Tracy Farmer's Sun King and Mary and Gary West's High Limit turned in strong works Monday at Churchill Downs in preparation for Saturday's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.
The two horses were on the track within seconds of each other just after the break for track maintenance. Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner High Limit went first and breezed five furlongs in :59.40, and then Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) winner Sun King followed with a five furlong breeze in 1:00.80.
Jockey Joe Deegan was in the irons aboard High Limit as the son of Maria's Mon
worked in fractions of :24.40, :36.40 and :48.40 before he completed his final furlong in a swift :11. The five furlong time by the Bobby Frankel-trained colt ranked second of 38 at the distance and the colt galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.
"He went a little quick, but I think the track was a little quick this morning," said Frankel. "We'll see what he's made of this weekend."
Sun King worked five furlongs in the company of a stablemate. The Nick Zito-trained son of 1999 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Charismatic broke off about three lengths behind his workmate, but started to gain ground on the turn under exercise rider Maxine Correa and easily blew past his stablemate in mid-stretch.
Zito's colt turned in fractional times of :24:40, :36.20, and :47.40 in a move that ranked 12th among 38 at the distance.
"He's doing well," said Zito. "He works very, very even, which is a great attribute that he's got. You've got to put together those times and I like what he's doing right now."
Zito was happy with the way Sun King, whom his trainer affectionately refers to as either "Captain King" or "Elvis," comfortably tracked his workmate before Correa asked him for some run in the stretch.
"She never pushed him until the last eighth," said Zito. "He responded and it was a nice work."
Four of Zito's five Kentucky Derby contenders are now based at Churchill Downs. Live Oak Plantation's High Fly and My Meadowview Farm's Noble Causeway, the 1-2 finishers in the Florida Derby (gr. I) are stabled there, along with Sun King. Kinsman Stable's Bellamy Road, the winner of Saturday's Wood Memorial (gr. I), is scheduled to return to Churchill Downs from Aqueduct on Tuesday.
His fifth Derby hopeful, Andromeda's Hero, is training at Keeneland and will run this weekend in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park.
Kentucky Derby contender Wild Desert also worked Tuesday at Churchill Downs in preparation for a run in Saturday's Arkansas Derby. The son of Wild Rush breezed five furlongs in :47.40, the fifth fastest move of 44 at the distance.