Repole Stables’ Stay Thirsty sizzled five furlongs in a “bullet” 1:00 over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs on Easter Sunday as he continued to prep for the May 7 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Meanwhile, another Derby contender, Much Macho Man, stretched his legs at the longer seven furlong distance, with a final time of 1:29 1/5.
The breeze by Stay Thirsty, the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) winner trained by Todd Pletcher, was the co-fastest of 19 working that distance April 24. A son of Bernardini bred in Kentucky by John D. and John Darren Gunther, Stay Thirsty was a $500,000 Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-year-old sale purchase.
Stay Thirsty worked in company with older workmate Bridgetown and covered the distance over sloppy going in 1:00. Three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel was in the saddle aboard Stay Thirsty for the move. Pletcher and Borel teamed to win last year’s Run for the Roses with WinStar Farm’s homebred Super Saver, which was the first Kentucky Derby win by Pletcher.
Stay Thirsty and Borel worked along the rail with Bridgetown, a 4-year-old sprinter expected to run in the $100,000-added Twin Spires Turf Sprint Presented by GE – Appliances & Lighting (gr. III) on Kentucky Derby Day, was on the outside as the pair zipped along in fractional splits of :11 3/5, :23, :35 1/5 and :47 3/5. Stay Thirsty stuck his neck in front near the finish line and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.
“I thought he breezed really well,” Pletcher said. “The time was solid and he got over the off going well. He finished up with a good last quarter and galloped out strongly. So overall I was really pleased. We leaned on him a little bit this morning. I told Calvin we wanted a good, solid work and I think we got that. o we’ll see how he responds to that this week, and we might have a similar a similar-type work next week.”
“He worked good,” Borel said.
Borel said the wet surface was not an issue for him or Stay Thirsty.
“I’m not much of a fan of the lightning, but other than that I thought the track was good,” he said. “This track gets better when it rains. I love it when it rains here. It tightens it up and gets it good. You can’t fault the track.”
Pletcher was pressed after the work as to whether Borel’s presence in the saddle for the move might have been a dress rehearsal for a ride aboard Repole’s colt in the Kentucky Derby. Ramon Dominguez was aboard Stay Thirsty for his win in the Gotham and his disappointing run in the Florida Derby, and Borel does not yet have a firm mount for Derby 137 despite his unprecedented run of success over the past four years.
“We haven’t really talked about it,” Pletcher said. “We asked him if he was available to work the horse and he said yes, he’d love to. I haven’t had a chance to really talk with Mike Repole about it that much. But I’d say it’s a possibility, but we haven’t done anything yet.”
Borel maintained his was simply doing a favor for Pletcher and expressed confidence that he’ll find a way to stay occupied on Derby Day at Churchill Downs.
“I was doing Todd a favor -- I’m not on the horse … That’s what he wanted, so that’s what I gave him. I’ll ride something,” said Borel. “This is how it goes -- that’s horse racing. We’ll find one.”
Stay Thirsty’s Repole Stables’ stablemate, Uncle Mo , is scheduled to work at Churchill on Tuesday, April 26.
The winner of two of six starts and with earnings of $300,000, Stay Thirsty is coming off a seventh-place effort in the Florida Derby (gr. I).
Mucho Macho Man, trained by Kathy Ritvo for Dean and Patti Reeves of Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team Racing Stable, was the only horse at Churchill working the seven-eighths of a mile distance.
A son of Macho Uno bred in Florida by John D. Rio and Carole A. Rio, Mucho Macho Man has a victory in the Risen Star (gr. II) and placings in three additional grade II stakes to his credit. He has won or placed in seven of eight starts, with two wins, and $411,643 in earnings.
Working by himself under jockey Rajiv Maragh, Mucho Macho Man clicked off fractions of :13 3/5, :26 2/5, :39, :51 3/5, 1:04, 1:16 3/5 and galloped out a mile in 1:43 4/5.
“He worked good and I was very happy with it and Rajiv also seemed to be,” Ritvo said. “I think it is supposed to rain the next few days, so I decided to go. I wanted to keep as close to our schedule as possible. He will come back and work again Saturday or Sunday.”