Zipping over the Churchill Downs main track the morning of May 13, Mike Pegram homebred Govenor Charlie breezed six furlongs in 1:10 4/5 in his final preparation for a possible start in the May 18 Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
The son of Midnight Lute trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert worked in company with Fed Biz , starting a length behind his stablemate who went the same distance in 1:11. Govenor Charlie, who won the Sunland Derby (gr. III) in his previous start March 24, was timed in fractional splits of :11 4/5, :23 4/5, :35, and :58 1/5 for five furlongs. He galloped out seven-eighths of a mile in 1:24 4/5.
Baffert said he was satisfied with the May 13 workout and that a final decision on whether to run Govenor Charlie in the Preakness would be made Tuesday. Plans for a possible Derby start by Govenor Charlie were put on hold after he missed training time because of a bruised hind foot.
"That's him," Baffert said of the breeze. "When he starts working like that, it means he's doing really well. He worked good enough to run. I think today we're caught up for the little time that we lost. I have to see how he comes out of it. He went very, very well. That's a call that I have to make."
Also working at Churchill Downs in preparation for the Preakness was Calumet Farm's Oxbow , the son of Awesome Again who finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) winner breezed four furlongs in :49 4/5, with splits of :12 3/5, :24 3/5, and :37 3/5. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:03 3/5 for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens was aboard for Oxbow's work and liked what he saw.
"Time was not a factor and this was more about his mind and keeping him relaxed for the trip (to Maryland) tomorrow," said Stevens, who tasted Preakness success with Silver Charm (1997) and Point Given (2001). "The main thing is to keep him happy. I think I am sitting on the right horse with the right style."
Stevens envisions a different pace scenario from the Derby, in which Palace Malice led the field through the mud in fractions of :22.57, :45.33 and 1:09.80.
"I do not think the pace will be the same," Stevens said. "You may want to forgive some of the horses for their races in the Derby. I thought Goldencents would be with us on the lead and he was outside of us and getting all the kickback. At the five-eighths pole, I could see that Kevin (Krigger on Goldencents) was not comfortable and he could not go inside, because that is where I was, and he had two horses on his outside. I think you can throw that race out and I respect all of the opposition."
Lukas said his Pimlico contingent that includes Will Take Charge and Titletown Five would start loading at the barn at 3 a.m. Tuesday and expects to be at Old Hilltop around 4 p.m. Lukas will accompany his horses on the van ride.
"I go with them whether we fly or go by van," Lukas said. "I just like to be with them."