AGE OF HUMOR – Trainer Mike Maker reported that Twin Creek Farm’s Age of Humor, stabled at Louisville’s Trackside Training Center, jogged 1 ½ miles Sunday morning during the 6 o’clock hour with exercise rider Marvin Jiminez in the saddle.
Age of Humor will not travel to Churchill Downs for the Oaks until Thursday, the latest arrival permitted.
AILALEA – Starlight Partners’ Ailalea, a daughter of Pulpit, galloped early under Fernando Espinoza Sunday morning with an eye toward her start Friday in the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (GI).
The Tempted Stakes (GIII) winner has been riderless thus far coming up to the Run for the Lillies, but circumstances surrounding the withdrawal of Kentucky Derby favorite Eskendereya on Sunday morning may be sending a jockey her way.
John Velazquez was scheduled to ride Eskendereya, but now may have a new Derby mount in Devil May Care, who is wavering between the Derby and Oaks, but now may be Derby-bound because of the withdrawal. That would leave the top rider open in the Oaks and Ailalea would be the likely recipient of his services.
AMEN HALLELUJAH – IEAH Stables and Whizway Farms’ Amen Hallelujah jogged once around a muddy track at Churchill Downs early Sunday morning under exercise rider Joe Deegan.
BEAUTICIAN – Peter Callahan’s Beautician galloped a mile and a half after the morning renovation break under exercise rider Marvin Abrego.
Beautician, who will be ridden in the Oaks by Alex Solis, is set to work Monday.
Trained by Ken McPeek, Beautician comes off an eighth-place finish in the Central Bank Ashland Stakes (GI) at Keeneland on April 3. That race was on the all-weather Polytrack surface.
On dirt, Beautician has raced four times with a victory and three runner-up finishes. Her lone victory came in her career debut.
BELLA DIAMANTE – Lone Star Stables’ Bella Diamante arrived at Churchill Downs after 10 a.m.
Eddie Milligan Jr., brother of trainer Allen Milligan, will supervise the conditioning of Bella Diamante until Allen Milligan arrives in Louisville on Wednesday.
Bella Diamante left Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, on Saturday night for a 14-hour van ride to Churchill Downs. Bella Diamante is housed in Barn 21, Stall 5.
BLIND LUCK – The probable favorite for Friday’s Kentucky Oaks (GI) made it to Louisville a little late, but arrived at Churchill Downs at roughly 10:30 Saturday night. Storms and rain across the country and in the Louisville area made a short trip longer, but the 3-year-old filly was bedded down in Barn 42 by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s right-hand-traveling-man Galen May and caught a good night’s sleep.
“She’s fine,” May reported early Sunday. “She came in with him (throwing a thumb toward a big colt in the stall next to her) and they are both OK.”
The “him” in this case was a colt named Chocolate Candy, who racing fans should remember as a Kentucky Derby runner (he finished fifth) last year. Hollendorfer trains that colt and has brought him back to Kentucky to run in thes $150,000 Alysheba Stakes (GIII) at a mile and one-sixteenth on the Kentucky Oaks Day undercard.
May indicated that both horses would be on the track Monday with exercise rider Archie Cross designated as their partner.
CHAMPAGNE D’ORO – Southern Equine’s Champagne d’Oro’s chances of drawing into the Oaks field are looking up as Todd Pletcher appears to be leaning toward running Devil May Care in the Kentucky Derby.
Champagne d’Oro is 15th on the graded earnings list among fillies under consideration for the Oaks, making her next in line for the race limited to 14 starters.
“We are all systems go and we’re waiting for any potential defections,” said Nick Hines, racing manager for Southern Equine.
Regarding Devil May Care specifically, Hines said: “That certainly opens things up for us if that happens.”
Champagne d’Oro walked the shedrow at trainer Eric Guillot’s Churchill Downs barn the day after an easy six-furlong breeze in 1:16.40.
“She’s a picture of health,” Hines said.
CRISP – Michael Talla’s Santa Anita Oaks (GI) winner Crisp returned to the racetrack early Sunday morning for a jog around the big Churchill Downs oval. The El Corredor filly had worked six furlongs in 1:14.60 on Friday, then walked the shedrow Saturday. Exercise rider Lupillo Alferez was her partner for the jog.
Crisp will be handled by Joel Rosario on Friday.
DEVIL MAY CARE – (See Kentucky Derby notes)
EVENING JEWEL – Trainer Jim Cassidy reported from his California headquarters that Central Bank Ashland Stakes (GI) winner Evening Jewel had her “usual morning at Santa Anita,” which in this case meant a jog of about a mile and three-quarters around the Arcadia oval, then a walk and a bath back at the barn.
“We’re good to go,” noted the veteran conditioner, who has made arrangements for the California-bred filly to be flown to Kentucky on Tuesday in anticipation of her start Friday in the Kentucky Oaks (GI). The daughter of Northern Afleet has finished first or second in seven of her eight lifetime starts and will have her backers in the nine-furlong Oaks.
Cassidy will ship a day earlier on Monday and expects to be a Churchill Downs to greet his filly on her arrival.
IT’S TEA TIME – Alex Campbell Jr.’s It’s Tea Time arrived at Churchill Downs shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday from Keeneland for trainer Rusty Arnold.
Alan Garcia is scheduled to ride the lightly raced daughter of Dynaformer in the Kentucky Oaks. It’s Tea Time schooled in the paddock Sunday afternoon with the horses in the fifth race.
JOANIE’S CATCH – The Rose Family Stable’s Joanie’s Catch galloped 1 ½ miles under jockey Paco Lopez at Calder Race Course on Sunday morning.
“She’ll do the same tomorrow before we ship,” said trainer Barry Rose, who’ll van Joanie’s Catch to Churchill Downs.
Joanie’s Catch has finished first, second or third in 16 of her 18 races.
JODY SLEW – Martin Racing Stable and Dan Morgan’s Jody Slew had another easy morning two days after a half-mile breeze in :48.80.
“She just walked today but she’s going to school in the first,” said Dennis “Peaches” Geier, assistant to trainer Bret Calhoun.
Jody Slew schooled in the paddock during Sunday’s first race at the same time as trainer Bob Baffert’s Derby contenders Lookin At Lucky and Conveyance.
Geier said Jody Slew will return to the track Monday during the Derby and Oaks training session for a jog.
QUIET TEMPER/SASSY IMAGE – Trainer Dale Romans sent one of his two Kentucky Oaks hopefuls to the track Sunday morning with Sassy Image galloping under Ramiro Corleto.
Mark Stanley’s Quiet Temper walked the shedrow for a second consecutive morning following a five-furlong work in 1:03.60 on Friday.
Sassy Image is owned by Jerry Romans, Dale’s brother. Her status for the Oaks has been somewhat iffy because of a limited training schedule because of a minor injury.
“She galloped this morning and may breeze tomorrow, so we still have a chance,” said Jerry Romans, a native Louisvillian and son of former trainer Jerry Romans who has been around the racetrack all of his life.
“We have winner’s circle pictures when Dale and I were 2 and 3 years old at the old Miles Park,” Jerry Romans said. “I own five horses. Dale has three of them and two are yearlings.
“To win the Kentucky Oaks, with all the friends and family we have here in town, let’s say it would be more emotionally rewarding than financially rewarding.”
SEEKING THE TITLE – Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Title still needs a lot to happen in the next few days in order to make the Oaks field.
The Seeking the Gold filly sits in a tie for 17th on the graded earnings list among fillies targeting the race with $21,000. Even if there were three defections from the anticipated field, Seeking the Title would also need to win a shake with Sheer Beauty (who has the same amount of graded earnings after the two fillies dead-heated for third in the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks) to claim the final spot.
Seeking the Title has one win to her credit, a February maiden special weight at Fair Grounds. In 2006 trainer Dallas Stewart took the Oaks with a 47-1 shot who had never won a stakes race, Lemons Forever.
Stewart sent Seeking the Title to the track after the renovation for a gallop Sunday morning under exercise rider Pedro Velez.
SHEER BEAUTY – L.T.B. Inc. and Miles Childers’ Sheer Beauty galloped before the morning renovation break under Mario Convento.
TIDAL POOL – Westrock Stables’ Tidal Pool galloped two miles under Leeanne Bates after the renovation break for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.