AGE OF HUMOR – Trainer Mike Maker reported that Twin Creek Farm’s Age of Humor walked the shedrow at his Trackside Training Center base and that “all’s good” one day after a five-furlong breeze in 1:01.20 in company with Kentucky Derby hopeful Dean’s Kitten.
AILALEA – Starlight Partners’ Pulpit filly Ailalea only walked the shedrow Saturday morning at Churchill Downs following her 1:00 five-furlong drill on Friday.
The Tempted Stakes winner has a rider for next Friday’s Oaks – maybe. Jockey John Velazquez currently has the call on Ailalea’s stablemate Devil May Care, should she run in the $500,000 headliner. If, however, Devil May Care should be put in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, Velazquez would switch over and ride Ailalea on Friday. If not, then Ailalea will be in need of a partner.
AMEN HALLELUJAH – IEAH Stables, Whizway Farms and Robert Teel’s Amen Hallelujah jogged Saturday morning as trainer Rick Dutrow does not like to work his horses over wet tracks.
“She’s good,” Dutrow said. “She’s all set to go.”
Julien Leparoux has the Oaks riding assignment.
BEAUTICIAN – Peter Callahan’s Beautician continued her preparation for an anticipated start in the Kentucky Oaks with a mile and a half gallop after the renovation break under Marvin Abrego.
Watching the filly gallop along with trainer Ken McPeek was jockey Alex Solis, who will have the mount in the Oaks.
Solis has relocated his tack to Kentucky and bought a house in St. Matthews after riding the past 25 years in Southern California. Solis has ridden in the Kentucky Derby 15 times with his best finishes coming in 1997 and 1998 aboard Captain Bodgit and Victory Gallop in runner-up efforts.
Beautician is scheduled to work Monday.
BELLA DIAMANTE – Lone Star Stables’ Bella Diamante walked the shedrow at Lone Star Park the morning following her bullet five-furlong work in :58 with Martin Escobar aboard. The eye-popping move, which came over a track labeled “good,” was more than four seconds faster than any of the other 13 works at the distance.
“It was the best work you could have asked for,” trainer Allen Milligan said. “She left the track wanting to do more and that’s what you want to see.”
Milligan said the exceptionally fast time for the breeze was by design. “She gets a little bored in her works and I just wanted to keep her interested,” he said. “She does it on her own, though. Martin didn’t really have to ask her. She’s just a very nice filly.”
Bella Diamante will depart Lone Star Park by van this evening and is expected to arrive at Churchill Downs “about 5 a.m. Sunday morning,” according to Milligan. “We rented an 18-wheeler and she’ll have a big box,” he said.
The trainer’s brother, Eddie Milligan Jr., owner of the Twin Oaks Training Center in Athens, Texas, also will be on the scene Sunday morning and will supervise the filly until Allen Milligan gets to Louisville on Wednesday.
“She’ll walk there tomorrow and jog Monday,” the trainer said.
BLIND LUCK – Mark DeDomenico, John Carver and Jerry Hollendorfer’s Blind Luck was en route to Churchill Downs on Saturday after working six furlongs in 1:14.80 at Hollywood Park.
The filly, who will be ridden in the Kentucky Oaks by Rafael Bejarano, is scheduled to land at Louisville International Airport at 9:30 p.m. (ET). Accompanying Blind Luck on the flight is Chocolate Candy, who ran fifth in last year’s Kentucky Derby.
Hollendorfer trains both Blind Luck and Chocolate Candy.
CHAMPAGNE D’ORO – Southern Equine’s Champagne d’Oro breezed six furlongs in 1:16.40 over a sloppy Churchill Downs track during the Derby/Oaks training session.
Miguel Mena served as the exercise rider while leading the Medaglia d’Oro filly through splits of :25.20, :38, :50.80 and 1:03.20. Churchill Downs clockers caught Champagne d’Oro’s seven-furlong gallop-out time around the clubhouse turn in 1:30.80.
“Perfect,” trainer Eric Guillot said. “That’s what I said I wanted, 1:16. Isn’t it? In that mud you don’t want to go out there and go hard. If you watch my filly she was never even asked, never even threw the reins at her. Just let her do it on her own.”
Guillot called an audible because of the condition of the track, opting for a leisurely six furlongs instead of the sharp five furlongs he originally planned.
“It’s just a little easier and a little further,” the trainer said. “It’s all about getting air. I would’ve worked her in a minute flat. I was going to work her five-eighths instead of three-quarters, and I was going to go a little quicker, but I had to change my training program. Times don’t mean much; what does matter is having your horse right on race day.”
CRISP – Michael Tallia’s Santa Anita Oaks (GI) winner Crisp merely walked the shedrow Saturday morning following her 1:14.60 work in company the previous day at Churchill Downs in her final major exercise for the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks.
“We just breezed her yesterday and she handled the wet track (officially listed as “sloppy”) fine,” trainer John Sadler said at Barn 42. “It was her first time on the wet and you don’t know how they’ll go. But she was fine.”
Crisp, a daughter of El Corredor who has won three of her five starts, will have the saddle services of Joel Rosario for her nine-furlong Oaks run next Friday.
DEVIL MAY CARE – (See Kentucky Derby notes)
EVENING JEWEL – The Central Bank Ashland Stakes (GI) winner recovered nicely from her bullet work Friday morning, walking the shedrow at the barn of trainer Jim Cassidy. The daughter of Northern Afleet had registered a :59.40 on the Santa Anita tab, best of 27 for the distance at the California track.
“She’s doing great today,” Cassidy said. “I’m real happy with her. We’re still on for shipping on Tuesday and Kent Desormeaux has the call.”
Hall of Famer Desormeaux was aboard for the bay filly’s neck tally in the Ashland at Keeneland on April 3. She returned to California and registered two works since, including her five-panel bullet Friday.
Evening Jewel is a jewel of consistency. She has run first or second in seven of her eight lifetime starts.
IT’S TEA TIME – Alex Campbell Jr.’s It’s Tea Time walked the shedrow at trainer Rusty Arnold’s barn at Keeneland a day after working five furlongs in company in 1:02.
“She’s very, very good this morning,” Arnold said. “She will gallop in the first set tomorrow and then get on a van and be over there between 10 and 10:30 in the morning.”
Runner-up in the Central Bank Ashland Stakes (GI) in her most recent start, It’s Tea Time is scheduled to school in the paddock during Sunday’s fifth race.
Alan Garcia has the riding assignment in the Oaks.
JOANIE’S CATCH – Rose Family Stables’ Joanie’s Catch walked the shedrow at her Calder Race Course barn on Saturday, the morning following a four-furlong breeze in :50 with her Oaks rider, Paco Lopez, aboard.
“The track was a bit heavy and Paco’s not one to work them too fast anyway,” trainer Barry Rose said by phone from Calder. “He likes to start them slow and finish fast. He was very happy so I’m happy. She’s ready to go the distance.”
Joanie’s Catch, preparing for her 19th career start in the Oaks, will depart Calder by van Monday morning and is expected to arrive at Churchill Downs on Tuesday morning.
The Florida-bred First Tour filly will return to the Calder training track Sunday at about 7 a.m. (ET) to gallop at least 1 1/2 miles “to keep her settled down,” Rose said.
JODY SLEW – Martin Racing Stable and Dan Morgan’s Jody Slew, winner of two stakes at Fair Grounds this year, walked the shedrow the morning after her final work in advance of the Oaks, a half-mile in :48.80 under regular jockey Miguel Mena.
“She’ll walk tomorrow and then Monday she’ll jog and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday she’ll gallop,” said Dennis “Peaches” Geier, assistant to trainer Bret Calhoun.
Geier said Jody Slew will put in her exercise during the Derby and Oaks training session from about 8:30-8:45 a.m. each day.
QUIET TEMPER/SASSY IMAGE – Mark Stanley’s Quiet Temper walked the shedrow Saturday morning at trainer Dale Romans’ barn a day after working five furlongs in 1:03.60 under Oaks rider Robby Albarado.
Jerry Romans’ Sassy Image jogged under exercise rider Ramiro Corleto after the morning renovation break.
Jerry Romans is still hoping his two-time graded stakes winner can make the Oaks.
“If we can get a work in her, we’ve got a chance,” Jerry Romans said regarding the Oaks and its maximum field of 13 3-year-old fillies. “Everybody wants to run in it; you only get one shot at it.”
Dale Romans said Sassy Image would work “as soon as the track dries up,” which could be a couple of days given the soggy forecast for the Louisville area.
Six months ago, Sassy Image was the marquee juvenile filly in the Romans barn having posted victories in the Pocahontas (GIII) and Golden Rod (GII). Quiet Temper was still a maiden after three starts.
“They are both talent fillies,” Dale Romans said. “It just took Quiet Temper a little longer to come around.”
SEEKING THE TITLE – Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Title returned to the track for an easy jog with exercise rider Pedro Velez aboard, two days after her final work in preparation for the Oaks. “She’s been going out after the break but she went early today,” trainer Dallas Stewart said.
The reason for the diversion from her routine, according to Stewart, was simply “the cycle of the barn,” referring to the ever-changing schedules of his string.
“She’ll be out later on tomorrow (during the Derby and Oaks training session), depending on the track.”
Seeking the Title remains tied for 18th on the graded stakes earning list among fillies considered as possible for the Oaks, which is limited to 14 starters.
“It’s out of our control at the moment,” Stewart said. “We got lucky last time we were in it (with Lemons Forever in 2006). We were the last one to get in the gate and we won it, so you never know. She’s ready to go.”
SHEER BEAUTY – L.T.B. Inc. and Miles Childers’ Sheer Beauty walked the shedrow as trainer Bernie Flint opted to keep the filly in the barn rather than send her out on a sloppy track.
“It was either walk or work today and I didn’t want to send her out there,” Flint said. “I just don’t think she is going to get in and it’s a shame because the chance for her only comes around once.”
Sheer Beauty would need several defections from the group of fillies pointing to the Oaks that have more than the $21,000 in graded stakes earnings that Sheer Beauty possesses. The 14 fillies with the highest graded earnings who pass the entry box make the starting gate for the Kentucky Oaks.
“You prep and prep for a race, but we are so far down on the list (in earnings),” Flint said. “I have done all I can. We will shoot for tomorrow. She is plenty fit. I don’t work my horses fast. When she works, she will gallop a mile and then work a half.”
If Sheer Beauty makes the Oaks field, James Graham would have the mount.
TIDAL POOL – Westrock Stables’ Tidal Pool galloped a mile and five eighths after the renovation break under Leeanne Bates.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said the Fantasy runner-up is set for the Oaks on Friday.
“I’m probably not going to work her,” Lukas said. “She’s had a really good work and being a filly I might just let her catch her stride through the stretch later in the week. That will be about it for her. She’s ready.”