Top Guns Work for Saturday's Major Stakes

Top Guns Work for Saturday's Major Stakes
Photo: Benoit
Hollywood Futurity winner Brother Derek tuned up for Saturday's Santa Anita Derby with a good breeze Sunday morning.
The stars were out in full force Sunday morning, as many of the leading Derby contenders tuned up for next Saturday's grade I Santa Anita Derby and Wood Memorial.

Heading the group was Brother Derek, who breezed five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby. Trainer Dan Hendricks said jockey Alex Solis told him after the work that the son of Benchmark is getting stronger and more professional.

Also working for the Santa Anita Derby was San Felipe (gr. II) runner-up Point Determined, who drilled a half-mile in :59 4/5 at Santa Anita for trainer Bob Baffert.

Baffert also worked Wood Memorial hopeful Bob and John six furlongs in a bullet 1:11 1/5, while Gotham (gr. III) runner-up Keyed Entry tuned up for the Wood by breezing five furlongs in 1:01 4/5.

"That was exactly what we were looking for," said Pletcher of Keyed Entry's work. "All he needed was a maintenance work after running three weeks ago. He seemed to handle a mile and a sixteenth fine. Judging from the way he ran in the Gotham and looking at his pedigree, he should be fine at a mile and an eighth."

At Gulfstream Park on Sunday morning, Barclay Tagg worked undefeated colt Showing Up five furlongs in 1:00 4/5. Showing Up is owned by Lael Stables, whose undefeated Barbaro won the Florida Derby (gr. I) in his fifth start Saturday.

"He didn't go quite as fast as he did last time," Tagg said, referring to a :58 2/5 work on March 26. "This is what we wanted."

Showing Up has only run twice, winning both a maiden special weight and an entry-level allowance by comfortable margins. The Wood will be Showing Up's first try around two turns after scoring at 6 ½ furlongs and one mile at Gulfstream.

Everyone seems to have come out of Saturday's Florida Derby in good order, with the exception of seventh-place finisher Flashy Bull, who may have been compromised by an electrolyte imbalance known as "the thumps."

The son of Holy Bull is still on track for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

"They call it the 'thumps' because the horses body actually thumps a little bit when they are suffering from it," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. "It was hot yesterday, and usually the 'thumps' are caused by heat and/or dehydration in the horse's body.

"There are various things you can do, such as an addition of calcium in the horse's diet to prevent a recurrence of the condition, so as of right now, we're still pointing toward the Kentucky Derby.

"The horse came out of the race sound as he always was. But he ran a sub-par race and we may have found a legitimate excuse for that performance. He got in behind horses yesterday, and he may have gotten a little more kickback (dirt in the face) than he was used to, and that could have exacerbated the situation."

At the Michael Matz stable, everything was well with Florida Derby winner Barbaro.

"Everything is great today," said Matz' stable foreman Ed Madden, "and it was great before the race. This horse is just one great individual. He ate up last night, ate up great this morning, and did his 'thing' (his morning exercise routine) in the round pen this morning. We're all looking forward (to the Kentucky Derby) now."

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