The Todd Pletcher-trained duo of Balto Star and Invisible Ink turned in workouts Sunday morning that their trainer labeled "excellent" as the two continued to progress toward next Saturday's Kentucky Derby.
Balto Star, the front-running winner of the Turfway Park Spiral Stakes and the Arkansas Derby, both grade II, was timed in 1:00.09 by Pletcher for five furlongs. Churchill clockers caught the Glitterman gelding in 1:00 3/5. Pletcher had splits of :13, :25.06, and :37.02 for three eighths of a mile and had Balto Star galloping out seven furlongs in 1:28.04. Invisible Ink worked five furlongs in an official :59 4/5 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13 1/5.
"It looks to me like both horses had excellent works," Pletcher said. "I couldn't be more happy with the way both horses are doing. This race is so tough to win, what you hope for is that your horses come up to the race in as good of shape as possible. And they both are."
Noting that Balto Star's work was "impressive," Pletcher said the gelding looked like he was going slower than the final time. "I don't think horses go a minute any easier than he did," Pletcher said. "We know the horse can run, but the question was whether he could run over the Churchill strip. This morning he showed he could."
Pletcher said there will be no attempt on his part to get Balto Star to stalk other horses before trying to move to the front in the Derby. "He is a free-running horse and we're going to let him run."
Of Invisible Ink's chances in the Derby, Pletcher said the Thunder Gulch colt is "knocking on the door and is going to step up" in an upcoming race, possibly the Derby.
In other Sunday workouts, Thunder Blitz worked five furlongs in :59 4/5 and Dollar Bill was timed in 1:00 flat for the same distance.
Noting that Thunder Gulch galloped out a mile in 1:43 1/2, trainer Joe Orseno said the workout was "phenomenal." "That is a good workout for a lot of horses and he was galloping out."
Orseno said all of the horses being pointed toward the Derby can work five-eighths of a mile in under a minute. "To be able to go a mile and a quarter is what it is going to take. It's just a question of whether they collapse or keep going," Orseno said. "He's shown he wants to keep going."
Trainer Dallas Stewart said Dollar Bill "went perfect." Working in company with Kazoo, Dollar Bill was timed in fractions of :24 1/5 for the first quarter mile and :48 for the half. :"He was bouncing around out there and that is just what I wanted. He looks great."