ARCHARCHARCH – With jockey Jon Court up, Arkansas Derby (GI) winner Archarcharch galloped a mile and a half over a sloppy track after the morning renovation break Monday at Churchill Downs.
Owned by Robert Yagos, Archarcharch arrived back at Churchill Downs last Tuesday following his victory at Oaklawn Park. Trainer Jinks Fires plans to give the son of Arch one work prior to Kentucky Derby 137.
“He just ran a mile and eighth last Saturday,” Fires said. “I am going to wait until the rain is over and when I feel the track is safe to work.”
DECISIVE MOMENT – Just for Fun Stable’s Decisive Moment galloped 1 ½ miles after the renovation break with trainer Juan Arias in the saddle.
Arias plans to work Decisive Moment five furlongs on Thursday morning with Jesus Castanon to handle the work. Kerwin Clark, who has ridden Decisive Moment in his past four starts, will have the mount in the Kentucky Derby.
"Jesus worked him last week here,” said Arias, who brought Decisive Moment to Churchill Downs two days after the colt’s runner-up finish in the Vinery Racing Spiral (GIII) at Turfway Park on March 26.
“I went home (to South Florida) for three days after the Vinery and came back here April 1 because I wanted to be back here when he resumed training because I get on him myself,” Arias said. “He likes the atmosphere here and he likes the track. I told a reporter the other day that he feels like he is at the right party and ready to dance.”
J P’S GUSTO – John O’Hara, racing manager for Gem Inc. (Dr. John Waken), said Monday that no final decision has been reached on the possible Kentucky Derby participation of J P’s Gusto, who ran eighth in the Arkansas Derby (GI) in his most recent start.
“He has been at the farm and has had a week off,” O’Hara said. “If he comes to Churchill Downs, he would come over between now and Wednesday.”
MIDNIGHT INTERLUDE/THE FACTOR – Three-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert sent his pair of Kentucky Derby contenders – Arnold Zetcher’s homebred Santa Anita Derby (GI) winner Midnight Interlude and George Bolton and Fog City Stable’s The Factor – out for gallops over a sloppy track during the special training period for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders.
Dana Barnes was in the saddle aboard both horses, and Baffert was especially pleased with The Factor, who is coming off a seventh-place finish as the strong favorite in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (GI).
“The Factor galloped for the first time,” Baffert said. “He’d just been jogging. I might work him Wednesday. He looked good out there.”
Baffert said he has not made a firm decision on participation in Derby 137 by The Factor.
“I’m just going to watch him,” Baffert said. “He’s still a very good horse.”
Baffert remains delighted by the progress of Midnight Interlude, who jumped from a maiden victory into the Derby 137 picture with his upset win in the Santa Anita Derby. The son of War Chant is scheduled to work Tuesday during the special training period for Derby and Oaks hopefuls.
“He went from zero-to-hero,” Baffert said. “The horse is just getting better with every out. He’s tough and he can handle it – he can handle it mentally.”
MUCHO MACHO MAN – Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team One Racing Stable’s Mucho Macho Man walked the shedrow at Barn 41 a day after working seven furlongs in 1:29.20 under jockey Rajiv Maragh.
“I really wanted to take him out today, but I didn’t want him to get wet again,” trainer Kathy Ritvo said. “He came out of the work fine and depending on the weather will jog a couple miles tomorrow.”
NEHRO – A thunderstorm drenched Churchill Downs as training hours opened on Monday at Churchill Downs, but trainer Steve Asmussen elected to send Zayat Stable’s Nehro out for a scheduled five-furlong work around 6:15 a.m. (all times Eastern) despite the rain.
The son of Mineshaft, a fast-closing runner-up in both the Louisiana Derby (GII) and Arkansas Derby (GII), responded by gliding over the morning’s sloppy footing and covered the distance in 1:02.80. Exercise rider Carlos Rosas was in the irons as Nehro worked in fractional times of :13.20, :25.60, :38.20 and :50.40. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:17 and seven-eighths in 1:32.
“He was smooth and easy all the way around,” Asmussen said. “The weather comes into play a little bit and, as usual, Mother Nature doesn’t care how important we think it is.
“We’re just staying in a rhythm. The horse has had two hard races over the last month, and we’re staying in a rhythm and following pretty much the same (training) pattern as after the Louisiana Derby.”
Nehro comes into the Kentucky Derby with just one win in five career starts, but his two stakes efforts that followed a maiden win at Oaklawn Park have placed him among the most highly regarded contenders for Kentucky Derby 137. The colt lost his first two starts – which included a 10th-place finish in an 11-horse field in an Oaklawn maiden race on Jan. 11 – but he rolled to a 4 ½-length win in is next outing at the Arkansas track.
Asmussen admitted that he is surprised that this colt turned out to be his Kentucky Derby contender, but his strong last month, starting with his close second-place finish to Pants On Fire in the Louisiana Derby, has put him in that position.
“That (Louisiana Derby bid) was 100 percent taking a swing,” Asmussen said. “The horse stepped up and he ran a big race, and I think he validated that performance in Arkansas. Hopefully, we’re still on the way up.”
Corey Nakatani is scheduled to ride Nehro in the Kentucky Derby.
PANTS ON FIRE – George and Lori Hall’s Louisiana Derby (GII) winner Pants On Fire walked the shedrow at Barn 27 a day after arriving from South Florida.
Trainer Kelly Breen was scheduled to arrive in Louisville later Monday. Rosie Napravnik has the Derby mount on Pants On Fire.
SANTIVA – Tom Walters’ Santiva, winner of last fall’s Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) in his lone start at Churchill Downs, galloped a mile and a half after the renovation break under Brendan Walsh, assistant to trainer Eddie Kenneally.
Shaun Bridgmohan has the Derby riding assignment on Santiva.
SHACKLEFORD – Michael Lauffer and W.D. Cubbedge’s Shackleford jogged two miles under exercise rider Faustino Ramos after the renovation break.
Trainer Dale Romans plans to work the Florida Derby (GI) runner-up on Saturday.
STAY THIRSTY/UNCLE MO – Trainer Todd Pletcher said Repole Stable’s Stay Thirsty, winner of the Gotham (GIII), came out of a five-furlong Easter Sunday work well. The colt walked under Pletcher’s shedrow on Monday.
Jockey Calvin Borel was aboard on Sunday as the son of Bernardini, working in company with 4-year-old stablemate Bridgetown, worked five furlongs in 1:00.
Pletcher said Repole Stable’s Uncle Mo galloped in the rain on Monday morning under exercise rider Hector Ramos in preparation for a scheduled five-furlong work on Tuesday. Jockey John Velazquez is scheduled to be in the saddle aboard the reigning American 2-year-old champion, who will work for the first time since his third-place finish behind fellow Kentucky Derby 137 contender Toby’s Corner in the $1 million Wood Memorial (GI).
The setback in the Wood was the first loss in five races for the colt that prior to that defeat had been a heavy favorite to win the Run for the Roses. He was found to have been suffering what Pletcher described Sunday as an inflammation of his gastrointestinal tract and Uncle Mo has been undergoing treatment since, but has been able to keep up with scheduled gallops.
Uncle Mo is scheduled work in company with his Repole-owned stablemate Calibrachoa, the 4-year-old winner of the Tom Fool (GIII) at Aqueduct on March 5.
Pletcher said Uncle Mo would work at 8:30 a.m. during the 15-minute training period for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders that follows the break for track maintenance.
TWICE THE APPEAL/SWAY AWAY – Edward Brown Jr., Victor Flores and Henry Hernandez’s Sunland Derby (GIII) winner Twice the Appeal jogged early under exercise rider Nate Quinonez.
Trained by Jeff Bonde, who is scheduled to return to Louisville on Friday, Twice the Appeal will be ridden in the Kentucky Derby by Christian Santiago Reyes.
Bonde’s other Kentucky Derby hopeful, Batman Stable, Philip Lebherz, Cindy Olsen, Janet Sharp and Glen Wallace et al’s Sway Away, galloped a mile and a half after the renovation break under Quinonez, who served as the exercise rider here two years for Papa Clem, who ran fourth behind Mine That Bird.
Miguel Carranza, assistant to Bonde, said that Sway Away would be pointed to the Preakness (G1), if he does not make the Kentucky Derby field. Sway Away has $111,500 in graded stakes earnings and would need several defections from horses under consideration for the Kentucky Derby to make the race that is reserved for the top 20 Triple Crown-nominated graded stakes earners that pass the entry box on May 4.
TWINSPIRED – Toyota Blue Grass (GI) runner-up Twinspired galloped on Monday at Trackside Louisville training center as trainer Mike Maker continued to hope that the son of Harlan’s Holiday would find some way to make it into the maximum field of 20 horses for the Kentucky Derby.
Derrick Smith was in the irons for Monday’s gallop over the sloppy six-furlong surface at Trackside.
“Everything’s great,” said Maker.
Twinspired, who is owned by a partnership that includes Alpha Stable, Skychai Racing and Sand Dollar Stable, is scheduled to work on Saturday or Sunday. Maker has not yet lined up a rider for the colt should he make the Kentucky Derby field.