Southwest Stakes winner Teuflesberg showed Sunday why trainer Jamie Sanders is optimistic about the colt’s chances in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) when he worked five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 over a fast track.
Sanders, who decided Saturday to skip the Derby Trial in hopes that her horse would be able to get into the Derby, was aboard for the workout.
“He went very easily, very in hand,” Sanders said. “In fact, he tried to run off with me after the work. He was just bouncing around and happy with himself.”
Teuflesberg currently ranks 21st on the graded earnings preference list that will determine the final Derby starting field of 20. In order for the Johannesburg colt to be part of the field, a horse with more graded earnings would need to drop out of contention before entries are taken Wednesday.
Sanders reiterated her position that with 15 starts, with four wins and three placings, Teuflesberg is one of the most seasoned horses being considered for the Derby and therefore belongs in the field.
“Every time he runs, he doesn’t disappoint. If he has run a couple of bad races, something terrible has happened either before the race or after the race. So you just have to throw that one out and go on to the next one. We think his best effort is still in store and if we get the opportunity to run in the Derby, he is going to put in that effort.”
In addition to his Southwest win, this year Teuflesberg finished third in the LeComte and the Rebel Stakes, both grade III races. As a 2-year-old, he won the Sugar Bowl Handicap at Fair Grounds and finished second in the Sanford (gr. II) at Saratoga.
Sanders said her decision to take a chance on getting into Derby was based on the horse’s ability and not a desire by her and co-owners Gary Logsdon and Donnie Kelly to be part of the Derby fray.
“If we didn’t think he had a really good shot with horse and didn’t think he belonged, we wouldn’t put him in the race,” Sanders said of herself and. “We are not the kind of people who want to see our name in the program. We just want the horse to have the opportunity.”