Edited Churchill Downs press notes
Here's a round-up of activity at Churchill Downs April 22 surrounding the contenders for the 2012 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
BODEMEISTER – Zayat Stables’ smashing Arkansas Derby (gr. I) winner Bodemeister galloped 1 3/8 miles after the morning renovation break with exercise rider George Alvarez up. Trainer Bob Baffert, seeking his fourth Kentucky Derby victory, is scheduled to arrive in Louisville on the night of April 23 following the arrival of his other possible Derby 138 starter, Liaison, owned by Arnold Zetcher. Bodemeister is scheduled to have his initial Churchill Downs work the morning of April 24. Mike Smith, winner of the 2005 Derby on Giacomo , has the Derby Day assignment on Bodemeister.
DADDY NOSE BEST/SABERCAT – Cathy and Bob Zollars’ Daddy Nose Best, winner of this year’s El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) at Golden Gate and the Sunland Derby (gr. III) at Sunland Park, galloped on the fast track beneath the Twin Spires early Sunday morning. Daddy Nose Best is scheduled to work at Churchill Downs on the morning of April 23 for trainer Steve Asmussen. The 3-year-old son of Scat Daddy will be on the track at approximately 6 a.m. (all times Eastern). Garrett Gomez is to replace Julien Leparoux, who rode Daddy Nose Best in eight of his 10 starts, for the Derby.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Sabercat, third behind Bodemeister and Secret Circle in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, also galloped at Churchill Downs on Sunday morning prior to the renovation break for Asmussen. A 3-year-old son of Bluegrass Cat , Sabercat is scheduled to record his first work since the Arkansas Derby on April 23 after Daddy Nose Best.
DULLAHAN – Donegal Racing’s Dullahan, the first horse since Round Table (1956-57) to sweep Keeneland’s Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I)/Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) double, galloped 1 ½ miles around the Churchill Downs oval. A half-brother to 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) winner Mine That Bird, Dullahan is scheduled to breeze at Churchill Downs on April 28.
HANSEN – Kendall Hansen and Skychai Racing’s 2011 champion 2-year-old Hansen galloped 1 ¼ miles at the Trackside Training Center under exercise rider Joel Barrientos. Runner-up in the Toyota Blue Grass in his most recent start, Hansen is scheduled to have his final work for Derby 138 next Saturday or Sunday according to trainer Mike Maker.
MARK VALESKI – Brereton Jones’ Mark Valeski galloped 1 ½ miles under trainer Larry Jones after the morning renovation break Sunday. Runner-up in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) and Risen Star (gr. II) in his past two starts, Mark Valeski is scheduled to work Monday morning at 8:30 after the renovation break during the time which the track is open to only Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders. Rosie Napravnik, who has been aboard the colt in his past two starts, is scheduled to handle the work.
OPTIMIZER – Bluegrass Hall’s Optimizer, trained by four-time Kentucky Derby winner D. Wayne Lukas, galloped after the renovation break under Joel Cano. Optimizer finished a late-closing second in Oaklawn Park’s Rebel (gr. II) March 17, but disappointed when he finished ninth of 11 in the Arkansas Derby in his most recent outing.
PROSPECTIVE – John Oxley’s Prospective, winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) March 10 and most recently sixth in the Toyota Blue Grass, had a scheduled day away from the track. He walked the shedrow of trainer Mark Casse’s barn. The 3-year-old son of Malibu Moon is scheduled to return to the Churchill Downs track on Monday to gallop during the special Derby-Oaks training period.