Trainer Jeff Bonde sent two horses he hopes run in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) to the track at Churchill Downs the morning of April 30 for six-furlong breezes.
The best time of the two was turned in by Sway Away, who was timed in 1:14 under Brian Hernandez, with stablemate Twice the Appeal going the distance in 1:15 3/5. Bonde said Twice the Appeal, the Sunland Park Derby (gr. III) winner who has won three of 10 starts with earnings of $449,920, took to the track well when he went out with jockey Calvin Borel aboard shortly after training began at 6 a.m. EDT.
“He was moving very well over the track,” Bonde said of the son of Successful Appeal , who was bred in Kentucky by John T. L. Jones III and was a $35,000 Barretts sale purchase. “He never has (worked fast). It’s just not his style. But he’ll run on; the distance should be no problem for him. And he had a real good gallop out today, which is what we wanted. His weight is good and he traveled (to Kentucky) well. He’s doing it all right.”
As for Sway Away, Bonde said he is “looking for a miracle” that would enable the son of Afleet Alex to make the Derby field. Runner-up in the Best Pal and San Vicente Stakes, both grade II, Sway Away lacks the earnings in graded stakes to be among the top 20 Derby contenders in that category. As of now, he sits at No. 24 on the list with graded earnings of $111,500.
“He finished up strong,” Bonde said. “I liked that a lot. I sure hope I get a chance to run. This colt belongs in there.”
In his most recent effort Sway Away was fourth, beaten 3 1/4 lengths, in the Arkansas Derby (gr. I).
“That was a heart-breaking race,” Bonde said of the effort by the late-developing horse.