Trainer Kathleen O’Connell said she hopes the rains that fell on the Louisville, Ky. area this weekend and Monday, May 2, end in time for the May 7 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Florida-based O’Connell trains Watch Me Go, a son of West Acre who eschews muddy or sloppy tracks. The trainer sent the colt to the track at Churchill Downs to breeze early May 2 following an horrendous thunderstorm that dropped a lot of water on the track.
Watch Me Go worked five furlongs over a sloppy track in 1:02, with splits of :13,:24 4/5, :37.00, and :49 1/5.
A drenched O’Connell, who observed the workout from a clocker’s stand on the backside, said the gallop out times of 1:15 and 1:29 1/5 for six and seven furlongs, respectively, were what she was looking for and were more important than the final workout time.
“He was on the bridle. It seems like if you’re supporting him, he’s good. But in a race when you’re riding him, his head gets kind of thrown away,” O’Connell said. “I just don’t think he’s as comfortable on an ‘off’ surface. Like I say, it was sealed and it was good this morning.”
O’Connell said she wanted her colt to be one of the first horses on the track, which had been sealed to allow the water to run off, rather than working him after a lot of other horses had exercised over the oval. In his only start over a sloppy track, Watch Me Go finished fourth (after being moved up from fifth via disqualification of another horse) in the Dr. Fager division of the Florida Stallion Stakes at Calder.
“He galloped out well and that is what I was looking for,” O’Connell. “Now, I am looking for some sun on Saturday.”
A Florida homebred for Gilbert Campbell, Watch Me Go is one of the more experienced runners in the Derby field, with four wins in 10 starts and earnings of $314,345. He stamped his ticket to the Derby with a victory in the Tampa Derby (gr. II) before finishing unplaced in Illinois Derby (gr. III).