Sterling Racing's Black Onyx, winner of the recent Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Racing Spiral Stakes (gr. III), arrived at Churchill Downs March 27 and became this year's first contender for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) to be stabled at the Louisville oval.
Black Onyx, ranked fourth on the leaderboard based on Churchill's new Derby qualifying points system, passed through the Churchill Downs stable gate at 9:30 a.m. EDT after vanning from Turfway Park, where he won the Spiral March 23 by 1 1/2 lengths at odds of 15-1. The Kelly Breen-trained colt earned 50 points with his first graded stakes win, which likely assures him a spot in the Derby starting gate.
The dark bay or brown son of Rock Hard Ten arrived in good order and was bedded down in Stall 12 of Barn 41. Breen's assistant, Phil Threewitt, nephew of the late legendary trainer Noble Threewitt, traveled with the colt along with groom Jose Orantes and an exercise rider.
"He shipped well and he's doing well," Threewitt said. "We love him. He's a neat horse. We've only had him for his last two starts and he's won both times."
Black Onyx, who originally was trained by Carl Domino, was transferred to Breen's barn following his third start. Breen, who was not in attendance at the Spiral, said via text that he was unsure when he would join Black Onyx in Louisville. Serious training plans have not been finalized, but Threewitt said he expects Black Onyx to visit the Churchill Downs oval for the first time the morning of March 28 for light training.
The Kentucky Derby will be staged for the 139th consecutive year May 4.