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Old 05-01-2022, 12:30 PM
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Derby-bound White Abarrio has impressive work between Gulfstream races

Mike Welsch | Apr 30, 2022

After having his final Kentucky Derby work postponed this morning due to wet track conditions, White Abarrio finally got to strut his stuff shortly after 6 p.m. and between the final two races on Saturday’s Gulfstream Park program, working four furlongs in 48.11 followed by a very strong and impressive gallop out.

White Abarrio went easily to the wire, was urged on to complete five-eighths into the turn in 1:00.12 then continued full of run, completing six panels in 1:11.94 and seven furlongs in 1:24.81 before pulling up after a mile in 1:41.64.

“It was a super work,“ trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “I don’t know if he went out that good because it’s a faster track since it’s a race day, but he went phenomenal. We’re thankful for Gulfstream for having the track in such good shape and for allowing us to work. We’re happy where we’re at. Fingers crossed now.”

White Abarrio will van to Churchill Downs on Sunday.
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Old 05-01-2022, 03:35 PM
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EPICENTER FINALIZES MAJOR KENTUCKY DERBY PREPARATION WITH FIVE-FURLONG WORK



LOUISVILLE, KY (Sunday, May 1, 2022) – Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Epicenter completed his final major piece of work for Saturday’s 148th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) by working five furlongs in company in 1:01 over a track labeled as muddy Sunday morning at Churchill Downs.

Coming onto the track at 7:30 (all times Eastern) under overcast skies and working with the 4-year-old Alejandro, Epicenter produced fractions of :12.60, :24.40, :36.20, :48.40 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.80.

Scheduled to work Monday morning at Churchill Downs will be Summer Is Tomorrow who is slated for a half-mile breeze at 7:30.



BARBER ROAD – WSS Racing’s Barber Road had a scheduled walk day at trainer John Ortiz’s Barn 46 following his half-mile move in :48.80 Saturday.

The Arkansas Derby (GI) runner-up is scheduled to return to the track Monday.



CLASSIC CAUSEWAY – Kentucky West Racing and Clarke Cooper’s Classic Causeway walked trainer Brian Lynch’s Barn 40 Sunday.

Classic Causeway completed his major Derby preparation Saturday with a six-furlong move in 1:13.20.



CHARGE IT, MO DONEGAL, PIONEER OF MEDINA – While stablemates Charge It and Pioneer of Medina simply had walk days at Barn 35 following their final Kentucky Derby works Saturday, Mo Donegal – who also had put in his final prep the day before – was sent to the track Sunday morning for a bit of leg stretching under trainer Todd Pletcher’s right-hand lady Amelia Green.

The Uncle Mo colt with a distinctive star on his forehead went trackside with two of the barn’s Kentucky Oaks fillies -- Shahama and Nest – during the special 7:30-7:45 Derby/Oaks training period at Churchill Downs.

All three of the Pletcher runners galloped separately, with “Mo” well out in the middle of the track and going about his business in fine fashion as he covered roughly a mile and one quarter.

“He’s very happy,” Green said as she took her mount off the track and back to the barn.

The trio of the Pletcher Derby colts were likely to be gallopers Monday morning. “We might have them go stand at the gate tomorrow or Tuesday depending on the track condition,” the trainer said.

CROWN PRIDE (JPN) – Teruya Yoshida’s Crown Pride (JPN) jogged in the mile chute for 10 minutes and then galloped a mile and a quarter under exercise rider Masa Matsuda.

Crown Pride is scheduled to have his final pre-Derby work on Wednesday.

Trainer Koichi Shintani is scheduled to arrive in Louisville late tonight and will be at the Post Position Draw Monday afternoon.



CYBERKNIFE, TAWNY PORT, ZOZOS – Trainer Brad Cox’s Derby trio of Cyberknife, Tawny Port and Zozos all walked the shedrow at Barn 22.

The trio is scheduled to return to the track Monday.



EARLY VOTING – Owner Seth Klarman notified Churchill Downs officials that Early Voting will not enter this year’s Kentucky Derby.



EPICENTER – Making his final work before carrying Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen’s hopes of his first Kentucky Derby on his back, Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Epicenter hit the track at 7:40 a.m., delayed from his usual 5:45 training slot by the morning rain. Over a muddy track, exercise rider Roberto Howell piloted him through five furlongs in 1:01 with splits of 12.60, 24.40, 36.20, 48.40 and galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.80.

Asked if Epicenter worked so easily today so as not to overdo it, Asmussen said, “Honestly I have so much confidence in Epicenter right now I don’t think you could overdo it [with a horse like him]. He has taken a lot of training extremely easy. Including, I thought he took the Louisiana Derby extremely easy, how he came back from the test barn and walked into the barn, and that's why his training and his works ever since have been faster, or stronger, than is the norm for me.”

Epicenter worked inside stablemate Alejandro, a 4-year old maiden winner by Curlin, different company than his recent partner, Gun It.

“It felt perfect, knowing [Alejandro] and how he goes about what he is doing,” Asmussen said. “His previous workmate, Gun It, is a very strong, very physical horse … somewhat hard to manage, and that brings out a little extra in [Epicenter], especially getting to the pole, getting off, getting away from the pole and what you are getting out of it. And as you saw today, they were away from it a lot smoother, just a lot easier to the pole. Still strong, still very smooth. I think [Epicenter] is in a beautiful rhythm, and we are trying to create the circumstances and prepare for what we are expecting to happen in the races this week.”

When asked if he was nervous, Asmussen joked, “I’m not running. I’m good. I am unbelievably excited to be doing this well with this much on the line. I had a pretty anxious drive last night with rain and thunderstorms for most of it, and if it's meant to be then it's meant to be, but everything seems to be working out perfectly. This year’s Oaks and Derby are extremely exciting with how strong the races look and how well all the horses are doing going into it. It is going to be an extremely exciting five or six days.”



HAPPY JACK – The Oxbow colt, who finished third in the Sana Anita Derby (GI) in his most recent start, was scheduled to ship over from Keeneland Sunday afternoon and arrive at Churchill Downs at 3 p.m. His trainer, California-based Doug O’Neill, said he’d join up with his charge Monday morning at Barn 41.

The Calumet Farm homebred put in his final Kentucky Derby prep Saturday morning at Keeneland when he worked a mile in 1:39.60 over a fast track with his rider, Rafael Bejarano, aboard.

O’Neill was following a pattern he used with his 2016 Derby winner Nyquist, that is shipping his California horse to Keeneland a week in advance of the race to train and settle in. Another reason was to enable the now Kentucky-based Bejarano to work the horse.

“He’s just a positive, super successful jock,” O’Neill said about the rider he gave a leg up with great success for many years in Southern California. “It has amazed me he hasn’t already won a Kentucky Derby. I would love to be part of that much-deserved victory for him.

“Rafy got to know (Happy Jack) a little bit. ‘Jack’ has a lot of ability and maybe the light bulb hasn’t gone completely on, so I’m hoping it does next Saturday.”



MESSIER, TAIBA – The 1-2 finishers in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby – Zedan Racing Stables’ Taiba and SF Racing, Starlight Racing, et al’s Messier – were in the air and en route to Louisville by way of Indianapolis Sunday morning where their conditioner, Tim Yakteen, was ready to meet them for their arrival at Barn 37 on the Churchill Downs backside.

After their van ride down from Indy, the duo – along with stablemate Doppelganger (coming for the Pat Day Mile Saturday) – were expected to reach their destination at approximately 3 p.m. Sunday. Yakteen, who had taken the red eye out of Los Angeles Saturday night, planned to be at the barn when his trio of 3-year-old colts came on board.

Yakteen has two Hall of Fame riders scheduled to take the reins on his two Derby colts on Saturday: Mike Smith on Taiba and John Velazquez on Messier.



RICH STRIKE – Trainer Eric Reed said that RED TR-Racing’s Rich Strike would be entered Monday in the Kentucky Derby.

“We are entering and hoping and praying,” Reed said of Rich Strike, who is No. 22 on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard and likely will be on the also-eligible list for the Run for the Roses.

Third in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (GIII) at Turfway Park in his most recent start, Rich Strike had a scheduled walk day Sunday.

Sonny Leon has the Derby mount.



SIMPLIFICATION – Tami Bobo’s Simplification arrived at Churchill Downs shortly before 1 o’clock Saturday afternoon and will make his first appearance on the track Monday morning at 7:30.

Trainer Antonio Sano is scheduled to arrive in Louisville this afternoon.



SMILE HAPPY, TIZ THE BOMB – After Magdalena Racing’s Tiz the Bomb and Lucky Seven Stable’s Smile Happy worked a half-mile Saturday, the colts under trainer Kenny McPeek’s care had an easy Sunday morning. Both spent some time walking and didn’t go out on the track softened by overnight rain.

“Everyone came out of their workouts in good shape,” said Greg Geier, assistant to McPeek.

The colts breezed together on Saturday, clocked in 48 seconds for the half-mile, with Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard Tiz the Bomb and Corey Lanerie on Smile Happy.



SUMMER IS TOMORROW – Michael Hilary Burke and Negar Burke’s Summer Is Tomorrow galloped a mile and a half under Heinz Runge during the 7:30-7:45 training window for Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses.

“I am happy with the horse,” Runge said. “His is doing well and all is going as planned.”

Summer Is Tomrrow is scheduled to breeze a half-mile Monday morning with Caroline Seemar, wife of trainer Bhupat Seemar, to handle the work.

“I am glad we did not work today,” Bhupat Seemar said after overnight rains left the track muddy when Summer Is Tomorrow trained this morning. “God is looking out for us.”



UN OJO – Cypress Creek Equine and Whispering Oaks Farm’s Un Ojo walked the shedrow at Barn 4 a day after working a half-mile in :47.60.



WHITE ABARRIO – Weather delayed the final workout plans that trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. had for Florida Derby (GI) winner White Abarrio at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. Later in the day, the track dried out under sunny skies, and Gulfstream Park permitted Joseph to work the colt between the 10th and 11th races, rather than waiting until early Sunday.

“I’m glad we were able to get it in yesterday afternoon, because it rained again this morning,” Joseph said by phone.

Shortly after 6 p.m. Saturday, C2 Racing Stable and La Milagrosa Stable’s White Abarrio, with exercise rider Vincente Gudiel aboard, was timed in 48.11 seconds, off fractions of :12.66 and :24.24. He galloped out under urging to 1:00.12, with a mile posted at 1:41.64.

“He came out of the work in fine shape,” Joseph said of White Abarrio’s third workout since winning the Florida Derby on April 2. “I’m so grateful that Gulfstream Park was able to help us out.”

The van carrying White Abarrio to Louisville was leaving South Florida late Sunday morning.



ZANDON – Jeff Drown’s Blue Grass Stakes (GI) winner Zandon returned to the track Sunday for the first time since his eye-catching five-furlong move in 1:00.80 Friday.

Zandon had a light one-mile jog and is scheduled to gallop Monday.



SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY DERBY – Here’s the current Top 20 horses in this year’s Kentucky Derby (with jockey and trainer): Epicenter (Joel Rosario, Steve Asmussen); Zandon (Flavien Prat, Chad Brown); White Abarrio (Tyler Gaffalione, Saffie Joseph Jr.); Mo Donegal (Irad Ortiz Jr., Todd Pletcher); Tiz the Bomb (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek); Cyberknife (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox); Crown Pride (JPN) (Christophe Lemiere, Koichi Shintani); Taiba (Mike Smith, Tim Yakteen); Simplification (Jose Ortiz, Antonio Sano); Smile Happy (Corey Lanerie, Kenny McPeek); Classic Causeway (Julien Leparoux, Brian Lynch); Tawny Port (Ricardo Santana Jr., Brad Cox); Barber Road (Rey Gutierrez, John Ortiz); Un Ojo (Ramon Vazquez, Ricky Courville); Messier (John Velazquez, Tim Yakteen); Zozos (Manny Franco, Brad Cox); Summer Is Tomorrow (Mickael Barzalona, Bhupat Seemar); Charge It (Luis Saez, Todd Pletcher); Happy Jack (Rafael Bejarano, Doug O’Neill); Pioneer of Medina (TBA, Todd Pletcher).



LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS UPDATE – L and N Racing and Winchell Thoroughbreds’ undefeated Echo Zulu completed her major preparation for Friday’s $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) by working a half-mile in :50.80 on her own over a track labeled as good.

Echo Zulu came on the track after the second morning harrow break at 9 o’clock and under sunny skies. She produced fractions of :13.20, :25.60 and :50.80.



BEGUINE – Charles Matses’ Beguine, No. 15 on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard, jogged a mile under Helen Pitts on Sunday morning.

Trainer Danny Peitz plans to enter the Fantasy (GIII) runner-up in the Kentucky Oaks (GI) on Monday. No rider has been confirmed for Beguine.

The top 14 point earners for the Oaks has remained unchanged for three weeks and if all enter on Monday, Beguine would be an also-eligible.

“I can’t believe no one has dropped by the wayside,” said Peitz, who has five horses at the nearby Trackside Louisville located adjacent to Derby City Gaming, plus a string at Oaklawn Park. “The 14 hole would be the only bad thing because if you draw in you have to be in the 14. But it is a long run to the first turn.”



CANDY RAID – As is his custom, trainer Ketih Desormeaux was not in the barn on Sunday, but his barn manger reported that Don’t Tell My Wife Stables and Desormeux’s Candy Raid came out of her work well, ate heartily and walked the shedrow.



COCKTAIL MOMENTS – After Dixiana Farms’ Cocktail Moments worked Saturday, the filly walked the shedrow on Sunday. Greg Geier, assistant to trainer Kenny McPeek, said she came out of the five-furlong breeze completed in 1:00.80 in fine shape.



DESERT DAWN – Sunday morning the Santa Anita Oaks (GII) winner Desert Dawn was on an airplane along with seven other Southern California runners who have dates in various stakes this upcoming weekend at Churchill Downs. Desert Dawn’s assignment will be to try and win the 148th edition of the Grade I Kentucky Oaks on Friday afternoon.

The plane load of high-line equine flesh landed in Indianapolis around 12:30 p.m. Sunday, then was scheduled to be vanned for approximately 2 1/2 hours to their Churchill Downs destination. Desert Dawn and stablemate Ain’t Easy were slated to be dropped off at Barn 43.

Phil D’Amato, who runs one of the largest and most successful stables in the West, will fly out of Los Angeles Monday and arrive in Louisville late that afternoon. He’ll reunite with his stakes-winning fillies Tuesday morning at the track.



ECHO ZULU – Delayed from hitting the track at her regular 5:15 time by the morning rain, L and N Racing and Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Echo Zulu made her much anticipated approach to the main track at 9 a.m. She made her solo :50.80 half-mile move on a track rated good under exercise rider Wilson Fabian.

“We just moved it back and we felt good about it,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “We had a little shot of rain, a little sprinkle here or there. Kept us on our toes. I was pleased with how our horses’ first set trained over the race track — they were springing off of it nicely. I was obviously very pleased with the exercise they put in this morning and how they are acting back in the barn.”

“Obviously, I’m very pleased with how the training has went for both Echo Zulu and Epicenter,” Asmussen said. “Obviously, very different works for the two of them. I felt that’s who they are and where they are at right now, especially coming off of last Sunday’s works and what I felt they got out of them.”

When asked if he is seeing improvements and changes in Echo Zulu’s fitness level since the nose victory in her first race as a 3-year-old, Asmussen said, “Absolutely. I thought she won the Fair Grounds Oaks with natural ability and class. She has put in solid training for the Oaks, and then put in a huge move last Sunday. Galloped from there. [Today’s work] went typical for her, an easy half mile. I want her razor sharp and fleet as she can be for next Friday.”



GODDESS OF FIRE, NEST, SHAHAMA – The Todd Pletcher Oaks threesome were gallopers Sunday morning at Churchill Downs after they had completed their final major exercise for the upcoming Kentucky Oaks with “in company” drills Friday on a fast track.

A romping winner of the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland in her most recent effort, Nest – likely the morning line favorite for Friday’s $1.25 million Run for the Lilies – went with stablemate Shahama (the UAE Oaks {GII}winner) during the 7:30-7:45 special Oaks/Derby training period at Churchill Downs.

The fillies were handled by Nora McCormack (Nest) and Humberto Zamora (Shahama) and presented an interesting contrast as they went through their leg stretching. Shahama, a bay, has an almost completely white face; Nest, another bay, conversely doesn’t have a mark on her head.

Nest went about a mile and three-eighths according to McCormack, while Shahama covered a bit more than a mile and a quarter according to her conditioner, who watched the moves through binoculars at the track’s five-furlong gap.

At 8 a.m., Zamora returned to the track with Goddess of Fire with Pletcher again an interested observer in the five-furlong gap, which many on the backstretch have now named after him. The daughter of Mineshaft who has finished second in three stakes coming into Friday’s race went for a spin of just more than a mile and a quarter positioned near the center of the track. She seemed to enjoy her work as she bowed her neck along the way and pleased her rider. “Bueno,” was the way Zamora summed it up.



HIDDEN CONNECTION – Hidden Brook Farm and Black Type Thoroughbreds’ Hidden Connection had an easy day of training with a light jog.

The runner-up in the TwinSpires.com Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) continues to get seasoning with the Churchill Downs paddock and has schooled twice.

“I just want to make sure she’s comfortable with her surroundings,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “She’s handled everything very well when we’ve brought her over.”



KATHLEEN O. – Winngate Stables’ Kathleen O. took it easy the day after putting in her final work before the Oaks by walking the shedrow. The Shug McGaughey trainee had worked a half-mile in :47.80.



NOSTALGIC – Godolphin’s Nostalgic walked Barn 19’s shedrow after her :48.80 half-mile move Saturday.

Nostalgic would attempt to give her Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his first victory in the Longines Kentucky Oaks.



SECRET OATH – Briland Farm’s Secret Oath galloped about 1 ½ miles at 5:15 a.m. under exercise rider Danielle Rosier.

Secret Oath will attempt to give Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas his fifth victory in the Oaks and tie Woody Stephens for the most by a trainer in the race. Lukas’ most recent victory in the Oaks was 32 years ago with Seaside Attraction. He won the year prior with Open Mind and in 1984 and 1982 with Lucky Lucky Lucky and Blush With Pride.



TURNERLOOSE – Ike and Dawn Thrash’s Turnerloose had a 1 ½-mile gallop under exercise rider Edvin Vargas.

Trainer Brad Cox confirmed Manny Franco will ride in the Oaks.



VENTI VALENTINE – NY Final Furlong Racing Stable and Parkland Thoroughbreds’ Gazelle (GIII) runner-up Venti Valentine was on the track, but wasn’t asked by trainer Jorge Abreu for anything real strenuous.

“She jogged once around the track,” Abreu said. “She’s ready for the race.”

She had a final workout for the Longines Kentucky Oaks last Friday with Tyler Gaffalione aboard, going five furlongs in 1:00.80.



YUUGIRI – Tsunebumi and Sekie Yoshihara’s Yuugiri left Keeneland at 11 Sunday morning for the van ride to Churchill Downs and her engagement in Friday’s $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI).

With trainer Rodolphe Brisset aboard, Yuugiri completed her major preparation for the Oaks with a half-mile breeze in :49.20 Saturday morning at Keeneland.



SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY OAKS – Here’s the Top 14 horses on the leaderboard for the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) (with jockey and trainer): Kathleen O. (Javier Castellano, Shug McGaughey); Echo Zulu (Joel Rosario, Steve Asmussen); Nest (Irad Ortiz Jr., Todd Pletcher); Yuugiri (Florent Geroux, Rodolphe Brisset); Desert Dawn (Umberto Rispoli, Phil D’Amato); Nostalgic (Jose Ortiz, Bill Mott); Venti Valentine (Tyler Gaffalione, Jorge Abreu); Secret Oath (Luis Saez, Wayne Lukas); Goddess of Fire (John Velazquez, Todd Pletcher); Turnerloose (Manny Franco, Brad Cox); Hidden Connection (Rey Gutierrez, Bret Calhoun); Cocktail Moments (Corey Lanerie, Kenny McPeek); Candy Raid (Rafael Bejarano, Keith Desormeaux); Shahama (Flavien Prat, Todd Pletcher).
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All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind. ~ Joseph Conrad
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right. ~ Thomas Paine
Don't let anyone tell you that your dreams can't come true. They are only afraid that theirs won't and yours will. ~ Robert Evans
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  #23  
Old 05-01-2022, 03:41 PM
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Kentucky Derby clocker report: Epicenter gets rave reviews

Mike Welsch |May 01, 2022

Churchill Downs
Weather: Cloudy
Temperature: 66
Track: Fast

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The weather created a bit of havoc, both locally and out of town, on the training schedules for two of the key players in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, although in the end both Louisiana Derby winner Epicenter and Florida Derby hero White Abarrio not only completed their important final preps without incident but to rave reviews as well.

Overnight rain left the Churchill Downs main track muddy when it opened early Sunday morning, forcing trainer Steve Asmussen to delay Epicenter’s scheduled work a couple of hours, until the Derby-Oaks training session at 7:30. The track was still holding plenty of moisture and still officially listed as muddy, albeit harrowed, not sealed, at that time.

Although Asmussen traditionally gives his horses an easy, maintenance, half-mile breeze going solo five days in advance of important races such as the Derby, he took a different tact with Epicenter, working him six days out and sending him five furlongs, in company, with stablemate Alejandro instead.

Breaking off nearest the rail, Epicenter posted splits of 24.69 and 36.31 en route to a 1:01.21 final clocking before proceeding to gallop out full of run, six furlongs in 1:14.16 and up seven-eighths in 1:27.54. Epicenter was totally on his own throughout, looking keen to do more, especially on the gallop out, if allowed. The move was quite similar to, but arguably even better, than his previous work over a fast track here one week earlier and should have him primed for another big effort on Saturday.

Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. faced a similar issue with White Abarrio at Gulfstream Park when greeted with a very sloppy track for his colt’s scheduled work on Saturday morning. But unlike Asmussen, Joseph had to wait nearly ten hours to finally get a track condition to his liking, ultimately receiving permission from track management to breeze the Florida Derby champion over a fast strip between the final two races on Saturday’s card, shortly after 6 p.m.

White Abarrio went from the half-mile pole to the wire in 48.11 per Daily Racing Form, going very easily and on his own throughout, before being urged to complete what really appeared to be a five-furlong drill in a very sharp 1:00.12. He then sustained huge momentum around the clubhouse turn, galloping out three-quarters in 1:11.94 and seven-eighths in 1:24.81 before easing up a mile in 1:41.64. It was arguably his best move this spring and a major step forward off a bit of a disappointing five-eighths trial one week earlier.

White Abarrio was scheduled to van to Churchill Downs on Sunday.

Asmussen also had to postpone potential Oaks favorite Echo Zulu’s breeze not once, but twice on Sunday. The first time was due to the prevailing track conditions, the second time as a result of a training incident that forced the racetrack to be closed for nearly 15 minutes shortly following the conclusion of the Derby-Oaks session.

The reigning juvenile filly champ finally got to do her thing immediately after the second renovation break, over what had been upgraded to a “good” racetrack at the time, turning in one of those typical Asmussen maintenance breezes when traveling a super-easy half-mile in 50.84.

Crown Pride had originally been penciled in for an official work this morning, although his connections called an audible, with plans now to blow him out on Wednesday. But, official or not, Crown Pride has been “blowing” himself out on a regular basis the past several days, again getting very aggressive upon turning into the stretch during his routine gallops, covering the half-mile from the quarter-pole around the turn to the six-furlong marker in 53.38 seconds today, his final quarter, around the clubhouse bend, in a lively :26 flat with his rider having all he could handle to keep him from going even faster. The UAE Derby winner’s energy level continues to flourish since his swift and impressive half-mile drill here last Wednesday.

Summer is Tomorrow was also scheduled to work this morning, but his connections opted to wait another day due to the wet track conditions, although he did look happy galloping an easy 1 1/2 miles, coming down the stretch the second time today on his proper lead.
__________________
All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind. ~ Joseph Conrad
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right. ~ Thomas Paine
Don't let anyone tell you that your dreams can't come true. They are only afraid that theirs won't and yours will. ~ Robert Evans
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Old 05-02-2022, 01:28 PM
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YAKTEEN DUO, SIMPLIFICATION GET FIRST FEEL OF CHURCHILL DOWNS RACING SURFACE


LOUISVILLE, KY (Monday, May 2, 2022) – Trainer Tim Yakteen’s 1-2 Santa Anita Derby (GI) finishers Taiba and Messier made their first appearance on the track at Churchill Downs Monday morning after arriving the previous afternoon from their Southern California base.

Another California runner, albeit by way of Keeneland, to appear on the track for the first time was Happy Jack, who made the 75-mile van ride to Churchill Downs from the Lexington track Sunday afternoon.

Arriving from South Florida early this morning was Florida Derby (GI) winner White Abarrio who is scheduled to make his first on-track appearance Tuesday.

There was one defection from the anticipated roster of entrants when the Churchill Downs Racing Office was notified that Un Ojo would not be entered for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. The defection moves Ethereal Road into the No. 20 spot on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.

The Post Position Draw for Kentucky Derby 148 will take place this afternoon from 2-3 p.m. (all times Eastern) in the Aristides Lounge.



BARBER ROAD – William Simon’s Barber Road returned to the track for the first time since his half-mile work Saturday and galloped a mile under regular exercise rider Elexander Aguilar.

“It was just a nice easy mile,” trainer John Ortiz said. “We're getting ready. We put the blinkers back on him today and Elexander said that the horse felt as good as he's ever felt. He’s on the muscle and really, really focused on going forward. He gave a couple of squeals and a couple of bucks. That's a good sign. Hopefully, he’s peaking at the right time.”

It was a whirlwind for Ortiz, who is saddling his first Kentucky Derby starter. As soon as the work was over, he flew to Arkansas where he won his third stakes of the Oaklawn Park meet with Whelen Springs in the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes.

“I’m tired, but this is why we do it,” Ortiz said. “I love this.”



CLASSIC CAUSEWAY – Kentucky West Racing and Clarke Cooper’s Classic Causeway had a one-mile jog early Monday morning under trainer Brian Lynch’s exercise rider Calamity Compton.

Compton, who works a pony rider during the races, will get to accompany Classic Causeway in the post parade for the Kentucky Derby.

Julien Leparoux has the call.



CHARGE IT, MO DONEGAL, PIONEER OF MEDINA – The trio of Kentucky Derby colts working out of the Todd Pletcher barn took advantage of the special 7:30-7:45 training session for Derby/Oaks types Monday morning to stretch their legs en route to their date with destiny this Saturday.

Charge It had exercise rider Hector Ramos aboard, Mo Donegal was partnered by Amelia Green, while Pioneer of Medina teamed up with Carlos Perez. They all galloped about a mile and a half on a sunny, Chamber of Commerce morning.

Hall of Famer Pletcher also had two of his three Kentucky Oaks fillies (Nest and Shahama) out during the same period and they, too, galloped, but also spent some time at the starting gate.

The conditioner said he’d have his three colts do gate visits tomorrow morning.

“All good so far,” he noted



CROWN PRIDE (JPN) – Teruya Yoshida’s UAE Derby (GII) winner Crown Pride (JPN) jogged in the mile in the chute and then schooled in the starting gate under exercise rider Masa Matsuda.

Trainer Koichi Shintani’s flight to Kentucky was delayed from Sunday night until today but he still is expected to make the Post Position Draw that begins at 2 p.m.

Jockey Christophe Lemaire is scheduled to arrive in Louisville tonight.



CYBERKNIFE, TAWNY PORT, ZOZOS – Reigning champion trainer Brad Cox sent all three of Kentucky Derby contenders to the track Monday before the first renovation break at 7 a.m. to jog a mile. It was their first time on the track since their final Derby works Saturday.

“They’re all doing good,” Cox said. “They came out of the works well and I’m happy with them.”

Cox was particularly happy with Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Cyberknife, who has had two impressive works since the April 2 win at Oaklawn.

“I thought his two works here were the best Derby works I’ve seen,” Cox said. “I may be biased, but that’s my opinion.”



EPICENTER – After Sunday’s final work of five furlongs 1:01, Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Epicenter had a walk day at trainer Steve Asmussen’s barn.



ETHEREAL ROAD – Aaron Sones and Julie Gilbert’s Rebel Stakes (GII) runner-up Ethereal Road will draw into the Kentucky Derby field after the defection of Un Ojo. He jogged one mile on Monday for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who is seeking a fifth Derby victory.



HAPPY JACK – The Oxbow colt has set up shop on the backside of Barn 41 at Churchill Downs and went to the racetrack for the first time Monday morning. He had exercise rider Tony Romero aboard and the two jogged once around the big oval.

“Tony has been with us a long time,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “He used to gallop Lava Man.”

Lava Man was the $50,000 claim who raced for O’Neill from 2004 to 2009 and earned purses worth more than $5.2 million, winning stakes on dirt, grass and synthetic. He was subsequently voted into racing’s Hall of Fame. Since his retirement, the now 21-year-old has been O’Neill’s stable pony.

The trainer, who already has two Kentucky Derby wins under his belt (Nyquist in 2016 and I’ll Have Another in 2012), has had a string of horses at Keeneland for the past three weeks. He said that Happy Jack would go to galloping Tuesday



MESSIER, TAIBA – The two California colts made the scene Monday morning trackside at Churchill Downs with trainer Tim Yakteen on hand for their separate exercise moves.

The conditioner sent Santa Anita Derby (GI) runner-up Messier out at 5:30 with his ace exercise rider Beto Gomez in the boot. They galloped a mile.

“He’s a very professional horse,” Gomez said afterward about the Empire Maker colt. “He’s easy to work with.”

Yakteen said he sent the bay Canadian-bred out early to take advantage of the calmer atmosphere.

“I wanted to go out with him when it was a little quieter,” he said. “He can get a little strong in his training and I thought this would be a good way to start.”

The trainer had the chestnut Gun Runner colt Taiba come forward with Gomez during the 7:30-7:45 special training period for Derby and Oaks runners. The Santa Anita Derby winner also galloped a mile.

“I could switch them up during the week,” Yakteen noted.

The trainer hosted a large contingent of racing media at Barn 37 after Taiba’s drill and subsequent bath. He (Yakteen) has been at the Derby several times before in his role as assistant for Hall of Fame trainers in Charlie Whittingham and Bob Baffert, but this was the first time he stood directly in the media firing line and he handled the session with aplomb.

Yakteen also brought the 3-year-old colt Doppelganger to Churchill from his Southern California base. The son of Into Mischief is scheduled for a start in Saturday’s, $500,000 Pat Day Mile (GII).



RATTLE N ROLL, SMILE HAPPY, TIZ THE BOMB – Trainer Kenny McPeek had Magdalena Racing’s Tiz the Bomb and Lucky Seven Stable’s Smile Happy on the track Monday, jogging a mile and a half after both worked a half-mile Saturday. Edwardo Ruvalcaba was on Tiz the Bomb, while Danny Ramsey was aboard Smile Happy.

With the defection of Un Ojo, McPeek could find himself with a third Derby starter, but for now Lucky Seven Stable’s Rattle N Roll moved up to No. 22 on the Derby points list. To get in, Rattle N Roll would need two horses to scratch by 9 a.m. Friday. McPeek named James Graham as the potential rider for Rattle N Roll, who finished sixth in the Blue Grass Stakes (GI) at Keeneland on April 2.

“Pretty basic stuff, everyone is ready,” McPeek said. “Now it comes down to the draw.”



RICH STRIKE – RED TR-Racing’s Rich Strike galloped 2 ¼ miles under exercise rider Gabriel Lagunes.

“He had the day off yesterday and we did a little more today and he didn’t want to pull up,” trainer Eric Reed said.

Third in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (GIII) in his most recent start, Rich Strike is No. 21 on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard and most likely will be an also eligible when post positions are drawn this afternoon.

“We are going to do all the things we have to do (to prepare to run Saturday),” Reed said. “He will school in the paddock but he doesn’t need to go to the gate. He’s good in the gate.”

Sonny Leon will have the Derby mount.



SIMPLIFICATION – Tami Bobo’s Fountain of Youth (GII) winner Simplification had an easy mile gallop under exercise rider Ismal Ramirez for trainer Antonio Sano.

Simplification is scheduled for a gate schooling session Wednesday morning as part of his Derby Week regimen.

Jose Ortiz will have the Derby mount.



SUMMER IS TOMORROW – Michael Hilary Burke and Negar Burke’s Summer Is Tomorrow worked a half-mile in :49.20 over a fast track Monday morning during the 7:30-7:45 training window for Kentucky Derby and Oaks runners.

With Caroline Seemar, wife of trainer Bhupat Seemar, aboard, Summer Is Tomorrow worked on his own and produced fractions of :13.60, :25.80, :49.20 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:02. The work was the sixth fastest of 21 at the distance.

“I am very happy with the work,” Bhupat Seemar said. “I got him a little faster. It was a nice move and a strong finish.”

Summer Is Tomorrow comes into the Derby off a runner-up finish in the UAE Derby (GII) going a mile and three-sixteenths.

“I expect him to improve off that race which was his first two-turn race,” Seemar said. “He will be a much fitter horse for this race.”

Summer Is Tomorrow is scheduled to have a walk day tomorrow.



UN OJO – Cypress Creek Equine and Whispering Oaks Farm’s Un Ojo has been declared from the Kentucky Derby with a bruised right foot that appeared after the gelding worked a sharp half-mile in :47.60 on Saturday. The decision to scratch was made Monday morning after Un Ojo didn’t immediately respond to treatment.

“It’s just bad timing,” trainer Ricky Courville said. “It’s just a badly bruised foot. It’s deep in the laminae, so he’s pretty sore. We tried soaking his foot and that didn’t really help. It’s just very disappointing because he had been doing so well. He seemed to really like the track.”



WHITE ABARRIO – Following a 17 1/2-hour van trip from Gulfstream Park, C2 Racing Stable and La Milagrosa Stable’s White Abarrio settled into his stall at Churchill Downs on Monday. The van arrived at 4:30 a.m., less than an hour before the day’s training began.

Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said plans call for the Florida Derby winner to go to the track on Tuesday.

“It was a pretty uneventful trip for him. He’ll gallop or jog tomorrow, I’ll wait to decide as long as I can,” Joseph said. “For now we’ll see how draw goes, and hope that he gets a good post. As far as the post goes, it’s all a matter of how you break. You can overcome a bad post with a good break. He’s a good gate horse, so hopefully he can keep it up.”



ZANDON – Jeff Drown’s Blue Grass Stakes (GI) winner Zandon had a 1 ½-mile gallop Monday morning as trainer Chad Brown eagerly watched his likely Kentucky Derby favorite.

Zandon is scheduled to school in the Churchill Downs starting gate Tuesday.



SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY DERBY – Here’s the current Top 20 horses in this year’s Kentucky Derby (with jockey and trainer): Epicenter (Joel Rosario, Steve Asmussen); Zandon (Flavien Prat, Chad Brown); White Abarrio (Tyler Gaffalione, Saffie Joseph Jr.); Mo Donegal (Irad Ortiz Jr., Todd Pletcher); Tiz the Bomb (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek); Cyberknife (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox); Crown Pride (JPN) (Christophe Lemiere, Koichi Shintani); Taiba (Mike Smith, Tim Yakteen); Simplification (Jose Ortiz, Antonio Sano); Smile Happy (Corey Lanerie, Kenny McPeek); Classic Causeway (Julien Leparoux, Brian Lynch); Tawny Port (Ricardo Santana Jr., Brad Cox); Barber Road (Rey Gutierrez, John Ortiz); Messier (John Velazquez, Tim Yakteen); Zozos (Manny Franco, Brad Cox); Summer Is Tomorrow (Mickael Barzalona, Bhupat Seemar); Charge It (Luis Saez, Todd Pletcher); Happy Jack (Rafael Bejarano, Doug O’Neill); Pioneer of Medina (Joe Bravo, Todd Pletcher); Ethereal Road (Luis Contreras). Also Eligibles: Rich Strike (Sonny Leon, Eric Reed); Rattle N Roll (James Graham, Kenny McPeek)



LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS UPDATE – Santa Anita Oaks (GII) winner Desert Dawn was on the track at Churchill Downs Monday morning for the first time after arriving Sunday afternoon from her home base at Santa Anita in Arcadia, California.

Also on the track for the first time was Fantasy (GIII) winner Yuugiri who returned to the track where she made her first three starts last year.

The Post Position Draw for Kentucky Oaks 148 will take place this afternoon from 2-3 p.m. (all times Eastern) in the Aristides Lounge.



BEGUINE – Charles Matses’ Beguine galloped a mile and a half under Raul Vizcarrando immediately after the track opened for training at 5:15.

Trainer Danny Peitz is resigned to being on the also-eligible list for the Oaks should more than 14 enter.

“She loves the outside,” Peitz said with a laugh knowing that if Beguine draws into the field she would have to start from post 14.

Peitz said that Ricardo Santana Jr. would have the Oaks mount and that Beguine is scheduled for a gate schooling session Wednesday.

The dilemma for Peitz is what to do going forward should Beguine not get in the gate for the Oaks.

“Scratch time is not until 9 o’clock Friday morning and I’d probably breeze Friday morning to keep on schedule for Black-Eyed Susan,” Peitz said referring to the Grade II race on May 20 at Pimlico. “I’d hate to breeze early Friday morning, have a scratch and find out we’re in.”



CANDY RAID – Exercise rider Alex Cano reported Monday morning’s gallop of a mile and a half went well for Don’t Tell My Wife Stables and Keith Desormeux’s Candy Raid. She joined many of the other Derby and Oaks contenders on the main track at the scheduled 7:30 training period.

“She likes the track here,” Cano said. “She has been moving well across it.”



COCKTAIL MOMENTS – Trainer Kenny McPeek had Dixiana Farms’ Cocktail Moments on the track, jogging a mile and a half with exercise rider Albert Kelly. McPeek has named Corey Lanerie as her rider in the Longines Kentucky Oaks.



DESERT DAWN – The Kentucky Oaks-bound filly Desert Dawn was up and at ‘em early Monday morning at Churchill Downs going to the racetrack for a one-mile jog in her first taste of racing outside of the state of California.

Her trainer, Phil D’Amato, will be headed to Louisville today from Los Angeles, but his assistant trainer, Euriel Mejia, had come in with the filly Sunday and saddled Desert Dawn for her exercise Monday with exercise rider Roman Cecher handling the tack.

Desert Dawn, an Arizona-bred by the stallion Cupid, has won two of seven starts, including the Santa Anita Oaks (GII) in her most recent try. She’ll be handled by Umberto Rispoli in the Grade I, $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks.



ECHO ZULU – L and N Racing and Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Echo Zulu walked the shedrow the day after her final work before the Oaks, having breezed a half-mile in 50.80.



GODDESS OF FIRE, NEST, SHAHAMA – Following a pattern he had set Sunday, trainer Todd Pletcher had two of his three Oaks fillies -- Nest and Shahama – go out with his Derby colts for the 7:30-7:45 special training time Monday morning. Then at 8 a.m. he had the stable’s Goddess of Fire go trackside for her exercise.

Nest, a daughter of Curlin and a three-time stakes winner, had Nora McCormack on her back, while Shahama – who is by Munnings and won all four of her starts in the Middle East, including the UAE Oaks (GIII) on Feb. 18 -- was handled by Humberto Zamora. They both went approximately a mile and three-eighths in a gallop and also spent some time standing in the starting gate.

Roughly a half hour later, Goddess of Fire – with Zamora doing the honors once again – followed the same routine, also visiting the gate. The Mineshaft filly has yet to win a stakes, but it isn’t for want of trying. She has been second in three of them and third in another.

For Friday’s rich Oaks, Pletcher has lined up three of the best riders in the country to handle his charges: Irad Ortiz Jr. will be up on Nest; Flavien Prat will handle Shahama, and John Velazquez will take the controls with Goddess of Fire.



HIDDEN CONNECTION – Hidden Brook Farm and Black Type Thoroughbreds’ TwinSpires.com Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) runner-up Hidden Connection galloped about 1 ½ miles Monday at 7:30 a.m.

“Things are starting to ramp up,” trainer Bret Calhoun said.



KATHLEEN O. – Winngate Stables’ Kathleen O. took to the track at 6 a.m. for a one-turn gallop under exercise rider David Jego.

At 10 a.m., assistant Anthony Hamilton led Kathleen O. over to school in the paddock. “She did great,” Hamilton said. “Definitely kept her cool, like always.”

Asked about the possibility of a wet track for Friday’s Oaks, trainer Shug McGaughey said, “She broke her maiden in the slop so we are not worried about that.”



NOSTALGIC – Godolphin’s Nostalgic had a light one-mile jog Monday morning with exercise rider Penny Gardiner in the saddle.



SECRET OATH – Briland Farm’s multiple stakes winner Secret Oath continued her routine of being among the first horses to hit the track when she galloped 1 ½ miles under Danielle Rosier at 5:15 a.m.

“She’s doing well, she’s having a good week,” Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said.

Secret Oath won three straight races against fillies this winter at Oaklawn Park, including the $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (GIII) before finishing third against males in the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (GI). However, even with all that success, Lukas believes she does even better at Churchill Downs.

“She did well at Oaklawn, but she just glides over this track. I would have to say she’s even better here.”



TURNERLOOSE – Ike and Dawn Thrash’s Turnerloose was the only horse trainer Brad Cox sent to the track during the special Oaks and Derby horse training time at 7:30 a.m. after his three Kentucky Derby horses jogged earlier. The filly galloped a mile under Edvin Vargas.

“The Oaks is a tough spot, but she’s doing good,” Cox said.



VENTI VALENTINE – NY Final Furlong Racing Stable and Parkland Thoroughbreds’ Gazelle (GIII) runner-up Venti Valentine was on the track with exercise rider Luis Peña, galloping a mile and a quarter, trainer Jorge Abreu said.

“So far everything is good,” Abreu said. “The surface of the track seems to fit her.”

She had a final workout for the Longines Kentucky Oaks last Friday with Tyler Gaffalione aboard, going five furlongs in 1:00.80.



YUUGIRI – Sekie and Tsunebumi Yoshihara’s Fantasy Stakes winner Yuugiri galloped 1 ½ miles with trainer Rodolphe Brisset aboard Monday during the special training time for Oaks and Derby horses. Brisset left immediately after the gallop to drive back to his Lexington base at Keeneland, but said via phone he was happy with how the Shackleford filly was doing.
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Old 05-02-2022, 04:24 PM
freddymo freddymo is offline
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I think Tim Baffteen's horses will run well
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