The roster of contenders for the 137th running of the $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) now on the grounds at Churchill Downs has grown to three with the arrivals Repole Stable’s Stay Thirsty, winner of the Gotham (GIII) and stablemate to Derby favorite Uncle Mo, and Michael Lauffer and W.D. Cubbedge’s Shackleford, runner-up in last week’s $1 million Florida Derby (GI) at Gulfstream Park.
Stay Thirsty was one of 17 horses from the stable of trainer Todd Pletcher that arrived Thurdsay morning from Florida. The son of Bernardini continues to be pointed toward the May 7 Run for the Roses despite a disappointing seventh-place finish in a field of eight in Sunday’s Florida Derby. He brings a record of 2-2-0 in six races with earnings of $300,000 to Churchill Downs. He has $260,000 in earnings in graded stakes races, which are used to determine the maximum field of 20 horses that will compete in Kentucky Derby 137.
He was led off the van just after 10 a.m. (EDT) by Michael McCarthy, the assistant trainer who oversees Pletcher’s Churchill Downs stable, and Stay Thirsty has settled into his stall in Barn 34.
“He shipped in well and looks well,” McCarthy said. “He’s had a good winter down there in Florida. Obviously we didn’t get the result we were looking for in the Florida Derby, but if he can bounce back and we get four good weeks here, maybe we can get lucky.”
Accompanying Stay Thirsty on the flight to Louisville were E. Paul Robsham Stable’s Swale (GII) winner Travelin Man, who is being pointed toward The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (GIII), the $200,000-added feature of the April 30 “Opening Night” program at Churchill Downs, and Mill House’s Queen’splatekitten, the runner-up in Gulfstream Park’s Palm Beach (GIII) on turf who is slated to run in next week’s $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (GI) over the synthetic Polytrack course on April 16 at Keeneland.
Shackleford, trained by Louisville native and Churchill Downs regular Dale Romans, returned to Louisville Wednesday evening following his winter in Florida. The son of Forestry just missed in the Florida Derby at odds of 68-1 when he set the pace but was caught in the final strides by Dialed In, who won by a head.
Romans’ colt has a record of 2-1-0 in five races and earnings of $271,666. His earnings in graded stakes races stand at $212,000.
The remaining Derby 137 contender on the grounds is Just for Fun Stable’s Decisive Moment, runner-up in the $300,000 Vinery Racing Spiral (GIII) at Turfway Park.