J P's Gusto confirmed for Oaklawn prep series

The lucrative and prolific series for three-year-olds at Oaklawn Park has lured the connections of Grade 1 winner J P'S GUSTO (Successful Appeal) to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where the ridgling will make his 2011 debut in the $250,000 Southwest S. (G3) at one mile on February 21.

Shackleford captures Gulfstream allowance

Michael Lauffer and W.D. Cubbedge's homebred SHACKLEFORD (Forestry) raised his profile among the Florida-based three-year-old set by driving to a 2 1/4-length victory over troubled even-money favorite Casper's Touch (Touch Gold) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. Carded as the 3RD race, the entry-level allowance was contested over the same track and 1 1/8-mile distance as the February 26 Fountain of Youth S. (G2) and the April 3 Florida Derby (G1).

J P's Gusto transferred to Petalino

Daily Racing Form reports that Del Mar Futurity (G1) winner J P'S GUSTO (Successful Appeal), who has been based with trainer David Hofmans in Southern California, will switch to the barn of Joe Petalino at Oaklawn Park.

Zayat touts Derby prospect Nehro

Arkansas Derby (G1) runner-up NEHRO (Mineshaft) galloped 1 1/8 miles at 6:10 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs with regular exercise rider Carlos Rosas up, according to owner Ahmed Zayat.

"We usually go a mile-and-a-half but today just a mile-and-an-eighth because he just worked the day before last and right now we're winding down," Zayat said. "He wants to do more. When he came back from his exercise he was so full of himself we could barely restrain him. You love to see that, somebody that wants to keep improving."

Pletcher happy with Repole pair heading into Derby

Repole Stable's dynamic duo of UNCLE MO (Indian Charlie) and STAY THIRSTY (Bernardini) were out for some exercise Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m. (EDT) in the allotted 15-minute period reserved for Kentucky Derby (G1) and Oaks (G1) hopefuls following the Churchill Downs' renovation break.

Uncle Mo, last year's juvenile champion, had exercise rider Hector Ramos up and assistant trainer Mike McCarthy alongside on a pony, while Stay Thirsty, the winner of this year's Gotham S. (G3), was partnered by Fernando Espinoza.

Archarcharch stuck on rail; Dialed In perfectly positioned in post 8

It’s known as the dreaded rail, the worst starting position in the Kentucky Derby, and Archarcharch received the unenviable task of breaking from post 1 during Wednesday’s blind draw for Saturday’s $2 million race.

The Factor gets back to work

Bob Baffert reports that Triple Crown hopeful THE FACTOR (War Front) is back on the track after missing three days with a foot bruise.

"He had a little setback," Santa Anita's leading trainer said.

The Factor opened his career with a fourth-place run over Hollywood Park's synthetic Cushion Track. He stepped up in a major way next out, though, to score by 8 1/4 lengths in his first try over Santa Anita's dirt track, setting a track record of 1:06.98 for six furlongs on December 26.

Decisive Moment drills for Risen Star

After Jean Lafitte S. winner DECISIVE MOMENT (With Distinction) worked five furlongs in a bullet 1:00 3/5 at Calder on Friday, trainer Juan Arias announced that he would head to Fair Grounds for the February 19 Risen Star S. (G3).

Decisive Moment's drill easily ranked as the fastest of 21 moves at the distance on the fast track.

"He was galloping out the five furlongs this morning," Arias said. "I got him going the half in :48. Last week he got the half in :49 and change."

Kentucky Derby Report

The 2011 Kentucky Derby (G1) chase is a month old and the early favorite, unbeaten Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) winner UNCLE MO (Indian Charlie), recorded his first workout last Sunday at Palm Meadows, breezing three furlongs in :39 4/5. He's being pointed to the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on March 12.

We have races to recap from January, but let's begin with a look back at some top horses from last year.

The Derby is 13 weeks from Saturday.

Big horse

Turbulent Descent headlines Las Virgenes

TURBULENT DESCENT (Congrats) puts her undefeated mark on the line Saturday while taking on six rivals in the one-mile Las Virgenes S. (G1) at Santa Anita. The Mike Puype trainee broke her maiden at the Oak Tree meet run at Hollywood Park, then remained at that venue to add the Moccasin S. and Hollywood Starlet S. (G1) to her resume. The bay lass is trying a conventional dirt track for the first time in the Las Virgenes, and retains the services of regular David Flores for her sophomore bow.