Repole Stable’s Stay Thirsty and Just for Fun Stable’s Decisive Moment, 3-year-old colts being pointed toward the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), turned in strong efforts at Churchill Downs on Sunday in their first works of the spring on the track over which the famed Run for the Roses will be run on Saturday, May 7.
Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (GIII) runner-up Decisive Moment and Stay Thirsty, winner of the Gotham (GIII), both worked four furlongs after the mid-morning 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”:47.40 for trainer Juan Arias. The Todd Pletcher-trained Stay Thirsty, working with stablemate and Swale (GIII) winner Travelin Man, covered the distance in :48, which tied as the second fastest work on a cool, breezy spring morning. Travelin Man, who is being pointed toward the $200,000-added The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (GIII) on the April 30 “Opening Night” program at Churchill Downs, worked on the rail with Stay Thirsty to his outside as the duo made its way over the track that was rated as muddy following daylong rains on Saturday.
Arias, a native of Panama and a former jockey now based at Florida’s Calder Race Course, was very pleased by what he described as an out-of-character move by the 3-year-old son of With Distinction. Churchill Downs clockers caught Decisive Moment in fractional times of :11.80, :23:40 and :35.60.
“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 $250,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs, has a career record of 2-2-3 in eight races with earnings of $527,300. He has earned $301,000 of that total in graded stakes races.
Stay Thirsty, who finished a disappointing seventh in the Florida Derby (GI) won by Dialed In, 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 :12.40, :24 and :36. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.20 and six furlongs in 1:15.80.
“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 by the son of 2006 Preakness (GI) winner Bernardini 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 stakes events.
UNCLE MO, MUCHO MACHO MAN SET TO ARRIVE ON DERBY 137 SCENE – Repole Stable’s Uncle Mo, the heavy Kentucky Derby 137 favorite until his upset loss to Toby’s Corner in last week’s Wood Memorial (GI) at Aqueduct, and Risen Star (GII) winner Mucho Macho Man are scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Monday to continue their preparation for the Run for the Roses.
Reigning 2-year-old champion Uncle Mo, the Pletcher-trained winner of last fall’s Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) 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, the winner of the Gulfstream Oaks (GII) and possible favorite for the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (GI). The plane is scheduled to touch down at Louisville International Airport at 8:45 a.m. (all times Eastern) 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 gray son of Macho Uno 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 $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Mucho Macho Man is owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team Racing Stable. He worked seven furlongs in 1:23.60 on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.