Godolphin Racing's Express Tour worked seven furlongs in 1:29 on Saturday as he prepared for the May 5 Kentucky Derby. Assistant trainer Tom Albertrani timed the first eighth of a mile in :15 2/5, got him in :13 4/5 for the second eighth, and the son of Tour d'Or was timed in 1:00 2/5 for five furlongs as he galloped out 1 mile in 1:42 3/5. Churchill clockers recorded a five-eighths of a mile work in 1:01 for Express Tour, with fractional splits of :25 and :49. They caught him galloping out six furlongs in 1:15.
"It was an extremely good work; it was excellent" said Albertrani, noting Express Tour will have a "light blowout" on Thursday before the Derby. "We wanted to be sure he finished off well. I like the way he finished today. I am more confident now.
Albertrani said the number six post position would be his preference for Express Tour, who is expected to be close to the lead in the Derby. "He seems to do better settling off the pace, as he did in Dubai (UAE Derby victory)," Albertrani said.
In the only other work Saturday by a Derby hopeful, the maiden Tincin went a half-mile in :48 2/5. Tincin, who has yet to win his first race, had worked five-eighths of a mile in :59 4/5 at Ellis Park on Thursday before shipping to Churchill Downs on Friday. Jockey Larry LaGue was aboard for Saturday's work.
"This colt is just coming to his peak," said trainer Steve Larue. "He is better this week than last week."
Concerning questions about running a maiden in the 1 1/4-mile Derby Larue said, " It has been our dream since he was a 2-year-old to go the Kentucky Derby. We've made some mistakes with this horse, but he's got the speed. He deserves the chance."
Bill Clements, whose wife co-owns the horse, added, "I think this is a top five horse. If there was one reason to back off, we would. We are not out here to embarrass ourselves."
Derby horses scheduled to work Sunday include Balto Star, Invisible Ink, Dollar Bill, and Thunder Blitz.