BLACK ONYX – Sterling Racing’s Black Onyx (No. 12) galloped 1 ½ miles over a track labeled as “good” on a clear, crisp Thursday morning at Churchill Downs.
The Todd Pletcher-trained duo of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Capo Bastone and Perretti Racing Stable’s Forty Tales top a field of nine horses entered today for Saturday night’s 89th running of the $175,000-added Derby Trial (GIII).
Kentucky Derby horses arrived early at Churchill Downs this year. By Monday, 12 days out from the May 4 event, 21 of the 24 current prospects were on the grounds and 10 have already recorded a workout over the track.
Trainers Todd Pletcher and D. Wayne Lukas both worked multiple contenders in recent mornings and there will be a slew of activity this weekend as horsemen put the finishing touches on a Derby bid.
BLACK ONYX – Sterling Racing
Black Onyx (No. 12) beat the rain Wednesday morning, galloping 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Aurelio Gomez shortly after 6 o’clock>
Trainer Kelly Breen is expected to return to Louisville on Friday and the winner of the Spiral (Grade III) is expected to work Saturday or Sunday.
Trainer Bob Baffert told the Churchill Downs communications team Tuesday afternoon that Super Ninety Nine (No. 18) and Den’s Legacy (No. 20) were no longer under consideration for the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) on Saturday, May 4.
KENTUCKY DERBY UPDATE – TUESDAY, APRIL 23
BLACK ONYX – Sterling Racing’s Black Onyx (No. 12) galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Aurelio Gomez during the special training session after the morning renovation break for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks horses.
KENTUCKY DERBY UPDATE – MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2013
BLACK ONYX – Sterling Racing’s Black Onyx (No. 12) jogged after the morning renovation break during the time reserved for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders. Aurelio Gomez was aboard Black Onyx, who comes into Derby 139 off a victory in the Spiral (Grade III) in his stakes debut.
KENTUCKY DERBY UPDATE – SUNDAY, APRIL 21
BLACK ONYX – Sterling Racing’s Black Onyx (No. 12) walked the shedrow at Barn 41 a day after clockers caught the Spiral (Grade III) winner in 1:25 for six furlongs in a strong gallop.
Florida Derby victor Orb impressed trainer Shug McGaughey Sunday morning at Payson Park while breezing five furlongs during a key workout for a scheduled start in the Kentucky Derby on May 4.
"This was the one we need to get behind us," McGaughey said. "What I really wanted to see was to see him finish good. I didn't want to see him walking the last part of it."
Alto Racing's Winning Cause surged to the lead in the stretch and posted a one-length win in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Lexington, improving his record to three for three on Keeneland's Polytrack. Julien Leparoux rode the Todd Pletcher-trained colt.
Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents jogged over Santa Anita's fast main track Saturday morning.
"He had an easy day today," trainer Doug O'Neill said. "He'll go back to galloping tomorrow. He's doing super."
Goldencents will try to give O'Neill back-to-back Derby wins. At this time last year, O'Neill sent out I'll Have Another to Derby glory in a whirlwind Triple Crown chase, that was ended by injury on the eve of the Belmont Stakes.
Both colts have been ridden by jockeys with similar profiles, who emerged from racing's doldrums to its pinnacle.
It was a busy Saturday morning at the Todd Pletcher barn at Churchill Downs as Dreaming of Julia (ranked No. 4 on the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” Leaderboard), Unlimited Budget (No. 3), Silsita (No. 10) and Princess of Sylmar (No. 7) all worked for the two-time Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) winning trainer.
Soon after Mike Smith rode War Academy in last Saturday's Arkansas Derby, in which the three-year-old son of Giant's Causeway broke stride and was pulled up, the Hall of Fame jockey was able to land a Kentucky Derby mount on Palace Malice, who finished second by a neck in the Blue Grass at Keeneland moments after the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.
Garrett Gomez was aboard Palace Malice, but had a previous commitment on Vyjack for the Derby, so a door was opened for Smith, who is optimistic that fate might be in his corner for the Run for the Roses on May 4.
Kentucky Derby hopeful Golden Soul, ranked No. 23 on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by TwinSpires.com” Leaderboard, continued his preparations for a potential start in the “Run for the Roses” with a six-furlong breeze Thursday morning at Churchill Downs in 1:12.40.
Working under exercise rider Emerson Chavez, Golden Soul worked to the seven-eighths pole and recorded fractions of :12, :23.40, :35, :46.80, :59 and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:27.40.
Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”) will strengthen security and hospitality policies and expand screenings for patrons, employees and vendors who will enter the track for the 139th runnings of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) on Saturday, May 4, and the Kentucky Oaks (GI) on Friday, May 3.
Kentucky Derby hopeful Itsmyluckyday put forth what is likely his penultimate workout before shipping to Louisville, Kentucky, covering one mile in 1:43 1/5 over a fast main track at Calder on Thursday.
Itsmyluckyday, who set a track record in the Grade 3 Holy Bull two starts back at Gulfstream, was most recently runner-up in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.
The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained colt is tentatively scheduled to breeze one more time before departing next week.
For those trainers still chasing a garland of roses, the Kentucky Derby presents this great paradox: The horses who make their way into the starting gate on May 4 will be the best in their class, the fastest 3-year-olds in the land, and yet, until their resolve is tested over the Derby’s one-and-one-quarter miles, no one really knows how good they are. None of these horses has ever raced this far.
Pure Fun will take an unorthodox route toward her ultimate goal, the May 3 Kentucky Oaks, when she lines up against 10 males in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Lexington at Keeneland. The 1 1/16-mile race on Polytrack offers a total of 34 points (20-8-4-2) for both the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, and Pure Fun needs points to qualify with only 20 in the bank.
Java's War got up to win by a neck and Overanalyze rolled to a convincing 4 1/4-length victory as the Blue Grass and Arkansas Derby wrapped up the final round of major preps. A total of six probable Kentucky Derby contestants were in action last Saturday.
Arkansas Derby (Grade I) runner-up Frac Daddy, ranked No. 15 on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by TwinSpires.com,” arrived at Churchill Downs on Wednesday morning at 4 a.m. (all times Eastern) and will be prepped for Kentucky Derby 139 beneath the Twin Spires.