In a move akin to that of Animal Kingdom a year ago, Team Valor International and Mark Ford’s Went the Day Well breezed in wet, rainy conditions at Keeneland April 21, two weeks prior to his scheduled start in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Team Valor-owned Animal Kingdom worked in similar conditions for Motion at Keeneland two weeks before the Derby last year and then went on to win the Run for the Roses. Both horses also won the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (gr. III) on Polytrack at Turfway Park in their final Derby preps.
“He did it easily; it was a nice work,” Motion said. “I like the fact he is a little laid-back about his work. He is still a little green.”
Motion said he wanted Velazquez, who had worked other horses at Churchill Downs earlier the morning of April 21, aboard because “he is not a real flashy work horse.” It was the first time Velazquez, who rode Went The Day Well for the first time in the Spiral, had been aboard for a workout.
Motion said one of Went the Day Well’s best attributes is that, like Animal Kingdom, he is well suited for the Derby distance. “The similarities are that the both can handle the mile and a quarter,” Motion said. “I know this horse can handle the distance.”
Velazquez said the colt continues to want to let up on his intensity level when he gets even with another horse, as he did in the workout, and that he has to encourage Went the Day Well to dig in at that point.
“After the wire, I asked him to do a little more to get away from the other horse (Crimson China),” the jockey said. “When he got next to the other horse he was just galloping and content to be next to the other horse and not doing enough.”
Bred in New York by the Estate of Austin Delaney, Went the Day Well has two wins and two seconds from five starts, with earnings of $315,345. He began his career in Great Britain, placing second twice on turf, before returning to the U.S. for his 2012 campaign. Fourth in his American debut at 1 1/8 miles, the colt broke his maiden when going 1 1/16 miles on the main dirt track at Gulfstream Park March 3.
“I feel really good about running this horse in the race,” Motion said. “He is a really improving horse and I think he belongs in the race.”