Peacock Racing Stables’ Gunnevera, a three-time graded stakes winner and a millionaire in his young career, took his first steps on the main track at Churchill Downs on Tuesday morning with exercise rider Victor Farrel aboard.
On hand to supervise the morning activity over a fast track was trainer Antonio Sano and Solomon Del-Valle, part of the ownership group. This is the first time for Sano and Del-Valle at Churchill Downs and they both plan to remain in Louisville through the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) on May 6.
“This is the first day of 52,” said Del-Valle, who lives in Venezuela. “I am not going back home. I am here for the Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont.”
Third in the Florida Derby (GI) in his most recent start, Gunnevera galloped an easy mile over a fast track after the morning renovation break during the 8:30-8:45 window reserved for Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses.
“I liked what I saw this morning,” Sano said of Gunnevera, who arrived at Churchill Downs late Saturday night. “Tomorrow he will go a mile and a half and I plan to work Saturday morning.”
Gunnevera has won graded stakes in three states, but in his previous trip to Kentucky delivered the poorest performance of his nine-race career with a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland.
“He didn’t handle the track that day,” Sano said. “It was too deep and he was outside.”
ALWAYS DREAMING/BATTALION RUNNER/MALAGACY/MASTER PLAN/PATCH/TAPWRIT – Trainer Todd Pletcher was on hand Tuesday morning as four of his colts on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard galloped.
Going out before the renovation break were Sumaya U.S. Stables’ Malagacy (13 on the leaderboard) with Isabelle Bourez aboard and Al Shaqab and WinStar Farm’s Master Plan (26) with Silvio Pioli up.
After the break, Pletcher sent out St. Elias Stable’s Battalion Runner (19) with Bourez up and Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert LaPenta’s Tapwrit (12) with Pioli up.
Arriving later Tuesday morning after training hours from Pletcher’s winter base at Palm Beach (Florida) Downs were Brooklyn Boyz Stables and Teresa Viola Racing Stables’ Always Dreaming (7) and Calumet Farm’s Patch (18).
Pletcher indicated he was pleased with the morning activity and said he would be watching the weather to determine final work dates for his Derby contingent.
Storms are forecast to move into the Louisville area overnight Wednesday into Thursday with a 50 percent chance of scattered storms Friday then a 90 percent chance of thunderstorms Saturday and 80 percent Sunday.
CLASSIC EMPIRE/STATE OF HONOR – John Oxley’s Classic Empire and Conrad Farm’s State of Honor galloped Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs for trainer Mark Casse.
The 2-year-old champion Classic Empire trained in the first set at 6 o’clock and galloped 1 ½ miles with regular exercise rider Martin Rivera aboard.
Florida Derby (GI) runner-up State of Honor galloped 1 ½ miles in the Derby and Oaks’ exclusive training period at 8:30 with Orlando Cross up.
State of Honor is on schedule to breeze Friday at Churchill Downs.
FAST AND ACCURATE – Kendall Hansen, Skychai Racing and Bode Miller’s Fast and Accurate galloped 1 1/8 miles at Trackside Louisville Tuesday morning at 6 o’clock for trainer Mike Maker.
The Spiral (GIII) winner is expected to van from Trackside to Churchill Downs Sunday and breeze at 8:30 a.m. under regular exercise rider Joel Cano.
HENCE/LOCAL HERO/LOOKIN AT LEE/UNTRAPPED – Trainer Steve Asmussen’s contingent of horses walked the shedrow Tuesday following their series of works on Monday.
J BOYS ECHO – Gotham (GII) winner J Boys Echo jogged Tuesday morning at 8:30 with regular exercise rider Tammy Fox aboard for trainer Dale Romans. The colt is on target to breeze at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
McCRAKEN – Whitham Thoroughbreds’ homebred McCraken jogged a mile under exercise rider Yoni Orantes after the renovation break.
A three-time winner at Churchill Downs last fall, including the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII), McCraken had worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 on Monday under jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. for trainer Ian Wilkes.
PRACTICAL JOKE – Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s Practical Joke made his first appearance on track at Churchill Downs, galloping after the renovation break under exercise rider Fernando Rivera.
Trainer Chad Brown will be keeping an eye on the weather but said he would prefer to work the two-time Grade I winner Friday.
SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY DERBY – Likely starters in the 143rd running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) to be run for 3-year-olds at 1 ¼ miles on Saturday, May 6: Always Dreaming (John Velazquez), Battalion Runner (TBA), Battle of Midway (Flavien Prat), Classic Empire (Julien Leparoux), Fast and Accurate (TBA), Girvin (Mike Smith), Gormley (Victor Espinoza), Gunnevera (Javier Castellano), Hence (Florent Geroux), Irap (Mario Gutierrez), Irish War Cry (Rajiv Maragh), J Boys Echo (TBA), McCraken (Brian Hernandez Jr.), Patch (TBA), Practical Joke (Joel Rosario), State of Honor (Jose Lezcano), Tapwrit (Jose Ortiz) and Thunder Snow (Ire) (Christophe Soumillon) and Untrapped (TBA).
Possible starters within the Top 20 on the preference list: Malagacy (TBA).
Next up in order of preference: Lookin At Lee (TBA), Sonneteer (Kent Desormeaux), Royal Mo (Gary Stevens), Local Hero (TBA) and Iliad (TBA).
KENTUCKY OAKS UPDATE
– Clearview Stable’s Ever So Clever, winner of the Fantasy (GIII)
April 14 in her most recent start, galloped before the renovation break for
trainer Steve Asmussen.
Ever So Clever had worked five furlongs in 1:02 Sunday.
FARRELL – Coffeepot Stables’ Farrell was one of the first horses on the track Tuesday morning, galloping under exercise rider Antonio Ramos.
Trainer Wayne Catalano said Farrell would work Wednesday morning.
“I’m not taking any chances with the weather,” Catalano said. “She would breeze during the special Oaks training period (8:30).”
Channing Hill, who has ridden Farrell in all seven of her starts, will be aboard for the work.
JORDAN’S HENNY – Erv Woolsey and Ralph Kinder’s Jordan’s Henny, No. 15 on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard, jogged a mile and galloped a mile after the renovation break under exercise rider Edgar Cano for trainer Mike Tomlinson.
Jordan’s Henny is scheduled to work Saturday.
LOCKDOWN – Juddmonte Farms’ Lockdown worked five furlongs in company in :59.40 under exercise rider Jo Lawson.
Working after the renovation break and with the 3-year-old filly Elate, Lockdown produced fractions of :12.40, :24.40, :36.40, :47.80, :59.40 and out six furlongs in 1:12.80. The move was the third fastest of 25 at the distance.
“It was a pretty solid work; steady,” trainer Bill Mott said of Lockdown’s first work over the track. “I wanted to see if she liked the track.”
Mott said Lockdown would have one more work prior to the Oaks.
MISS SKY WARRIOR – Arlene’s Sun Star Stable’s Miss Sky Warrior galloped after the renovation break under exercise rider Aurelio Gomez.
Trained by Kelly Breen, Miss Sky Warrior is scheduled to work Thursday morning with jockey Paco Lopez up.
SALTY – Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) winner Salty galloped 1 ½ miles Tuesday morning at 8:30 with exercise rider Froylan Garcia. Salty is scheduled to breeze Friday at 8:30 a.m.
VEXATIOUS – Calumet Farm’s Vexatious galloped 1 ½ miles at 9:30 with exercise rider Freddy Quevero aboard for trainer Neil Drysdale.
SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY OAKS: Likely starters in the 143rd running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) to be run for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on Friday, May 5: Abel Tasman (Mike Smith), Daddys Lil Darling (Julien Leparoux), Ever So Clever (Luis Contreras), Farrell (Channing Hill), Lockdown (Jose Ortiz), Miss Sky Warrior (Paco Lopez), Paradise Woods (Flavien Prat), Sailor’s Valentine (Corey Lanerie), Salty (Joel Rosario), Tequilita (Luis Saez), Vexatious (Kent Desormeaux) and Wicked Lick (Brian Hernandez Jr.).
Possible starters within the Top 14 on the preference list: Chanel’s Legacy (TBA) and Yorkiepoo Princess (TBA).
Next up in order of preference: Jordan’s Henny (Joe Rocco), Someday Soon (TBA), Mopotism (TBA) and Shane’s Girlfriend (TBA).
KNOWN WORKOUT SCHEDULES
WEDNESDAY – Farrell (Trainer Wayne Catalano, Barn 30, 8:30 a.m.).
THURSDAY – Miss Sky Warrior (Kelly Breen, Barn 41, 8:30 a.m.).
FRIDAY – Practical Joke (Chad Brown, Barn 42, 8:30 a.m.); State of Honor (Mark Casse, Barn 36, 8:30 a.m.); Salty (Casse, Barn 36, 8:30 a.m.).
SATURDAY – Fast and
Accurate (Mike Maker, Trackside Barn K, 8:30 a.m.); Gunnevera
(Antonio Sano, Barn 41, 8:30 a.m.); J Boys Echo (Dale Romans, Barn 4,
KNOWN ARRIVAL SCHEDULES
THURSDAY (BY VAN FROM KEENELAND) – Tequilita (Trainer Michael Matz, Barn TBA)
SATURDAY (BY PLANE FROM CALIFORNIA) – Abel Tasman (Bob Baffert, Barn 33); Battle of Midway (Jerry Hollendorfer, Barn TBA); Finest City (Ian Kruljac, Barn TBA); Sonneteer (Keith Desormeaux, Barn 25); Why Two (Mike Machowsky, 39).
SATURDAY OR SUNDAY (BY VAN FROM KEENELAND) – Daddys Lil Darling (Kenny McPeek, Barn 7) Irap ( Doug O’Neill, Barn 41)
SUNDAY (BY PLANE FROM DUBAI TO CINCINNATI, VAN TO LOUISVILLE) – Tentative: Thunder Snow (Ire) (Saeed bin Suroor, Barn 17)
SUNDAY OR MONDAY (BY VAN FROM MARYLAND) – Irish War Cry (Graham Motion, Barn TBA)
MONDAY (BY PLANE FROM CALIFORNIA) – Masochistic (Ron Ellis, Barn 39); Bal A Bali (Richard Mandella, Barn TBA); Paradise Woods (Richard Mandella, Barn TBA); Conquest Farenheit (Peter Miller, Barn TBA); Richards Boy (Peter Miller Barn TBA); Solid Wager (Peter Miller, Barn TBA); Storm the Hill (Peter Miller, Barn TBA); Denmans Call (Doug O’Neill, Barn 41); Iliad (Doug O’Neill, Barn 41); Mopotism (Doug O’Neill, Barn 41); What What What (Doug O’Neill, Barn 41); Union Strike (Mick Ruis, Barn TBA); Gormley (John Shirreffs, Barn 42); Royal Mo (John Shirreffs, Barn 42).
KENTUCKY DERBY – Always Dreaming (Trainer Todd Pletcher, Barn 40); Battalion Runner (Pletcher, Barn 40); Classic Empire (Mark Casse, Barn 36); Ever So Clever (Steve Asmussen, Barn 38); Farrell (Wayne Catalano, Barn 30); Fast and Accurate (Mike Maker, Trackside Barn K); Gunnevera (Antonio Sano, Barn 41); Hence (Asmussen, Barn 38); J Boys Echo (Dale Romans, Barn 4); Jordan’s Henny (Mike Tomlinson, Barn 1); Local Hero (Asmussen, Barn 38); Lookin At Lee (Asmussen, Barn 38); Malagacy (Pletcher, Barn 40); McCraken (Ian Wilkes, Barn 26); Miss Sky Warrior (Kelly Breen, Barn 41); Patch (Pletcher, Barn 40); Practical Joke (Chad Brown, Barn 42); Salty (Casse, Barn 36); State of Honor (Casse, Barn 36); Tapwrit (Pletcher, Barn 40); Untrapped (Asmussen, Barn 38); Vexatious (Neil Drysdale, Barn 42)
KENTUCKY OAKS – Ever So Clever (Trainer Steve Asmussen, Barn 38); Farrell (Wayne Catalano, Barn 30); Jordan’s Henny (Mike Tomlinson, Barn 1); Lockdown (Bill Mott, Barn 19); Miss Sky Warrior (Kelly Breen, Barn 43); Salty (Mark Casse, Barn 36); Vexatious (Neil Drysdale, Barn 43); Wicked Lick (Brendan Walsh, Barn 9)
DOWN THE STRETCH
On an NTRA national teleconference, trainer Joe Sharp reported that Girvin went to the Keeneland Training Track on Tuesday and remains on schedule to the breeze at the Lexington, Ky. track. … Trainer Kenny McPeek confirmed Monday that jockey Julien Leparoux will replace injured Robby Albarado on Ashland (Grade I) runner-up Daddys Lil Darling in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI). The filly is scheduled to work Friday morning at Keeneland with Leparoux up. …Entries for Churchill Downs’ Opening Night program on Saturday at 6 p.m. will be taken Wednesday morning.
Tuesday, April 25
Brinset.com Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks Past Performances