The next work for Colonel John, shown in a April 20 work at Santa Anita, will be determined by the weather.

The next work for Colonel John, shown in a April 20 work at Santa Anita, will be determined by the weather.


Daily Derby Notes: April 25

Trainers watching weather, Colonel John, Denis of Cork, and Gayego gallop.

(from Churchill Downs)

ADRIANO – Courtlandt Farms’ Adriano visited the paddock and starting gate before galloping a mile and a half under Xavier Aizpuru after the renovation break.

“He never has had any problems at the gate and this is just a precaution,” said Alice Clapham, assistant to trainer Graham Motion. “As long as the opportunity is there, we may as well take advantage of it.”

Motion is scheduled to return to Louisville on Saturday night and will be on hand to supervise Adriano’s work on Sunday morning.

Edgar Prado has the mount on Adriano, who is housed in Stall 2 of Barn 42, the same stall Monarchos had here in 2001 when he won Kentucky Derby 127.

ANAK NAKAL/COOL COAL MAN – Four Roses Thoroughbreds’ Anak Nakal had his final workout for Kentucky Derby 134 on Friday morning, covering four furlongs in :46.60 under Megan Smillie. The work, accomplished over a fast track after the renovation break, was the second fastest of 26 at the distance.

“It was a good work, he likes this track,” trainer Nick Zito said. “I was surprised her worked that fast, but he just likes Churchill Downs. He won the Kentucky Jockey Club here last fall. That’s probably why he worked so good. It is always a good sign when they likes the track. He’s got a chance.”

The work was marred when Anak Nakal’s workmate, Aquarian, owned by Tracy Farmer, broke down after the work after covering the distance in :48.

“Heather (exercise rider Heather Stark) felt something at the clocker’s stand and pulled him up right away,” Zito said. “He took a bad step. He has a condylar fracture in the right front and he went straight to Rood & Riddle (Equine Hospital in Lexington). Hopefully he will be all right. As long as it is not life threatening, he’ll be back.”

Aquarian broke his maiden here last fall on closing day in the race after Anak Nakal won the Kentucky Jockey Club. Zito had been planning to run him in an allowance race on Derby Day.

Zito’s other Kentucky Derby prospect, Robert LaPenta’s Cool Coal Man, walked the shedrow a day after working a half-mile in :47.40.

Rafael Bejarano will ride Anak Nakal in the Derby; Julien Leparoux has the call on Cool Coal Man.

COLONEL JOHN – Santa Anita Derby (GI) winner Colonel John galloped a mile and a half under Karine Lhuillier after the renovation break.

Colonel John is one three Kentucky Derby hopefuls to be undefeated in 2008, having taken the Sham (GIII) in his only other 2008 outing. The undefeated Big Brown is also two-for-two this year and the filly Eight Belles is four-for-four.

Trainer Eoin Harty has not commited to a work date for Colonel John, who has made all six of his starts on synthetic tracks. Weather holds the key to Harty’s decision and rain is in the forecast for the next two mornings in Louisville.

Corey Nakatani will ride Colonel John in the Derby.

COURT VISION/Z HUMOR – Another trainer watching the weather is Bill Mott, who has two Kentucky Derby hopefuls in Zayat Stables’ Z Humor and IEAH Stables and WinStar Farm’s Court Vision.

“Monday or Tuesday, depending on the weather,” Mott said Friday morning after the duo had galloped a mile and a half each before the renovation break. Joanna Trout was on Court Vision and Keith Allen on Z Humor.

Court Vision is one of two Kentucky Derby probables to have won stakes here at Churchill Downs. Court Vision, who will be ridden by Garrett Gomez, took the Grade III Iroquois in the fall to join Anak Nakal as a Churchill Downs stakes winner.

Z Humor, who will be ridden by Rene Douglas, has not raced at Churchill Downs.
DENIS OF CORK – Southwest Stakes (GIII) winner Denis of Cork galloped a mile and a half after the renovation break with trainer David Carroll up.

Owned by Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr., Denis of Cork is scheduled to work Monday according to Carroll, whose colt sits on the earnings bubble with $165,000 in graded stakes money.

The top 20 money earners that pass the entry box on Wednesday will have a spot in the Derby 134 starting gate. Counting the filly Eight Belles among the Derby prospects, Denis of Cork sits in spot No. 21.

If Denis of Cork makes the field, Calvin Borel would have the mount.

GAYEGO – Cubanacan Stables’ Gayego galloped a mile and a quarter under exercise rider Jody Pieper shortly after the track opened Friday morning.

Trainer Paulo Lobo said Gayego would work after the break Saturday morning with Derby rider Mike Smith coming in for the work.

Lobo returned to Louisville Thursday night after making a quick trip back to California to check in on the remainder of his 32-horse stable at Hollywood Park. Lobo plans to return to California after Saturday’s work and then return to Louisville to stay through the Derby on Tuesday.

HALO NAJIB – Zayat Stables’ Halo Najib, who ranks 22nd in graded stakes earnings among Kentucky Derby hopefuls, galloped a mile and a half after the renovation break under Gennero Garcia.

Trainer Dale Romans said the winner of the February OBS Championship at Ocala continues to be doing well and that if the colt does not make the Derby field, he would go in Friday’s Crown Royal American Turf (GIII).

PYRO/Z FORTUNE – Risen Star (GIII) and Louisiana Derby (GII) winner Pyro was the first of trainer Steve Asmussen’s two Kentucky Derby hopefuls to go to the track Friday morning, galloping a mile and a quarter under Dominic Terry shortly before 6:30.

Following the Winchell Thoroughbreds’ color bearer to the track at 7:10 was Zayat Stables’ Z Fortune, who galloped the same distance under Carmen Rosas.

Both colts are scheduled for Monday works.

Robby Albarado, who partnered Curlin for Asmussen in last year’s Kentucky Derby, has the call on Z Fortune and Shaun Bridgmohan the mount on Pyro.

RECAPTURETHEGLORY – With bright, clear skies and warm temperatures, trainer and co-owner Louie Roussel III decided to send Recapturetheglory to work Friday morning instead of waiting a day or two.

He was rewarded with a five-furlong work in 1:01.20, the ninth fastest of 27 at the distance, with Derby rider E.T. Baird up. Churchill Downs clockers caught the colt in fractions of :12.20, :24.40, :35.80, :48.40 and out six furlongs in 1:15.

“I thought it was going to rain late Thursday and all day today, but since it did not, we went and it worked out real good,” said Roussel, who owns the colt in partnership with Ronnie Lamarque.

Roussel said Recapturetheglory would get two days off and return to the track Monday.

“If I don’t give him two days off, he’ll break curfew on me and won’t be here,” Roussel said with a laugh.

Roussel is back in a familiar spot with Recapturetheglory: Barn 41, Stall 17. It was the same spot Risen Star was housed 20 years ago when that colt ran third behind Winning Colors before going on to take the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
SMOOTH AIR – Trainer Bennie Stutts Jr. gave Smooth Air the morning off on Friday.

“The owner (Brian Burns of Mount Joy Stables) said he was leaving everything up to me,” Stutts said. “He is as fit as he can be, so he just walked this morning and will be fresher tomorrow when he goes out. He’ll work Monday now instead of Sunday.”

Manoel Cruz has the Derby riding assignment.