park Derby (G3), had his first work since that March 28 victory on Friday, breezing a half-mile on Keeneland's Polytrack in :46 4/5 under trainer Shannon Ritter.

Keeneland clockers caught Endorsement in fractions of :11 2/5, :23, :34 3/5 and galloping out five furlongs in 1:00 1/5.

"He did it very easily and galloped out strong," Ritter said. "The track is fast this morning after the little bit of rain it got yesterday."