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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Upstart Back to Work


Upstart returned to the work tab Friday morning at Palm Meadows with a four-furlong breeze that was timed in :47.40.

Upstart spiked a fever last Saturday and missed a scheduled breeze for trainer Rick Violette, Jr. He took three days off from training, but the son of Flatter appeared strong in his return to serious work. The move was the bullet for the distance, and he galloped out five furlongs in :59.47 under little to no urging from exercise rider Vicki King.

Following the work, King said her mount did not seem to display any ill effects from the missed time.

“It doesn’t seem to have,” she said. “I guess we’ll find out. He seems fine after that. He had three days off, and on his first day back, he galloped quiet, which was perfect. You don’t want to overdo it first day back. Since then, he’s been great.

“He felt the same,” she added. “He’s push-button, too, really push-button. He’ll just do what you ask him. If you want him to go faster, he will. If you want him to go slower, he’ll do anything you ask of him. He galloped out really good, might have been a little bit too good! I think we’re happy with him.”

Violette was similarly in no shortage of superlatives when reviewing his trainee’s performance.

“All in all, wow,” he said. “He did things so easily. He wouldn’t pull up on the backside. He galloped out three-quarters in 14, and that was under orders for the rider on the walkie-talkie to ease him up. I’m not sure if we could have done things any differently or any better. He’s just a good horse, and we try not to get in his way.”

After cooling out, Upstart also received a positive report from the veterinarian. He was scoped and found to have no remaining mucus in his system.

“He just scoped clean,” Violette said. “He’s cooling out great. We’ll see how he comes out of it.”

Violette elected to move Upstart’s rescheduled breeze up a day when discovering rain in the forecast for Saturday. He said that decision will allow his trainee to have an extra day to recover if necessary.

“We breezed a day early, so now I have an extra day to let him bounce out of this if it’s taken any toll on him, which I don’t know if it did,” he said.

Violette noted that the ease with which Upstart breezed might have been the most impressive aspect of the work.

“He’s not a brilliant workhorse. He’ll do what you ask him to do, but today offered a lot for him,” he said. “He fools people a lot. He looks like he’s going in 50 and he goes in 47. He does what good horses do. Today, he showed us that we’re not supposed to cancel any travel plans.”

Upstart will have one more breeze in South Florida late next week before departing for Kentucky on April 28.

Edited Gulfstream Park release



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