Derby Week at Downs Begins With Bang
Photo: Reed Palmer/Churchill Downs
Tapiture breezed four furlongs in :50 on the sloppy track at Churchill on April 28, 2014.

Derby Week began on a thunderous note April 28 as a driving thunderstorm ripped through Louisville shortly after Churchill Downs opened for training.

Despite the storm that resulted in a brief interruption of training due to intense lightning, the morning weather had no real effect on horses prepping for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).

With very little activity on the track at the height of the storm, Winchell Thoroughbreds' Tapiture, one of the top choices Saturday, breezed four furlongs in :50 on the sloppy track, getting the first quarter in :24 3/5. The colt did not appear bothered by the conditions nor the booming thunder as he galloped out five furlongs in 1:04 4/5.

During the lightning-related break, track maintenance crews sealed the track (using equipment to pack down the surface so water can roll off rather than penetrate) and the decision was made to forgo the usual 8 a.m. maintenance break.

Following the resumption of training, the first horse to breeze was Ria Antonia, the Oaks contender trained by Bob Baffert. She went four furlongs in a quick :47 2/5, with splits of :11 3/5 and :23 1/5. She galloped out five furlongs in 1:00 and six furlongs in 1:13 3/5.

Not long after Ria Antonia's breeze, stablemate Hoppertunity worked under jockey Martin Garcia in his final work for the Derby. Working in company with Drill  , Hoppertunity got the four furlongs in :48, starting two lengths behind his stablemate before the pair finished on even terms. They had fractional splits of :12 and :24 1/5; galloping out six furlongs in 1:13 2/5 and 1:27 2/5.

More details on the workouts will be included in separate coverage at Bloodhorse.com.

In the only other development Monday, two Derby horsesprobable Derby favorite California Chrome and Dance With Fateleft California aboard a flight that departed at 5:08 a.m. (PDT) and is scheduled to arrive in Louisville around 11:30 a.m. (EDT).

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