Wednesday's Derby Notes from Churchill Downs

ATSWHATIMTALKNBOUT - "We're just trying to keep him happy." That's the way trainer Ron Ellis described things around his barn Wednesday morning following a gallop by his Kentucky Derby contender Atswhatimtalknbout on a cloudy morning at Churchill Downs. By all appearances, Ellis is doing just that for the handsome son of A.P. Indy who strikes a healthy and happy pose barnside or trackside. The colt, a winner of two of five starts and $164,120, galloped a mile under exercise rider Raul Vizcarrando at approximately 8:40.

BRANCUSI - The Blue Grass Stakes runner-up galloped 1 1/2 mile today at Keeneland, trainer Patrick Biancone said he did "very good." "The track was velvet," said Biancone.

BUDDY GIL - Desperado Stables' Buddy Gil was on the track before 7 a.m. to jog a mile and gallop a mile under exercise rider Amy Mullins. "Everything is good," trainer Jeff Mullins said. "The horse is happy, the exercise rider is happy and the owners are happy." Among the owners looking on Wednesday morning was Donnie McFadden, who also bred Buddy Gil. McFadden owns Billingsley Creek Ranch near Hagerman, Idaho.

DOMESTIC DISPUTE - Trainer Patrick "Paddy" Gallagher, one of the stars of the annual Derby trainer's dinner Tuesday night, was back at work Wednesday morning, sending Domestic Dispute througha 1 1/4-mile jog with exercise rider Joe Deegan in the boot. The Unbridled's Song colt was purchased privately this past weekend by Californians Chuck Winner and David Bienstock, both of whom were on the scene to see their chestnut runner go through his exercises

EMPIRE MAKER/PEACE RULES - The Kentucky Derby favorite - Juddmonte Farms Empire Maker - walked the shedrow Wednesday morning following a large flap over his tender foot Tuesday. His stablemate - Edmund Gann's Peace Rules - galloped 1 3/8 mile. And their trainer - Hall of Famer Robert Frankel - expressed full confidence in both in a backstretch press conference attended by a sizable portion of the media contingent. Empire Maker caused a stir Tuesday morning when he showed just a hint of a hitch in his get-along going through a one-mile jog under exercise rider Jose Cuevas. Frankel did his best Wednesday morning at 9:30 to allay fears and accentuate the positive concerning the dark son of 1990 Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled. "The horse is OK," the conditioner said. "I walked him today on the advice of the veterinarian. He suggested I do the same thing tomorrow. I'll come out here tomorrow morning and see how that goes. I'll see how the horse is and then I might walk him or I might jog him. I'll decide that in the morning. But the final decision is he's going to run. And he'll run his race." The trainer's other Derby charge, the chestnut Peace Rules, went trackside immediately after the mid-morning renovation break for his exercise with Jose Cuevas aboard for the first time. Previously, stable rider Antonio Graell had handled the colt by Jules in his gallops.

EYE OF THE TIGER - Lexington Stakes runner-up Eye Of The Tiger will run, it was confirmed this morning. The homebred colt by American Chance was given a green light by owner-breeder John Gunther Tuesday and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer relayed the news from his Northern California base to his man on the Kentucky scene - assistant trainer and exercise rider Art Calva.

FUNNY CIDE - The New York-bred gelding who gave Empire Maker backers cause for concern with his determined run in the Wood Memorial, was traveling to Kentucky Wednesday. He was scheduled out on a flight from New York at 1 p.m. that included Kentucky Oaks starter Yell. They were due to arrive at Churchill Downs later in the afternoon. Funny Cide completed his Derby work with a sharp :58 2/5 five furlongs at Belmont Park Tuesday morning.

INDIAN EXPRESS - Indian Express, now trainer Bob Baffert's lone hope for a Kentucky Derby repeat, walked under the shedrow Wednesday morning after his workout on Tuesday. Kafwain, who was to be Baffert's other Derby starter, strained a tendon in his right foreleg and will be out of action for four to six months. Baffert has said Indian Express will try for the lead and go as far as he can.

LONE STAR SKY - Risen Star Stakes runner-up Lone Star Sky walked the shedrow a day after working five furlongs in 1:00 3/5. "He is fine this morning," trainer Tom Amoss said. "I am comfortable with the decision (to enter the Derby) based on how he is doing and how the field is shaping up." With Kafwain being declared from the Derby field because of injury on Tuesday, Lone Star Sky is the only participant from last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile to make the Derby.

OFFLEE WILD - The Azalea Stable colt, who registered a bullet work Tuesday morning with five furlongs in :59 1/5, walked the shedrow Wednesday morning under the watchful eye of trainer T.V. Smith, who makes his Derby debut at the age of 65. Offlee Wild, a son of Wild Again out of a Seattle Slew mare, stood calmly in his stall Wednesday morning, at one point yawning widely before shuffling to the back of the stall. "He's a very calm horse," Smith said. "Nothing excites him much in the barn."

OUTTA HERE - Delta Jackpot winner Outta Here visited the starting gate and then galloped 1 3/4 mile with assistant trainer Pat Seeley up Wednesday morning after the renovation break. "He was very calm at the gate and acted like a gentleman, like he always does," said trainer and co-owner Bill Currin. Currin still plans to let Outta Here blow out down the lane Thursday with Seeley or Derby rider Kent Desormeaux up. Outta Here schooled in the paddock Tuesday afternoon and he may have another session Thursday. "He got a little warm in there, but it was from the heat, not fear," Currin said.

SIR CHEROKEE - Trainer Michael Tomlinson reported all was well with Arkansas Derby winner Sir Cherokee Wednesday morning at the Trackside Training Center, a day after the Cherokee Run colt worked five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 at Churchill Downs. "It was a good work, and he came out of it fine and looks none the worse for wear," Tomlinson said. Tomlinson had considered bringing Sir Cherokee over to Churchill Downs Thursday afternoon for a paddock schooling session, but may not. "I am re-thinking coming over, because it is something I don't really feel like I need to do,"

SCRIMSHAW/TEN CENTS A SHINE - Coolmore Lexington winner Scrimshaw visited the starting gate and then jogged under exercise rider Stacy Maker shortly before 6 a.m. Ten Cents A Shine was first out of the barn of trainer D. Wayne Lukas to gallop under Maker as the track opened at 5:15. Cornelio Velasquez will pilot Scrimshaw in Derby 129, and Calvin Borel has the call on Ten Cents A Shine, who will combine to give Lukas participation in his 22nd Derby in 23 years.

SUPAH BLITZ - The Mecke colt, winless in five stakes starts this year, walked the shedrow a day after working a sharp half-mile in :46 4/5 Tuesday. Trainer Manny Tortora, who will be saddling his third Derby starter, was as calm as his colt Wednesday morning. Supah Blitz had his nose buried in his haynet and Tortora was talking wistfully about the donuts he wasn't having.

TEN MOST WANTED - Illinois Derby hero Ten Most Wanted got in his licks Wednesday morning when trainer Wallace Dollase took him for a tour of the big Churchill Downs oval at 7:30 a.m. three days prior the big race. Dollase was aboard his black Quarter Horse pony and regular exercise rider Enrique Alferez was aboard Ten Most Wanted as the twosome backtrack-jogged to the finish line, took a tour of the paddock and then jogged back to the six-furlong gap leading into the barn area. When the colt came off the track, assistant trainer Aimee Dollase clipped a shank to the racy sophomore and held tight to the handful of racehorse. "Man, he's feeling good," Wally Dollase said.