Daily Derby Notes: April 24
ADRIANO – Courtlandt Farms’ Adriano visited the Churchill Downs paddock Thursday morning and then galloped 1 ½ miles under Xavier Aizpuru in preparation for the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on Saturday, May, 3.
Winner of the Lane’s End Stakes (GII) in his most recent start, Adriano is scheduled to work Sunday morning with Aizpuru handling the work, according to Alice Clapham, assistant to trainer Graham Motion.
Motion is scheduled to return to Louisville on Saturday night. Edgar Prado has the mount.
ANAK NAKAL/COOL COAL MAN – Robert LaPenta’s Cool Coal Man put in his final Kentucky Derby work Thursday morning, breezing a half-mile in :47.40 in company with stablemate Chris Got Even, who was clocked in the same time, which was the second fastest of 35 at the distance.
Megan Smillie was aboard Cool Coal Man and Julien Leparoux, who will ride Cool Coal Man in the Derby, was on Chris Got Even. The duo did their work over a fast track after the renovation break. Fractions for the work were :11.60, :23.40, :35 and out in 1:02.60.
“I was very happy. He was galloping along the right way,” trainer Nick Zito said. “You always worry about the breeze before the Derby, but they were really comfortable. I worked him with a really nice maiden, Chris Got Even, and he won’t be a maiden for long. He is going to run Derby Day. He’s a pretty nice colt.
“I just wanted Julien to see his horse, which is why I had him work the other horse. Basically, I just wanted him to get alongside him and see what kind of horse he’s got instead of being on top of him. Plus, Megan gets on him all the time and I didn’t want to change anything.”
Cool Coal Man followed a similar work pattern before his Fountain of Youth (GII) victory in February with a :47.20 work nine days before the race.
“He’s not a big, giant horse. He’s perfectly built, but not really big,” Zito said. “I don’t think many horses can boast his record as far as conditioning goes. Nobdoy has three mile-and-an-eighth races, so I don’t want to overdo it. I don’t want to underdo it. I’d rather have him gallop all week into the Derby.”
Anak Nakal, who galloped 1 ½ miles under Heather Stark before the renovation break, is scheduled to work Friday morning in what would be his final pre-Derby work.
“He’s not a really big horse either and this will be his last work,” Zito said. “I am not training anybody else’s horses, but I have seen a few that are running in the Derby and if I had those, maybe I would do it differently. Obviously I have a sixth sense for some reason and God’s been good to me and I have to do what I am told to do. I go by feel.”
BIG BROWN – IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr.’s Big Brown worked five furlongs in :58.60 over a fast track Thursday morning at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida with Michelle Nevin up.
“It’s exactly what he wanted and that’s fine with me,” trainer Rick Dutrow said. “He did it the right way, looked real good, and did it in racehorse time while well within himself. He went about his business in a smooth and ordinary way.
“We needed to turn his head loose a little in the lane, because we’ve kept him covered up in his last couple of breezes. I told Michelle to let him out just a little notch in the stretch, she did just that, the colt took the bit, and just carried her to the wire. With the race 10 days away, this is what we needed and wanted.”
Undefeated in three starts, Big Brown is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs on Monday (estimated arrival is 5 p.m.) and is tentatively scheduled for a three-furlong work next Thursday.
Two-time Kentucky Derby-winning rider Kent Desormeaux has the mount.
COLONEL JOHN – WinStar Farm’s Colonel John galloped 1 ½ miles after the renovation break Thursday morning with Karine Lhuillier aboard.
Trainer Eoin Harty is anxiously watching the weather with a slight chance of rain forecast to move into the Louisville area beginning Thursday night.
“There is no one day that I have to work, but I have a day that I would prefer,” Harty said. “But, what can you do?”
Corey Nakatani has the Derby mount, but Harty said that Lhuillier would handle the work.
COURT VISION/Z HUMOR – Trainer Bill Mott’s two Kentucky Derby hopefuls galloped before the renovation break Thursday morning.
IEAH Stables and WinStar Farm’s Court Vision was partnered by Joanna Trout and is scheduled to work Monday or Tuesday.
Court Vision would represent the second prospective starter in the Derby 134 field owned by WinStar Farm and high times for Elliott Walden, vice president and racing manager for WinStar.
So, Elliott, how would you feel if Colonel John and Court Vision are sweeping to the lead at the sixteenth pole?
“I’d probably be jumping off the grandstand,” Walden said with a grin.
Zayat Stables’ Z Humor had Keith Allen aboard Thursday morning and is scheduled to work Monday or Tuesday.
Rene Douglas has the Derby call on Z Humor and Garrett Gomez will be on Court Vision.
DENIS OF CORK – Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr.’s Denis of Cork galloped 1 ½ miles with trainer David Carroll back in the saddle Thursday morning after the renovation break.
Carroll had been home sick the first part of the week and Thursday was the first day he was able to be a full participant in the morning activity this week.
“I think all the traveling got to me, going to Illinois and Arkansas and back and forth to Keeneland,” Carroll said. “You get used to do doing the day-to-day stuff and you don’t realize how much you miss it.”
One thing Carroll may miss is the Kentucky Derby, as Denis of Cork with $165,000 in graded stakes earnings, may not make the field of the top 20 earners when entries close next Wednesday.
“I am hearing now that Behindatthebar may run and I am resigned to not getting in,” Carroll said. “He’s a good horse and I would be proud to lead him over. But if we don’t get in, it’s nobody’s fault but our own. We had our chance and didn’t get it done.”
GAYEGO – Cubanacan Stables’ Gayego jogged a mile and galloped a mile shortly after the track opened Thursday morning under Jody Pieper.
“He’s feeling so good, maybe they should do with him like they did with Afleet Alex and take him out twice in the morning,” said Pieper, referring to the training regimen used by Tim Ritchey in 2005 with Afleet Alex.
Pieper said the Paulo Lobo trainee may go to the starting gate in the morning before galloping. Gayego is scheduled to work Saturday.
Pieper began getting on Gayego in the mornings prior to the colt’s victory in the Arkansas Derby (GII).
“I have known (jockey) Mike Smith for 30 years and he asked me if I would get on him and if I’d go to Louisville,” said Pieper, who galloped Steppenwolfer prior to the 2006 Derby.
Pieper was asked his first impression of Gayego.
“He’s so thick. I was surprised a horse that carries that much weight can run so fast,” Pieper said. “Same way with Tiago (who won the Oaklawn Handicap), who I got on, and Zenyatta (who won the Apple Blossom).”
HALO NAJIB – Zayat Stables’ Halo Najib jogged two miles under exercise rider Gennero Garcia on Thursday morning, his first day back at the track after working a half-mile on the turf on Tuesday in :50.40.
“He came out of his work fine,” trainer Dale Romans said.
The turf work came as a backup plan for Halo Najib in case he does not make the Derby field because of a lack of graded stakes earnings. Romans said if it looked like the colt would not make the Derby, Halo Najib “probably” would have another grass work Tuesday in preparation for the May 2 Crown Royal American Turf (GIII).
PYRO/Z FORTUNE – Trainer Steve Asmussen’s two Kentucky Derby hopefuls galloped a mile Thursday morning, according to assistant trainer Scott Blasi.
Pyro is owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and Z Fortune is owned by Zayat Stables and both are scheduled to work Monday.
Shaun Bridgmohan has the call on Pyro and Robby Albarado the mount on Z Fortune.
RECAPTURETHEGLORY – Ronnie Lamarque and Louie Roussel III’s Recapturetheglory jogged a mile and then galloped two miles after the renovation break with Lara Van Deren up.
Roussell, who trains the son of Cherokee Run, said the colt would work Saturday or Sunday, depending on the weather, and would go in the Derby no matter what the weather.
“He’s not like Kandaly,” said Roussel, referring to the colt he scratched on the afternoon of the 1994 Derby because of sloppy conditions. “He will go. If it’s sloppy, he’s going.”
E.T. Baird has the mount.
SMOOTH AIR – Mount Joy Stables’ Smooth Air jogged a mile and galloped a mile before the renovation break with Susie Milne up.
“He goes twice around every morning and tomorrow it will be less jog and more gallop,” trainer Bennie Stutts Jr. said.
Stutts said the Florida-bred son of Smooth Jazz is scheduled to school in the paddock Saturday afternoon, but that the colt would not visit the starting gate.
“He has always been good at the gate and if I thought he needed it, I’d do it,” Stutts said.
Smooth Air is scheduled to work Sunday, but Stutts said he could wait a day should the weather turn bad.
Manoel Cruz has the mount in the Derby.
TOMCITO – Jet Set Racing Stable’s Tomcito, sixth in the Coolmore Lexington (GII) in his most recent start and sitting in 25th place on the graded stakes earnings list of Kentucky Derby hopefuls with $151,292, galloped 1 ¾ miles Thursday morning with Manfreddy Guzman aboard.
“He is doing very well and we are here,” trainer Dante Zanelli said.
And if Tomcito does not get in the Derby . . .
“We will wait for the Belmont or maybe go in the Peter Pan (May 10),” Zanelli said.
VISIONAIRE – Vision Racing and Team Valor’s Visionaire, winner of the Gotham (GIII) at Aqueduct, is scheduled to depart trainer Michael Matz’s Keeneland Stable on Friday for the trip to Churchill Downs for Kentucky Derby 134.
Visionaire will be stabled in Barn 42.
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