Jacks or Better Farm Inc.’s Fellowship, who currently sits at No. 22 on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 32 points, breezed a half-mile in :48.80 over a fast Churchill Downs main track Sunday morning. This was the Florida-bred son of Awesome of Course’s first serious workout since finishing third in the Florida Derby and switching barns from former conditioner Stanley Gold to Mark Casse.
Churchill Downs clockers caught Fellowship in splits of :12.40 and :25 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:01.40 and three-quarters of a mile in 1:14.
“I didn’t really know what to expect, I just kind of went in with no real expectations,” assistant trainer Norman Casse said. “He was real full of energy. I was real excited about the way he worked. He moved well, so I was really happy with him.”
Casse stated that he is still under consideration for a start in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I).
“Obviously there will have to be some defections for us to run,” Casse said. “But it’s still too early to tell for sure, next week will be his big work and we’ll have a better indicator on where he is and what type of horse we think he is. If he gets in he deserves a shot, but he’ll have to work his way in.”
Casse went on to discuss plans for 2015 Champion Female Turf Horse Tepin, winner of Saturday’s Jenny Wiley (GI) at Keeneland, and Noble Bird, a runner-up behind Eagle in the Ben Ali (GII). Tepin’s next target is the $300,000 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (GII) on the May 6 Kentucky Oaks undercard.
“That’s the plan right now, but we’ll have to see how she trains,” Casse said. “It’s certainly a tough division and we’re proud to have a horse like this.”
Noble Bird is likely to make his next start in the $400,000 Alysheba (GII) on Kentucky Oaks Day.
“The real Noble Bird showed up yesterday,” Casse said. “We’ll see how he comes out of it [Ben Ali], if he’s training well the Alysheba will be next and we’ll try to repeat in the Stephen Foster.”
In other Kentucky Derby news, Winchell Farm LLC’s Gun Runner galloped two miles on the main track Sunday and will breeze Monday, according to assistant trainer Scott Blasi. The G M B Racing-owned Mo Tom and Tom’s Ready, Koji Maeda’s Japanese invader Lani and the Dale Romans-trained duo of Brody’s Cause and Cherry Wine all galloped on the main track. Shadwell Stable’s Mohaymen arrived at Churchill Downs Barn 42 at 10:50 a.m. following a van ride from Florida.