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Dunkirk Works at Palm Meadows

Florida Derby runner-up goes five furlongs in 1:01.

Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier, Derrick Smith’s $3.7 million sale yearling Dunkirk drilled five furlongs in 1:01 the morning of April 25 at Palm Meadows training center. The son of Unbridled's Song will ship to Louisville, Ky., on April 28 for next Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

Dunkirk, the gray/roan colt who ran second to Quality Road  in the Blackberry Presents the 58th Running of the Florida Derby (gr. I) March 28 at Gulfstream Park, got the trip in :12 4/5, :24 4/5, :36 4/5 according to trainer Todd Pletcher.

“I had him galloping out in 1:14 2/5,” Pletcher said in a release. “He started out about a length and a half or two lengths behind the other horse, then he finished about a half-length ahead. It was a very good move for him.”

Dunkirk worked with stablemate Munnings , who got five furlongs in 1:01 1/5.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the way things have gone as he’s coming up to the race,” Pletcher said of Dunkirk. “Everything has fallen into place. Every one of his works has taken place when we wanted it to, and they have all come off the way we hoped. He’s coming up to the race right, and we’re feeling very good about him.”

Dunkirk, out of Kentucky Oaks and Alabama Stakes (both gr. I) winner Secret Status, ripped through his maiden and entry-level allowance win earlier this year prior to running second in the Florida Derby as the favorite. He only has three career starts under his belt, but so did Big Brown a year ago.

A lack of graded earnings was a concern earlier in the Triple Crown run-up, but it appears now Dunkirk has enough to secure a spot in the 20-horse Derby field.

At Churchill Downs, the Pletcher-trained Advice galloped a mile and three eighths under exercise rider Kevin Willey. Advice, winner of the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) April 18 at Keeneland, is slated to get in his final Derby drill the morning of April 27.