Two Kentucky Derby hopefuls, War Story and Mr. Z turned in five-furlong breezes over a fast track Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs.
Working first on his own as the track opened at 5:45 was Loooch Racing Stables, Glenn Ellis and Christopher Dunn’s War Story.
With Dylan Davis aboard for trainer Tom Amoss, War Story produced fractions of :12.80, :24.60, :36.40, :49 and out six furlongs in 1:15.60. The five-eighths move was the seventh fastest of 20 at the distance for the morning.
“That was a typical work for him,” Amoss said. “He definitely knows the difference between practice and a race. To say that he is a lazy work horse is accurate.”
It was the third local work for War Story since finishing third in the Louisiana Derby (GII). He was ridden that day by Joe Talamo, who has the Derby call.
“This work was similar to his others except that his extension of stride was nicer this morning,” Amoss said. “This will probably be his last work. This is the plan we used before the Risen Star (working 10 days before the race) and that worked well.”
A winner of his first two starts and graded stakes-placed in his next three, War Story won his only start at Churchill Downs with that coming last fall.
“He has improved daily and I see an enthusiastic horse,” Amoss said. “War Story deserves to be in the Derby. Off his past performances, it would be accurate to say that he is a contender would be a reach. He has got to improve dramatically to win this race.”
After the morning renovation break, Zayat Stables’ Mr. Z worked five furlongs in 1:01 in company with Majestico. Starting a length in back of his workmate and finishing on even terms, Mr. Z produced fractions of :12.80, :25, :37, :48.60 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.60.
Exercise rider Edvin Vargas was aboard Mr. Z for the work that was the fourth fastest of the morning.
“I thought it was fine,” trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. “You don’t get paid at 8:30 in the morning.”
Ramon Vazquez, who rode Mr. Z to a third-place finish in the Arkansas Derby (GI), will have the Kentucky Derby mount.
Mr. Z broke his maiden at first asking here and has added seven graded-stakes placing in a career that spans 12 races.
“He is probably the most seasoned horse in the race and didn’t need to do too much,” Lukas said. “Plus, he has an affinity for this race track.”
OTHER KENTUCKY DERBY NOTES
AMERICAN PHAROAH – Zayat Stables’ American Pharoah galloped 1 ½ miles after the renovation break with exercise rider Jorge Alvarez aboard for trainer Bob Baffert. American Pharoah is scheduled to work Sunday.
BOLD CONQUEST – The Ackerley Brothers Farm’s Bold Conquest galloped after the renovation break with exercise rider Abel Flores up for trainer Steve Asmussen.
DANZIG MOON – John Oxley’s Danzig Moon stood in the starting gate and then galloped 1 ½ miles after the break under exercise rider William Cano for trainer Mark Casse. Danzig Moon is scheduled to work Saturday.
FAR RIGHT – Harry Rosenblum and Robert LaPenta’s Far Right jogged two miles shortly after 6 o’clock under exercise rider Laura Moquett for trainer Ron Moquett. It was the first day back on the track for Far Right, who had walked the previous two days. “He is definitely fit and we don’t need to do much with him,” Ron Moquett said. “He will work Saturday or Sunday depending on the weather.”
INTERNATIONAL STAR – Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s multiple graded stakes winner International Star galloped 1 ¼ miles at the nearby Trackside training center under Joel Barrientos for trainer Mike Maker. International Star is scheduled to work at Churchill Downs.
ITSAKNOCKOUT/MADEFROMLUCKY/MATERIALITY/STANFORD – Trainer Todd Pletcher’s quartet of Tuesday Churchill Downs arrivals galloped 1 ¼ miles Wednesday morning. Starlight Racing’s Itsaknockout went out in Pletcher’s first set of the day shortly after the track opened with exercise rider Carlos Cano aboard. Going out after the break at 8:30 in the time reserved for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders were Alto Racing’s Materiality, with Cano aboard; Stonestreet Stables, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Stanford, with Isabelle Bourez aboard; and Cheyenne Stables’ Madefromlucky, with Ezequiel Perez aboard. Pletcher’s fifth Kentucky Derby hopeful, WinStar Farm and Stonestreet Stables’ Carpe Diem continues to do his training at Keeneland, where he galloped 1 ½ miles early this morning under exercise rider Patti Krotenko. Pletcher’s four Churchill Downs-based colts are scheduled to work Saturday and Carpe Diem Sunday at 6:30 at Keeneland.
KEEN ICE – Donegal Racing’s Keen Ice galloped a mile after the morning renovation break with exercise rider Faustino Aguilar aboard for trainer Dale Romans.
MUBTAAHIJ – UAE Derby (GII) winner Mubtaahij cantered a lap Wednesday morning at Arlington. Assistant trainer Trevor Brown said the horse emerged from Tuesday's three-eighths work in good order.
TENCENDUR – Philip Birsh’s Tencendur galloped 1 ¼ miles after the break with exercise rider Blair Golen aboard for trainer George Weaver. Weaver is scheduled to arrive in Louisville this afternoon and be at the barn in the morning. Tencendur is scheduled to work Saturday, weather permitting.
KENTUCKY OAKS NOTES
ANGELA RENEE/ESKENFORMONEY – Trainer Todd Pletcher’s two Kentucky Oaks hopefuls galloped 1 ¼ miles Wednesday morning for their first full day of activity at Churchill Downs. Siena Farm’s Angela Renee, who arrived at Churchill Downs from Keeneland at 10:30 Tuesday morning, galloped 1 ¼ miles under Adele Bellinger in Pletcher’s first set that went to the track shortly after it opened for training. After the renovation break, Bellinger partnered StarLadies Racing’s Eskenformoney through a similar exercise. Eskenformoney arrived at Churchill Downs at 4 p.m. Tuesday from Palm Beach Downs in South Florida. The fillies are scheduled to work Friday.
BIRDATTHEWIRE – Forum Racing’s Birdatthewire galloped a mile after the morning break under exercise rider Miguel Garcia for trainer Dale Romans.
CONDO COMMANDO – Trainer Rudy Rodriguez was aboard Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables and The Elkstone Group’s Condo Commando for a 1 1/8-mile gallop after the morning break.
FOREVER UNBRIDLED – Charles Fipke’s Forever Unbridled galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Emerson Chavez before the renovation break for trainer Dallas Stewart. Forever Unbridled is scheduled to work Friday. She needs a defection to gain entry into the field.
INCLUDE BETTY – Brereton Jones and Timothy Thornton’s Include Betty galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Leo Garcia before the break for trainer Tom Proctor.
LUMINANCE/MAYBELLENE – Kaleem Shah’s Luminance galloped 1 ½ miles after the break under exercise rider Jorge Alvarez for trainer Bob Baffert. Jill Baffert’s Maybellene walked the shedrow a day after working a half-mile in :48.40.
OCEANWAVE – Gary and Mary West’s Oceanwave galloped 1 ½ miles after the break under exercise rider Santos Rivera for trainer Wayne Catalano.
PUCA – Donegal Racing’s Puca galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Jo Lawson after the break for trainer Bill Mott. Puca is scheduled to work Saturday.
SHOOK UP – Regis Racing’s Shook Up galloped before the morning break under exercise rider Mike Callaham for trainer Steve Asmussen.
UPCOMING UNDERCARD STAKES PROBABLES
The following is an early rundown of known possible starters in Derby Week stakes races, according to assistant racing secretary and stakes coordinator Dan Bork:
$400,000 ALYSHEBA (GII) (Entries taken April 28; race May 1) – Call Me George, Honor Code, Noble Bird, Ride On Curlin. Possible: Den’s Legacy.
$300,000 LA TROIENNE (GI) (Entries taken April 28; race May 1) – America, Frivolous, Molly Morgan, My Miss Sophia, Pearl Turn, Sheer Drama, Stopchargingmaria, Wedding Toast. Possible: Interest Free, Tiz Windy.
$200,000 EIGHT BELLES (GIII) (Entries taken April 28; race May 1) – Ekati’s Phaeton, Fancy and Flashy, Lavender Chrissie, Mizz Money, Promise Me Silver, Streetheart, Super SaksTaylor S, Wonder Gal.
$150,000 EDGEWOOD PRESENTED BY FORCHT BANK (GIII) (Entries taken April 28; race May 1) – Pangburn, Peace and War, Quality Rocks, Qunita Verde (IRE). Possible: B Rockett, Sweet Opportunity, Whimsicality.
$150,000 TWIN SPIRES TURF SPRINT (GIII) (Entries taken April 28; race May 1) – Berlino Di Tiger (BRZ), Buster Rose, Channel Marker, Good Deed, Heitai, Positive Side, Power Alert (AUS), Something Extra, Undrafted.
$500,000 WOODFORD RESERVE TURF CLASSIC (GI) (Entries taken April 29; race May 2) – Chocolate Ride, Finnegans Wake, Seek Again, Umgiyo (AUS).
$500,000 CHURCHILL DOWNS (GII) (Entries taken April 29; race May 2) – Bayern, C. Zee, Coup de Grace, Pants On Fire, Private Zone. Possible: The Big Beast.
$300,000 CHURCHILL DOWNS DISTAFF TURF MILE (GII) (Entries taken April 29; race May 2) – Coffee Clique, I’m Already Sexy, Lady Lara (IRE), Maid On a Mission, Personal Diary, Sandiva (IRE), Solid Appeal, Strike Charmer, Tepin.
$300,000 HUMANA DISTAFF (GI) (Entries taken April 29; race May 2) – Classic Point, Dame Dorothy, Judy the Beauty, Princess Violet, Sweet Reason, Sweet Whiskey, You Bought Her. Possible: Clearly Confused.
$250,000 AMERICAN TURF (GII) (Entries taken April 29; race May 2) – A Lot, Conquest Typhoon, Firespike, Force the Pass, Indianaughty, Metaboss, Tuba, Wireless Future, World Approval. Possible: Royal Son.
$200,000 PAT DAY MILE (GIII) (Entries taken April 29; race May 2) – Competitive Edge, Conquest Bigluck E, Hillbilly Royalty, Pain and Misery, Toasting Master, Where’s the Moon.
$100,000 WILLIAM WALKER (Entries taken Wednesday; race Saturday) – Blofeld, Cinco Charlie, Senor Grits, Weast Hill. Possible: Made Bail, Sylven Park, Yockey’s Warrior.