Risen Star (Grade II) winner Bravazo began his serious preparations for the Grade I, $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve on Friday morning when he breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 at Churchill Downs.
Bravazo stepped on the track at 5:30 a.m. EDT and worked through splits of :12.80, :24.80 and :37, before galloping out six furlongs in 1:16.40, according to Churchill Downs’ clocker John Nichols.
“It was a really good maintenance work,” Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. “He was getting over the ground well and we will do more with him in his next two works.”
Owned and bred by Calumet Farm, Bravazo broke his maiden at Churchill Downs in his second-career start on Sept. 16 by 4 ¾ lengths. Following a runner-up finish in the Oct. 7 Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland, a third-place effort in the Street Sense and a sub-par 10th-place effort in the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) at Churchill Downs, Bravazo won his 3-year-old debut in a first-level allowance race at Oaklawn Park.
Most recently, the Awesome Again colt finished a troubled eighth in the March 24 Louisiana Derby (GII).
Through eight starts, Bravazo has been ridden by Angel Arroyo, Jon Court, Gary Stevens and the injured Miguel Mena. As of Friday morning, the colt does not have a rider confirmed for the Kentucky Derby.
“We don’t have a jockey confirmed quite yet but we’re getting really close,” Lukas said.
Lukas and Calumet Farm have a storied history in the Kentucky Derby. Calumet won the Derby a record eight times (22-8-4-1): Whirlaway (1941), Pensive (1944), Citation (1948), Ponder (1949), Hill Gail (1952), Iron Liege (1957), Tim Tam (1958) and Forward Pass (1968). Lukas is a four-time Kentucky Derby-winning conditioner (48-4-1-5): Winning Colors (1988), Thunder Gulch (1995), Grindstone (1996) and Charismatic (1999).
There are five horses likely in the Kentucky Derby field, including Bravazo (Barn 44), stabled at Churchill Downs: Flameaway (trainer Mark Casse, Barn 36); Free Drop Billy (Dale Romans, Barn 4); Lone Sailor (Tom Amoss, Barn 29); and Promises Fulfilled (Romans, Barn 4).
Training hours at Churchill Downs are 5:300-10 a.m. with two renovation breaks at 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Derby and Oaks horses will have an exclusive training window beginning Saturday, April 21 through Thursday, May 3 from 7:30-7:45 a.m.
DOWN THE STRETCH – Derby Week stakes nominations close Saturday. To nominate: https://www.churchilldowns.com/horsemen/stakes/nomination-forms/.