Kentucky Derby Notes: Monday, May 1

A daily update on the candidates for the May 6 Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.

A.P. WARRIOR - Stan Fulton's starter in the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) jogged a mile at Hollywood Park Monday morning after having worked six furlongs at the Southern California oval Sunday. His regular exercise rider, Steve Willard, was up for the leg stretching.

Trainer John Shirreffs is preparing his A.P. Indy colt to ship to Kentucky on Tuesday and wanted to take any edge off the 3-year-old prior to the move, thus the jog instead of a walk of the shedrow on Monday.

Corey Nakatani will ride A.P. Warrior in the Run for the Roses.

BARBARO - The undefeated Barbaro jogged 1 1/2 miles over the muddy Churchill Downs track Monday morning.

The Florida Derby (gr. I) champion has shown himself to be a most versatile 3-year-old while deftly handling turf, dirt and slop to triumph in all five of his lifetime races. It's a quality that gives his trainer confidence that the son of Dynaformer will handle the demands of the 1 1/4-mile Derby.

"I think he can do whatever he's asked to do until he shows he can't do it," said Michael Matz, who expressed no doubt about his colt's ability to handle classic distances.

Barbaro has been a model of consistency during his five-race winning streak despite the varying racing surfaces, closely attending the pacesetter before running to victory in the stretch drive.

"All his races, he's been right off the pace and has been able to keep himself out of trouble," Matz said. "Whether he can do that in a 20-horse field, I don't know."

Edgar Prado will ride the Lael Stables' colt.

Barbaro will enter the Kentucky Derby with just one race within 13 weeks and a five-week layoff since his Florida Derby victory at Gulfstream Park.

BLUEGRASS CAT/KEYED ENTRY/SUNRIVER - Trainer Todd Pletcher was low-keying his Derby candidates Monday on a mostly sunny morning at Churchill Downs.

The two-time Eclipse Award-winning conditioner had the Storm Cat colt Bluegrass Cat and the Honour and Glory colt Keyed Entry walk the shedrow, while he sent the Saint Ballado colt Sunriver for an easy mile and three-eighths gallop under Angel Cordero Jr.

All three of his charges had worked Saturday morning, then went back to the track Sunday to just jog. But Monday was a "go light" day as America's most famous horse race looms up five days ahead.

Bluegrass Cat, who'll be ridden Saturday by Ramon Dominguez, and Keyed Entry, who'll be handled by Patrick Valenzuela, are both assured of starting spots in the Derby. But Sunriver is currently No. 21 on a list that will allow only 20 horses to run in the 10-furlong classic and needs some help. Pletcher has indicated he'd very much like the opportunity to try Sunriver in the Derby and he repeated that thought Monday.

"Darn right I'd like to run him," the 38-year-old conditioner said. "I think he's doing great right now and I'd like to see him get his chance."

BOB AND JOHN/POINT DETERMINED/SINISTER MINISTER - Trainer Bob Baffert's pair of Bob and John and Point Determined had an easy time of it Monday morning at Santa Anita, walking the trainer's shedrow after having worked up a sweat with drills Sunday morning that were meant to be their final major preparations.

Bob and John covered six furlongs in 1:11 2/5 and Point Determined five panels in :59 4/5 and both came out of the drills in good order.

Baffert has scheduled a plane trip to Kentucky for his twosome for Tuesday, while at the same time he and his family will be joining Beverly and Jeff Lewis on their private plane for their ride to Louisville.

Back in Kentucky, Baffert assistant Mick Jenner sent the Lanni Family Trust and Mercedes Stable's Sinister Minister through a mile and three-eighths gallop following the mid-morning renovation break. The exercise was accomplished on a muddy Churchill Downs strip on a morning that started out sunny but went to gray.

The riding assignments on the Baffert horses are Garrett Gomez on Bob and John, Rafael Bejarano on Point Determined and Victor Espinoza on Sinister Minister.

BROTHER DEREK - Cecil Peacock's potential Kentucky Derby favorite put in his final major exercise for the Saturday classic with a four-furlong move in :49 1/5 Monday morning, the fifth fastest of the 24 drills at the distance on a muddy Churchill Downs strip.

The husky bay went trackside just after 9:30 with his regular rider Alex Solis aboard. The California-based jockey had flown the red-eye from Los Angeles to Cincinnati and fought rush-hour traffic down to Louisville to work the colt. Trainer Dan Hendricks vacillated a bit between going ahead with the drill or waiting until tomorrow, but in the end chose to give the green light to the proceedings.

"The track had me concerned," Hendricks noted. "(Brother Derek) has never trained or raced on a wet surface and I was a bit worried when I saw the track chewed up early this morning. But the tracks here dry fast and after looking at it after the (renovation) break, I decided to go ahead. All things considered, it wasn't too bad and I was glad to get the work in and just let him go to strong, long gallops from here. He's plenty fit and this was basically just something for him to stretch his legs seeing as how it has been a week since his Santa Anita work."

Solis, who has handled Brother Derek in all eight of his starts – six of them wins – was pleased with the way his mount took to the Churchill oval.

"Beautifully," was his answer coming off the track at the six-furlong gap when he was asked how his horse navigated the wet surface. "He was eager to go and his ears were up and he seemed happy. Dan said he wanted me to go in about :49, so he's going to be happy."

CAUSE TO BELIEVE - The gray son of Maria's Mon was out for an early morning jog around the muddy Churchill Downs oval Monday with exercise rider DaRon Long aboard.

Galen May, assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, said Cause to Believe was feisty before and after his exercise.

"I have a new name for him," May said. "Cause to Be Mean."

May, who goes way back with Hollendorfer and was at Churchill Downs in 2003 when the trainer saddled Eye of the Tiger to finish fifth in the Run for the Roses, said he was happy with the way Cause to Believe is coming up to the race.

"He came off the track sharp today, biting and kicking," May said. "I like that. This is a good time for him to be peaking."

Hollendorfer, who was on hand to supervise the colt's workout Saturday, returned to Northern California. He is expected back at Churchill Downs on Tuesday.

Cause to Believe, a $30,000 purchase at Ocala last year, comes into the race with six lifetime victories (the same as Brother Derek and one fewer than Lawyer Ron) for co-owners Peter Redekop and Peter Abruzzo. He has earned $390,565 so far.

DEPUTY GLITTERS - Assistant trainer Andy Rehm sent the Tampa Bay Derby winner to the track Monday morning for a 1 1/4-mile gallop before the break.

Trainer Tom Albertrani is expected make the Churchill Downs scene Tuesday morning with the hope of giving Deputy Glitters a mid-week breeze

"Depending on how the track is, Wednesday might be our best shot to work him," Rehm said. "If not, we might just let him gallop strong up to the race."

Tampa Bay Downs' leading rider, Jose Lezcano, will retain the mount aboard the son of Deputy Minister.

"Jose fits the horse. The key to Jose is that he drops his hands and lets him get into a rhythm and doesn't rush him into the race," Rehm said. "The experience factor, there's something to be said for that, but it's too close to the race to make a change."

FLASHY BULL/JAZIL - Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin separated his two Derby charges Monday morning as Flashy Bull went out for a two-mile jog before the break and Jazil galloped 1 3/8 miles after the track was renovated.

Flashy Bull, who was 21st on the list of graded stakes earnings and needed a defection to make it into the starting gate, will get his chance Saturday with Mister Triester now a confirmed non-starter.

"That's good," said McLaughlin, who saddled Closing Argument to run second in last year's Derby at 71-1. "We were training him to run in the Derby. We didn't have an alternate plan."

The trainer wanted to inspect the track condition before he sent Jazil out for his gallop with Simon Harris up. McLaughlin came back with mud on his boots, but said the track looked OK and sent the colt on his way.

Jazil, owned by the Shadwell Stable of Dubai's Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum, was a fast-closing second in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) on April 8 to earn his way into the Derby field. He has a deep-closing style, and as the muddy Wood Memorial effort showed, would move way up on a wet track.

The son of Seeking the Gold will be ridden by Fernando Jara, who was aboard in the Wood Memorial.

Flashy Bull races in the colors of West Point Thoroughbreds LLC and comes off a troubled trip in the Florida Derby where he finished seventh behind Barbaro. Before that, the colt was placed second in the Fountain of Youth (gr. II).

McLaughlin said the colt was suffering from an electrolyte problem in Florida, but has done well since he came to Kentucky.

McLaughlin said Flashy Bull is a grinder and expects him to be mid-pack most of the way in the Derby.

He's a gray son of Holy Bull, who sired last year's winner Giacomo. Mike Smith, who earned his first Derby win aboard Giacomo, rides Flashy Bull.

LAWYER RON - The Estate of James Hines Jr.'s Lawyer Ron returned to the track Monday morning at Churchill Downs before the renovation break under regular exercise rider Betsy Couch. The colt had walked Sunday morning following a bullet work of :58 4/5 for five furlongs on Saturday.

Lawyer Ron jogged in the mile chute and then galloped a little more than a mile, exiting the track at the half-mile gap and taking the circuitous route back to Barn 32.

"Tomorrow, he will probably go two miles because he was pretty full of himself this morning," veteran conditioner Robert Holthus said.

The morning activity was conducted over a track labeled "muddy," and with rain and cooler temperatures in the forecast for the end of the week, Holthus was asked about Lawyer Ron's ability on an off track.

"The only time he ran in the slop was at Keeneland last fall and he won, so I don't think an off track would bother him," Holthus said.

The victory at Keeneland was Lawyer Ron's first venture on a track other than grass or Polytrack.

"We started him on grass mainly because of his pedigree," Holthus said. "He's by Langfuhr  , who gets a lot of turf horses. At about that particular time, I had about 10 2-year-olds and I was trying to spread them out. That was the main reason for running him on the turf."

John McKee will have the mount on Lawyer Ron.

MISTER TRIESTER - B. Wayne Hughes' Old Trieste colt will not run in the 132nd edition of the Kentucky Derby. Owner B. Wayne Hughes confirmed that fact Monday morning through his racing manager, Seth Semkin, who was reached at his Southern California headquarters.

"Mr. Hughes said he will not go," Semkin stated. "He was 20th on the list for the race and could have run, but Mr. Hughes felt it would be too much for the colt after his recent start."

Mister Triester finished third in last Saturday's Derby Trial at Churchill Downs after encountering difficulties at the break. Earlier he had finished second in the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne.

Mister Triester's defection from the Run for the Roses allows West Point Thoroughbreds' Flashy Bull, to gain a spot in the starting gate.

PRIVATE VOW/STORM TREASURE - PRIVATE VOW/STORM TREASURE - Mike McCarty's Derby candidates trained by Steve Asmussen had their final works early Monday morning. Both breezed five furlongs on the muddy surface under exercise rider Carmen Rosas.

Private Vow turned in the fastest time of the 11 horses that worked the distance, 1:00. Storm Treasure was next on the clocker's tab, at 1:00 2/5.

"They went over the track nicely," Asmussen said.

Storm Treasure, the runner-up in the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. II), went to the track in the first set with Rosas.

Asmussen said he has not settled on a jockey to ride the son of Storm Boot in the Derby.

Private Vow, who was third in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) in his last race, was in the second set of the morning from Asmussen's barn.

The colt broke his maiden and won a first-level allowance at Saratoga in August before crushing the Futurity (gr. I) field at Belmont Park by nine lengths in September. He completed his 2-year-old season on Nov. 26 with a victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.

In the weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby, Asmussen said an objective was to teach Private Vow to relax.

"Of course, in a race laden with as much speed as there seems to be in there, I'm going to want to Private Vow as relaxed as possible," Asmussen said. "I think that he is fast enough. I'm just concerned if he can go far enough."

SACRED LIGHT - Trainer David Hofmans watched the colt Amerman Racing Stables homebred take a couple of laps of the Churchill Downs track Monday morning.

Hofmans, who will start the well-regarded Balance in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) Friday, arrived in Louisville from his base in California Sunday evening.

Under exercise rider Erin Buttigieg, Sacred Light jogged one circuit in the wrong direction then was turned around to gallop once around the course.

Hofmans said that if it does not rain much later Monday or overnight, the colt will work five furlongs Tuesday morning.

Sacred Light, a gray/roan son of Holy Bull, was second to Brother Derek in the Santa Catalina (gr. II). In the Santa Anita Derby, he stumbled badly at the start and finished fourth, 19 lengths behind Brother Derek.

With earnings of $97,300 in graded stakes, Sacred Light is 23rd on the list of horses for the Kentucky Derby. The field is limited to the top 20 graded-stakes earners.

SEASIDE RETREAT - Trainer Mark Casse was all smiles after watching William Farish Jr.'s Seaside Retreat turn in a strong 1 1/2-mile gallop over the muddy racing surface.

"That was great," said the Canadian-based trainer. "Tomorrow, he'll have the day off. He's had three strong days of galloping. He's earned a day off."

Casse trains about 40 horses for Farish Jr., including 27 for his Woodford Racing group.

"I've known him for years. A few years ago, I called him and told him I had a horse I really liked that was for sale. He bought him, and the first time we ran him he won a stake," said Casse, recalling Farish's successful purchase of Expected Tour.

SHARP HUMOR - Purdedel Stable and WinStar Farm lessee's Sharp Humor tack-walked the shedrow at trainer Dale Romans' Barn 4 Monday morning.

The New York-bred son of Distorted Humor   has worked five furlongs in :59 on Saturday, the second fastest of 48 at the distance, and walked Sunday.

Romans, who will be saddling his first Kentucky Derby starter, was asked how an off-track, similar to the conditions at the Downs Monday morning, would affect Sharp Humor.

"Track condition does not change a thing," Romans said. "He'll run on anything."

Sharp Humor closed out his 2-year-old campaign with a victory in the Sleepy Hollow Stakes over a sloppy track at Bemont Park.

Mark Guidry, who has had three previous Kentucky Derby mounts including a fifth-place finish last year on Buzzards Bay, will ride Sharp Humor.

SHOWING UP - Trainer Barclay Tagg sent Showing Up to the Belmont track Monday morning for a half-mile breeze that kept the Lael Stables' undefeated colt on course for a start in the Kentucky Derby. The son of Strategic Mission was clocked in :49 3/5.

"It was a little slower than I wanted him to go, but we just wanted him to stretch his legs," said Tagg. "Everything is on go, as long as everything goes well."

Tagg will keep his eye on a puncture wound suffered in the colt's right front leg during his gutsy Lexington Stakes (gr. II) victory at Keeneland.

"I'd like to see how he comes out of the workout tomorrow and gallop him on Wednesday before we enter him," Tagg said.

Showing Up, who began his career with two dominating victories at Gulfstream Park this winter before winning the Lexington, has been a pleasant surprise for Tagg.

"I never saw this in him before he raced, although he did work in 58 right before his first start one morning," Tagg said. "It just took so long for him to mature, I couldn't get a line on him."

STEPPENWOLFER - Steppenwolfer returned to the track on schedule Monday morning and jogged and galloped a total of two miles under exercise rider Jody Pieper.

Robert and Lawana Low's Aptitude colt worked six furlongs in 1:13 Saturday morning and walked the shedrow on Sunday. After his time at the track Monday, the gray/roan was given a chance to graze outside trainer Dan Peitz's barn.

Peitz liked what he saw Monday. "I was happy. I thought he came out of his breeze in good shape," Peitz said.

Peitz said that Steppenwolfer's assignments the rest of the week will be morning gallops of a mile and a half or a mile and five-eighths.

"That's what we've been doing since we've been here. We're not going to change," Peitz said.

With his off-the-pace running style, Steppenwolfer hit the board in all three of his stakes races at Oaklawn Park this year. He was second in the Southwest, third in the Rebel (gr. III) and second in the Arkansas Derby, all races won by Lawyer Ron.

Each time, Steppenwolfer made up ground in the stretch, but failed to menace the leader. In the Derby, he will have another eighth of a mile for his late run, a scenario Peitz is looking forward to.

"I've thought all spring long, the further the better," Peitz said. "My pedigree says a mile and a quarter should be better than a mile, a mile and a sixteenth or a mile an eighth."

SWEETNORTHERNSAINT - Joseph Balsamo and Ted Theos' Sweetnorthernsaint was on the track before 7 a.m. Monday with exercise rider Ernesto Ferdinand up. The gelding jogged once around accompanied by a pony.

"He may go to the gate in the morning," said trainer Michael Trombetta, who returned to Louisville late Sunday night after a quick trip back to Maryland to spend the day with his family.

Sweetnorthernsaint won his only start on an off race track and Trombetta was not concerned about a chance of rain later in the week that could render the track less than fast on Derby Day.

"I don't think it would matter. He seems to run over every surface," Trombetta said."Whatever we get, we take."

Trombetta, who never has saddled a Kentucky Derby starter, was asked when he thought he might have a Derby horse.

"You start having goofy thoughts; after the maiden win, he ran a 102 Beyer number, but when he ran in the Gotham, that was the one that proved it to me," Trombetta said. "Even though he didn't win, that was good enough for me to jump on the trail. He had been off 42 days, came out of the 10 hole, first time around two turns, three wide on both turns and he ran well."

Kent Desormeaux will have the Derby mount.

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