Arkansas Derby winner Classic Empire arrived at Churchill Downs on Monday to prepare for the Kentucky Derby. He was bedded down in trainer Mark Casse’s Barn 36 shortly after 10:00 a.m.
Included in his resume is a debut victory and a win of the Bashford Manor Stakes at Churchill last summer.
“It was incredibly rewarding to see Classic Empire return to his full potential,” assistant trainer Norm Casse said of Saturday's win. “It was extremely frustrating and challenging this winter with his antics, but it means so much to our team that he returned the way he did.”
The son of Pioneerof the Nile owned by John C. Oxley has amassed $2,120,220 in earnings with a record of 7-5-0-1, which includes a win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to close out his 2-year-old campaign.
Classic Empire is expected to return to training Thursday or Friday at Churchill Downs.
Sunland Derby winner Hence breezed five furlongs in 1:00.40 Monday at Churchill Downs for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Hence breezed in company over the track at 6:00 a.m. with Local Hero, also timed in 1:00.40, in fractions of 13, 25,40, 37 and 48.60, before galloping out three-quarters of a mile in 1:13.40 and seven furlongs in 1:27.00.
“It’s very comforting to see Hence doing well again over the Churchill surface,” Asmussen said.
The 3-year-old son of Street Boss has a lifetime record of 6-2-1-1 with earnings of $462,601.
J Boys Echo
The Gotham winner recorded a half-mile move in 49.20 Monday at Churchill for trainer Dale Romans, his first breeze since running fourth in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes on April 8 at Keeneland.
The 3-year-old colt by Mineshaft began his workout at the three-furlong pole under Tammy Fox and recorded splits of 12.20, 24.60 and 36.80.
“I think this is the best he’s looked over the track,” Romans said. “This morning we just wanted to get a solid maintenance breeze in him, and we’ll do something more serious next week.”
J Boys Echo has accrued $349,600 with a lifetime record of 6-2-1-1. He is stabled in Barn 4.
McCraken has been training regularly over the Churchill Downs surface and is scheduled for a breeze in the first or second set of horses between 6-6:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
Longtime Churchill Downs and Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Lynn Whiting returned to the track Monday. It was his first visit to Churchill Downs since suffering a stroke over the winter. Whiting won the 1992 Kentucky Derby with Lil E. Tee.
Edited Churchill Downs release