Empire Maker, left, works in company at Churchill Downs Sunday morning.

Empire Maker, left, works in company at Churchill Downs Sunday morning.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Empire Maker Breezes Six Furlongs in Final Work Before Derby

By Steve Haskin and
Evan Hammonds

In his final workout prior to next Saturday's $1-million Kentucky Derby, probable favorite Juddmonte Farm's homebred Empire Maker breezed six furlongs in 1:12 3/5 at Churchill Downs Sunday morning.

With Mitsu Nakauchida aboard, the son of Unbridled worked in company with Requete, who was ridden by Joe Deegan.

"This was perfect," said Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel. "That's exactly what you are always looking for. I just wanted to get him in that range (of the final time). I could tell when they broke off he was going real good and I could tell when they galloped out that it was a good work. When he came back he wasn't blowing at all. I am just glad to get this out of the way."

The fractional splits for Empire Maker's work were :24 1/5, :35 3/5, :47 3/5, and :59 3/. In his two most recent starts, Empire Maker was the impressive winner of the Florida Derb y and Wood Memorial.

The Derby favorite's stablemate, Peace Rules (by Jules), the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes winner owned Edmund Gann, worked six furlongs in 1:14. Frankel was slightly displeased by Peace Rules' final time, but plenty happy with Empire Maker's exercise.

"The kid (Nakauchida) got too nervous with it," the trainer said referring to the Peace Rules drill. "He went off a little fast and came home a little slow. I think he did five furlongs in around a minute, then only went in :14 for the last part. But it's OK. It isn't anything I can't adjust for."