A Cool Day at Churchill; Two Derby Contenders Work

A Cool Day at Churchill; Two Derby Contenders Work
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Request for Parole turned in his final workout before the Kentucky Derby.
On a cool, windy morning that the horses seemed to like more than the people on the backside of Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby contenders Essence of Dubai and Request for Parole were the only two classic hopefuls working out.

Godolphin Racing's Essence of Dubai worked seven furlongs in 1:28 2/5 and galloped a mile in 1:43 2/5, according to Tom Albertrani, assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor. "The work was good," Albertrani said. "It looked like he did it handily. He finished up well. I am pleased with how he is coming into the race."

Albertrani said Essence of Dubai is a rarity among Derby contenders in that he has already successfully negotiated the race's 1 1/4-mile distance in the UAE Derby in Dubai. "Even though the competition wasn't as tough there (in Dubai) at least we know he can get the distance. Knowing that he can go a mile-and-a-quarter helps a lot."

Albertrani said Essence of Dubai will have his final Derby prep next Tuesday when he works five furlongs.

Essence of Dubai went to the track after it was closed temporarily while an injured exercise rider thrown from a non-Derby horse was treated. That was one of two incidents involving other horses at the Downs Thursday morning, with another horse taking romp through the stable area after breaking loose from its handler.

One 3-year-old who had his final Derby workout Thursday was Churchill-based Request for Parole. With jockey Robby Albarado aboard, Request for Parole worked six furlongs in 1:13 2/5 and galloped out seven-eighths of a mile in 1:27 2/5. He worked in company with a horse trained by Jim Baker.

"He was a little aggressive against the pole, which is a really good sign," said trainer Steve Margolis. "It was a good move. We're happy with the way he worked and that is all we can ask for with nine days to go. He will gallop up to the race."

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