Stay Thirsty and Decisive Moment, 3-year-old colts being pointed toward the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), turned in strong workouts at Churchill Downs April 17 in their first efforts of the spring over the track.
Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (gr. III) runner-up Decisive Moment, owned by Just for Fun Stable, and Repole Stable’s Stay Thirsty, winner of the Gotham (gr. III), both worked four furlongs after the mid-morning break for track maintenance. They turned in the two fastest works of the day at the distance.
Decisive Moment, ridden by jockey Jesus Castanon, worked his half-mile in a bullet :47 2/5 over a track rated "muddy" for trainer Juan Arias following daylong rains the previous day.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Stay Thirsty, working with grade III Swale-winning stablemate Travelin Man, covered the distance in :48, which tied as the second fastest work on a cool, breezy spring morning.
Travelin Man, who is being pointed toward the $200,000 The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (gr. III) on the April 30 opening night program at Churchill Downs, worked on the rail with Stay Thirsty to his outside as the duo made its way over the track.
The Kentucky Derby is May 7.
Arias, a native of Panama and a former jockey now based at Florida’s Calder Casino and Race Course, was very pleased by what he described as an out-of-character move by the 3-year-old son of With Distinction. Churchill Downs clockers caught Decisive Moment in fractional times of :11 4/5, :23 2/5 and :35 3/5.
“It was very impressive. He’s not really a morning horse," Arias said in a press release from Churchill Downs. “He never worked this good before. I don’t know if he just liked this surface better or the weather, but I wasn’t expecting him to breeze this good.
“He’s the type of horse that you can get more out of him in gallops than you can in works. Today he showed me a different way all around, because today I really got more out of this work.”
Decisive Moment, winner of the Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs, has a career record of 2-2-3 in eight races with earnings of $527,300. He has banked $301,000 of that total in graded stakes races.
Stay Thirsty, who finished a disappointing seventh in the Florida Derby (gr. I) won by Dialed In , continued what assistant trainer Michael McCarthy described as a good stay at Churchill Downs since he shipped north following his April 3 effort. He finished in front of his workmate in fractional times of :12 2/5, :24 and :36. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 and three-quarters of a mile in 1:15 4/5.
“It was a textbook work,” McCarthy said. “The horse is doing well. He’s had a good couple of weeks here. He’ll have a few more works before the Derby, but everything is going the right way right now.”
McCarthy said the reason for the poor effort in the Florida Derby by the son of 2006 Preakness (gr. I) winner Bernardini remains a mystery, so the Pletcher team is drawing a line through that race.
“I think there were a lot of horses you probably had to draw a line through (their races) in the Florida Derby,” McCarthy said. “The horse acts to us here like he’s going the right way. He enjoys the surface, he enjoys being here. His appetite is good, his attitude is good.”
Stay Thirsty’s career record stands at 2-2-0 in six races with earnings of $300,000 that include $260,000 collected in graded stakes events.
Uncle Mo and Mucho Macho Man are scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs April 18 to continue their preparation for the Run for the Roses, according to the track publicity office.