Two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher put his 2018 Run for the Roses arsenal on full display Friday morning at Churchill Downs under a cloudless sky with four workers.
Three Pletcher workers were on the track during the special 7:30-7:45 training period for Derby and Kentucky Oaks horses. Audible (Javier Castellano up) worked a half-mile in :49.40; Magnum Moon (Nick Bush up) worked a half-mile in :47.40 and Vino Rosso (John Velazquez up) worked a half-mile in :47.20.
At 9 o’clock, Noble Indy (Florent Geroux up) worked five furlongs in 1:01.60.
Also working toward next Saturday’s $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) was Lone Sailor for trainer Tom Amoss. With jockey James Graham aboard, Lone Sailor worked a half-mile in :48.
Derby horses scheduled to work here Saturday are Good Magic, Flameaway, My Boy Jack, Free Drop Billy and Promises Fulfilled.
At Santa Anita Friday morning, undefeated Justify worked seven furlongs in 1:25.20 for trainer Bob Baffert.
Three Oaks hopefuls worked five furlongs: Chocolate Martini a bullet :58.80 with James Graham aboard, Coach Rocks (1:00.20 with Tammy Fox up) and Heavenhasmynikki (1:01 in company with Jake Radosevich aboard. Working a half-mile were Wonder Gadot (:48.20 with Froylan Garcia up), Patrona Margarita (:50.80 with Simon Camacho up) and Classy Act (:47.40 with Brian Hernandez Jr. up).
Oaks hopefuls scheduled to work here Saturday are Monomoy Girl, Sassy Sienna, Blamed and Kelly’s Humor.
AUDIBLE/MAGNUM MOON/NOBLE INDY/VINO ROSSO – Two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher put his four-horse Derby contingent through their final works over a fast track for next Saturday’s race.
First up was Lawana and Robert Low’s undefeated Magnum Moon. With Nick Bush aboard and working in company with Maraud, a graded-stakes winner of the grass, Magnum Moon worked a half-mile in :47.40, the fourth fastest of 75 at the distance.
Churchill Downs clockers caught Magnum Moon in splits of :12.40, :23.80, :36, :47.40 with a five-eighths gallop out in 1:00.40 and 1:13.80 for six furlongs.
“I’m lovin’ it, just like McDonald’s,” said Bush, who was the exercise rider for Derby winner Always Dreaming last year.
Next up was Audible with jockey Javier Castellano up. Owned by China Horse Club International, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing and WinStar Farm, Audible covered a half-mile in :49.40 in company with National Flag, winner of the Bay Shore (GIII).
Fractions on the move were :12.20, :24.20, :37.40, :49.40 and out five furlongs in 1:02 and three-quarters in 1:14.60. The half-mile was the 39th fastest of the morning.
Third in the order was Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable‘s Vino Rosso with jockey John Velazquez up. Working in company with the 4-year-old stakes winner Outplay, Vino Rosso worked a half-mile in :47.20, the fastest of 75 at the distance.
Fractions for the work were :11.40, :23.40, :35.40, :47.20 and out five furlongs in 1:00.40 and six furlongs in 1:13.40.
At 9 o’clock, WinStar Farm and Repole Stable’s Noble Indy worked five furlongs in 1:01.60 with jockey Florent Geroux aboard. Working in company with maiden winner Regal Quality, Noble Indy posted fractions of :13.20, :25.60, :37.40, :49.60, 1:01.60 and out six furlongs in 1:14.60. The five-eighths move was the 24th fastest of 43 at the distance.
“This was an important day and we got perfect conditions. All four handled the surface well,” Pletcher said. “Sometimes you come in and worry that they won’t like the track, but they all got over it well.
“Magnum Moon was very good and had good energy. He galloped out strong and I was very happy with him.
“Audible was very good. Javier was happy with him.
“Vino Rosso was good and Johnny was happy with him. All three of those were similar with Magnum Moon and Vino Rosso quicker and Audible a good gallop out.
“Noble Indy showed good energy and Florent got along well with him.”
Pletcher said the plan is for Geroux to ride Noble Indy in the Derby. Pletcher’s other jockey is Luis Saez for Magnum Moon.
BRAVAZO – Calumet Farm’s Bravazo galloped 1 ½ miles Friday morning at 7:30 with exercise rider Danielle Rosier aboard for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
The Risen Star (GII) winner could breeze tomorrow, according to Lukas.
COMBATANT/DREAM BABY DREAM – Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton’s Combatant, galloped 1 ½ miles Friday morning at 7:30 for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
Earlier in the morning, Dream Baby Dream galloped 1 ½ miles. He is No. 22 on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
FLAMEAWAY – John Oxley’s Flameaway galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Chris Garraway for trainer Mark Casse.
Runner-up in the Tampa Bay Derby (GII) and Blue Grass Stakes (GII) in his past two starts, Flameaway is scheduled to work Saturday morning with Casse slated to be on hand.
Jose Lezcano has the Derby mount.
FREE DROP BILLY/PROMISES FULFILLED – Albaugh Family Stables’ Free Drop Billy and Robert Baron’s Promises Fulfilled galloped 1 ½ miles for trainer Dale Romans Friday morning.
Both horses are expected to breeze Saturday morning at 7:30, according to Romans.
GOOD MAGIC – Last year’s Eclipse Award-winning Champion 2-Year-Old Male, owned by e Five Racing Thoroughbreds & Stonestreet Stables LLC, galloped 1 1/2 miles at 7:30 a.m. with regular exercise rider Walter Malasquez aboard.
Trainer Chad Brown – who was at Keeneland to oversee a work by Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf heroine Rushing Fall (:48.40 over a fast main track), probable for the Edgewood (G3) on Kentucky Oaks Day – reported that Good Magic would breeze Saturday during the Derby training session.
HOFBURG – Juddmonte Farms Inc.’s homebred Florida Derby (G1) runner-up Hofburg galloped about 1 1/2 miles at 7:30 a.m., followed by a visit to the starting gate, according to Penny Gardiner, who has been his regular exercise rider since arriving at Churchill Downs on Tuesday.
Keen observers have noted an unusual piece of equipment that Hofburg has been sporting in the mornings, which Mott assistant Kenny McCarthy reports is an “iron halter.”
“Bill started using it on him because he was biting at the shank an awful lot,” McCarthy said. “It attaches above the nose and now he’s gotten out of the habit. It’s not severe at all, nothing goes in his mouth, it just sits on him. He seems to respect it more than the shank.
The iron halter is fitted over the horse’s poll and over the nose, with a ring that allows a lead shank to attach on top of the nose instead of on the side.”
“It’s usually only something you see from an old-school horseman,” McCarthy said. “I bet this one is at least 50 years of age. I’d bet he got this one from [Jack] Van Berg. We’ve had it forever. You don’t see many of them around.”
Mott was an assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg in the late 1970s. Van Berg passed away in December at 81.
Hofburg is expected to work Sunday with Gardiner up. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the Derby mount.
JUSTIFY/SOLOMINI – The undefeated Santa Anita Derby winner posted his final official workout in advance of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) at Santa Anita Park in Los Angeles, breezing seven furlongs in 1:25.20 under Drayden Van Dyke.
Santa Anita clockers recorded splits of :24.60, :36.40, :48.40, 1:00.60 and 1:12.60.
Justify – owned by China Horse Club International Ltd., Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing & WinStar Farm LLC – broke off at the five-eighths pole, where he started about three lengths behind stablemate Longden, a promising recent maiden winner owned by Godolphin. Van Dyke was content to lay off the work mate until they hit the one-sixteenth marker, five furlongs into the work, and then cruised up on the outside to cross the wire on even terms with Longden. From there, Justify accelerated into the clubhouse turn.
“We know we have a really good horse but there are a lot of good horses out there right now,” Baffert said Thursday on a NTRA National Media Teleconference. “It’s probably the most competitive Derby that I’ve seen in years.”
Baffert addressed the decision to have Justify’s final work in California instead of over the Churchill Downs surface.
“This track at Santa Anita is a very deep, demanding track and they get really fit here,” Baffert said. “We’ve shipped all over and I don’t think there’s a big difference. We used to go there a few weeks early but last year we went in the week before and won the Kentucky Oaks. I don’t think it makes a difference.”
Van Dyke was aboard Justify for his debut maiden win in February. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, a Derby winner in 2005 aboard Giacomo, took over in his next start and has the Derby mount.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) runner-up Solomini – owned by Zayat Stables LLC, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor & Derrick Smith – is expected to work Saturday or Sunday. Although he’s only credited with one win, the Curlin colt crossed the wire first in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) before being disqualified and has never missed the board racing against top-shelf company.
“The talent is there but he’s going to have to get some breaks go his way,” Baffert said. “He’s been training well, looks happy, came out of the last race well. He’s a little bit slower than some of the horses in there but they all deserve a chance. Crazy things happen in the Derby.”
LONE SAILOR – G M B Racing’s Louisiana Derby (GII) runner-up Lone Sailor completed his major preparations for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) with a half-mile breeze in :48.
With jockey James Graham in the saddle, Lone Sailor worked through splits of :11.80, :23.80 and :36.40 before a five-furlong gallop out in 1:00.60, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols.
“A lot of people get caught up in his fast workout times,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “That’s just who he is. He naturally works that fast so I’d be worried if he went slower. He will still need to improve. It’s a very deep field this year.”
MY BOY JACK – Don’t Tell My Wife Stables, Monomoy Stables and West Point Thoroughbreds’ My Boy Jack galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Peedy Landry.
Trainer Keith Desormeaux said My Boy Jack would breeze in the morning with Brian Hernandez Jr. handling the work. Desormeaux’s brother Kent has the Derby mount.
Keith Desormeaux arrived in Louisville Thursday from Ocala, Florida, and was eyeballing My Boy Jack for the first time live in 2 ½ weeks.
“The last time I saw him was the day before he left for Keeneland (April 10 for the GIII Lexington),” Desormeaux said. “I had no doubt (how he would look). (Assistant) Julie (Clark) is the best. She could bring one back from the dead.”
SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY DERBY – Likely starters in the 144th running of the $2 million, Grade I Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve to be run for 3-year-olds at 1 1/4 miles on Saturday, May 5: Audible (jockey Javier Castellano), Bolt d’Oro (Victor Espinoza), Bravazo (TBA), Enticed (Junior Alvarado), Firenze Fire (Paco Lopez), Flameaway (Jose Lezcano), Free Drop Billy (Robby Albarado), Good Magic (Jose Ortiz), Hofburg (Irad Ortiz Jr.), Instilled Regard (TBA), Justify (Mike Smith), Lone Sailor (James Graham), Magnum Moon (Luis Saez), Mendelssohn (Ryan Moore), My Boy Jack (Kent Desormeaux), Noble Indy (Florent Geroux), Promises Fulfilled (Corey Lanerie), Solomini (Flavien Prat), Vino Rosso (John Velazquez).
Possible starters within the Top 20 on the preference list: Combatant (TBA).
Next up in order of preference: Blended Citizen (Kyle Frey), Dream Baby Dream (TBA), Restoring Hope (TBA), Sporting Chance (TBA), Givemeaminit (TBA) and Pony Up (TBA).
KENTUCKY OAKS UPDATE
BLAMED – Cleber Massey’s Blamed jogged three-quarters of a mile and then galloped a mile under exercise rider Luis Rojero at her normal on-track morning time of 5:40 for trainer Joel Marr.
Blamed is scheduled to work Saturday morning with Robby Albarado aboard. Ken Tohill has the mount for the Oaks.
Blamed had a paddock schooling session Thursday and acquitted herself well said Marr who is planning one more session next week.
Paying a visit to Blamed and Marr was Hal Wiggins, who trained 2009 Oak winner Rachel Alexandra.
“I trained horses for the filly’s owner at Louisiana Downs,” said Wiggins, now 75.
CHOCOLATE MARTINI – Double Doors Racing’s Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) winner Chocolate Martini galloped one mile then breezed five furlongs in :58.80 in company with stablemate Tied Up (1:00.80).
With jockey James Graham in the saddle, Chocolate Martini started one length behind Tied Up and blitzed through splits of :23.20 and :35 before finishing 10 lengths ahead on the six-furlong gallop out 1:13.20, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols.
“It was a really nice breeze,” Amoss said. “The major work is done for the Oaks.”
Amoss expects to announce her jockey Friday afternoon.
CLASSY ACT/PATRONA MARGARITA – Carl Moore Management’s Rachel Alexandra (GII) runner-up Classy Act breezed four furlongs in :47 Friday morning for trainer Bret Calhoun.
With jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. on board, the filly worked through opening eighth-mile fractions in :12.20, :23.40 and :35.20 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:00.80, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols.
“I thought it was a great work,” Calhoun said. “If we want to go 1 1/8 miles on the first Friday in May she’ll have to learn to relax a little bit and get off the bridle.”
Earlier in the morning Craig Upham’s homebred Patrona Margarita breezed a maintenance half-mile in :50.80 with exercise rider Simon Camacho up. The Texas-bred worked through splits of :13 and 25.20 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:04.40 and three-quarters of a mile in 1:17.80.
COACH ROCKS – Roddy Valente, RAP Racing, and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) winner Coach Rocks completed her major preparations for the Longines Kentucky Oaks with a five-furlong move in 1:00.20 for trainer Dale Romans.
With exercise rider and former jockey Tammy Fox aboard, the Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) winner clipped through opening eighth-mile splits of :11.60, :23.20 and :47.40 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:13 and seven furlongs in 1:27.20.
“I thought she worked awesome,” Romans said. “She continues to show us her improvement and we are looking forward to the first Friday in May.”
HEAVENHASMYNIKKI – Loooch Racing Stables’ Heavenhasmynikki worked five furlongs in 1:01 in company with the 4-year-old Trustworthy for trainer Anthony Quartarolo.
“With Jake Radosevich aboard, Heavenhasmynikki produced fractions of :12.20, :24, :35.80, :48.60, 1:01 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.20. The five-eighths move was the 10th fastest of 43 at the distance.
“I was happy with it,” Quartarolo said. “I want to go in a minute and change or 1:01. She runs well fresh.”
Heavenhasmynikki, who has not started since March 3 and is 17th on the Oaks leaderboard, will need three defections from the list of Oaks probables when entries are taken Monday.
“I have been wanting to run her two turns,” owner Ron Paolucci said. “It is a long year and if we get in, we get in.”
MONOMOY GIRL/SASSY SIENNA/KELLY’S HUMOR – Trainer Brad Cox’s duo of Monomoy Girl and Sassy Sienna galloped 1 ½ miles at 7:30 Friday morning.
Both fillies are scheduled to breeze Saturday, according to Cox.
Kelly’s Humor also galloped 1 ½ miles Friday morning at 7:30 but needs four defections to make the race.
MY MISS LILLY – Courtlandt Farms’ My Miss Lilly walked the shedrow a day after working a half-mile in :48.80 for trainer Mark Hennig.
“We are all good here,” Hennig said. “She’s happy, so we are happy.”
RAYYA – Sheikh Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi’s UAE Derby (GII) runner-up Rayya is expected to work at Santa Anita Park this weekend for three-time Kentucky Oaks-winning trainer Bob Baffert, who took over training after the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
“She worked well the other day and she’s doing really well,” Baffert said Thursday on a NTRA National Media Teleconference. “She came from Dubai and I’m asking her to do something that’s impossible – run in Dubai, then come here (to Santa Anita), then run in the Kentucky Oaks. But she came over in really great shape and she’s happy and healthy. Last time she got beat by Mendelssohn, who was an absolute freak that night, but she beat the rest of the boys there so she’s a tough filly and I expect her to run a big race.”
RED RUBY – Sandra Sexton and Brandi Nicholson’s Red Ruby, 15th on the Oaks Leaderboard, galloped Friday morning at Keeneland and is scheduled to work there Sunday.
Trainer Kellyn Gorder said a decision on the Oaks would be made after the work.
“The owners have been great and have always had the filly’s best interest at stake and they know that if she doesn’t make this race there are lots of other options,” Gorder said. “She will tell us.”
WONDER GADOT – Gary Barber’s Wonder Gadot worked a half-mile on her own in :48.20 with exercise rider Froylan Garcia aboard for trainer Mark Casse.
Fractions for the work, which was the 14th fastest of 75 at the distance, were :13.20, :25, :37, :48.20 and out five furlongs in 1:01.20.
“She did it well within herself and galloped out well,” said Nick Tomlinson, who is overseeing the Churchill Downs string for Casse. “(Assistant) David (Carroll) and his crew did an amazing job with her (this winter at Fair Grounds). It makes our job easier.
Wonder Gadot initially was slated to work Saturday, the same day as Derby stablemate Flameaway.
“I talked with Mark last night and he said to just go ahead and go today,” Tomlinson said. “That would be seven days out (from the Oaks) and make it easier on Saturday.”
SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY OAKS – Likely starters in the 144th running of the $1 million, Grade I Longines Kentucky Oaks to be run for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on Friday, May 4: Blamed (jockey Ken Tohill), Chocolate Martini (TBA), Classy Act (TBA), Coach Rocks (Luis Saez), Eskimo Kisses (TBA), Midnight Bisou (TBA), Monomoy Girl (Florent Geroux), My Miss Lilly (Joe Bravo), Patrona Margarita (TBA), Rayya (Drayden Van Dyke), Sassy Sienna (Gary Stevens), Take Charge Paula (Jose Ortiz), Wonder Gadot (John Velazquez).
Possible Starters within the Top 14 on the preference list: Amy’s Challenge (TBA).
Next up in order of preference: Red Ruby (TBA), Exuberance (TBA), Heavenhasmynikki (TBA), Kelly’s Humor (TBA).
PROSPECTIVE FIELDS FOR UPCOMING STAKES
$100,000 KENTUCKY JUVENILE (Entries taken Saturday, race Thursday, May 3) – Probable: Baytown Macca, Blazin Liason, Boucan, Inda Zone, Myhotrodlincoln, Shanghaied Roo
$70,000 OPENING VERSE OVERNIGHT STAKES (Entries taken Saturday, race Thursday May 3) – Probable: Dimension (GB), First Premio, Mr Cub, Royal Son, Royal Squeeze, Serjeant at Arms (IND), Shakhimat, Swagger Jagger, Trust Factor
$400,000 ALYSHEBA (GII) (Entries taken Monday, April 30, race Friday, May 4) – Probable: Always Dreaming, Backyard Heaven, Goats Town, Hence
$350,000 LA TROIENNE PRESENTED BY TWINSPIRES.COM (GI) (Entries taken Monday, April 30, race Friday, May 4) – Probable: Abel Tasman, Martini Glass, Streamline. Possible: Ivy Bell, Salty
$200,000 EDGEWOOD PRESENTED BY FORCHT BANK (GIII) (Entries taken Monday, race Friday, May 4) – Probable: Altea (FR), Beyond Blame, Bo Peep, Daddy Is a Legend, Heavenly Love, Kabella, Rushing Fall, Toinette
$200,000 EIGHT BELLES PRESENTED BY KENTUCKY TRAILER (GII) (Entries taken Monday, race Friday, May 4) – Probable: Gas Station Sushi, Hold Her Tight, Kram, Mia Mischief, Salt Bae, Shamrock Rose, Talk Veuve to Me
$200,000 TWIN SPIRES TURF SPRINT (GIII) (Entries taken Monday, race Friday, May 4) – Probable: Bucchero, Chief Cicatriz, Flashaway, Frisky Magician, Imprimis, Kid Perfect, Latent Revenge, Restless Rambler, Riser, Vision Perfect
$500,000 OLD FORESTER TURF CLASSIC (GI) (Entries taken Tuesday, race Saturday, May 5) – Probable: Arklow, Beach Patrol, Channel Maker, Deauville (IRE), Kurilov (CHI), Shining Copper, Sir Dudley Digges, Synchrony, War Decree
$500,000 CHURCHILL DOWNS PRESENTED BY TWINSPIRES.COM (GII) (Entries taken Tuesday, race Saturday, May 5) – Probable: Imperial Hint, Limousine Liberal, McCraken, Outplay, Petrov, Unbridled Outlaw, Warrior’s Club
$300,000 AMERICAN TURF PRESENTED BY RAM TRUCKS (GII) (Entries taken Tuesday, race Saturday, May 5) – Probable: Admiralty Pier, Arawak, Channel Cat, Dragon Drew, Maraud, Ride a Comet, River Boyne (IRE), Threeandfourpence, Tigers Rule, Tiz Mischief, Untamed Domain
$300,000 HUMANA DISTAFF (GI) (Entries taken Tuesday, race Saturday, May 5) – Probable: American Gal, Finley’sluckycharm, Jordan’s Henny, Lewis Bay, Miner’s Cat, Skye Diamonds. Possible: Ivy Bell
$300,000 LONGINES DISTAFF TURF MILE (GII) (Entries taken Tuesday, race Saturday, May 5) – Probable: Juno (BRZ), La Coronel, Madam Dancealot (IRE), Madame Stripes (ARG), On Leave, Psycho Sister, Res Ipsa, Union Strike
$300,000 PAT DAY MILE PRESENTED BY LG&E AND KU (GIII) (Entries taken Tuesday, race Saturday, May 5) – Probable: Believe in Royalty, Givemeaminit, Greyvitos, Lombo, Madison’s Luna, Mask, Mississippi, National Flag, New York Central, Seahenge, Shane Zain, Smart Remark, Title Ready
Friday, April 27, 2018: https://bit.ly/2I6rgc0
Thursday, April 26, 2018: https://bit.ly/2qX1a3J
Wednesday, April 25, 2018: https://bit.ly/2JwgZVZ
Tuesday, April 24, 2018: https://bit.ly/2HtmuZ1
Monday, April 23, 2018: https://bit.ly/2qXtuSG
Sunday, April 22, 2018: https://bit.ly/2FjqeWS
BRISNET.COM PAST PERFORMANCES
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“INSIDE CHURCHILL DOWNS”
“Inside Churchill Downs” airs Friday at 6 p.m. on ESPN Louisville’s ESPN 680/105.7.
The weekly horse racing radio show will be co-hosted by Churchill Downs Racetrack’s John Asher, Darren Rogers and Kevin Kerstein, and deliver a wide-ranging list of interesting guests, from jockeys, trainers, owners to well-informed handicappers and other industry insiders.