First Breeze Since Louisiana Derby
Lone Sailor returned to the worktab Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs with a half-mile breeze in :47.60, his first major tune-up in preparation for the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve.
With James Graham aboard, Lone Sailor breezed through splits of 12:00 and :24:00 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:00.60.
“He’s just doing things nice and easy,” said trainer Tom Amoss as Lone Sailor hit the top of the stretch. “The track is pretty fast this morning, but he’s doing things in hand.”
Lone Sailor carries the city of New Orleans on his shoulders into the first Saturday in May. Owner Gayle Benson and her late husband Tom are the longtime owners of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans. Tom passed away nine days before the TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby, and his funeral was the day before.
“Mr. Benson is a New Orleanian,” Amoss said. “He speaks like us, he thinks like us, and has given New Orleans so much with the Saints. Everyone feels a connection to him in town. By us giving him a second place finish in the Louisiana Derby, I really feel that there is an opportunity, in a very small way, to give something back to Gayle and the Saints’ family.”
Amoss confirmed that Graham will have the repeat call on Lone Sailor in the Kentucky Derby.
“I’m really looking forward to the Derby,” Graham said. “Tom is a great trainer to ride for. I’m really excited. He worked really well this morning by himself and galloped out strong. He’s doing really well.”
In addition to Lone Sailor (Barn 29), there are four other likely Kentucky Derby starters stabled on the Churchill Downs backstretch: Bravazo (trainer D. Wayne Lukas, Barn 44); Flameaway (Mark Casse, Barn 36); Free Drop Billy (Dale Romans, Barn 4); and Promises Fulfilled (Romans, Barn 4).
Training hours at Churchill Downs are 5:30-10 a.m. with two renovation breaks at 7:00 am and 8:30 am Derby and Oaks horses will have an exclusive training window beginning Saturday, April 21 through Thursday, May 3 from 7:30-7:45 am.