Repole Stable's STAY THIRSTY (Bernardini) and Just for Fun Stable's DECISIVE MOMENT (With Distinction) turned in strong efforts at Churchill Downs on Sunday in their first works of the spring on the track over which the famed Kentucky Derby (G1) will be run on May 7.
Spiral S. (G3) runner-up Decisive Moment and Stay Thirsty, winner of the Gotham S. (G3), both worked four furlongs after the midmorning break for track maintenance and turned in the two fastest works of the day at the distance.
Decisive Moment, ridden by jockey Jesus Castanon, worked his half-mile in a bullet :47 2/5 for trainer Juan Arias. The Panamanian native and a former jockey, who is now based at Calder, was very pleased by what he described as an out-of-character move by the three-year-old. Churchill clockers caught Decisive Moment in fractional times of :11 4/5, :23 2/5 and :35 3/5.
"It was very impressive -- he's not really a 'morning horse,'" Arias said. "He never worked this good before. I don't know if he just liked this surface better or the weather, but I wasn't expecting him to breeze this good this good.
"He's the type of horse that you can get more out of him in gallops than you can in works. Today he showed me a different way all around, because today I really got more out of this work."
Decisive Moment, winner of the Jean Lafitte S. at Delta Downs, has a career record of 2-2-3 in eight races with earnings of $527,330. He has earned $301,000 of that total in graded stakes races.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Stay Thirsty, working with stablemate and Swale S. (G3) winner TRAVELIN MAN (Trippi), covered the half-mile distance in :48, which tied as the second fastest work on a cool, breezy spring morning. Travelin Man, who is being pointed toward the Derby Trial (G3) on the April 30 opening night program at Churchill, worked on the rail with Stay Thirsty to his outside as the duo made their way over the track that was rated as muddy following daylong rains on Saturday.
Stay Thirsty, who finished a disappointing seventh in the Florida Derby (G1), continued what assistant trainer Michael McCarthy described as a good stay at Churchill Downs since he shipped north following the Florida Derby. He finished in front of his workmate and the duo worked in fractional times of :12 2/5, :24 and :36. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 and six furlongs in 1:15 4/5.
"It was a textbook work," McCarthy said. "The horse is doing well. He's had a good couple of weeks here. He'll have a few more works before the Derby, but everything is going the right way right now."
McCarthy said the reason for the poor effort in the Florida Derby remains a mystery, so the Pletcher team is drawing a line through that race.
"I think there were a lot of horses you probably had to draw a line through (their races) in the Florida Derby," McCarthy said. "The horse acts to us here like he's going the right way. He enjoys the surface, he enjoys being here. His appetite is good, his attitude is good."
Stay Thirsty's career record stands at 2-2-0 in six races with earnings of $300,000 that include $260,000 collected in graded events.
In other Kentucky Derby news:
Repole Stable's UNCLE MO (Indian Charlie), the heavy Kentucky Derby 137 favorite until his upset loss to Toby's Corner (Bellamy Road) in last Saturday's Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct, and Risen Star S. (G2) winner MUCHO MACHO MAN (Macho Uno) are scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Monday to continue their preparation for the Run for the Roses.
Reigning two-year-old champion Uncle Mo, the Pletcher-trained winner of last fall's Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs, will travel to Louisville on a flight from New York that will also carry E. Paul Robsham Stable's R Heat Lightning (Trippi), victress of the Gulfstream Oaks (G2) and possible favorite for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 6. The plane is scheduled to touch down at Louisville International Airport at 8:45 a.m. (EDT) and the van carrying Uncle Mo and R Heat Lightning from the airport is expected to arrive at Pletcher's barn approximately a half hour later.
The Kathy Ritvo-trained Mucho Macho Man will travel from Florida by van and is expected to pass through the Churchill Downs stable gate around 6 a.m. The bay colt will be stabled in Barn 41 in the same stall occupied last fall by Horse of the Year Zenyatta when she came to Churchill Downs for her runner-up finish to Blame in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1).
Mucho Macho Man is owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team Racing Stable. He worked seven furlongs in 1:23 3/5 on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.