AMERICAN LION – WinStar Farm’s American Lion, winner of the Illinois Derby (GIII), arrived at Churchill Downs around 1:20 p.m. (all times EDT) following a late morning departure on a van ride from Keeneland.
The Eoin Harty trainee is stabled in Barn 41.
AWESOME ACT – Mrs. Susan Roy and Vinery Stables’ Awesome Act was doing
well on Wednesday morning, one day after he worked six furlongs in 1:12.60 under Kentucky Derby rider Julien Leparoux.
“We’re all good here,” said Wayne Tanner, assistant trainer Jeremy Noseda.
Noseda remains stuck in England, unable to fly because of flight restrictions from volcanic activity in Iceland.
“I think they are going to start clearing some of the backlog Friday and the plan is for him to be here on the 28th, next Wednesday,” Tanner said.
BACKTALK – Gold Mark Farm’s Backtalk galloped a mile and a half under Maurice Sanchez before the renovation break.
The Tom Amoss trainee, who has $225,916 in graded stakes earnings, would need a couple of defections from the roster of likely Kentucky Derby starters to earn a spot in the starting gate that is reserved to the 20 horses with the highest graded stakes earnings.
“It is looking less and less like May 1,” said Amoss, who has not plotted a possible next course of action for Backtalk if he does not make the Kentucky Derby field.
CONVEYANCE / LOOKIN AT LUCKY – The pair of stars trained by three-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert lit up the morning as Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman’s Lookin At Lucky and Zabeel Racing International’s Conveyance both fired “bullet” works during the special 15-minute training session for Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders.
Lookin At Lucky, America’s reigning 2-year-old champion and troubled third in the Santa Anita Derby (GI) in his most recent start, was strong in a six-furlong work over “fast” footing in 1:12. Regular exercise rider Dana Barnes was up for the move, which was easily the fastest of just two works at the distance.
Southwest (GIII) winner Conveyance, whose runner-up finish to Endorsement in the Sunland Park Derby (GIII) was his only career loss, worked five furlongs in a swift :58.60, which was the best of 22 at the distance and the only work timed faster than one minute. Jockey Calvin Borel was also in the saddle aboard Conveyance.
The work was the second over the track for both horses since their arrival from Baffert’s Southern California base on Tuesday, April 13. In his earlier breeze, Lookin At Lucky worked by himself for the first time, but Baffert had him back in the company of a workmate. The reigning juvenile champion covered the distance in fractional times of :12.20, :24.60, :35.60 and :47.80 and :59.60 and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:24.80 and a mile in 1:39.20.
“He went really nice over the track; he went well over it and was really reaching,” Baffert said. “He looked comfortable on it and we got a good work out of him.”
Lookin At Lucky’s appearance on the track has, in the eyes of many observers, improved each day since he arrived and Baffert agreed with those assessments.
“When he first got here I gave him a little five-eighths (work), but we didn’t let him do much,” Baffert sad. “He could have done more, but we just let him cruise through because coming off a synthetic track, he really has trouble with his hind end. But he’s really gotten stronger and stronger since he’s gotten here. He’s a really happy horse right now.”
With Tuesday’s sharp move behind Lookin At Lucky, Baffert will look for one more work for the Smart Strike colt on Monday or Tuesday of Kentucky Derby Week.
"We got a good work in him – he got a good ‘blow,’ which is good, but without really exhausting him,” said Baffert. “He’s just getting stronger and stronger.”
The Hall of Fame trainer describes Conveyance as a “fast horse,” and that speed was on display in the move by the 3-year-old son of Indian Charlie that saw him cruise through fractions of :11.60, :23.20, :34:80 and :46.20 and gallop out six furlongs in 1:12.
“He went off a little fast, but he needed that,” said Baffert. “He’s the kind of horse that a work like that will sharpen him up. He’s a fast horse – he wants to get out there and get it on.”
Conveyance is also scheduled for a final work either Monday or Tuesday.
DEAN’S KITTEN/STATELY VICTOR – Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Dean’s Kitten and Jack and Tom Conway’s Stately Victor both galloped Wednesday morning at the Trackside Training Center with Marvin Jiminez handling the moves in the saddle.
Trainer Mike Maker plans to work both colts at Trackside on Saturday.
DISCREETLY MINE/ESKENDEREYA/MISSION IMPAZIBLE/RULE/SUPER SAVER – The Todd Squad was out in full force Wednesday morning as four of Todd Pletcher’s five likely Kentucky Derby starters as well as two Kentucky Oaks possibilities were on the track at 8:30 after the morning renovation break.
"I couldn’t send them all out at the same time because I don’t have that many people,” Pletcher said. “(Twin Creeks Racing Stables’) Mission Impazible came out early and galloped a mile and quarter like all of them.”
Kevin Willey was on Mission Impazible and later partnered WinStar Farm’s Super Saver as he has since the colt arrived here following his runner-up effort in the Arkansas Derby (G1) on April 10.
Mission Impazible arrived at Churchill Downs on Tuesday from South Florida along with Zayat Stables’ Eskendereya, E. Paul Robsham Stables’ Discreetly Mine and WinStar Farm’s Rule.
Carlos Cano was aboard Eskendereya, Obed Perez was on Discreetly Mine and Patti Barry was on Rule/
“They will all work this weekend sometime, but I am going to keep an eye on the weather,” Pletcher said. “Ideally some will work Saturday and some on Sunday.
Pletcher also reaffirmed that Glencrest Farm’s filly Devil May Care could be entered in the Kentucky Derby instead of the Kentucky Oaks the day before.
“We are considering it,” Pletcher said. “I am confident she can go a mile and a quarter, a mile and a half. No decision will be made until after she works.”
Pletcher is no stranger to running fillies against the boys in the mornings or in the Classics. In 2007 at Keeneland, Rags to Riches worked in company with Circular Quay before she won the Kentucky Oaks. Five weeks later, she defeated eventual Horse of the Year Curlin in the Belmont Stakes (GI).
DUBLIN – Robert Baker and William Mack’s Dublin jogged two miles with Arielle Witkowski in the saddle after the renovation break and trainer D. Wayne Lukas alongside on a pony.
EIGHTYFIVEINAFIFTY – Lerner, Moirano Team Stallion Racing Corp, Contessa, Cohen, et al’s Eightyfiveinafifty visited the starting gate under Nick Santagata and then galloped 1 ¼ miles after the renovation break.
Eightyfiveinafifty is expected to run in Saturday’s The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (GIII) in hopes of securing enough graded stakes earnings to make the Kentucky Derby field.
ENDORSEMENT – WinStar Farm’s Endorsement galloped a mile and a half after renovation break under trainer Shannon Ritter.
Winner of the Sunland Park Derby (GIII) in his most recent start, Endorsement is scheduled to work Sunday.
HOMEBOYKRIS – Lazzinnaro, Bulger, Mandato, Diamond Pride, Tabraue Sallusto and Teel’s Homeboykris worked six furlongs in 1:14.80 under jockey Julien Leparoux after the renovation break.
Fractions for the work from Churchill Downs clockers were :12.80, :25.40, :38, :50.20, 1:02.40 and out seven furlongs in 1:28.
“I liked the work,” trainer Rick Dutrow said. “I’m very happy with him. I have been high on this horse since the beginning. Julien worked him a couple of times in Florida and he was happy with the work and said he got over the track very well.”
Among those watching the work was Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre, part of the ownership who drove down from Cincinnati where his club is having a three-game series against the Reds.
“This is great to come down here and see all of this,” said Torre, who will be occupied Derby Day with a home game in Los Angeles against the Pirates.
Homeboykris has not run since Feb. 27, but the layoff does not deter Torre.
“The layoffs have worked both ways in recent years,” Torre said. “I have a lot of confidence in Rick Dutrow and everything with this horse is positive. He is gradually getting him ready for this race.”
Dutrow, who won the 2008 Kentucky Derby with Big Brown, considers Eskendereya as the horse to beat this year.
“I wish I had him. He is far and away the horse to beat,” Dutrow said. “With Big Brown, I was on Cloud Nine because I knew he was the horse to beat. All the owners with this horse are on Cloud Nine to be here and ‘Homeboy’, if he runs his race and gets a good trip, he can beat a lot of these horses.”
Dutrow said Homeboykris would have a three-eighths or half-mile work next week to complete his major training for Derby 136.
ICE BOX/JACKSON BEND – Robert LaPenta’s Ice Box galloped after the renovation break under Dennis Chavez and Jacks or Better Farm and LaPenta’s Jackson Bend galloped before the break under Carlos Correa.
Trainer Nick Zito plans to work Florida Derby (GI) winner Ice Box toward the end of the week. Jose Lezcano has the Derby mount.
Jackson Bend, with $230,000 in graded stakes earnings, is in danger of not earning a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate because of lack of graded earnings. If Jackson Bend makes the field, Mike Smith will ride.
LINE OF DAVID/SIDNEY’S CANDY – Ike and Dawn Thrash’s Line of David will be reunited with jockey Rafael Bejarano in the Kentucky Derby.
Bejarano, who has won two riding titles outright and shared a third at Churchill Downs, has ridden Line of David twice and won both times. Jon Court rode Line of David to victory in the Arkansas Derby (GI).
“It was a scheduling thing,” trainer John Sadler said of the Arkansas Derby that was run the same day as the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (GI) in which Bejarano rode Interactif. “He and Joel Rosario ride most of my horses anyway and he had worked this horse a half a dozen times this winter.”
Line of David walked the shedrow at Barn 42 on Wednesday morning, a day after working five furlongs in 1:02. The Lion Heart colt is scheduled to have his final Kentucky Derby work on Monday.
“Bejarano is taking the ‘redeye’ Sunday night and probably will work him Monday,” Sadler said. “I imagine he will stay in Louisville because he rides Blind Luck in the Oaks and I doubt he would go back for one day.”
Sadler’s other Kentucky Derby hopeful, Sid and Jenny Craig Trust’s Sidney’s Candy, galloped after the renovation break under Lupillo Alferez. Sidney’s Candy, who will be ridden in the Derby by Joe Talamo, is expected to work Saturday.
MAKE MUSIC FOR ME – Ellen and Peter Johnson’s Make Music for Me, jogged a mile under exercise rider Andy Durnin after the renovation break on his first day at Churchill Downs.
Sixth in his most recent start in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (GI), Make Music for Me shipped to Churchill Downs on Tuesday after working a half-mile at Keeneland in :46.20 on Monday.
Trainer Alexis Barba is expected to arrive in Louisville from her Southern California base on Saturday.
NOBLE’S PROMISE – Chasing Dreams Racing 2008’s Noble’s Promise came out of his bullet five-furlong work of :59.80 on Tuesday morning in good order according to trainer Ken McPeek.
McPeek said the son of Cuvee would return to the track in the morning.
PADDY O’PRADO – Donegal Racing’s runner-up in the Toyota Blue Grass (GI) over the synthetic Polytrack surface at Keeneland turned in another routine gallop under exercise rider Faustino Aquilar.
Paddy O’Prado is scheduled to work on Saturday, but Romans is keeping and eye on the sky and weather forecasts and could make a change.
“Paddy could go Friday if it looks like the weather is going to be really bad,” Romans said.
Current forecasts call for showers and thunderstorms on Saturday.