Today at Churchill Downs, McCraken breezed four furlongs in :47.80 for trainer Ian Wilkes.
Brian Hernandez Jr. was aboard through splits of 12.60, 24.60 and 36.40 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:00 and three-quarters of a mile in 1:13.40, per Churchill Downs clockers.
“He felt great,” Hernandez said. “Once he was a little settled going to the pole, he worked great. His gallop-out was very nice and he’s right back home at Churchill where he likes it.”
“The main thing is I wanted to see him finish, but finish without riding himself while doing it,” Wilkes said. “I got everything I wanted to see today.”
Last week, Hernandez chose to ride McCraken in the Kentucky Derby over Louisiana Derby winner Girvin.
“It was a tough decision,” Hernandez said. “It was like trying to decide which one of your kids to take on vacation and which one to stay at home.”
“We’ve had a lot of success and it’s been fun,” Wilkes said. “Brian is a part of the team, and he fits in well. He helps develop horses.”
Wilkes has two more planned breezes for McCraken before the Kentucky Derby, with the next one coming in six or seven days.
Conquest Mo Money to Skip Derby
Conquest Mo Money is going to skip the Kentucky Derby and be pointed to the Preakness. The announcement was made today at a 3:00 p.m. EDT news conference at Sunland Park. Conquest Mo Money was not nominated to the Triple Crown and his owners, Tom and Sandy McKenna of Judge Lanier Racing, would have had to pay a $200,000 late supplemental nomination to become eligible for the Kentucky Derby and other Triple Crown races.
Should Conquest Mo Money be entered in the Preakness, a supplement of $150,000 will be required.
J Boys Echo
Following J Boys Echo’s breeze at the track yesterday, trainer Dale Romans said the Gotham winner could wrk again Sunday.
Fast and Accurate
Fast and Accurate is scheduled to breeze Saturday at Trackside Louisville, Churchill Downs’ satellite training center located five miles from the home of the Kentucky Derby.
Derby / Oaks Training Hours
The exclusive training period for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders at Churchill Downs begins this Saturday. The session will be held daily from 8:30 to 8:45 a.m. and will be streamed live on KentuckyDerby.com.
Kentucky Derby prospects expected to breeze on Saturday are Girvin for trainer Joe Sharp and State of Honor for trainer Mark Casse. Kentucky Oaks contenders that could work include Salty for Casse and Farrell for trainer Wayne Catalano.
Edited Churchill Downs release with additional content by Dick Downey