McCraken

McCraken

Keeneland | Coady Photography

McCraken Joins Other Derby Hopefuls at Churchill

J Boys Echo also returns to Churchill base.

Janis Whitham's McCraken arrived at trainer Ian Wilkes' Barn 26 at Churchill Downs the morning of April 10 following a third-place finish in the April 8 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland, and all systems are go for the 3-year-old son of Ghostzapper  to move forward for the Grade I, $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands May 6.

"Everything looks good after the race," Wilkes said April 11. "He'll return to the track (Wednesday) morning." 

McCraken was previously unbeaten in four starts prior to the Blue Grass, including a 1 1/4-length win as a juvenile in the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) at Churchill Downs and a 1 1/2-length victory in the Feb. 11 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.

McCraken was originally targeted to the March 11 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) but a minor ankle injury rerouted the colt to the Blue Grass. Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. is confirmed to ride McCraken in the Kentucky Derby.

In other local Kentucky Derby news:

• Blue Grass fourth-place finisher J Boys Echo returned to trainer Dale Romans' Barn 4 at Churchill Downs following Saturday's race. The Gotham (G3) winner is expected to breeze two or three more times prior to the first Saturday in May. 

• Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen breezed Sunland Derby (G3) winner Hence and TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) third-place finisher Local Hero on Monday at Churchill. Hence, No. 13 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 50 points, breezed a half-mile in :47 4/5 while Local Hero, No. 23 with 30 points, breezed a half-mile in :51 4/5 according to the Churchill Downs official clocker.

• Xpressbet Florida Derby (GI) runner-up State of Honor settled in to Mark Casse's Barn 36 on April 7. Casse is scheduled to breeze State of Honor at 6 a.m. April 16. 

• Louisiana Derby winner Girvin is on target to breeze April 15 at Churchill Downs' Trackside Training Facility, according to trainer Joe Sharp. Sharp said Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has picked up the Kentucky Derby mount on Girvin after regular rider Hernandez Jr. opted to stick with McCraken. 

• Jack Cincinnati Casino Spiral Stakes (G3) upset-winner Fast and Accurate is stabled in Mike Maker's Barn K at Trackside. The 3-year-old colt is scheduled for a workout April 15.