Private Vow and Storm Treasure, two Steve Asmussen-trained contenders for the May 6 Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), put a smile on their trainer's face after working in company at Churchill Downs Monday morning.
With regular jockey Shaun Bridgmohan on Private Vow, and exercise rider Carmen Rosas on Storm Treasure, both colts were timed in 1:00 1/5 for the five-eighths mile work and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13 2/5.
"They are both moving in the right direction," Asmussen said. "They both galloped out real well."
While Asmussen liked how both horses went during the exercise regimen on a cool, cloudy morning at Churchill Downs, he was particularly pleased with the effort by Private Vow, the Belmont Futurity (gr. I) winner who most recently finished third in Lawyer Ron's Arkansas Derby (gr. I) win.
"He has not worked this good all year," Asmussen said of the colt who, like Storm Treasure, is owned by Mike McCarty. "I was excited with how he went today. Is he good enough? Can he go far enough? Those are huge questions. But he sure made me think positive today."
Asmussen said he worked the speedy Private Vow in company with Storm Treasure, runner-up in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), in an effort to get the colt to become more relaxed for what is expected to be a quick early pace in the 1 1/4-mile Derby.
"Storm Treasure is an extremely laid back horse and will do anything you want," the trainer said. "He has always been very good company for Private Vow. Private Vow is a much quicker horse than Storm Treasure is, and obviously for the Derby we're needing him to settle more than he has. Private Vow has always been fast enough. We need to get him to relax and how far we're going is a big question."
Asmussen echoed the sentiment of most trainers when they have a live prospect for the Derby, noting that the race is the crown jewel of racing.
"It is the most important race in the world to me. As far as professional, I think it would be the one race you want to win above all others."
The Asmussen horses' workouts were the highlight of an otherwise slow morning on the backside. Activity is expected to pick up daily as the Derby approaches.