McCraken, Fast and Accurate Work on Breezy Morning at Churchill Downs
Three Down, Four to Go
By Dick Downey
Three workouts down and four to go. That's the count on Kentucky Derby workouts after Sunday morning's training sessions at Churchill Downs and Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland.
The sky was mostly cloudy with a noticeable wind blowing up the stretch during the 8:30 special training session for Derby and Kentucky Oaks horses at Churchill.
Fast and Accurate was the first to go after the renovation break. Under new jockey Channing Hill, he was in company with the 4-year-old Adventist, both trained by Mike Maker.
On the inside, Fast and Accurate broke off at the five-eighths pole just behind his workmate, was slightly behind into the turn and a neck ahead at the finish line in a time of 1:01.20, breezing. His internal splits were 12.20, 23.80, 35.80 and 48.60, and he was out six furlongs in 1:14.40 and seven in 1:28.60.
Ian Wilkes gave a leg up to Brian Hernandez, Jr. on McCraken for a solo work that turned epic. He also broke off at the five-eighths pole and went through fractions of 13.00, 25.20, 36.80 and 48.60 before completing the work in 1:00.80, breezing.
Out six furlongs in 1:13.40, McCracken kept galloping up the backstretch through seven furlongs in 1:27.20 and a mile in 1:41.80 with the wind at his back. Hernandez pulled McCraken up at that point, but the son of Ghostzapper still wanted to run his second time into the far turn.
At Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, Irish War Cry completed his major preparation for the Derby by breezing six furlongs in 1:13.20 under Rajiv Maragh. He was out seven furlongs in 1:27.00. Trainer Graham Motion expressed his pleasure at the work.
Among other Derby contenders, Irap was seen jogging for trainer Doug O'Neill in his first appearance on the Churchill Downs surface after arriving yesterday from Keeneland.
Sonneteer, the rare maiden on the verge of making a Kentucky Derby field, also stepped on the Churchill Downs track surface for the first time for trainer Keith Desormeaux.
Remaining workouts should go on Monday barring bad weather in Louisville. As of this post, there' s a 100 percent chance of rain tonight and 20 percent in the morning. Steve Asmussen is expected to send out Hence, Lookin at Lee and Untrapped, and Sonneteer is also due for his final work before the Kentucky Derby.
Videos of the special training session at Churchill Downs and of Irish War Cry's breeze at Fair Hill are below.
Some of today's work by Irish War Cry. Outside. Working with Providence Road, half-brother to Toby's Corner. pic.twitter.com/MMw6Akj7r0