Derby Contenders Sizzle in Saturday Workouts

Derby Contenders Sizzle in Saturday Workouts
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Exercise rider Maxine Correa gets ready to breeze Birdstone at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
Smarty Jones and Birdstone, among the 3-year-olds vying for favoritism in the May 1 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), sizzled in Saturday morning workouts at Churchill Downs.

Someday Farm's Smarty Jones, who could earn a $5-million bonus if he wins the Derby, got five furlongs in :58 and galloped out three-eighths of a mile in 1:15 1/5. The time was the fastest of the day among 33 horses working that distance over a track rated good.

"I am tickled to death," trainer John Servis said of the effort by the Pennsylvania-bred son of Elusive Quality  . "He was at his best today. "He was ready for a work. He was begging for it."

As the winner of Oaklawn Park's two Derby preps, including the Arkansas Derby (gr. II), Smarty Jones could earn a $5-million bonus from the Arkansas track if he wins the Derby. He is undefeated in six starts.

Also flashing speed in his breeze was Marylou Whitney's homebred Birsdstone, winner of the 2003 Champagne Stakes (gr. III), who went five furlongs in :58 2/5 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:11 1/5. The five-furlong work was second only behind Smarty Jones' time.

"This was a very good work; he did it real easily," said trainer Nick Zito. "He is a talented horse and I think this shows he has a good shot (to win the Derby). This horse is capable of doing it. If he pulled it off, I would not be surprised. "

Noting that his horses generally do not turn fast works leading up to the Derby, Zito said, "There are different types of horses. What you want to see is how they do it. He went nice and easy."

Birdstone is a Kentucky-bred son of Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone.

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