General Quarters, the “feel-good” horse of this year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), breezed five furlongs in 1:01.80 over a fast track at Churchill Downs April 23 in preparation for the season’s first classic.
Working at 7 a.m., General Quarters recorded fractions of :12.60, :24.20, :36.60, :48.80 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:16.20 according to Churchill Downs clockers.
“I was looking for between 1:01 and 1:02, so this was perfect,” owner-trainer Tom McCarthy said. “I wanted a nice, steady work, and that is what I got. I did not want anything like his work before the Blue Grass (:58.20 on April 4). I am happy with the work.”
The workout by the upset winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) was 13th co-fastest among 30 horses working that distance.
The only horse in the stable of 75-year-old former high school principal Thomas R. McCarthy, who owns and trains the son of Sky Mesa , General Quarters comes into the Derby with a record of three wins, three seconds, and a third in 11 career starts, with earnings of $641,735. In addition to the Blue Grass, the colt also won the grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III) at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 14. Julien Leparoux has been named as the rider for the Derby.
In other Derby news: Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner I Want Revenge galloped a mile and a half under Joe Deegan shortly after the racetrack opened for training. Bobby Troeger, assistant to trainer Jeff Mullins, said I Want Revenge would visit the paddock on April 24 as part of his morning activity.
Joe Talamo has the mount on I Want Revenge, who is owned by IEAH Stables, David Lanzman and Puglisi Racing. I Want Revenge is scheduled for his final pre-Derby work on April 28.
Double Eagle Ranch and Bueno Suerte Equine’s Mine That Bird jogged a half-mile and then galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Charlie Figueroa before the renovation break.
“He looked sharp this morning, came back bucking and play and he doesn’t do that at home,” trainer Chip Woolley said.
Calvin Borel has the Derby riding assignment and is scheduled to work Mine That Bird on Monday.
WinStar Farm’s Mr. Hot Stuff, third in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs April 27 following a flight from southern California. The son of Tiznow will work for trainer Eoin Harty the day before over the synthetic Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita.
Mr. Hot Stuff does not have a confirmed rider at this point, but Harty said there’s no rush to make that assignment.
“We’ll just wait and see what happens,” he said. “Unfortunately, or fortunately, something could happen to one of the other horses and a rider will come available. There are plenty of riders out there, so we’ll deal with that one when we come to it.”
Illinois Derby (gr. II) and Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) winner Musket Man galloped 2 1/4 miles under exercise rider Salvador Dominguez.
"He two-minute licked the second time around,” trainer Derek Ryan said of Musket Man, who is owned by Eric Fein and Vic Carlson. Musket Man is scheduled to have his final pre-Derby work on April 25.
Bo Hirsch’s Papa Clem galloped a mile and a half before the renovation break with exercise rider Nate Quinonez up.
“He’ll gallop a mile and a half in the morning and then work Saturday,” trainer Gary Stute said.
Zayat Stables’ Pioneerof the Nile stood in the starting gate and jogged once around with exercise rider George Alvarez up. Trained by three-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert, Pioneerof the Nile will be ridden by Garrett Gomez. Winner of four consecutive starts, Pioneerof the Nile is scheduled for his final pre-Derby work on April 27 or 28.
J. Paul Reddam’s Square Eddie visited the paddock and then galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Tony Romero. Leandro Mora, assistant to trainer Doug O’Neill, said more paddock schooling would be on tap for Square Eddie, whose final pre-Derby work is slated for April 25 or 26.
Corey Nakatani has the riding assignment on Square Eddie for Kentucky Derby 135.
Kalarikkal and Vilasini Jayaraman’s Summer Bird galloped a mile and a half under jockey Chris Rosier after the renovation break. Third in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) in only his third start, Summer Bird is scheduled to work six furlongs after the break on April 24 with Rosier up for trainer Tim Ice.
This will be the second Kentucky Derby starter for Kalarikkal Jayaraman. Racing under the Tiffany Farms banner in 1989, Irish Actor finished seventh to Sunday Silence. LeRoy Jolley was the trainer of Irish Actor.
With trainer Kelly Breen up, George and Lori Hall’s West Side Bernie galloped a mile and five-eighths before the renovation break. He is scheduled to work April 25.
Stewart Elliott, winner of the 2004 Kentucky Derby aboard Smarty Jones, has the Derby mount on West Side Bernie.
Jer-Mar Stable’s Win Willy arrived at Churchill Downs shortly after 10 a.m. April 23 and settled in at Barn 45, Stall 21. Trained by Mac Robertson, Win Willy is slated to be ridden in the Kentucky Derby by Cliff Berry.