Rock Hard Ten, the hard-luck 3-year-old on the outside looking in on the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), drew post six in a six-horse field for Saturday's Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.
Churchill Downs, home to next week's Kentucky Derby, opens its 54-day spring/summer meeting Saturday. The meet runs through July 5.
The Derby Trial has not been a major steppingstone to the Derby in many years. However, this year, with a minimum of $60,000 in graded earnings to the winner, could be a factor. Mercedes Stables and Madeleine Paulson's Rock Hard Ten currently is about 24th on the list for the Derby based on graded earnings. Only the top 20 based on graded earnings will be selected from those who pass the entry box next Wednesday.
Trainer Jason Orman has said in published reports that he is looking toward the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), but he may be swayed after Saturday's race.
A son of Kris S. out of Tersa, by Mr. Prospector (bred by Madeleine Paulson), Rock Hard Ten is a super-sized colt, standing 17 hands. He tore through his maiden and initial allowance conditions earlier this year at Santa Anita before running a game second behind 30-1 Castledale in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). However, he was disqualified from second and placed third behind Imperialism for drifting in during the stretch run.
That disqualification was worth $60,000 in graded earnings, as second-place money was $150,000 and third-place money was $90,000 in the $750,000 race. A victory in the Derby Trial would put him on the cusp of entry into the Derby.
Pat Day, Churchill Downs' all-time leading rider, has been named to ride Rock Hard Ten. He'll have his work cut out for him in the one-turn, one-mile race.
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's Bwana Charlie, winner of the seven-furlong Lafayette Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland on April 4, figures to be a tough one in here. A winner of three straight for trainer Steve Asmussen, Bwana Charlie pulled away late in the Lafayette to win by 3 1/4 lengths under Shane Sellers. Sellers will be aboard again.
Bwana Charlie, a son of Indian Charlie
out of the Halo mare Shahalo, was bred in Kentucky by E & D Enterprises. Based on the allowance conditions of the race, Bwana Charlie will tote highweight of 122 pounds.
Quick Action, a quick son of Carson City
who was second in the Lafayette, will break from post one. The Overbrook Farm homebred is trained by D. Wayne Lukas and earlier this year won the six-furlong Fred "Cappy" Capossela Stakes at Aqueduct.
San Pedro Stakes winner Courageous Act, a son of Exploit
trained by Bob Baffert, will break from post five under Cornelio Velasquez. Courageous Act was bred and is owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis.Derby Trial (gr. III), 3-year-olds, one mile, $100,000 added, Churchill Downs, Saturday, April 24
PP, Horse, Jockey, Wgt.
1, Quick Action, John McKee, 116
2, Sir Shackleton, Rafael Bejarano, 116
3, Bwana Charlie, Shane Sellers, 122
4, Honolua Storm, Robby Albarado, 114
5, Courageous Act, Cornelio Velasquez, 116
6, Rock Hard Ten, Pat Day, 116