Kentucky Derby Notes -- Thursday, April 22
by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: 4/22/2004 10:08:27 PM
Last Updated: 4/22/2004 10:13:45 PM

Edited from Derby Notes Team release

ACTION THIS DAY/MINISTER ERIC/HALFBRIDLED -- The rare sight of two Eclipse Award winners working together highlighted a rainy morning at Churchill Downs.

Trainer Richard Mandella sent his two juvenile champions from 2003 out for six-furlong works after the renovation break. With Pat Day on Action This Day and Paul Nilluang on Halfbridled, the duo worked in 1:12.40 over a track labeled "sloppy."

Fractions for the work were :12.20, :24.20, :35.80, :47.20 and :50.40. Action This Day galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25.80 and Halfbridled in 1:26.

"There was no winner; a dead heat," Mandella said of the works.

"They both needed a work and they were the only two I had to work together. They get a little more out of it (working together). They had not worked since the Blue Grass and the Beaumont (April 10 and 8, respectively) and both needed a good work this week. He needed a little more than her and galloped out a little stronger than she did on purpose.

"It worked out pretty well. They are not at home and working by themselves, I was afraid they might be distracted. I feel very good about the work. They both went great. Obviously they were very strong times and we will make sure they come out good in the morning and away we go."

Day, who will ride Mandella trainee Minister Eric in Derby 130, was on Action This Day for the first time.

"Pat's an old friend and I needed somebody to work for a team,"

Mandella said. "I have only one boy here, and rather than ask somebody to help that I didn't know, he did me a favor that I am very thankful for."

Winless since his championship clinching triumph in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) in October, Action This Day will be partnered in the Derby by regular rider David Flores.

"Action This Day was a little sore in his back after the Blue Grass, and we have done some work on him chiropractically and therapeutically," Mandella said. "He has responded very well, and his work today showed he is in pretty good shape. Obviously, tomorrow will tell us whether we have gotten rid of it or not. Hopefully it won't be there in the morning."

Minister Eric galloped a mile and a quarter with Nilluang up before the renovation break.

Mandella was asked if he was disappointed that he would not be making a Derby run with Halfbridled.

"I wouldn't mind winning the Oaks, believe me," Mandella said. "Had she come back and been as flawless as she was last year, I would have thought seriously about the Derby. But we have had a few bumps in the road. We are not quite where we were last year, so we will go a little more conservative, which may not be conservative. The fillies might be tougher than the colts anyway. That's a pretty great bunch of fillies."

BIRDSTONE/THE CLIFF'S EDGE -- Marylou Whitney's Birdstone was the first of trainer Nick Zito's two hopefuls to the track Thursday, galloping a mile and a half under exercise rider Maxine Correa. The Grindstone colt came off the track full of energy, much to the delight of Zito, who plans to work Birdstone on Saturday. "When they get right at the right time, watch out," Zito said. The Cliff's Edge, scheduled for a Monday work, galloped a mile and a quarter with Correa up, also before the renovation break. With graded stakes winners Birdstone and The Cliff's Edge as well as Eurosilver earmarked for the Derby trail since last fall, it has been a long haul to the first Saturday in May for Zito.

"I feel like Tom Hanks in 'Cast Away,'" Zito said. "But at least I get bread and water every day."

BORREGO -- With exercise rider Andy Durnin up, graded stakes-placed Borrego galloped a mile and a half after the renovation break.

For trainer and part owner Beau Greely, Borrego will be his initial Kentucky Derby starter. Greely was here last year with Go For Glamour for the Oaks and Century City for the Woodford Reserve (gr. IT). Greely, 32, thought he may have a Derby horse at the end of last year.

"It kind of hit us the first time when he won on the dirt and we were offered over a million dollars for him," Greely said. "I thought 'Yes, he might have run pretty good.' That's when it hit me. He had never run in a stake on the dirt; it was just an allowance race. We liked him enough not to sell him."

Borrego is scheduled to work five furlongs on Sunday.

EDDINGTON -- Willmott Stables' Eddington continues to train at Belmont Park for a possible run in the Kentucky Derby. Trainer Mark Hennig said the Unbridled colt would work either Saturday or Sunday depending on the weather. If he gets in the Derby, he will ship to Churchill Downs on Wednesday, April 28.

Eddington worked a half-mile in :46.60 on April 18 at Belmont in his first breeze since finishing third in the Wood Memorial. Hennig said that Eddington has been training well since the Wood and if the colt had enough graded earnings to make the Derby field, there was no reason not to run in the Derby.

FRIENDS LAKE -- Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Friends Lake paid his first visit to the Churchill Downs racing surface, galloping a mile and three-eighths under exercise rider Amanda Roxborough after the renovation break.

"He had a good first day here," said trainer John Kimmel, of the colt who arrived at Churchill Downs at 9:30 Wednesday morning. "He looked around at all the things he had not seen before and then walked back through the barn area and ate some grass."

Kimmel has a Saturday work penciled in on Friends Lake's schedule, but it could be pushed back a day if the rainy weather persists in Louisville.

"We have a day window that we can work with," Kimmel said of the five-eighths work.

IMPERIALISM -- Trainer Kristin Mulhall had Imperialism on the track at 5:25 before the rains came to work six furlongs in 1:17.40.

"He works better in company and that's why I let him gallop out to the kitchen because I know how slow I went so he got a little out of it," Mulhall said. "I do that all the time if I feel I went too slow. I basically stood up on him at the eighth pole and let him gallop around. "I wasn't expecting a horse to drop in on me. At the five-eighths pole, a horse came in about four lengths in front of me and I took him to the outside when they dropped in and I took him about 12 lengths back."

Mulhall said Imperialism would walk in the morning and then jog the next two days with the colt's final Derby prep being a three-eighths blowout on Wednesday.

LIMEHOUSE/POLLARD'S VISION -- Trainer Todd Pletcher's Derby duo remained on schedule with mile and a half gallops before the renovation break.

Michelle Nihei was on Limehouse and Patti Krotenko on Pollard's Vision. Works for the two are scheduled for Sunday.

LION HEART -- Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor's Lion Heart jogged in trainer Patrick Biancone's barn at Keeneland.

"I did not want to take him out and get him wet," Biancone said of the decision to stay under cover Thursday.

MASTER DAVID -- Georgica Stables, Stephen Mack and Andrew Rosen's Master David had an easy morning for trainer Bobby Frankel. The winner of the Sham Stakes jogged a mile on the outside rail under exercise rider Jose Cuevas.

It was the first trip to the track since the 3-year-old worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 on Tuesday, April 20.

PREACHINATTHEBAR/WIMBLEDON -- Trainer Bob Baffert pulled Mike Pegram's Preachinatthebar from consideration for the 130th Kentucky Derby following a Thursday workout at Churchill Downs that he deemed less than satisfactory.

The winner of the San Felipe (gr. II), breezed six furlongs over a "sloppy" track under exercise rider Dana Barnes in 1:14.80, covering the distance in fractions of :13, :26, :38.40. 50:20 and 1:02.40. He galloped seven furlongs in 1:28. Preachinatthebar was outfitted with blinkers for the work after he had breezed without that equipment when he traveled in company with Baffert-trained stablemate Wimbledon on Saturday. But Baffert felt that he colt struggled over a track that he described as "deep" and "pretty demanding" and later decided that Preachinatthebar was not training well enough to continue along the road to the Derby.

"He worked OK, but it wasn't what I wanted to see," Baffert said. "I wanted to see a little bit more. His last work was just so-so. It was better today, but not enough to convince me that he's got a shot to win the Derby."

Baffert said Preachinatthebar was not working as well as he had prior to his win in the San Felipe on March 14. He followed that race with a disappointing seventh-place finish in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), a race in which he was beaten more than 30 lengths.

"Mike's (owner Mike Pegram) a pretty competitive guy and he didn't want to run him (in the Derby) just to run him," said Baffert. "If we march one up there, we want a chance to win it. I wasn't seeing that from him since we've been training here."

While Preachinatthebar is off the Kentucky Derby trail, Baffert would not rule out an appearance by the gray colt later in the Visa Triple Crown.

"Physically, he's fantastic," said Baffert. "He could make the next leg (the Preakness at Pimlico on May 15), but he's got to turn it around."

Preachinatthebar has a career record of 2-0-2 in eight races with earnings of $201,588.

Baffert's remaining Kentucky Derby hopeful, James McIngvale's Wimbledon, galloped on Thursday under exercise rider Mick Jenner. "He's doing great," said Baffert.

PRO PRADO -- With jockey John McKee up, Mrs. James A. Winn's Pro Prado worked six furlongs in 1:13.40 after the renovation break.

"I had him galloping out in 1:27. I am very happy with it," trainer Robert Holthus said. "If we get in, we get in. If not, we will try to get in the Preakness. He had to get a pretty good work under him. If we don't get in the Derby, we will probably work Derby morning or maybe wait a day or two after that."

Pro Prado would need a couple of defections from the current list of Derby hopefuls to be among the top 20 graded money earners.

QUINTONS GOLD RUSH -- Padua Stable's Quintons Gold Rush had an easy morning in his second day on the racetrack following Saturday's victory in the Coolmore Lexington (gr. II) at Keeneland. The colt stood in the starting gate and galloped a mile over a "sloppy" track for trainer Steve Asmussen. Assistant trainer Scott Blasi, who was in the saddle for the gallop, said Quintons Gold Rush would work on Monday or Tuesday of Derby Week.

"He doesn't need much," said Blasi.

READ THE FOOTNOTES -- Klaravich Stables' Read the Footnotes returned to the track at Palm Meadows to jog a day after working five furlongs in :59.60.

"He was doing so super I took him out to stretch his legs," trainer Richard Violette said. Depending on what time he leaves tomorrow, he may jog again in the morning."

The Fountain of Youth (gr. II) winner is scheduled to arrive in Louisville Friday afternoon.

ROCK HARD TEN -- Trainer Jason Orman entered Rock Hard Ten in the Derby Trial (gr. III) after the colt galloped a mile under exercise rider John Byrne after the renovation break.

Rock Hard Ten would need several defections from the ranks of Derby hopefuls to crack the top 20 graded money earners.

"If he goes in the Trial, I would try to go back to California for four days and then start training here for the Preakness," said Orman, who has been in Louisville since April 9. "If he doesn't go in the Trial, he would work five-eighths on Monday."

SINISTER G -- A cough forced the juggling of the training schedule for Sinister G at Belmont Park.

"It is touch and go right now," trainer John Toscano said. "He just jogged this morning and he coughed once coming back. We have him on antibiotics now and we will have to play the next couple days by ear. It is drizzling a bit here and it is cold and damp."

Sinister G is scheduled to work Saturday and ship Wednesday. "I might have to delay it (the work)," Toscano said. And when is the latest the colt could work and make the Derby? "He has to work by Monday."

SMARTY JONES -- Trainer John Servis had the undefeated Smarty Jones gallop a mile and seven-eighths on the training track at Keeneland under exercise rider Pete Van Trump.

"I didn't like the main track," Servis said of his use of the training track.

Smarty Jones arrived at Churchill Downs shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday.

Servis said the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner would gallop Friday and work five furlongs Saturday or Sunday depending on the weather. The colt is scheduled to school at the gate Wednesday and Friday and in the paddock Thursday.

SONG OF THE SWORD -- Paraneck Stable's Song of the Sword jogged two miles at Keeneland under exercise rider Kevin Grau. Trainer Jennifer Pedersen said the colt would train up to the Derby on long gallops and that she would not ship to Churchill Downs until Wednesday if Song of the Sword makes the field. If Song of the Sword runs, Norberto Arroyo would have the mount.

TAPIT -- Ronald Winchell's Wood Memorial (GI) hero Tapit came out of his five-furlong work of 1:00.60 on Wednesday in good shape according to officials at Tapeta Farm. The colt is scheduled to ship to Louisville on Wednesday of next week.

TRICKY TABOO - Lane's End (GII) runner-up Tricky Taboo has been eliminated from Kentucky Derby consideration after a nuclear scan Monday detected a minor injury to his left cannon bone.

"I hate missing the Triple Crown as much as anyone but my priority is with the horse," trainer Ed Frederick said Thursday afternoon. "He was going to be the longest shot in the race. This horse still has some conditions left and in 60 days he is going to come roaring back and we think he can be one of the better 3-year-olds in the country."

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