FLORIDA DERBY WINNER ICE BOX BREEZES FOR ZITO – Robert LaPenta’s Ice Box, winner of the Florida Derby (Grade I), tuned up for his run in the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) with a solid four-furlong workout on Friday, April 16 at Churchill Downs.
The Nick Zito-trained son of Pulpit covered the distance in :48.40 over a fast track under exercise rider Stacey Prior. Ice Box trained in company with 3-year-old stablemate Morning Line and covered the first quarter in :24 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:02.20. Morning Line, ridden by Carlos Correa, was timed in: 48.80.
“I was very happy with it,” said Zito. “The horse has had three mile and an eighth races in a row. I worked him at Palm Meadows before we left (Florida) and this was the work we wanted. Next week we’ll maybe do something a little sharper, and that’s all.”
Zito, a two-time winner of the Kentucky Derby, says the 1 ¼-mile Derby distance should be no problem for his chestnut son of Pulpit.
"It’s inside him, plus he did it three times in a row,” Zito said. “He had three mile and an eighth races this winter and won two of them. He’s got great breeding: his mother won a race going a mile and a half and his sire is Pulpit, who was a fantastic 3-year-old.”
Ice Box has a record of 3-0-0 in seven races and has earned $506,534.
Zito said his other Derby hope, Jacks or Better Farm and LaPenta’s Jackson Bend was doing well on the morning after a Thursday work that was his first serious training move over the Churchill Downs track.
GOTHAM WINNER AWESOME ACT IS ON THE SCENE – Mrs. Susan Roy and Vinery Stable’s Kentucky Derby hopeful Awesome Act, the British import who won the Gotham (GIII) and ran third to Kentucky Derby favorite Eskendereya in the Wood Memorial (GI), arrived at Churchill Downs Thursday morning following an overnight van right from New York.
The chestnut son of Awesome Again stepped off the van shortly before 10 a.m. (all times EST).and took up residence in Barn 36. He was accompanied on the journey by Wayne Tanner, an assistant to British trainer Jeremy Noseda.
He’s come out of the Wood great, he breezed the other day and we couldn’t be happier with him,” Tanner said. “We were a little bit unlucky in the Wood. We lost a shoe stumbling coming out of the gate and they didn’t go quick enough early for him, so he didn’t settle. If all goes well we hope for a big run.”
The Kentucky-bred colt’s sire was unbeaten in three career races at Churchill Downs that included a victory over 1997 Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm in the 1988 Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) and bested that rival and an international cast of stars that fall when the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI).was run at Churchill Downs.
“It was because of his sire that we thought he was a dirt horse a while back, when we were planning the trip about six months before he came over,” said Tanner. “If he runs his proper race, we’d like to think he’d hit the board.”
Awesome Act has a career record of 2-2-2 in eight races with earnings of $296,691.
EIGHTYFIVEINAFIFTY ARRIVES FOR TRIAL -- Bay Shore (GII) winner Eightyfiveinafifty arrived at Churchill Downs early Friday morning to prepare for next week’s $200,000-added The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (GIII) on Saturday, April 24 – the opening day of Churchill Down’s Spring Meet.
If the speedy colt wins the Trial, he could run back in the Kentucky Derby the following week. The Gary Contessa-trained son of Forest Camp arrived at the track following an overnight van ride from New York and is stabled in Barn 17.
QUIET TEMPER ZIPS FIVE FURLONGS IN WORK FOR KENTUCKY OAKS – Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) winner Quiet Temper displayed her readiness for the 136th running of the Kentucky Oaks (GI) on Friday, April 30 with a sizzling five-furlong work on Friday, April 16.
Mark Stanley’s daughter of Quiet American had jockey Robby Albarado in the saddle as she covered the distance over a fast track in :59.60. The move by the Dale Romans-trained filly was the fastest of 28 works at the distance.
“She was perfect – she couldn’t have gone any better,” said Romans. “It was a maintenance work. She went pretty quick, but she did it easy and well within herself.”
The Louisville-born Romans has not given up on a Kentucky Oaks bid by Jerry Romans’ Sassy Image, the winner of Churchill Downs’ Pocahontas (GIII) and Golden Rod GII) who has not run since a poor effort in the Davona Dale (GII) at Gulfstream Park in on Feb. 27.
“She’s still in,” he said. “If we can get a breeze in her in the next few days, we’ll be good.”
SILVERBULLETDAY WINNER JODY SLEW BREEZES – Martin Racing Stable’s Jody Slew took another step toward a run in the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks with a four-furlong work in :50 over a “fast” track at Churchill Downs.
Jockey Miguel Mena was in the saddle for trainer Bret Calhoun, who is bringing
the daughter of Slew City Slew up to the race on workouts following a disappointing
seventh-place run in the Fair Grounds Oaks. She had suffered a minor injury in her stall that disrupted her training in the days leading up that race, but Calhoun is pleased with Friday’s work and the progress Jody Slew has made since her run in New Orleans.
“Everything went just like we wanted,” said Calhoun. “She worked well and galloped out well. She’s full of energy and definitely going the right direction.”
Calhoun said Jody Slew would work next again next Friday and then should be ready for the Oaks.
STEWART WORKS SEEKING THE TITLE, HOPES FOR OAKS RUN – Charles E. Fipke’s Seeking the Title, a dead-heat third to Quiet Temper in the Fair Grounds Oaks, worked four furlongs on Friday at Churchill Downs as trainer Dallas Stewart continued to keep an eye on the list of graded earnings by Kentucky Oaks contenders in hopes that she would be able to run in America’s premiere race for 3-year-old fillies.
The daughter of Seeking the Gold covered the distance over a fast track in :50.20 under exercise rider Pedro Velez.
“She worked good and came back good,” said Stewart, who scored the biggest upset in Oaks history when he won the race with Lemons Forever in 2006. “We didn’t want to go too fast – just a medium work. She’s a very explosive-type filly through the stretch, so we’re just hoping we get to run.”
Seeking the Title has only $21,000 in graded earnings for the Oaks, which is limited to 14 starters with preference to 3-year-old fillies with the highest total earnings in graded stakes races. She was tied for 21st on this week’s list of fillies considered “likely” or “possible” for the Oaks.
KENTUCKY DERBY AND OAKS 136 NOTES – The Sid and Jenny Craig Trust’s Sidney’s Candy, whose three-race winning streak in stakes races includes the Santa Anita Derby (GI), is scheduled to work for the first time over the Churchill Downs track on Saturday, April 17. The John Sadler-trained homebred son of Candy Ride could be the first Derby contender to work during a new 15-minute training period devoted exclusively to Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders, which will be conducted after the mid-session break for track maintenance from roughly 8:30-8:45 a.m. Sadler’s Kentucky Oaks contender Crisp, winner of the Santa Anita Oaks (GI), is also set to work on Saturday … Trainer Mike Maker will keep a close watch one on of his contenders for the Kentucky Derby and his lone Kentucky Oaks hopeful when Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Lane’s End (GII) winner Dean’s Candy works in company with Twin Creeks Farm’s 3-year-old filly Age of Humor, runner-up in the Bourbonette (GIII) at Turfway Park, on Saturday at the Trackside Louisville training center. The two horses are scheduled to work on the six-furlong track around 8:30 a.m. Maker said Thomas and Jack Conway’s Stately Victor, upset winner of last week’s Toyota Blue Grass (GI), would gallop at Trackside around 6 a.m. … Hall of Fame trainer and four-time Kentucky Derby winner D. Wayne Lukas said Dublin, third in the Arkansas Derby (GI), would work on Monday. He said the son of Afleet Alex will work during the Derby-Oaks training segment around 8:30 a.m. … WinStar Farm’s Drosselmeyer a troubled fourth in the Louisiana Derby (GII) for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, is now listed as a likely starter for next week’s The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial on April 24 at Churchill Downs.