AUDIBLE, MAGNUM MOON, NOBLE INDY, VINO ROSSO – Todd Pletcher put his four-horse Derby contingent through their final works over a fast track for next Saturday’s race in search of his third Kentucky Derby win.
First up was undefeated Magnum Moon. With Nick Bush aboard and working in company with Maraud, a graded-stakes winner of the grass, Magnum Moon worked a half-mile in :47.40, the fourth fastest of 75 at the distance.
Churchill Downs clockers caught Magnum Moon in splits of :12.40, :23.80, :36, :47.40 with a five-eighths gallop out in 1:00.40 and 1:13.80 for six furlongs.
“I’m lovin’ it, just like McDonald’s,” said Bush, who was the exercise rider for Derby winner Always Dreaming last year.
Next up was Audible with jockey Javier Castellano up. Audible covered a half-mile in :49.40 in company with National Flag, winner of the Bay Shore.\
Fractions on the move were :12.20, :24.20, :37.40, :49.40 and out five furlongs in 1:02 and three-quarters in 1:14.60. The half-mile was the 39th fastest of the morning.
Third in the order was Vino Rosso with jockey John Velazquez up. Working in company with the 4-year-old stakes winner Outplay, Vino Rosso worked a half-mile in :47.20, the fastest of 75 at the distance.
Fractions for the work were :11.40, :23.40, :35.40, :47.20 and out five furlongs in 1:00.40 and six furlongs in 1:13.40.
At 9 o’clock, Noble Indy worked five furlongs in 1:01.60 with jockey Florent Geroux aboard. Working in company with maiden winner Regal Quality, Noble Indy posted fractions of :13.20, :25.60, :37.40, :49.60, 1:01.60 and out six furlongs in 1:14.60. The five-eighths move was the 24th fastest of 43 at the distance.
“This was an important day and we got perfect conditions. All four handled the surface well,” Pletcher said. “Sometimes you come in and worry that they won’t like the track, but they all got over it well.
“Magnum Moon was very good and had good energy. He galloped out strong and I was very happy with him.
“Audible was very good. Javier was happy with him.
“Vino Rosso was good and Johnny was happy with him. All three of those were similar with Magnum Moon and Vino Rosso quicker and Audible a good gallop out.
“Noble Indy showed good energy and Florent got along well with him.”
Pletcher said the plan is for Geroux to ride Noble Indy in the Derby. Pletcher’s other jockey is Luis Saez for Magnum Moon.
BRAVAZO – Bravazo galloped 1 ½ mile Friday morning at 7:30 with exercise rider Danielle Rosier aboard for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. The Risen Star winner could breeze tomorrow, according to Lukas.
COMBATANT, DREAM BABY DREAM – Combatant, galloped 1 ½ mile Friday morning at 7:30 for trainer Steve Asmussen. Earlier in the morning, Dream Baby Dream galloped 1 ½ mile. He is No. 22 on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
FLAMEAWAY – Flameaway galloped 1 ½ mile under exercise rider Chris Garraway for trainer Mark Casse.
Flameaway is scheduled to work Saturday morning with Casse slated to be on hand. Jose Lezcano has the Derby mount.
FREE DROP BILLY/PROMISES FULFILLED – Free Drop Billy and Promises Fulfilled galloped 1 ½ mile for trainer Dale Romans Friday morning. Both horses are expected to breeze Saturday morning at 7:30, according to Romans.
GOOD MAGIC – He galloped 1 1/2 mile at 7:30 a.m. with regular exercise rider Walter Malasquez aboard.
Trainer Chad Brown was at Keeneland to oversee a work by Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf heroine Rushing Fall (:48.40 over a fast main track), probable for the Edgewood (G3) on Kentucky Oaks Day. He says Good Magic will breeze Saturday during the Derby training session and that he'll be on hand.
HOFBURG – Hofburg galloped about 1 1/2 mile at 7:30 a.m., followed by a visit to the starting gate, according to Penny Gardiner, who has been his regular exercise rider since arriving at Churchill Downs on Tuesday.
Keen observers have noted an unusual piece of equipment that Hofburg has been sporting in the mornings, which Mott assistant Kenny McCarthy reports is an “iron halter.”
“Bill started using it on him because he was biting at the shank an awful lot,” McCarthy said. “It attaches above the nose and now he’s gotten out of the habit. It’s not severe at all, nothing goes in his mouth, it just sits on him. He seems to respect it more than the shank. The iron halter is fitted over the horse’s poll and over the nose, with a ring that allows a lead shank to attach on top of the nose instead of on the side.
“It’s usually only something you see from an old-school horseman,” McCarthy said. “I bet this one is at least 50 years of age. I’d bet he got this one from Van Berg. We’ve had it forever. You don’t see many of them around.”
Mott was an assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg in the late 1970s. Van Berg passed away in December at 81.
Hofburg is expected to work Sunday with Gardiner up. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the Derby mount.
JUSTIFY, SOLOMINI – The undefeated Santa Anita Derby winner posted his final official workout in advance of the Kentucky Derby at Santa Anita, breezing seven furlongs in 1:25.20 under Drayden Van Dyke. Santa Anita clockers recorded splits of :24.60, :36.40, :48.40, 1:00.60 and 1:12.60.
Justify broke off at the five-eighths pole, where he started about three lengths behind stablemate Longden, a recent maiden winner owned by Godolphin. Van Dyke was content to lay off the work mate until they hit the one-sixteenth marker, five furlongs into the work, and then cruised up on the outside to cross the wire on even terms with Longden. From there, Justify accelerated into the clubhouse turn.
“We know we have a really good horse but there are a lot of good horses out there right now,” Baffert said Thursday on a NTRA National Media Teleconference. “It’s probably the most competitive Derby that I’ve seen in years.”
Baffert addressed the decision to have Justify’s final work in California instead of over the Churchill Downs surface.
“This track at Santa Anita is a very deep, demanding track and they get really fit here,” Baffert said. “We’ve shipped all over and I don’t think there’s a big difference. We used to go there a few weeks early but last year we went in the week before and won the Kentucky Oaks. I don’t think it makes a difference.”
Van Dyke was aboard Justify for his debut maiden win in February. Mike Smith, a Derby winner in 2005 aboard Giacomo, took over in his next start and has the Derby mount.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Solomini is expected to work Saturday or Sunday. Although he’s only credited with one win, the Curlin colt crossed the wire first in the Los Alamitos Futurity before being disqualified and has never missed the board racing against top-shelf company.
“The talent is there but he’s going to have to get some breaks go his way,” Baffert said. “He’s been training well, looks happy, came out of the last race well. He’s a little bit slower than some of the horses in there but they all deserve a chance. Crazy things happen in the Derby.”
LONE SAILOR – Lone Sailor completed his major preparations for the Kentucky Derby with a half-mile breeze in :48. With jockey James Graham in the saddle, Lone Sailor worked through splits of :11.80, :23.80 and :36.40 before a five-furlong gallop out in 1:00.60, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols.
“A lot of people get caught up in his fast workout times,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “That’s just who he is. He naturally works that fast so I’d be worried if he went slower. He will still need to improve. It’s a very deep field this year.”
MY BOY JACK – My Boy Jack galloped 1 ½ mile under exercise rider Peedy Landry.
Trainer Keith Desormeaux said My Boy Jack would breeze Saturday morning with Brian Hernandez Jr. handling the work. Desormeaux’s brother Kent has the Derby mount.
Keith Desormeaux arrived in Louisville Thursday from Ocala, Florida, and was eyeballing My Boy Jack for the first time live in 2 ½ weeks.
“The last time I saw him was the day before he left for Keeneland,” Desormeaux said. “I had no doubt. Julie (Clark) is the best. She could bring one back from the dead.”
KENTUCKY DERBY PROBABLES – Audible (jockey Javier Castellano), Bolt d’Oro (Victor Espinoza), Bravazo (TBA), Enticed (Junior Alvarado), Firenze Fire (Paco Lopez), Flameaway (Jose Lezcano), Free Drop Billy (Robby Albarado), Good Magic (Jose Ortiz), Hofburg (Irad Ortiz Jr.), Instilled Regard (TBA), Justify (Mike Smith), Lone Sailor (James Graham), Magnum Moon (Luis Saez), Mendelssohn (Ryan Moore), My Boy Jack (Kent Desormeaux), Noble Indy (Florent Geroux), Promises Fulfilled (Corey Lanerie), Solomini (Flavien Prat), Vino Rosso (John Velazquez).
Possible starters within the Top 20 on the preference list: Combatant (TBA).
Next up in order of preference: Blended Citizen (Kyle Frey), Dream Baby Dream (TBA), Restoring Hope (TBA), Sporting Chance (TBA), Givemeaminit (TBA) and Pony Up (TBA).
KENTUCKY OAKS PROBABLES -- Blamed (jockey Ken Tohill), Chocolate Martini (TBA), Classy Act (TBA), Coach Rocks (Luis Saez), Eskimo Kisses (TBA), Midnight Bisou (TBA), Monomoy Girl (Florent Geroux), My Miss Lilly (Joe Bravo), Patrona Margarita (TBA), Rayya (Drayden Van Dyke), Sassy Sienna (Gary Stevens), Take Charge Paula (Jose Ortiz), Wonder Gadot (John Velazquez).
Possible Starters within the Top 14 on the preference list: Amy’s Challenge (TBA).
Next up in order of preference: Red Ruby (TBA), Exuberance (TBA), Heavenhasmynikki (TBA), Kelly’s Humor (TBA).
PROSPECTIVE FIELDS FOR UPCOMING STAKES
$100,000 KENTUCKY JUVENILE (Entries taken Saturday, race Thursday, May 3) – Probable: Baytown Macca, Blazin Liason, Boucan, Inda Zone, Myhotrodlincoln, Shanghaied Roo
$70,000 OPENING VERSE OVERNIGHT STAKES (Entries taken Saturday, race Thursday May 3) – Probable: Dimension (GB), First Premio, Mr Cub, Royal Son, Royal Squeeze, Serjeant at Arms (IND), Shakhimat, Swagger Jagger, Trust Factor
$400,000 ALYSHEBA (GII) (Entries taken Monday, April 30, race Friday, May 4) – Probable: Always Dreaming, Backyard Heaven, Goats Town, Hence
$350,000 LA TROIENNE PRESENTED BY TWINSPIRES.COM (GI) (Entries taken Monday, April 30, race Friday, May 4) – Probable: Abel Tasman, Martini Glass, Streamline. Possible: Ivy Bell, Salty
$200,000 EDGEWOOD PRESENTED BY FORCHT BANK (GIII) (Entries taken Monday, race Friday, May 4) – Probable: Altea (FR), Beyond Blame, Bo Peep, Daddy Is a Legend, Heavenly Love, Kabella, Rushing Fall, Toinette
$200,000 EIGHT BELLES PRESENTED BY KENTUCKY TRAILER (GII) (Entries taken Monday, race Friday, May 4) – Probable: Gas Station Sushi, Hold Her Tight, Kram, Mia Mischief, Salt Bae, Shamrock Rose, Talk Veuve to Me
$200,000 TWIN SPIRES TURF SPRINT (GIII) (Entries taken Monday, race Friday, May 4) – Probable: Bucchero, Chief Cicatriz, Flashaway, Frisky Magician, Imprimis, Kid Perfect, Latent Revenge, Restless Rambler, Riser, Vision Perfect
$500,000 OLD FORESTER TURF CLASSIC (GI) (Entries taken Tuesday, race Saturday, May 5) – Probable: Arklow, Beach Patrol, Channel Maker, Deauville (IRE), Kurilov (CHI), Shining Copper, Sir Dudley Digges, Synchrony, War Decree
$500,000 CHURCHILL DOWNS PRESENTED BY TWINSPIRES.COM (GII) (Entries taken Tuesday, race Saturday, May 5) – Probable: Imperial Hint, Limousine Liberal, McCraken, Outplay, Petrov, Unbridled Outlaw, Warrior’s Club
$300,000 AMERICAN TURF PRESENTED BY RAM TRUCKS (GII) (Entries taken Tuesday, race Saturday, May 5) – Probable: Admiralty Pier, Arawak, Channel Cat, Dragon Drew, Maraud, Ride a Comet, River Boyne (IRE), Threeandfourpence, Tigers Rule, Tiz Mischief, Untamed Domain
$300,000 HUMANA DISTAFF (GI) (Entries taken Tuesday, race Saturday, May 5) – Probable: American Gal, Finley’sluckycharm, Jordan’s Henny, Lewis Bay, Miner’s Cat, Skye Diamonds. Possible: Ivy Bell
$300,000 LONGINES DISTAFF TURF MILE (GII) (Entries taken Tuesday, race Saturday, May 5) – Probable: Juno (BRZ), La Coronel, Madam Dancealot (IRE), Madame Stripes (ARG), On Leave, Psycho Sister, Res Ipsa, Union Strike
$300,000 PAT DAY MILE PRESENTED BY LG&E AND KU (GIII) (Entries taken Tuesday, race Saturday, May 5) – Probable: Believe in Royalty, Givemeaminit, Greyvitos, Lombo, Madison’s Luna, Mask, Mississippi, National Flag, New York Central, Seahenge, Shane Zain, Smart Remark, Title Ready
Churchill Downs release edited by Dick Downey