San Rafael Stakes winner Came Home, scheduled to compete April 6 in the grade I Santa Anita Derby, worked a half-mile in :48.20 the morning of April 2 in preparation for the race, co-owner John Toffan said. Meanwhile, Louisiana Derby winner Repent is galloping up to the grade II Illinois Derby to be held the same afternoon.
Toffan, who owns the Gone West colt along with Trudy McCaffery, Will Farish, and John Goodman, said Came Home is heading to the Santa Anita Derby in excellent shape. "We're ready to go," Toffan said.
During a April 2 media teleconference, Toffan was asked about the colt's pedigree, and whether he could get 1 1/8 miles in the Santa Anita Derby or 1 1/4 miles in the Kentucky Derby.
"I don't recall ever saying anything about his pedigree or about him getting the distance," Toffan said. "As far as I'm concerned, I'm not particularly worried about his pedigree. There are a lot of self-appointed pedigree experts...You look at a lot of these horses, and it just doesn't work. You can't just look at a pedigree and say, 'This guy is going to be a sprinter.' "
The distance question arose before the March 2 San Rafael, but Came Home rated nicely and easily handled the mile around two turns. He drew away to win by three lengths for trainer Paco Gonalez.
Mayakovsky, who won the grade III Gotham Stakes March 23, also worked a half-mile in :48.20 at Santa Anita April 2.
Ken McPeek, who trains Repent, said the colt needs about four weeks between races. That made the April 6 Illinois Derby at Sportsman's Park a logical choice even though the racing surface there favors speed. Sportsman's Park is seven-furlong track with tight turns and a long stretch.
"Timing is the biggest thing," McPeek said. "The long stretch is a bonus."
McPeek said Repent is "a galloper" who is "perfectly suited for the first Saturday in May." The colt's entrymate, Florida Derby winner Harlan's Holiday, is scheduled to work April 3 at Churchill Downs in preparation for the April 13 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.
McPeek has yet another top 3-year-old: the filly Take Charge Lady. She was a late nominee to the Triple Crown for $6,000, but McPeek said chances are she will not run in the Kentucky Derby.
"We nominated her for a couple of small reasons, mainly as a backup," McPeek said. "We first want to get a grade I win under her belt in the (April 6) Ashland Stakes."
McPeek said the Preakness Stakes also is an option for Take Charge Lady.