By Blood-Horse Staff
With rain in the forecast for the weekend, many trainers with contenders heading to the May 7 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) opted get in their final workouts Friday, April 29, at Churchill Downs.
Undefeated champion and expected Derby favorite Nyquist had his final breeze at Keeneland prior to the first race of the Friday closing-day card.
Todd Pletcher’s duo of Destin and Outwork both worked in company for their final Derby preparations.
Working with Stradivari, Destin went five furlongs in 1:01 1/5, producing fractions of :12 3/5, :24 4/5, :37 2/5, and :49 3/5. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:14 1/5 and seven furlongs in 1:27.
“Destin worked very well,” Pletcher said. “I had him in company [with Stradivari]. I thought it was very good. He seemed enthusiastic for him. I particularly liked the way he finished up and galloped out. I was very happy. We wanted to make sure we got a good solid work today. He’s had a good series of solid works, but we wanted to make sure he worked solid today and had a good gallop out.”
The son of Giant’s Causeway will enter the Kentucky Derby off an eight-week layoff, having last raced in the March 12 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II). Should he win, it would be the longest documented layoff since complete records were kept starting in 1929. Regret won the 1915 Derby off a 259-day layoff and Sir Barton won the 1919 Derby off a 238-day layoff.
“It was a tough decision,” Pletcher said of the choice to train up to the Kentucky Derby. “Part of it was we were passing up a good opportunity. We just felt like, for us, we have had success in the past with giving horses a little extra time.”
Outwork worked five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 in company with Azar, who is probable for the $300,000 American Turf (gr. II) on the Kentucky Derby undercard. Churchill Downs clockers caught the son of Uncle Mo in fractions of :13 1/5 and :37 2/5. He galloped out three-quarters of a mile in 1:14.
Pletcher described the work as “a very similar workout” to stablemate Destin. “I had him going just a little faster (than Destin),” he said. “What I really liked was the way that he finished up. He can sometimes tend to idle a little bit, as he did in the Wood Memorial, when he gets past the last horses. Today, I thought he looked much more professional and more focused. He was concentrated throughout the gallop out.”
Discreetness worked after the break under jockey Jon Court for trainer Jinks Fires. He went five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 and posted fractions of :11 4/5, :23 3/5, :35 4/5, and :47 4/5. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:15 1/5. The work was the 15th fastest of 52 at the distance. “It was a nice move and he was well in hand,” Court said.
Standing 26th on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, Discreetness likely would go in the $250,000 Pat Day Mile (gr. III) on Derby day if he does not draw in to the Derby field.
Fellowship, 21st on the Derby leaderboard, worked four furlongs in company with Street Gray in :47 after the break. With exercise rider Brian O’Leary up, Fellowship posted fractions of :12 1/5, :23 3/5, and :35. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:00. It was the fastest half-mile move of the morning of 67 recorded works.
“It was a perfect work,” said Norman Casse, assistant to his father, trainer Mark Casse. “He is a super-talented colt and I think he will run well if he gets in the Derby.”
Majesto, with Javier Castellano aboard, worked five furlongs in 1:01 2/5. His fractions were 12 4/5, :24 4/5, and :36 4/5. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:15 and seven furlongs in 1:28 3/5.
“Javier said he worked very easy,” trainer Gustavo Delgado said. “I thought it was a very good work.” Delgado said he would confirm a rider for Majesto on Saturday.
Mo Tom worked four furlongs in :48 3/5. He had splits of :12 1/5, :24 2/5, and :36 3/5. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:02 1/5 and six furlongs in 1:15 2/5. The work was the 27th fastest of 67 at the distance.
“The work was fine, but I was a little disappointed in the track,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “That was not the same track it was at 6 this morning and not the same track that you’ll have in the afternoon.”
Trainer Chad Brown worked his two Kentucky Derby hopefuls early and late Friday morning.
First up for Brown just as the track opened at 5:45 a.m. was My Man Sam. With jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard and working in company, My Man Sam posted fractions of :13, :25 3/5,and :37 4/5. He completed the half-mile in :49 3/5. The Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) runner-up galloped out five furlongs in 1:02 1/5 and three-quarters in 1:14 4/5. The move was the 46th fastest of 67 at the distance.
Coming out after the break for Brown was Shadwell Stable’s Shagaf. He worked a half-mile in :47 4/5. His fractions were :12 2/5, :24 1/5, and :35 4/5. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:00 1/5. The work was the 10th fastest of 67 at the distance.
Brown moved the works up a day because of the weather forecast that calls for plenty of rain in the Louisville area beginning late Friday night.
“I felt like I was studying again for finals,” Brown said of constantly monitoring the weather forecast. “We felt like this would be the best day, so why risk it (waiting)? I think they worked very good.”
Oscar Nominated breezed five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 in company with stablemate Hint of Roses. Julien Leparoux was aboard Oscar Nominated, who was one of the first horses working after the renovation break.
“I thought he worked really well,” trainer Mike Maker said. “He got over the ground really well. We aren’t trying to do too much, we just want to keep him happy.”
Suddenbreakingnews, runner-up in the April 16 Arkansas Derby (gr. I), worked a strong five furlongs under jockey Chris Landeros :59 3/5, galloping out six furlongs in 1:13. It was the eighth fastest of 52 at the distance.
“I was happy with it and Chris was happy with it,” trainer Donnie Von Hemel said. “Chris said when he asked him, he stretched out. I was probably looking for something a bit slower, but not significantly. We just have to keep him healthy and happy now. And, make sure he stays in this frame of mind.”
Suddenbreakingnews is one of the most experienced horses in the field with eight starts under his belt, and only two of his races have been against fields with fewer than 10 starters. He won the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (gr. III) while facing 13 other horses and there were 12 horses in the Arkansas Derby.
“He’s had a good education,” Von Hemel said. “He even had to weave himself through tight quarters as a 2-year-old. Hopefully it will serve him well.”
Regular rider Luis Quinonez will be in town Wednesday and has the mount next Saturday.
“Does it look like he’s ready?” trainer Dallas Stewart asked after Tom’s Ready worked five furlongs in :59 2/5 with Forever d’Oro. He produced fractions of :23 4/5 and :36. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:13 1/5 and seven-eighths in 1:27 1/5. The move was the third fastest of 52 at the distance.
Tom’s Ready began about five lengths in back of his workmate, a start that was by design. “He gets eager when he goes head to head and this way, he can ease up to them on the turn,” Stewart said. “This was a good work.”
Whitmore worked five furlongs in company with Meanbone as soon as the track opened. Clockers caught the Pleasantly Perfect gelding in splits of :12 2/5, :24, :35 3/5, 48, and 1:00 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:14. It was the 13th fastest of 52 at the distance.
“It was perfect,” trainer Ron Moquett said. “We were just looking for the best possible surface this morning. He did it nice and easy. He looked like he was just galloping.”
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