Pletcher Contingent Intact at Churchill Downs

Apr 26, 2017

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Wednesday, April 26, 2017) – For the first time in nearly a month, trainer Todd Pletcher had all of his Kentucky Derby hopefuls in one shedrow.

The last of the contingent, Always Dreaming and Patch, arrived after training hours Tuesday and took their first steps on the main track at Churchill Downs Wednesday morning at 8:30 during the special training window for Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses.

“Always Dreaming was full of himself this morning,” Pletcher said of the Florida Derby (Grade I) winner. “He had an early ship yesterday, so he missed a day of training. He should be more settled tomorrow. I thought he got over the ground great.”

Adele Bellinger was aboard Always Dreaming, who galloped 1 3/8 miles. Brooklyn Boyz Stables and Teresa Viola Racing Stables owns Always Dreaming.

Calumet Farm’s Patch also galloped 1 3/8 miles under Isabelle Bourez to Pletcher’s satisfaction.

“You look for positive signs the first day at a new track and they all showed that,” Pletcher said.

Galloping for a second day and also going 1 3/8 miles were St. Elias Stable’s Battalion Runner (Nick Bush up) and Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert LaPenta’s Tapwrit (Silvio Pioli up).

“I think the last time they were all together was the first of the month before Tapwrit went to Keeneland and Battalion Runner to New York,” Pletcher said. “I was thinking of maybe staying in Florida (at Palm Beach Downs) a little longer because of the (long range) forecast (for rain). Maybe we can get a little lucky and work Friday or Saturday.”

So far, Pletcher has confirmed only one rider with John Velazquez on Always Dreaming.

Galloping earlier in the morning was Sumaya U.S. Stables’ Malagacy and Al Shaqab Racing and WinStar Farm’s Master Plan. Bourez was aboard Malagacy and Pioli on Master Plan, both for 1 3/8-mile exercises.

Malagacy, fifth in the Arkansas Derby (GI) in his most recent start, is 13th on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard and Master Plan, third in the UAE Derby (Group II), is 26th.

“I am going to talk later with Mr. (Oussama) Aboughazale and discuss the possibilities with Malagacy,” Pletcher said of the colt’s owner. “There is only one race he would run at Churchill Downs and that would be the Derby.”

Pletcher said the Peter Pan (GIII) at Belmont Park on May 13 was the immediate target for Master Plan.


CLASSIC EMPIRE/STATE OF HONORJohn Oxley’s Classic Empire and Conrad Farm’s State of Honor galloped and schooled in the gate Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs for trainer Mark Casse.

Both horses galloped 1 ½ miles at 8:30 during the Derby and Oaks exclusive training period with Martin Rivera riding the 2-year-old champion Classic Empire and Orlando Cross riding the Florida Derby (Grade I) runner-up State of Honor.

State of Honor is on schedule to breeze Friday at Churchill Downs while Classic Empire’s final work schedule before the Derby is in flux.

Assistant trainer Norm Casse is overseeing the Churchill string and Mark is expected to arrive in Louisville Thursday night.

FAST AND ACCURATEKendall Hansen, Skychai Racing and Bode Miller’s Fast and Accurate galloped 1 1/8 miles at

Trackside Louisville Wednesday 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.

GUNNEVERAPeacock Racing StablesGunnevera galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Victor Farrel after the Wednesday morning track renovation break.

“He went very good this morning,” said trainer Antonio Sano, who watched the morning activity with jockey Javier Castellano, a newly elected member of the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame.

Gunnevera is expected to work Saturday.

HENCE/LOCAL HERO/LOOKIN AT LEE/UNTRAPPED – Trainer Steve Asmussen’s contingent of horses galloped Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs following their works Monday.

Hence, with Angel Garcia up, and Untrapped, with exercise rider Juan Vargas aboard, trained during the Derby and Oaks exclusive training at 8:30.

Local Hero galloped at 7 o’clock while Lookin At Lee galloped at 6:30. Both horses were ridden by Garcia.

Lookin At Lee would be the next horse into the Derby field with any additional defections. Local Hero is No. 24 on the preference list.

J BOYS ECHO – Gotham (GII) winner J Boys Echo galloped 1 ½ miles Wednesday morning at 8:30 with regular exercise rider Tammy Fox aboard for trainer Dale Romans.

The jockey for J Boys Echo will be confirmed Wednesday, according to Romans.

The colt is on target to breeze at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

McCRAKENWhitham ThoroughbredsMcCraken had a regularly scheduled walk day at trainer Ian Wilkes barn.

McCraken had worked Monday and then jogged Tuesday.

“I liked what I saw yesterday,” Wilkes said. “He is feeling good.”

Wilkes said McCraken’s final pre-Derby work may come Sunday.

PRACTICAL JOKEKlaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Practical Joke galloped 1 ½ miles after the renovation break under exercise rider Fernando Rivera for trainer Chad Brown.

Brown continues to lean toward working Practical Joke on Friday with weather to be the determining factor. Brown said it was possible jockey Joel Rosario would work Practical Joke.

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), 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).



EVER SO CLEVERClearview 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 with exercise rider Angel Garcia aboard.

FARRELLCoffeepot StablesFarrell completed her major work for the Kentucky Oaks Wednesday morning by working six furlongs in 1:13 over a fast track after the morning renovation break under jockey Channing Hill.

“I’m loving this,” trainer Wayne Catalano said after his three-time graded stakes winner produced splits of :12, :24, :36, :48, 1:00.60, 1:13 and galloping out seven furlongs in 1:27.80. “The work was perfect. It’s hard to beat that.”

Farrell was the first Kentucky Oaks hopeful to arrive at Churchill Downs, coming to Louisville April 5, four days after winning the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII). Wednesday’s work was her second since the Fair Grounds Oaks to go with a 1:00.20 breeze for five furlongs on April 15. Farrell had her first four starts here last year, capped off by a six-length victory in the Golden Rod (GII).

Hill, who is Catalano’s son-in-law, has ridden Farrell in all seven of her races, five of them victories.

“Wayne has been talking about this filly since the first day he got her,” Hill said. “It is nice to be in this situation with family and very exciting and the owners (Bob Cummings and Annette Bacola) are some of the nicest people around. They are the same win or lose.”

With the heavy lifting now done, the Farrell team has nine days to go until the Oaks.

“I’m not afraid of anything,” Hill said. “Even if the gray filly (Unique Bella) had come.”

JORDAN’S HENNYErv Woolsey and Ralph Kinder’s Jordan’s Henny had a regularly scheduled walk day at trainer Mike Tomlinson’s barn.

LOCKDOWNJuddmonte FarmsLockdown walked the shedrow at trainer Bill Mott’s barn a day after working five furlongs in :59.40.

MISS SKY WARRIORArlene’s Sun Star Stable’s Miss Sky Warrior galloped 1 ½ miles after the renovation break under exercise rider Aurelio Gomez.

A winner of five consecutive starts that includes a 13-length romp in the Gazelle (GII) on April 8, Miss Sky Warrior is scheduled to work Thursday morning with regular rider Paco Lopez up.

“I am watching the weather, but we are still on for Thursday,” trainer Kelly Breen said. “If we have to push the work back to even Saturday, it would not matter.”

SALTY – Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) winner Salty galloped 1 ½ miles and schooled in the gate Wednesday morning at 8:30 with exercise rider Froylan Garcia for trainer Mark Casse. Salty is scheduled to breeze Friday at 8:30 a.m.

TEQUILITADorothy Matz’s Tequilita, second in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) in her most recent start, was scheduled to leave her barn at Keeneland at 1 o’clock this afternoon and be at Churchill Downs by 3 p.m. Trained by Michael Matz, Tequilita will be housed in Barn 25.

VEXATIOUSCalumet Farm’s Vexatious, third in the April 14 Fantasy (GIII) in her most recent start, galloped 1 ½ miles shortly before the track closed at 10 o’clock under exercise rider Freddy Quevero.

WICKED LICKLee Mauberret’s homebred Wickled Lick galloped 1 ½ miles shortly after 6 o’clock with exercise rider Leo Garcia aboard for trainer Brendan Walsh.

Second in the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) in her most recent start, Wicked Lick arrived at Churchill Downs from Keeneland at noon Tuesday. She worked a half-mile at Keeneland on April 20 in :48 and is scheduled to have one work at Churchill Downs before the Oaks.

DOWN THE STRETCH – Trainer Lynn Chleborad reports Chanel’s Legacy, “will be given time off” and skip the Kentucky Oaks. That puts Jordan’s Henny in the field and trainer Mike Tomlinson reports she will run. … Semaphore Racing and Homewrecker Racing’s Sailor’s Valentine, winner of the Ashland (GI) in her most recent start, worked five furlongs at Keeneland Wednesday morning in 1:00.00. Trained by Eddie Kenneally, Sailor’s Valentine posted fractions of :12, :23.60, :35.20, :47.20 and 1:00 with Kenneally assistant Kelly Wheeler aboard. Sailor’s Valentine worked in company with Laney, the third-place finisher in the Beaumont (GIII) on April 9 at Keeneland.

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), Jordan’s Henny (Joe Rocco Jr.) 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: Yorkiepoo Princess (TBA).

Next up in order of preference: Someday Soon (TBA), Mopotism (TBA) and Shane’s Girlfriend (TBA).


THURSDAYMiss Sky Warrior (Trainer Kelly Breen, Barn 41, 8:30 a.m.).

FRIDAYPractical 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.).

SATURDAYFast 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, 8:30 a.m.).


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)


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 DERBYAlways Dreaming (Trainer Todd Pletcher, Barn 40); Battalion Runner (Pletcher, Barn 40); Classic Empire (Mark Casse, Barn 36); Fast and Accurate (Mike Maker, Trackside Barn K); Gunnevera (Antonio Sano, Barn 41); Hence (Asmussen, Barn 38); J Boys Echo (Dale Romans, Barn 4); Local Hero (Asmussen, Barn 38); Lookin At Lee (Asmussen, Barn 38); Malagacy (Pletcher, Barn 40); McCraken (Ian Wilkes, Barn 26); Patch (Pletcher, Barn 40); Practical Joke (Chad Brown, Barn 42); State of Honor (Casse, Barn 36); Tapwrit (Pletcher, Barn 40); Untrapped (Asmussen, Barn 38).

KENTUCKY OAKSEver 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); Tequilita (Michael Matz, Barn 25), Vexatious (Neil Drysdale, Barn 43); Wicked Lick (Brendan Walsh, Barn 9)



$100,000 KENTUCKY JUVENILE (Entries taken Saturday, race Thursday, May 4) – Probable: Amberspatriot, Go Chiva Go, Gritter Man, Happy Like a Fool, Mcerin, Mugrosito, Trickizar, Two Grand, Waki Patriot

$400,000 ALYSHEBA (GII) (Entries taken Tuesday, May 2, race Friday, May 5) – Probable: American Freedom, Behesht, Breaking Lucky, El Huerfano, International Star, Noble Bird

$300,000 LA TROIENNE (GI) (Entries taken Tuesday, May 2, race Friday, May 5) – Probable: Eskenformoney, Paid Up Subscriber, Streamline, Walkabout

$200,000 EIGHT BELLES (GII) (Entries taken Tuesday, May 2, race Friday, May 5) – Probable: Benner Island, Cajun Delta Dawn, Florida Fabulous, Ghalia, Let It Ride Mom, Lovely Bernadette, Mopotism, Pretty City Dancer, Summer Luck, What What What

$150,000 EDGEWOOD (GIII) (Entries taken Tuesday, May 2, race Friday, May 5) – Probable: Bernadiva, Dream Dancing, Purely A Dream, Stallion Heiress, Storm the Hill, You Missed It

$150,000 TWIN SPIRES TURF SPRINT (GIII) (Entries taken Tuesday, May 2, race Friday, May 5) – Probable: Black Bear, Derek’s Smile, Green Mask, Holding Gold, Power Alert, Pure Sensation, Why Two

$500,000 WOODFORD RESERVE TURF CLASSIC (GI) (Entries taken Wednesday, May 3, race Saturday, May 6) – Probable: Bal A Bali, Conquest Panthera, Divisidero, Enterprising, Flatlined, Oscar Nominated

$300,000 HUMANA DISTAFF (GI) (Entries taken Wednesday, May 3, race Saturday, May 6) – Probable: Carina Mia, Finest City, Paulassilverlining

$500,000 CHURCHILL DOWNS (GII) (Entries taken Wednesday, May 3, race Saturday, May 6) – Probable: Awesome Slew, Clearly Now, Denman’s Call, Masochistic, Solid Wager, Tom’s Ready

$300,000 CHURCHILL DISTAFF TURF MILE (GII) (Entries taken Wednesday, May 3, race Saturday, May 6) – Probable: Believe In Bertie, Linda, Miss Temple City, Mississippi Delta, Roca Rojo

$300,000 AMERICAN TURF (GII) (Entries taken Wednesday, May 3, race Saturday, May 6) – Probable: Conquest Farenheit, La Coronel, Made You Look, Oscar Performance, Parlor, Ritzy A.P.

$250,000 PAT DAY MILE (GIII) (Entries taken Wednesday, May 3, race Saturday, May 6) – Probable: Bitumen, Bobby On Fleek, Excitations, Iliad, Impressive Edge, No Dozing, Sonic Mule, Warrior’s Club, You’re To Blame




DERBYGIVES.COM 50/50 RAFFLE – The Churchill Downs Incorporated Foundation will host a trio of nationwide online 50/50 charitable raffle drawings on Thurby (May 4), Kentucky Oaks Day (May 5) and Kentucky Derby Day (May 6) to help raise money for its charitable initiatives, including Thoroughbred aftercare; arts and educational opportunities for stable area employees; and breast and ovarian cancer research and prevention. Raffle tickets are on sale now at for $5 in jurisdictions where online wagering is permitted. The winner will receive half of each day’s sale and the other half will go toward the charitable initiative. The Churchill Downs Incorporated Foundation has donated more than $2.2 million and thousands of volunteer hours to charitable partners, including more than $740,000 for education and prevention of breast cancer and more than $140,000 to Thoroughbred retirement aftercare.

ENHANCED APP FOR ON-TRACK GUESTS – Churchill Downs Racetrack has launched a new version of its on-track mobile app to provide guests with additional features and information to enhance their experience at the racetrack and The Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands. The new features offer fans easy access to equine, racing and wagering information, as well as up-to-date information about each day’s events and news. Additionally, guests can wager from their mobile device; find parking and get directions to seating locations; skip food and beverage lines in seats where Express Pickup or In-Seat Delivery is offered; and buy, manage and scan mobile admission tickets. The updated app is available at iTunes at and the Google Play Store at



Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017


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