Chapter 4 -- Derby Dynamos...the ability of Zito, Baffert, and Lukas to win the Derby and send live horses there year after year is about all they have in common. Each has completely different training styles, yet all manage to attain the same objective. Lukas rides a pony in the morning. Zito and Baffert don't. Zito washes down his horses himself after training. Lukas and Baffert don't. Baffert uses a two-way radio to keep in constant contact with his exercise riders. Lukas and Zito don't. Lukas and Baffert wear cowboy boots and jeans. Zito wears work shoes and trousers. Zito is a wine connoisseur and rarely orders off a menu; Baffert likes Diet Coke and fast food, as well as a fun night out at a good restaurant; Lukas is content with a hamburger and a glass of milk from room service.Although they might work their horses differently Derby week, all three have their horses fit and ready for the big day. Baffert's two Derby winners, Silver Charm and Real Quiet, each had three workouts at Churchill Downs prior to the Derby, and of the six works, five were bullet moves, or the fastest work on the tab. The only one that wasn't was Real Quiet's six-furlong work in 1:12 2/5, and that was second only to Baffert's other Derby starter Indian Charlie, who worked out before Real Quiet when the track was freshly harrowed and playing faster.Lukas' four Derby winners, on the other hand, did not have a single bullet work among them, although they usually were solid works -- in the 1:13 to 1:14 range for six furlongs, and 1:00 to 1:01 for five furlongs. Zito, however, worked Go for Gin five furlongs in a slow 1:04 3/5 and six furlongs in 1:15. Strike the Gold breezed five furlongs in a pedestrian 1:05 and a half-mile in :51 2/5, but did throw in a bullet five-furlong work in 1:00 flat in between.
Archive of Other Excerpts From This Book