Other than trying to forecast the winner of Kentucky Derby 141, probably the most tricky thing in Louisville this time of year is trying to forecast the weather.
It is the latter item that has participants deeply involved in former what’s going to happen the next 48 hours here with many Derby and some Kentucky Oaks work on the radar.
Two days out, the forecast calls for rain to begin late Friday night with the heaviest rain beginning at 6 Saturday morning.
“We would most likely stay on for Saturday,” said George Weaver, trainer of Tencendur. “I am bringing Manny Franco in for the work and it would be kind of a pain to have to change. I like to stay on seven days. He worked last Saturday and the Derby is next Saturday.
"The thing is, if you plan to work at 8:30 and there is lightning, it could get dangerous. If it is not dangerous out there, we will go. I am not uncomfortable with this track when it is wet.”
Owned by Philip Birsh, Tencendur galloped 1 3/8 miles after the renovation break with exercise rider Blair Golen aboard on a clear and cool Thursday morning.
“He galloped well this morning and everything looks good,” said Weaver, who arrived in Louisville Wednesday after training hours.
OTHER KENTUCKY DERBY NOTES
AMERICAN PHAROAH – Zayat Stables’ American Pharoah stood in the starting gate and galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Jorge Alvarez during the 8:30-8:45 window reserved for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders. Trained by Bob Baffert, American Pharoah is scheduled to work Sunday. Two-time Kentucky Derby winner Victor Espinoza, who was aboard California Chrome in his Derby victory last year, will have the mount in Derby 141 on American Pharoah.
BOLD CONQUEST – The Ackerley Brothers Farm’s Bold Conquest visited the starting gate then galloped after the morning renovation break with exercise rider Abel Flores up for trainer Steve Asmussen.
CARPE DIEM / ITSAKNOCKOUT / MADEFROMLUCKY / MATERIALITY / STANFORD – Trainer Todd Pletcher had his Kentucky Derby hopefuls going through their morning paces on two fronts Thursday. First up for Pletcher was Cheyenne Stables and Mac Nichol’s Madefromlucky, who galloped a little more than a mile and quarter shortly after 6 o’clock with Ezequiel Perez up. At 8:30, Alto Racing’s Materiality (Carlos Cano aboard), Starlight Racing’s Itsaknockout (Perez) and Stonestreet Stables, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor’s Stanford (Isabelle Bourez) all went through a similar exercise. After that, Pletcher was off to Keeneland where he arrived shortly before 10 o’clock to watch WinStar Farm and Stonestreet Stables’ Carpe Diem gallop 1 ½ miles clockwise around the main track under Patti Krotenko. Looking on with Pletcher were Kenny Troutt, owner of WinStar Farm and Elliott Walden, WinStar’s President/CEO and Racing Manager. Pletcher’s Churchill contingent is scheduled to work Saturday and Carpe Diem Sunday at 6:30 at Keeneland, “but we are watching the weather,” Pletcher said. Riders have been confirmed for two of the Pletcher horses; John Velazquez on Carpe Diem and Javier Castellano on Materiality.
DANZIG MOON – John Oxley’s Danzig Moon galloped 1 ½ miles after the morning break with exercise rider William Cano up. Norman Casse, assistant to his father trainer Mark Casse, said Saturday’s planned work could be pushed back to Sunday depending on the weather. Julien Leparoux, who has ridden Danzig Moon in his past three starts, has the Derby mount.
FAR RIGHT – Trainer Ron Moquett was happy with the 1 ¾-mile gallop put in by Harry Rosenblum and Robert LaPenta’s Far Right shortly after 6 Thursday morning with Laura Moquett aboard. “Moving like a tremendous machine …” Moquett said with a broad grin. Far Right is scheduled to work about the same time Saturday, but Moquett could wait a day if weather proves problematic.
Mike Smith, who 10 years ago rode Giacomo to victory in the Derby, will ride Far Right next Saturday.
INTERNATIONAL STAR – Louisiana Derby (GII) winner International Star galloped 1 ¼ miles at the Trackside training center under exercise Joel Barrientos. Trainer Mike Maker plans to work International Star at Churchill Downs Saturday but “probably would push it back to Sunday” if conditions warrant. Miguel Mena has the Derby mount on International Star, who is owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey.
KEEN ICE – With Jerry Crawford of Donegal Racing looking on, Keen Ice galloped 1 ½ miles after the morning renovation break with Faustino Aguilar aboard. Trained by Dale Romans, Keen Ice is scheduled to work Saturday.
MR. Z – Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said that Zayat Stables’ Mr. Z came out of his five-furlong work of 1:01 on Wednesday in good order. Mr. Z walked the shedrow Thursday and will return to the track in the morning according to Lukas. Ramon Vazquez has the Derby mount.
MUBTAAHIJ – Sheikh Mohammad bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s Mubtaahij (IRE) cantered one lap then jogged a second lap of Arlington’s Polytrack surface. The son of Dubawi likely will do the same Friday before an anticipated breeze Saturday, similar to the three-eighths he did Tuesday. “All good, he’s going great,’ said Trevor Brown, assistant to trainer Michael de Kock. Christophe Soumillon has the Derby mount. Mubtaahij is scheduled to ship on Monday, leaving after morning work is finished at Arlington. De Kock arrives in Louisville on Sunday.
WAR STORY – Loooch Racing Stables, Glenn Ellis and Christopher Dunn’s War Story walked the shedrow a day after working five furlongs in 1:02. “He came out of the work fine and will go back to the track tomorrow to jog,” trainer Tom Amoss said.
KENTUCKY OAKS NOTES
ANGELA RENEE/ESKENFORMONEY – Trainer Todd Pletcher plans to work his two Kentucky Oaks hopefuls Friday morning with race riders aboard. “John (Velazquez) will be on Angela Renee and Javier (Castellano) on Eskenformoney,” Pletcher said of the fillies who galloped a little more than a mile and a quarter Thursday morning. “The time of the works will be determined. I am watching the weather.” Adele Bellinger was aboard both fillies Thursday morning, taking Eskenmoney out in Pletcher’s first set around 6 o’clock and Angela Renee during the 8:30-8:45 training period reserved for Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders.
BIRDATTHEWIRE – Forum Racing’s Birdatthewire galloped a mile and a half under Faustino Aguilar after the morning renovation break. Trained by Dale Romans, Birdatthewire is scheduled to work Saturday.
CONDO COMMANDO – Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables and The Elkstone Group’s Condo Commando galloped 1 ½ miles after the morning renovation break with trainer Rudy Rodriguez aboard. “So far, so good,” Rodriguez said. “We will probably do something tomorrow; five-eighths or thre-quarters.” Joel Rosario has the mount in the Oaks.
FOREVER UNBRIDLED – Charles Fipke’s Forever Unbridled, who needs one defection from fillies under consideration for the Kentucky Oaks to gain a spot in the starting gate, galloped a mile and a half under Emerson Chavez early Thursday morning. Trainer Dallas Stewart plans to work Forever Unbridled early Friday morning with Chavez up.
INCLUDE BETTY – Brereton Jones and Timothy Thornton’s Include Betty jogged before 6 o’clock Thursday morning under exercise rider Leo Garcia for trainer Tom Proctor.
LUMINANCE/MAYBELLENE – Kaleem Shah’s Luminance galloped 1 ½ miles under Jorge Alvarez before the renovation break and Jill Baffert’s Maybellene jogged under Alvarez before the break. Bob Baffert trains both fillies.
OCEANWAVE – Gary and Mary West’s Oceanwave galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Santos Rivera for trainer Wayne Catalano. Catalano said he would “do something with her” in terms of a work Friday morning. Rafael Bejarano has the Oaks mount.
PUCA – Donegal Racing’s Puca galloped 1 ½ miles after the renovation break under exercise rider Jo Lawson. Trainer Bill Mott plans to work the filly Saturday, but could push the work back to Sunday because of weather. Junior Alvarado has the Oaks mount.
SARAH SIS – Joe Ragsdale’s Sarah Sis arrived at Churchill Downs from Arlington in Chicago shortly before 5:30 Thursday morning. A little after 9, Sarah Sis galloped a mile under exercise rider Mauricio Garcia. Trainer Ingrid Mason said the filly would work five furlongs at 8:30 Friday morning. Gary Stevens has the Oaks mount.
SHOOK UP – Regis Racing’s Shook Up visited the starting gate and then galloped under Mike Callaham early Thursday morning 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 Saks, Taylor S.
$150,000 EDGEWOOD PRESENTED BY FORCHT BANK (GIII) (Entries taken April 28; race May 1) – Lady Zuzu, Pangburn, Quality Rocks. 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, Pants On Fire, Private Zone. Possible: The Big Beast.
$300,000 CHURCHILL DOWNS DISTAFF TURF MILE PRESENTED BY LONGINES (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 PRESENTED BY RAM TRUCKS (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 PRESENTED BY LG&E AND KU (GIII) (Entries taken April 29; race May 2) – Competitive Edge, Conquest Bigluck E, Hillbilly Royalty, Pain and Misery, Toasting Master, Where’s the Moon.