Java's War, a contender for the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I), and Falling Sky, who is headed for the Arkansas Derby (gr. I), posted bullet moves April 7 in preparation for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) preps.
Both the Blue Grass, over the Polytrack at Keeneland, and the Arkansas Derby, to be contested on dirt at Oaklawn Park, are set for April 13. The Blue Grass and Arkansas Derby will each be worth 100-40-20-10 points toward a start in the Derby for the respective first four finishers.
Java's War, owned and bred by Charles Fipke and trained by Ken McPeek, breezed five furlongs at Gulfstream Park April 7 in 1:00.56. It was tied for the fastest time of the day for 13 workers at the distance along with the McPeek-trained Frac Daddy, seventh in the Florida Derby (gr. I) March 30.
A son of War Pass—Java, by Rainbow Quest, Java's War finished second in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) to Verrazano , who remained undefeated April 6 with his victory in the $1 million Wood Memorial (gr. I).
Working at Churchill Downs, Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III) winner Falling Sky breezed five furlongs in a bullet :59 3/5, fastest of the day for 13 horses working that distance. Trained by John Terranova II for Newtown Anner Stud, James Covello, and Joseph Bulger, the son of Lion Heart—Sea Dragoness, by Sea Hero, ran third in the Tampa Bay Derby most recently.
"He worked great and he's going to go to the Arkansas Derby," Terranova said. "(The Arkansas Derby) was our original thought with this horse and then we tossed around the idea of the Blue Grass, but I almost don't want to switch surfaces with him at this point. I think he'd handle it fine, but I think the Arkansas Derby makes a lot of sense."
Ranked 20th on the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" leader board with 20 points, Falling Sky likely needs a top three effort to earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby, which takes a maximum of 20 starters. A fourth-place finish would likely place him on the bubble.
Falling Sky, under Cassie Garcea, worked in company with Balance of Power, who was guided by Juan Bernardini. Balance of Power is a half-brother to 2011 Arkansas Derby winner Archarcharch , who finished 15th in that year's Kentucky Derby.
A winner of his last two starts, Balance of Power is under consideration for the Illinois Derby (gr. III) April 20 at Hawthorne Race Course. Balance of Power was credited with a final time of 1:00.
Terranova said Falling Sky will ship to Oaklawn April 10.
At Keeneland, Blue Grass candidate Noble Tune breezed five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 for trainer Chad Brown in company with Big Blue Kitten. Clockers caught the pair in fractions of :13, :25 4/5, :37 2/5, :49 1/5, and galloping out in 1:14 1/5.
Julien Leparoux was aboard Noble Tune, an Unbridled's Song colt who won an allowance at Tampa Bay Downs March 9 in his only start this year. The dark bay colt, who races for Martin S. Schwartz and breeder Dell Ridge Farm, has made all four of his career starts on turf. He ran second in last fall's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT).
Likely Blue Grass starter Barry Butzer and Wachtel Stable’s My Name Is Michael worked a half-mile on Keeneland's Polytrack in :49 under Rodolphe Brisset, assistant to trainer Bill Mott. Shaun Bridgmohan is scheduled to ride the Macho Uno colt in the Blue Grass. My Name Is Michael, a maiden winner at Woodbine, is coming off an eighth-place finish in the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Racing Spiral Stakes (gr. III) at Turfway Park March 23.
Elsewhere, Mylute, runner-up to Revolutionary in the March 30 Louisiana Derby (gr. II), continued his preparations for the Kentucky Derby with a half-mile breeze in :50.20 over the fast Churchill Downs track April 7. It was his first published workout since lsoing by a neck at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
"We moved the work up because the weather looks like it could be bad the next few days," trainer Tom Amoss said. "It was a nice, easy half-mile work. He's not much of a work horse by himself because he's kind of a laid back, lazy guy, but he did fine. He'll have a significant work next week, probably on Sunday (April 14), and anything we do after that will be easy again."
GoldMark Farm and Whisper Hill Farm's Mylute is ranked No. 13 on the point scheme. He was awarded 40 points for his second-place finish in the Louisiana Derby and it is likely that his point total of 42 will be enough to earn him a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate.