Florida Derby (gr. I) favorite Union Rags went to the track at Palm Meadows Training Center the morning of March 17 for an easy five-furlong workout in preparation for his final Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) prep.
The 3-year-old son of Dixie Union, who romped in his 2012 debut in the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (gr. II) at Gulfstream on Feb. 26, covered the distance in 1:04 1/5 under jockey Julien Leparoux.
“It was just a maintenance work. He didn’t go that fast, but Julien said he did everything he wanted him to do,” said trainer Michael Matz. “He’ll work a half-mile next week, and we’ll be ready to go."
Chadds Ford Stables’ homebred colt cemented his standing as the early favorite for the May 5 Kentucky Derby by capturing the Fountain of Youth by four lengths without needing much encouragement from Leparoux.
Another Florida Derby probable, Chuck and Maribeth Sanford’s Take Charge Indy , breezed five furlongs in 1:01 4/5 Saturday morning at Palm Meadows for trainer Pat Byrne.
“He worked really well as usual,” said Byrne. “He’ll have one more maintenance work next Saturday or Sunday and we’re ready to go. He’s doing great. I wish the race was next week. The track was not fast this morning.”
Exercise rider Frank Todd was aboard for the workout and Byrne confirmed Calvin Borel as his rider for the Florida Derby.
By A.P. Indy out of grade I winner Take Charge Lady, Take Charge Indy ran a good second to El Padrino in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Gulfstream on Jan. 29 in his first start since a fifth-place finish in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I). Take Charge Indy was entered to run in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) March 10, but was scratched after Byrne decided he was uncomfortable with his post position 10 draw in the full field of 12.
“I think it was the right decision," he said. "That can be a funny race track to ship and run over the first time, and then as the race turned out the horses that ran one-two (Prospective and Golden Ticket) came out of the one and two posts. I’m comfortable with where we are.”
A third Florida Derby probable, Alpha, also made the Palm Meadows work tab Saturday morning. Alpha breezed five furlongs in 1:01 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.