Spanish Chestnut Derby Bound; Jockey Bravo Gets Mount

Trainer Patrick Biancone confirmed Sunday morning at Churchill Downs that Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor's Spanish Chestnut is bound for the May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr. I). The French-born trainer said jockey Joe Bravo would ride the speedy son of Horse Chestnut.

The final decision to run Spanish Chestnut in the Run for the Roses was made Sunday morning after a positive work, the trainer said. "I've talked to my people and we are running," said Biancone who noted he has recorded six wins from 14 starts with Bravo in the irons.

Biancone and Bravo teamed to win last year's Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at Monmouth Park with Lion Heart.

Biancone shipped Spanish Chestnut from his Keeneland base Sunday morning to watch the colt work over the Churchill surface. Spanish Chestnut worked in 1:00 2/5.

After the work Spanish Chestnut was returned to Keeneland where he will remain until Saturday morning.

"The main thing today was to see how he handled the track," Biancone said. "I would think he would handle it well because he has a very low action and this track is very fast and very bouncing. The track wasn't very fast this morning, but it will be very fast on Derby Day."

After a disappointing sixth-place finish, beaten 13 ¾ lengths by Bandini in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), Biancone is confident in his colt's abilities leading up to the Run for the Roses. "Everything we've done since January has been pointing to the Kentucky Derby," the trainer said. "His work went very well this morning. He was well in hand and he looked like he handled the track very well. He is a very fit horse, and we all know he is a front-running horse."

Smith and Tabor also own the Todd Pletcher-trained Bandini, who wears Tabor's silks while Spanish Chestnut carries the colors of Smith. Bandini also got a tour of Churchill Downs Sunday morning, recording his final drill in 1:00 4/5.

Spanish Chestnut has a lifetime record of 3-2-1 from eight career starts. He has earned $208,420.