Liaison works, Isn't He Clever to skip Derby

Liaison worked six furlongs in 1:12 4/5 under Shaun Bridgmohan after the renovation break on a sunny and mild Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs. The main track was labeled good.

Working on his own after the renovation break in the 8:30-8:45 a.m. (EDT) training period reserved for Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders, Liaison posted fractions of :12 3/5, :24 4/5, :37 and 1:00 4/5.

"I liked his gallop yesterday," trainer Bob Baffert said of the Indian Charlie colt's first day at the track. "He's a very lazy worker and today I sent him out with no company and Shaun did an excellent job with him."

Winner of the Real Quiet and Grade 1 CashCall Futurity last fall at Hollywood Park, Liaison is winless in three 2012 starts, all of them at Santa Anita.

"He did not like Santa Anita at all. It was too hard for him," Baffert said. "This track is a lot softer. He still has a lot to prove, but he is training well and looks well."

Martin Garcia will have the mount on Liaison in Derby 138.

Baffert's other Derby hopeful, Bodemeister, walked the shedrow a day after working five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 under Garcia.

"He came out of the work well and will go back to the track in the morning," Baffert said of the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby winner who worked in company with Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks hopeful Jemima's Pearl. "I liked the way he sat off that other horse in the work, very controlled."

Mike Smith, winner of the 2005 Derby on Giacomo, has the assignment next Saturday on Bodemeiser.

Isn't He Clever, runner-up in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby and most recently eighth in the Arkansas Derby, was considered to be a possible Kentucky Derby starter at number 21 on the graded stakes earnings list. However, trainer Steve Asmussen confirmed Wednesday morning the gelded son of Smarty Jones will not be in the starting gate for the Run for the Roses.

"Isn't He Clever has been withdrawn from consideration (for the Derby)," Asmussen said.

Isn't He Clever had been under the care of trainer Henry Dominguez, but was transferred to Asmussen following the Arkansas Derby. He arrived at Churchill Downs on April 17 and breezed four furlongs over the track in :51 3/5 Monday.

Asmussen listed the Grade 1 Preakness at Pimlico on May 19 and the Grade 2 Woody Stephens on June 9 at Belmont Park as potential targets for Isn't He Clever.

The two remaining Kentucky Derby contenders in the Amussen barn, Daddy Nose Best and Sabercat, galloped around the Churchill Downs oval prior to the renovation break Wednesday morning.

In other Derby news:

Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby hero I'll Have Another will have his final California workout Friday at Hollywood Park before his next start in the Kentucky Derby. The Flower Alley colt is scheduled to leave for Churchill Downs Saturday.

"He'll work six furlongs with a strong gallop out and fly out Saturday morning," trainer Doug O'Neill said.

O'Neill, who sent The Black ahead to Kentucky to run in Saturday's Grade 3 Derby Trial Stakes, also stated that multiple Grade 1 star and $5 million earner-turned-stable-pony Lava Man, along with stablemates Handsome Mike and Tones, will accompany I'll Have Another on the flight.

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