Edited release from Churchill Downs
Edmund Gann's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes winner Peace Rules arrived at Churchill Downs on Monday to prepare for the 129th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 3.The Bobby Frankel-trained son of Jules joined his stablemate Empire Maker in Barn 43 at Churchill Downs following a brief van ride from Keeneland Race Course in Lexington. Empire Maker arrived at Churchill Downs on Sunday afternoon following a plane ride from New York. The Unbridled colt, whose wins in the Wood Memorial and the Florida Derby have made him a strong favorite for the Kentucky Derby, walked under Frankel's shedrow Monday morning.Atswhatimtalknbout Gallops In Blinkers
Trainer Ron Ellis outfitted B. Wayne Hughes and Biscuit Stable's San Felipe runner-up Atshwhatimtalknout with blinkers for a gallop on Monday at Churchill Downs.Exercise rider Raul Vizcarrondo was aboard for the gallop over a "fast" track. The colt will breeze with blinkers for the first time on Wednesday."This is the first time he's had them on," said Ellis. "We'll let him gallop with them for a couple of days to get used to them."Ellis said Atswhatimtalknbout has done well and picked up some weight since his early arrival in Kentucky, although the colt is still bothered a bit by a skin rash that developed before his disappointing fourth place finish in the Santa Anita Derby."I think a lot of the horses that come here and train do well –especially when they're from the West Coast," said Ellis, who has never saddled a Kentucky Derby starter. "Charlie (Whittingham) used to do that with his and (Bob) Baffert did it with most of his, at least early on, and got here right away."Ellis wonders now if the skin rash is related to the flat effort by the son of A.P. Indy in the Santa Anita Derby, but has no strong reasons for that performance. He said Atswhatimtalknbout is adjusting well to his new surroundings at Churchill Downs and he hopes that the skin rash clears up over the next few days. "I'm hoping that in 10 days to two weeks that he really comes around and looks good. He's still kind of figuring out where he's at. He's been at Santa Anita ever since we bought him last year in Florida and that's just kind of like home for him. He's knows he's away from home, but it's beautiful weather and he should like it here."Offlee Wild Definite For Derby
Azalea Stable's Offlee Wild came out of a third-place finish in Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass in good shape and veteran trainer T.V. Smith said Monday that the son of Wild Again would make his next start in Kentucky Derby 129."We're going on with him," said Smith, a veteran who has never saddled a starter in the Kentucky Derby. "He came out of the race good and I don't think we've seen his best race yet, so we're going to give it another whirl."The Toyota Blue Grass was the first start for Offlee Wild since a fourth-place finish behind Trust N Luck in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 15. The colt came down with a stubborn bacterial infection that knocked him out of the Florida Derby and Lane's End at Turfway Park. Offlee Wild made a run at the leaders on the far turn under jockey Pat Day in Saturday's race, but Smith said the colt's time on the sidelines had an impact in the late stages of the 1 1/8-mile race."I could tell down the stretch that he was starting to weaken and his gas tank was coming up a little empty," Smith said. "I think the race will benefit him."Offlee Wild is schedule to return to the track for a jog on Tuesday. Smith will be looking for expected improvement in the colt's conditioning in the days to come and he will also be looking over candidates to ride the colt if Day should choose to remain on Illinois Derby (GII) winner Ten Most Wanted for the Kentucky Derby. Smith said he has spoken with Day's agent, Doc Danner, about the matter."They want to keep their options open as long as they can," he said. "We've had a number of riders and agents stop by and put their name in the hat. If Pat wants to ride the horse, it's his mount. If he elects to go elsewhere, we're going to have to get another rider. But there seems to be a lot of good ones out there looking."