ANTHONY’S CROSS – With Tuesday’s defections of The Factor and J P’s Gusto from Kentucky Derby 137, trainer Eoin Harty booked a flight from California to Louisville on Tuesday, May 3 for A D K Racing’s Anthony’s Cross in hopes that his colt might find a way into the field for Kentucky Derby 137.
The son of Indian Charlie, fifth in the Santa Anita Derby (GI) and the winner of the Robert B. Lewis (GII) at Santa Anita, now ranks 21st on the list of graded stakes earnings that determines the ultimate field for the big race on the first Saturday in May. Anthony’s Cross has $183,000 in graded earnings and two victories in seven career starts.
“If my horse is doing good and we stay at 21, which we probably will, I will be there,” Harty said by telephone.
Anthony’s Cross has a win over the track at Churchill Downs. He scored his first victory in his fourth attempt in a 1 1/16-mile maiden race on Nov. 4.
“I’m hoping he doesn’t have distance limitations, he’s already won over the racetrack and he’s beaten some pretty good horses in the past,” Harty said. “I like him as well as anybody in the race. With the exception of Nick Zito’s horse (Dialed In), it’s a crapshoot, isn’t it?”
Harty does not have jockey lined up to ride Anthony’s Cross should he make the Derby 137 field.
ARCHARCHARCH – Arkansas Derby (GI) winner Archarcharch galloped a mile and a half under jockey Jon Court over a track labeled as “good” Tuesday morning during the training period immediately after the renovation break that is reserved for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks hopefuls.
Owned by Robert Yagos and trained by Jinks Fires, the date for Archarcharch’s final work for Derby 137 has not been set with weather and track condition as the key factor according to Fires.
DECISIVE MOMENT – Just for Fun Stable’s Decisive Moment galloped 1 ½ miles after the renovation break under trainer Juan Arias.
Runner-up in the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (GIII) in his most recent start, Decisive Moment is scheduled to work Thursday under Jesus Castanon. Kerwin Clark, who has been aboard Decisive Moment in his past four starts, is scheduled to make his Kentucky Derby riding debut on the colt on May 7.
DERBY KITTEN/TWINSPIRED – Tuesday’s pair of defections from Kentucky Derby 137 moved Alpha Stables, Skychai Racing and Sand Dollar Stable’s Twinspired into the 20th and final spot in the prospective field for America’s greatest race.
The runner-up in the Toyota Blue Grass (GI) has graded stakes earnings of $197,500 and, if all goes well, the gray son of Harlan’s Holiday will give trainer Mike Maker at least one starter in the Kentucky Derby for the second consecutive year.
“I can’t say I’m surprised,” said Maker. “But it’s obviously better that we get in now rather than waiting another week and having everyone on pins and needles.”
The defections of The Factor and J P’s Gusto also opened the door slightly to Kentucky Derby participation by Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Derby Kitten, winner of last week’s Coolmore Lexington (GIII) at Keeneland. Maker said the son of Kitten’s Joy would run if further defections move him into the Kentucky Derby field.
Derby Kitten has $120,000 in graded stakes earnings and now sits in the 22nd spot on the earnings list.
Twinspired galloped a mile and a half under Derrick Smith at the Trackside Training Center.
Maker said Twinspired would work Saturday at Trackside. He said the time of the work would be determined by the weather.
J P’S GUSTO – John O’Hara, racing manager for Gem Inc. (Dr. John Waken), said Tuesday morning that J P’s Gusto, who ran eighth in the Arkansas Derby (GI) in his most recent start, would pass on a start in Kentucky Derby 137.
O’Hara said J P’s Gusto would leave the Central Kentucky farm where he has been stabled for the past week today for New York where he would join the barn of trainer Mike Hushion.
MIDNIGHT INTERLUDE/THE FACTOR – Trainer Bob Baffert said Tuesday morning that he was “leaning against” running George Bolton and Fog City Stable’s The Factor the $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I). But Bolton made it official in late morning: The Factor will not run in Derby 137.
“It’s too much too quick,” Bolton said via telephone. “We don’t want to run a horse that isn’t right. He’s basically miler pedigree that is good enough to go further.
The right thing for The Factor is to wait and go either to Preakness, Met Mile, Woody Stephens or something like that.”
The Factor galloped on Tuesday during a break in the rain that has pelted Churchill Downs for days, but Baffert cancelled a planned workout for the colt on Wednesday. Baffert said his “gut feeling” was telling to pass on the 1 ¼-mile classic on May 7.
“We don’t want to rush him into it and pay for it down the road, because he’s such a good horse,” he said. “I have a feeling that if I did run him in the Derby, I’d have a chance of ruining him.”
Baffert also revealed that The Factor had undergone a minor throat surgery on the day after his April 19 arrival at Churchill Downs. The issue surfaced when the colt displaced his soft palate during the running of the $1 million Arkansas Derby (GI) on April 16 at Oaklawn Park. The Factor finished seventh that day, an effort led to the decision to perform a myectomy following his arrival at Churchill Downs.
“That’s why I did it (the surgery),” Baffert said. “(Veterinarian) Dr. (Mark) Cheney looked at him and said it would be good for him because he was displacing really easy.”
“We did the right thing today,” Bolton said. Bob and I talked and we said get out today, give our spot to someone else who can work a horse and get ready for it, and we’re doing the right thing to announce it now and not wait.”
The defection of The Factor leaves Arnold Zetcher’s Midnight Interlude as his lone starter in the Kentucky Derby. Jockey Martin Garcia was aboard the winner of the Santa Anita Derby (GI) worked six furlongs in company with older stablemate Mythical Power in 1:13.80. The track was good for the workout that came during the 15-minute Derby/Oaks training period after the break for track maintenance.
Midnight Interlude’s workmate is a veteran 5-year-old stakes winner who has earned $812,840 in his career, and Baffert said Mythical Power, who is scheduled to run in the $300,000 Churchill Downs Presented by Navistar (GII) on Derby Day, gave his Midnight Interlude the stiff challenge needed in the work. He said the son of War Chant hesitated a bit when Mythical Power accelerated at the start of the work, but the 3-year-old responded well, drew even halfway through the work and then battled his workmate to the finish line.
“It was actually a good work for him because he got something out of it,” Baffert said. “That’s what I wanted, because he’s a big, heavy horse.”
Midnight Interlude started a length back of Mythical Power and drew even with his veteran workmate at the wire. He was timed in fractional splits of :12.40, :24:60, :36.40; :48:60 and 1:00.60. He galloped out seven furlongs in 1:27.80.
MUCHO MACHO MAN – Trainer Kathy Ritvo sent Risen Star (GII) winner Mucho Macho Man back to the track Tuesday morning to jog a mile and gallop a mile under exercise rider Mike Herra.
Owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team One Racing Stable, Mucho Macho Man had worked seven furlongs in 1:29.20 on Sunday and walked the shedrow Monday.
Rajiv Maragh has the Derby riding assignment on Mucho Macho Man, scheduled to work again most likely on Sunday according to Ritvo.
PANTS ON FIRE – George and Lori Hall’s Louisiana Derby (GII) winner Pants On Fire galloped 1 5/8 miles under exercise rider Juan Pizarro for his first activity beneath the Twin Spires.
Trained by Kelly Breen, Pants On Fire arrived from South Florida on Sunday and walked the shedrow Monday. Breen said he is looking to work Pants On Fire on Saturday or Sunday, “depending on the weather.”
Rosie Napravnik, leading rider at the recently concluded Fair Grounds meet, has the Derby riding assignment.
SANTIVA – Tom Walters’ Santiva breezed a half-mile in company in :49.20 over a track labeled as “good” with Brendan Walsh up after the morning renovation break.
Working in company with Shotgun Shine, Santiva produced fractions of :12.80, :24.60, :36.40 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:03.20. The move was the 18th fastest of 42 at the distance.
“He had a nice breeze after the break and the clockers said the track was a little slower after the break than first thing this morning,” trainer Eddie Kenneally said. “We may do something similar to this next week.”Shaun Bridgmohan, who rode the colt to victory in last fall’s Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) here, has the Derby mount.
SHACKLEFORD – Michael Lauffer and W.D. Cubbedge’s Shackleford galloped a mile and a half 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 – After days of answering questions about the health of Mike Repole’s onetime Kentucky Derby favorite Uncle Mo, trainer Todd Pletcher was optimistic on Tuesday following a five-furlong work at Churchill Downs that was the colt’s first serious training move since his stunning defeat in the $1 million Wood Memorial (GI) on April 9.
Uncle Mo stepped on the sloppy Churchill Downs surface when the gates to the track opened for training at 5:45 a.m. (all times Eastern) and worked five furlongs over a sloppy track in 1:01.80. The reigning 2-year-old champion worked in company with Repole’s older stablemate Calibrachoa and worked in fractional splits of :113.20, :25.40 and :37.40. Uncle Mo, who worked under jockey John Velazquez on the outside of Calibrachoa, finished just ahead of his workmate and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.60.
“Uncle Mo worked very well,” Plether said. “He looked like he handled the surface very well. The time was sort of in the range of what we were looking for. He came back very well.
“I think this morning’s work was an indication he was in good form. I was particularly pleased with the way he finished his work. He didn’t need to be asked at all. When he was pulling up on the backside a couple of gallopers went by him and he grabbed the bridle again. He seemed really, really good this morning.”
Pletcher said Uncle Mo continues to respond to treatment for a gastrointestinal inflammation discovered after the Wood. He said there were signs in the “last 96 hours” that Uncle Mo was “back to his old self” as the Kentucky Derby draws near.
“Right after the Wood Memorial his appetite was depressed and he wasn’t eating the way he normally does,” Pletcher said. “I think the treatment that we have him on he’s responding favorably to. His appetite has returned to where it was and this morning’s workout indicates to me that he’s back on track.”
Repole’s Stay Thirsty, winner of the Gotham (GIII), galloped over a track that was rated good during the 15-minute training period after the maintenance break that is devoted to Derby and Oaks contenders. It was his first trip to the track since a strong five-furlong work on Sunday.
Pletcher said Stay Thirsty’s final pre-Derby work would likely come on Sunday and Uncle Mo’s final major training move would probably be set for Sunday or Monday.
“I think every day is critical for every horse that’s here,” Pletcher said. “As we all know from the Eskendereyas and I Want Revenges how things can go from day to day to day. We’re pleased with every day that he’s (Uncle Mo) has had here and pleased with every day Stay Thirsty’s had here. But while it’s getting close, there’s still a long way to go.”
Later in the day Repole announced that Ramon Dominguez would ride Stay Thirsty. Dominguez has been aboard for the last two starts by the son of Bernardini.
TWICE THE APPEAL/SWAY AWAY – Edward Brown Jr., Victor Flores and Henry Hernandez’s Sunland Derby (GIII) winner Twice the Appeal galloped 1 ½ miles after the renovation break under exercise rider Nate Quinonez.
Covering the same distance under Quinonez was trainer Jeff Bonde’s other Kentucky Derby hopeful, Batman Stable, Philip Lebherz, Cindy Olsen, Janet Sharp and Glen Wallace et al’s Sway Away.
WATCH ME GO – Gilbert Campbell’s Watch Me Go arrived at Churchill Downs shortly after noon Tuesday. Trained by Kathleen O’Connell, Watch Me Go will be stabled in Barn 41, Stall 11.