Live Oak Plantation's Blue Grass (G1) winner BRILLIANT SPEED (Dynaformer) breezed five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 on Monday morning over the sloppy Churchill Downs surface. It was the third-fastest of seven works at the distance.
Under assistant trainer Dan Blacker, the colt turned in fractions of :12 3/5, :24 4/5, :36 2/5 and :48 2/5. His six-furlong gallop-out time was 1:15.
"I thought he went well. The work was good and he galloped out nicely," said trainer Tom Albertrani, who watched it from the backstretch clockers' stand. "I thought it was a nice work, what we were looking for."
Brilliant Speed shipped over from Keeneland on Friday and galloped on the surface on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Two days of rain forced Albertrani to breeze the homebred colt on the muddy surface.
"I just wanted to see how he handled the track," Albertrani said. "Today wasn't the best day with the rain that we've been having. Ideally, I would have preferred a fast track, but there is no guarantee what the track might be like on Saturday, either. Today was just kind of a maintenance move and I thought he worked well."
One can't beat Mother Nature, but trainer Eddie Kenneally did his best to keep pace with her by having his Kentucky Derby 137 hopeful SANTIVA (Giant's Causeway) on the track at 5:45 a.m. (EDT) Monday for his final major prerace workout. Working in company with stablemate Commonwealth Rush (Afleet Alex), Santiva drilled a half mile in :50 1/5 under his Derby jockey Shaun Bridgmohan.
"He came home in :24 flat from the quarter-pole to the wire, so I'm very happy with that," Kenneally said. "I tried to get out there early today when the track was as even as it could be. We worked over the best surface possible given the weather."
Official workout splits for Santiva were :13 3/5, :26 1/5 and :38 1/5, while he galloped out five furlongs in 1:02 4/5 and six furlongs in 1:17 1/5.
"They finished up together and came home well, just like Eddie wanted," Bridgmohan said. "We're less than a week out from the race, so it's more maintenance and you're not looking for anything special. I thought he went very well."
Santiva exits a ninth-place finish in the Blue Grass at Keeneland, a less than ideal prep for a horse who won last year's Kentucky Jockey Club S. (G2) here at Churchill Downs.
"He had just a terrible trip with no running room at Keeneland in the Blue Grass," Kenneally said. "He didn't get everything out of the race like we would have liked. But he was fit going into the race, so we'll be fine. He's plenty fit."
Trainer Kathleen O'Connell arrived at Barn 41 at 4 a.m. Monday hoping to get a final workout into WATCH ME GO (West Acre) before the forecast rains arrived at Churchill Downs.
"When I got here this morning it was nice and the birds were singing, and I said, 'Ah, we're going to make it.' It wasn't 15 minutes after that that it just poured," O'Connell said.
After walking the sealed racing surface, O'Connell decided to go ahead with a scheduled five-furlong workout that she had postponed on Sunday because of sloppy track conditions.
"It didn't seem too bad. It was sealed and was better than it was on Sunday. I figured the best time to go was early," she said.
The Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner was one of the first horses on the track and worked five furlongs from the half-mile pole in 1:02 under Freddie Lenclud, turning in splits of :13, :24 4/5, :37 and :49 1/5.
"I like a long warm-up. I wasn't looking for speed. Freddie was perfect. He had worked this horse before, so I had faith in him. My most important thing was the gallop-out," said O'Connell, whose colt galloped out three-quarters in 1:15 and seven-eighths in 1:29 1/5.
The workout was particularly impressive for a horse that doesn't handle wet tracks well.
"He was on the bridle. It seems like if you're supporting him, he's good. But in a race when you're riding him, his head gets kind of thrown away," O'Connell said. "I just don't think he's as comfortable on an 'off' surface. Like I say, it was sealed and it was good this morning."
O'Connell has named Rafael Bejarano to ride Watch Me Go on Saturday.