By Dick Downey
Updated 1:36 p.m.
With a new training period for Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses now in effect, three Derby contenders breezed Saturday morning at Churchill Downs shortly after 8:30 ET.
After a 30-minute track renovation that starts at 8:00, the track reserves training for Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders only. According to the public relations office at Churchill Downs, the contenders are only allowed on the track if they sport their bright yellow or pink Derby or Oaks saddle cloths.
Louisiana Derby winner International Star was the first to work. Under Miguel Mena and outside of Dreams Cut Short, he went five furlongs in 1:01.80 (33/57), breezing. He started close to Dreams Cut Short and finished about four lengths ahead of him as the workmate's rider was urging him on in the stretch. International Star's splits were 12.40, 25.00 and 37.20, and he galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.00. The workmate was credited with a time of 1:02.60.
Danzig Moon, runner-up in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, also worked five furlongs, and he blasted through the move in a bullet :58.00 (1/57), breezing, outside of workmate Tepin. They finished together at the wire. Track clockers got Danzig Moon's splits in 11.40, 22.40, 34.00 and 45.60. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.20.
Keen Ice, currently on the outside looking in on the Derby points leaderboard, was the third and final Kentucky Derby contender to post a workout. He also went outside a workmate. A preliminary report of the move said it was five furlongs, but Keen Ice was scheduled to go six, and that's how it was officially recorded by Equibase. With Tammy Fox up, Keen Ice went the six furlongs in 1:13.20 (1/1). Internal fractions were, according to track clockers, 23.20, 35.20, 47.20 and :59.80, and out seven furlongs in 1:27.60.
Carpe Diem worked at Keeneland this morning after regular training hours ceased. The inside of the track was harrowed first. Working on his own under John Velazquez, Carpe Diem was timed in 1:00.40 for five furlongs with internal fractions of 12.00, 24.00, 36.00 and 48.00 and a gallop out in 1:13.80. The official time for the workout was not posted at Equibase as of 1:36 ET today.
Todd Pletcher was flown to Lexington this morning on a private plane owned by Barbara Banke after he oversaw workouts very early in the morning by his Kentucky Derby contenders Materiality, Stanford and Itsaknockout.
"Logistically, everything fell into place,” Pletcher said. “You prefer to work on a fast track and with the good chance of rain coming in here tomorrow, Keeneland went out of their way to accommodate us and we appreciate that a lot.
“We needed the sun to come up at Palm Beach Downs, and my first horses worked at 6:25. I was able to fly on Barbara Banke’s plane and Keeneland let us work later so that I could get here and Johnny would have time to work the horse before catching a plane to Charles Town.”