(Essential Quality / Photos by Coady Photography)
From the Churchill Downs Media Team:
Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Midnight Bourbon worked five furlongs in 1:02.40 over a fast track at Churchill Downs while earlier at Parx, Mark Schwartz’s Brooklyn Strongworked five furlongs in 1:00.92 to punch his ticket to Louisville for Kentucky Derby 147 for trainer Danny Velazquez.
Later Monday morning, a field of 14 3-year-old fillies were entered for Friday’s 147th running of the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI).
BOURBONIC, DYNAMIC ONE, KNOWN AGENDA, SAINTHOOD – Trainer Todd Pletcher’s Derby four-bagger was swinging for the fences Monday morning at Churchill Downs as they continued their preparation for this coming Saturday’s big game known as Kentucky Derby 147.
Each of the well-bred youngsters galloped approximately a mile and a quarter on a sunny Kentucky morning and they all earned a thumbs up from Pletcher after they reported back to his Barn 42 on the track’s backside.
Heading out first at the start of the 7:30 – 7:45 a.m. special training period for Derby and Oaks contenders were Florida Derby (GI) winner Known Agenda (with exercise rider Carlos Perez Quevuedo aboard) and New York’s Wood Memorial (GII) runner-up Dynamic One (with Hector Ramos in the tack). They were followed at 7:50 by Wood Memorial winner Bourbonic (Ramos) and Turfway Park’s Jeff Ruby Steaks (GIII) runner-upSainthood (with Amelia Green up).
The colts were likely to follow a similar pattern for the rest of the week with possible side trips to the starting gate and paddock mixed in, Pletcher said.
“So far, so good,” he said.
BROOKLYN STRONG – Mark Schwartz’s Brooklyn Strong passed the last hurdle and is now Kentucky Derby bound after working five furlongs in 100.92 at Parx Monday. He will depart his Bensalem, Pennsylvania base at 6 p.m. Monday and is expected at Churchill by 6 a.m. Tuesday.
“It was perfect,” trainer Danny Velazquez said. “I’d like to say it went just as planned, but none of this has been planned. We’re excited. He worked great. Cooled out great. He’ll have all day to relax before he leaves.”
Brooklyn Strong, who ended 2020 by winning the Remsen Stakes (GII) at Aqueduct, will be making only his second start of 2021. He was most recently fifth in the Wood Memorial April 3 in his debut.
ESSENTIAL QUALITY, MANDALOUN – Trainer Brad Cox’s Derby-duo of Godolphin’s Essential Quality and Juddmonte Farm’s Mandaloun had a spirited jog Monday morning at Churchill Downs.
“Both horses came out of their Saturday works great and we’re just doing our normal routine leading into race day,” Cox said. “They’ll both gallop Tuesday and we’ll just make sure they’re happy until Derby Day.”
HELIUM, SOUP AND SANDWICH – D J Stable’s Helium and Live Oak Plantation’s homebred Soup and Sandwich both schooled at the starting gate and galloped 1 ½ miles over the track Monday morning, with the former looking particularly strong for trainer Mark Casse. Assistant trainer David Carroll was happy with how the morning went, even though both colts may go about it in different ways.
“That’s who Helium is; he likes to train and he’s fresh and on the muscle,” Carroll said. “Soup and Sandwich, you really only see that from him when he breezes. But they are both doing great, they schooled beautifully at the gate, and now we’re just hopeful we’ll get some luck at the draw (Tuesday).”
HIDDEN STASH – BBN Racing’s Hidden Stash galloped a mile and a half with trainer Vicki Oliver aboard early Monday morning at Keeneland.
A similar activity is planned for 5:30 Tuesday morning before Hidden Stash vans to Churchill Downs.
(Highly Motivated / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
HIGHLY MOTIVATED – Klaravich Stables’ Highly Motivated went back to the track for the first time since his final Derby workout Saturday morning for trainer Chad Brown, jogging under exercise rider Peter Roman.
“I gave him a jog all the way around with the pony, just to see how he was moving and stretching himself out,” Brown said. “I’m really happy with how he looked and he’s going to go back to galloping tomorrow. I’ll do a little paddock schooling one of the days and we’ll be in good shape.”
HOT ROD CHARLIE – The TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (GII) winner and racing millionaire Hot Rod Charlie got his first feel for the Churchill Downs racing strip Monday morning by going through a handy one-mile jog with exercise rider Jonny Garcia in the tack during the 7:30 – 7:45 training period for Derby and Oaks runners.
Trainer Doug O’Neill, already a two-time Kentucky Derby winner (I’ll Have Another in 2012 and Nyquistin 2016) was a most-interested observer as his charge went through his paces.
“We both shipped well Sunday,” the ebullient O’Neill offered. “I always ship well.”
“Charlie” seemed more than ready to take on his assignment Monday, but he had to go some to outdo his pony, the Hall of Famer Lava Man, who accompanied the sophomore on his journey east and acted like a young boy (despite his 20 years) as he led the way to the racetrack.
Lava Man, the world’s greatest claim ($50,000 that parlayed into more than $5.2 million), attempted retirement a bunch of years back, but was so unhappy with pasture life that he was returned to the racetrack. He has flourished in his new role schooling the youngsters and has earned the nickname “Coach” from the folks at the O’Neill barn.
O’Neill indicated that Hot Rod Charlie would jog again Tuesday, then gallop up to Saturday’s $3 million Run for the Roses.
KEEPMEINMIND – Keepmeinmind, who broke his maiden last fall at Churchill Downs in the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII), schooled in the gate and then galloped 1 1/2 miles Monday at 7:30 a.m.
Trainer Robertino Diodoro, who arrives in Louisville Monday evening, said Keepmeinmind schooled without blinkers and will be entered Tuesday without blinkers.
KING FURY – Fern Circle Stables and Three Chimneys Farm’s King Fury was out on the track Monday morning during the period reserved for Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses. With exercise rider Lalo Jose Quirozaboard, King Fury followed up on Saturday’s work with a jog and a gallop.
“Uncomplicated,” said trainer Kenny McPeek after King Fury and Oaks contender Crazy Beautiful came off the track. “Coming off the work, I jogged them a mile and galloped them a mile. This is a typical routine, we’re not going to change anything from what we would do for any other race.”
LIKE THE KING – M Racing Group’s Like the King galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Jose Hernandez Monday morning at Keeneland for trainer Wesley Ward.
A similar activity is scheduled for Tuesday morning at 6 o’clock before Like the King vans to Churchill Downs.
Ward said he probably would be at the post position draw scheduled at 11 a.m. in the Aristides Lounge at Churchill Downs.
(Medina Spirit / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
MEDINA SPIRIT – Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert made his first appearance at Churchill Downs since winning the rescheduled Kentucky Derby last September with Authentic on Monday. He arrived at the barn shortly after watching his 2021 Derby prospect Medina Spirit gallop 1 3/8 miles from the Grandstand.
“I was hoping to enjoy my Derby win a little longer, but it’s always great to be back at Churchill Downs,”Baffert said. “I love coming here. It looked like we were coming with something really live a couple of months ago. (Life Is Good) looked really strong, but that’s part of the business.
“I think we’re here with a horse that’s in the top 10. I usually like to come in with a top five type horse. He’s top 10. He shows up every time. He’s run second to some really nice horses. He’s doing well over this track.”
Medina Spirit trained at the 7:30 a.m. time allotted for Kentucky Oaks and Derby horses along with stablemateConcert Tour. Although Concert Tour has the points needed to run on virtue of his win in the Rebel Stakes (GII) and third in the Arkansas Derby (GI), Baffert said he would not be entered Tuesday and is instead being pointed toward the Preakness Stakes.
MIDNIGHT BOURBON, SUPER STOCK – Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Midnight Bourbon, in what will likely be the last major workout from the 20 prospective Derby starters, went five furlongs in 1:02.40 under exercise rider Wilson Fabian. The son of Tiznow posted splits of 24.40 and 49.60 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:16.20.
“I’m very happy with how he went,” Asmussen said. “We got exactly what we wanted and he continues to do very well.”
Erv Woolsey’s and Asmussen’s father Keith’s Super Stock went back to the track for the first time since his final Derby breeze Saturday morning and jogged one-mile alongside assistant trainer Scott Blasi aboard the pony.
O BESOS – Bernard Racing, Tagg Team Racing, West Point Thoroughbreds and Terry L. Stephens’ O Besos galloped about 1 ½ miles under Margarito Fierro for trainer Greg Foley.
“We’ll probably school him in the paddock at some point this week and be ready for Saturday,” Foley said.
ROCK YOUR WORLD – Trainer John Sadler and the 3-year-old colt Rock Your World shipped from California to Louisville Sunday and both went trackside Monday morning for the special 7:30 – 7:45 training period for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks runners.
Rock Your World, an undefeated son of Candy Ride, just stretched his legs for the first time at Churchill Downs in an easy one-mile jog around the big oval with exercise rider Javier Meza in the boot. The tall, dark youngster was a picture as he went through his paces in professional fashion.
“I’ll gallop him the rest of the week, then just walk him on race day,” Sadler said.
Rock Your World is owned by Sadler’s chief clients, Californian brothers Kosta and Pete Hronis, along with their partner, David Talla. He was a $650,000 Keeneland yearling purchase who clicked in his first race on New Year’s Day at Santa Anita on the grass, then followed that up with a further tally on the turf in the listed Pasadena Stakes over the same course on Feb. 27.
The connections were encouraged enough by their colt’s abilities to throw him into the deep end of the pool in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 3 and were promptly rewarded with a 4 ¼-length triumph in front-running fashion over nine furlongs on dirt. Shortly thereafter, they went from the deep end of the pool to ocean swimming by putting his name on the list for Kentucky Derby 147.
California-based Umberto Rispoli had been aboard Rock Your World for his two California stakes scores, but when Sadler favorite Joel Rosario came open for the Run for the Roses the switch was made.
Rock Your World will be one of the favorites for the 10-furlong classic this Saturday.
SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY DERBY – Likely starters in the 147th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/4 miles on Saturday, May 1 in order of preference (with possible jockey and trainer): Essential Quality (Luis Saez, Brad Cox); Hot Rod Charlie (Flavien Prat, Doug O’Neill); Super Stock (Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen); Like the King(Drayden Van Dyke, Wesley Ward); Known Agenda (Irad Ortiz Jr., Todd Pletcher); Rock Your World (Joel Rosario, John Sadler); Bourbonic (Kendrick Carmouche, Todd Pletcher); Medina Spirit (John Velazquez, Bob Baffert); Midnight Bourbon (Mike Smith, Steve Asmussen); Mandaloun (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox); Highly Motivated (Javier Castellano, Chad Brown); Helium (Julien Leparoux, Mark Casse); Soup and Sandwich (Tyler Gaffalione, Mark Casse); Dynamic One (Jose Ortiz, Todd Pletcher); Sainthood (Corey Lanerie, Todd Pletcher);Hidden Stash (Rafael Bejarano, Vicki Oliver); O Besos (Marcelino Pedroza, Greg Foley); King Fury (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek); Keepmeinmind (David Cohen, Robertino Diodoro); Brooklyn Strong(Umberto Rispoli, Danny Velazquez).
STAKES PROBABLES – The following are the early probable stakes race entrants for Kentucky Derby Day, according to assistant racing secretary and stakes coordinator Dan Bork:
The 30th running of the $500,000 American Turf presented by Derby City Gaming (Grade II), run on Saturday, May 1 at 1 1/16 miles on turf, entries close Tuesday, April 27: Fire At Will (Mike Maker); Holy Vow (John Ortiz); Lucky Law (Patrick Biancone); Palazzi (Mark Casse); Winfromwithin (Todd Pletcher).
The 97th running of the $500,000 Pat Day Mile presented by LG&E and KU, run on Saturday, May 1 at one mile, entries close Tuesday, April 27: Excellent Timing (Chad Brown); Gretzky the Great (Mark Casse); Jackie’s Warrior (Steve Asmussen); Prevalence (Brendan Walsh); Whiskey Double (Steve Asmussen). Possible: Dream Shake (Peter Eurton); Dreamer’s Disease (Robertino Diodoro).
The 36th running of the $500,000 Longines Distaff Turf Mile (Grade II), run on Saturday, May 1 at one mile on turf, entries close Tuesday, April 27: Abscond (Eddie Kenneally); Blowout (Chad Brown); Got Stormy (Mark Casse).
The 35th running of the $500,000 Derby City Distaff presented by Kendall-Jackson Winery (Grade I), run on Saturday, May 1 at seven furlongs, entries close Tuesday, April 27: Bell’s the One (Neil Pessin); Gamine (Bob Baffert), Sconsin (Greg Foley). Possible: Finite (Steve Asmussen); Hibiscus Punch (Justin Nixon).
The 86th running of the $500,000 Churchill Downs presented by Ford (Grade I), run on Saturday, May 1 at seven furlongs, entries close Tuesday, April 27: Bango (Greg Foley); Hog Creek Hustle (Vickie Foley); Lexitonian(Jack Sisterson); Phat Man (Kent Sweezey); Mind Control (Gregg Sacco); Tap It To Win (Mark Casse).
The 35th running of the $1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (Grade I), run on Saturday, May 1 at 1 1/8 miles on turf, entries close Tuesday, April 27: Colonel Liam (Todd Pletcher); Digital Age (Chad Brown); Ivar (BRZ) (Paolo Lobo); Masteroffoxhounds (Richard Baltas); Ride a Comet (Mark Casse); Smooth Like Strait(Michael McCarthy). Possible: Flavius (Chad Brown), Spooky Channel (Brian Lynch).
RY’S THE GUY READY TO ATTEMPT REPEAT IN ISAAC MURPHY MARATHON – Trainer Ian Wilkes decided that Tuesday’s third running of the $130,000 Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight Stakes was the perfect spot for Lothenbach Stables’ Ry’s the Guy to end his nearly six-month break from racing.
Last year, as a 4-year-old, Ry’s the Guy was a front-running, 4 ¾-length winner of the Champions Day 1 ½-mile feature. Now, he’ll try to repeat that effort, in the feature on the rechristened “Champions for Change” program that kicks off the five days of Derby Week racing.
“It’s not an easy assignment, going a mile-and-a-half off off a layoff,” said Wilkes. “But I think he just likes that sort of race.”
The last time Ry’s the Guy competed was last Nov. 6, in the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (GII) atKeeneland, where he finished last in a field of 14.
“I was going to run him at Keeneland, but then I saw the overnight stake here,” Wilkes said of the race, which drew a field of eight older horses. “Since it was the race he won last year, I thought it would be a good spot.”
The day’s feature race was renamed to honor Murphy, a legendary rider and native Kentuckian, and to celebrate the role that Black horse people have played in thoroughbred racing. It also serves as a signal of an industrywide commitment to increase diversity and inclusivity in the sport. Champions for Change also will feature partner organizations with missions that support equitable opportunities in racing.
“I’m very satisfied with the way he’s trained,” Wilkes said of the son of Distorted Humor. “He’s very easy to train, and does things well. He’s pretty well push-button, as far as training goes.”
Regular rider Chris Landeros will be aboard Ry’s the Guy, who starts from the No. five post position.
The major obstacle to Ry’s the Guy could be Flying P Stable’s Lone Rock, who is the 8-5 morning line favorite.
Trained by Robertino Diodoro, Lone Rock romped to a 6 ¾-length victory at the Marathon distance April 11 at Oaklawn Park and has won two of three starts this year.
“He is doing really good and he worked well here Tuesday (a half-mile in :49),” Diodoro said. “And the purse increase (by $10,000 announced Thursday), that’s a nice boost.”
Ramon Vazquez, who was aboard for the first time in the April 11 victory, retains the mount Tuesday.
The 1 ½-mile main track test will go as the eighth race on Tuesday afternoon’s nine-race program with a 4:22 p.m. (all times Eastern) post time. First post is 12:45 p.m.
KENTUCKY DERBY, OAKS MORNING WORKOUTS OPEN TO PUBLIC – Though Wednesday, April 28, Churchill Downs will be open free-of-charge daily from 7-10 a.m. so guests can watch the nation’s top 3-year-old Thoroughbreds train toward their engagements in this year’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks.
Horses train on Churchill Downs’ main track daily from 5:15-10 a.m. However, there will be an exclusive training window only for Derby and Oaks participants from 7:30-7:45 a.m. following the 7-7:30 a.m. renovation break. Those horses will be identified by special saddle towels which include their names: yellow saddle towels for Derby horses and pink saddle towels for Oaks contenders.
Churchill Downs will livestream the Kentucky Derby Morning Works presented by TwinSpires.com across its social media channels. Video also will be broadcast on Churchill Downs’ Big Board.
Guests can enter Churchill Downs through the Paddock Gate and should park for free in the nearby White Lot for convenient entry. Guests will be directed to Sections 115-117 to watch the morning workouts.
Face coverings are required and guests must practice social distancing. Churchill Downs will continue to rely on proven health and safety protocols and operate within the guidance of local and state health officials as well as the CDC.
Food and beverage may not be brought into the facility through Wednesday, April 28 because of Kentucky Derby Week security protocols but Churchill Downs’ new Paddock Grill will be open during that period to offer breakfast items for purchase.