(Edited Churchill Downs report)
James Tafel’s Street Sense, a major contender for the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on May 5, tuned up for a run in Saturday’s $750,000-added Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland with a five-furlong workout on Tuesday at Churchill Downs.
The reigning 2-year-old champion covered the distance over a “fast” track under jockey Calvin Borel in 1:04, which ranked next to last among 39 moves at the distance. But trainer Carl Nafzger and other observers were impressed with the way the son of 3-year-old son of Street Cry completed the move as he unleashed a blistering final quarter and galloped out an extra furlong in strong fashion.
Street Sense got away slowly in his work and cruised through dawdling early fractions of :14.40, :27.60 and :40.20. The colt galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.60 after completing the five-furlong move.
“We just wanted him to listen to Calvin and we had told Calvin to really don’t ask him for anything until you hit the eighth pole,” said Nafzger. “When he picked him up at the eighth pole, he just went :11-and-change (for the final eighth) and had an :11-and-two (fifths) gallop-out. He was there, so I think we got what we wanted.”
“He finished up like champ,” said Borel. “It was just a little maintenance work and this was just what he needed. He was perfect.”
The work was the second for Street Sense since his return to Churchill Downs after spending the winter at Florida’s Palm Meadows. He had worked five furlongs over the track in a blistering :58.40 six days earlier. A record-setting 10-length winner in the $2 million Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) to end his 2-year-old campaign, Street Sense opened his 3-year-old season with a victory in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) at Tampa Bay Downs.
The Tampa Bay Derby victory improved the career record for Street Sense to 2-1-2 in five races and boosted his earnings to $1,358,200.