Despite suffering from a spring-time cold, trainer Todd Pletcher was active Saturday morning when he sent Bluegrass Cat, Keyed Entry, and Sunriver to the racetrack for their final Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) works.
WinStar Farm's Bluegrass Cat and Starlight Stable, Paul Saylor, and Donald Lucarelli's Keyed Entry are guaranteed a spot in the 20-horse starting gate, while Aaron and Marie Jones' Sunriver is currently 22nd on the graded earnings list. The Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is limited to 20 starters, with preference given to horses with the highest earnings in graded stakes races.
Bluegrass Cat, whose four victories from seven starts included the Nashua (gr. III) and Remsen (gr. II) at age two and the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay this year, was timed in :50 4/5 for a half-mile, with Luis Castillo aboard.
"The work was a touch slower than I might have wanted, but he galloped out fine and was full of energy," Pletcher said of the son of Storm Cat
who finished fourth in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I). "We've chosen to go light with him because, before the Blue Grass, he had two solid works."
A rider has not been named for Bluegrass Cat.
Under retired Hall of Fame rider Angel Cordero Jr., Keyed Entry worked six furlongs in 1:12 4/5.
"I thought he worked super," the trainer said. "He's a headstrong colt, and I thought Angel did a good job of getting him to settle, and he galloped out big."
Keyed Entry, a son of Honour and Glory
, enters the Derby with a win in the Hutcheson (gr. II), a second in the Gotham (gr. III), and a third-place effort in the Wood Memorial (gr. I).
Despite Sunrvier's questionable status in the Derby starting gate, Pletcher was more than pleased with Saturday's work. The son of Saint Ballado has earned $100,000 from a record of 2-2-1 from six starts.
Working in company with older stablemate Harlington, Sunriver went six furlongs in 1:13 3/5, with Cordero aboard.
"He's doing super, and I just loved the way he worked," the trainer said. "I would love to see him get in because I believe he is sitting on a big race, and we just need luck to get in."
Sunriver, a full brother to champion older mare Ashado, out of the Mari's Book mare Goulash, hasn't raced since finishing third in the Florida Derby (gr.I).
"You have to ride a horse a little differently at Gulfstream Park," Pletcher said. "He (Sunriver) wants to settle, bide his time, and come with a late run but, in that race, Johnny (Velazquez) had to use him early. He ran a big race that day. Given he gets off the Gulfstream surface and we ride him the way he wants to be ridden, he will run a good race."
With Velazquez injured and unable to ride in the Derby, Pletcher said no decision has been made on a rider for Sunriver. "We haven't started searching for a rider yet," he said. "We're waiting to see if we get in."