Trainer Todd Pletcher worked his Derby pair Sunday morning.

Trainer Todd Pletcher worked his Derby pair Sunday morning.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Pletcher Pair Drill Before the Downpour; Footnotes Handles Footing

Trainer Todd Pletcher worked his pair of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) hopefuls on Sunday morning before an early morning deluge at Churchill Downs. Dogwood Stable's Limehouse was officially clocked in 1:01 for five furlongs, while David Moore's Edgewood Farm's Pollard's Vision was timed going the same distance in 1:00 4/5. Also on the track early was Read the Footnotes.

Both horses went to the track early, as rain, very heavy at times, began just after 6 a.m. Limehouse went out at 5:45 a.m., while Pollard's Vision hit the track at around 6:15 a.m.

"We went at the last minute we could have," Pletcher said back at Barn 42 after their works. "We got it in before the rain hit hard. When I came in and saw the weather forecast, I thought it was going to be a matter of when. Pollard's Vision went out about five minutes before the track turned to slop."

Pletcher said he timed Limehouse in 1:01.35 and Pollard's Vision in 1:01.22.

"We were looking for anything between a minute and 1:01," Pletcher said. "I don't worry about a few hundredths of a second. They worked well and cooled out fine."

With their major works in the books for the Derby, both horses will gallop up to the race, according to Pletcher.

Limehouse, a chestnut son of Grand Slam out of the Dixieland Band mare Dixieland Blues, has won five of nine career starts and has earned $575,435. On his resume is a pair of wins at Churchill Downs last year as a 2-year-old: The Three Chimneys Juvenile, run on Derby day, and the six-furlong Bashford Manor Stakes (gr. III) on July 6.

Limehouse was a $140,000 purchase out of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale in August of 2002.

Pollard's Vision, who is blind in his right eye, is coming off a 2 3/4-length score in the Illinois Derby (gr. II). The son of Carson City--Etats Unis, by Dixieland Band has a 3-2-3 slate from 10 career starts and has earned $445,811.

Pollard's Vision was a $70,000 buy out of last year's Keeneland sale of 2-year-olds in training. Pletcher said the fact he was blind in one eye compromised his sale price. He guessed he would have been a $300-$400,000 sale 2-year-old with full sight.

"Both horses are consistent and I think both are the kind of horse that can stand up to the heat of the situation," Pletcher said of Saturday's Kentucky Derby. "They're both tough and have a lot of seasoning. The fact Limehouse is two-for-two at Churchill Downs is encouraging."

Also taking a tour of the Churchill Downs oval in the gloom of the pre-dawn heavy rain on Sunday was Read the Footnotes for trainer Rick Violette. Klaravich Stables' Fountain of Youth (gr. II) winner galloped 1 1/2 miles.

"We got drowned," Violette said. "I usually don't work horses on that wet a track, but the Derby isn't a usual circumstance. But he handled it great."

Violette said the son of Smoke Glacken will breeze a half-mile either Monday or Tuesday, depending on the weather. "We'll just blow off some steam and get some exercise," Violette said. "We'll be looking for something between :47 and :49. The window is large. We just want him to stretch his legs and pick it up a little up the lane."