Gold Mark Farm’s Backtalk worked five furlongs in 1:04 with a final quarter-mile in :24.40 under Miguel Mena before the renovation break at Churchill Downs on April 18. It was the colt’s first work since a third-place finish in the Illinois Derby (gr. III) on April 3 as he trains toward the May 1 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
With $225,916 in graded earnings, Backtalk ranks 22nd on the preference list for the 20 starting berths in the classic.
"It was an easy five-eighths, which is what we wanted," trainer Tom Amoss told Kentucky Derby notes team. "Everything has been fine with him since the Illinois Derby, no problems at all. He will work again next Sunday, something a little more spirited at that time."
The son of Smarty Jones won the Bashford Manor (gr. III) at Churchill Downs last year and then won the Sanford (gr. II) at Saratoga. He ran eighth in the Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) at Keeneland to end his season.
"He has been on schedule all along," said Todd Quast, racing manager for Gold Mark which is owned by Paul Bulmahn. "The only miss was the 1:09 and 3 (six-furlong) work before the Illinois Derby. "People wondered if the work took too much out of him and it did. He’s fine, We know what kind of horse he is."
"It is just hard to believe that $225,000 may not get us in," Quast said of the graded earnings threshold that may preclude Backtalk’s Derby run.