Awesome Act, winner of the Gotham Stakes (gr. III), worked four furlongs in :48 1/5 and galloped out five furlongs in a strong 1:00 4/5 April 27 shortly after the renovation break at Churchill Downs. The son of Awesome Again was on the track with Peace Town, his regular work mate since the Gotham and a stakes winner.
Jockey Julien Leparoux, who will be riding Awesome Act in the May 1 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), said the work over a sloppy track was “perfect and very smooth."
“It was a very nice work. He did it very easy,” Leparoux said. “He went over the track very good.” The fractions for the work were :13, :24 4/5, :36 3/5. The track clockers had him galloping out in 1:00 4/5 and 1:15 2/5. An assistant for trainer Jeremy Noseda clocked Awesome Act galloping out in 1:00 2/5.
With a chance of rain forecasted for Derby day, Leparoux said he has no concerns about an off track considering how well Awesome Act worked.
“He loved it, so I won’t be scared about it,” he said.
Tom Ludt, president of Vinery, which co-owns the colt with Susan Roy, said Awesome Act has done nothing but improve since he’s been at Churchill Downs.
“Knock on wood, but this horse keeps getting better and better. The horse is doing everything right,” said Ludt.
Last year, Vinery had the Kentucky Derby favorite with Friesan Fire , who is entered to run April 30 at Churchill Downs in the $150,000 Alysheba Stakes (gr. III) at 1 1/16 miles. Friesan Fire had a rough trip in last year’s Derby and finished 18th.
“One of the things we learned last year is to have a good time and hopefully we’ll get a little racing luck,” said Ludt, who feels Awesome Act is a legitimate contender with a very legitimate shot to do well.
“This horse is hopefully going to rate back because that is what he does well. Julien rode him great in the Gotham. We had no speed in the Wood, but there will be plenty of speed here,” Ludt said.
Awesome Act finished third in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) to Eskendereya and Jackson Bend. The colt lost a shoe early in the race and the slow pace, :49 1/5 in the first four furlongs, set the race up well for front-running Eskendereya, who Ludt said they would not have beat that day anyway.
“(Eskendereya) ran a monster race,” Ludt said. “But losing a shoe and having no pace, you really get a feel for how good we are. It would have been nice to see him run his race.“
Noseda, who is based in England, is expected to arrive in Louisville later today. The horse has been managed by Noseda’s assistants Wayne Tanner and George Windsor with additional assistance from Steve Asmussen, who trains several of Vinery’s horses, and Asmussen’s assistant Scott Blasi.