Kentucky Derby Notes: Tuesday, May 2

A daily update on the candidates for the May 6 Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.

A.P. WARRIOR - Stan Fulton's A.P. Indy colt arrived at Churchill Downs from his Southern California home midday on Tuesday after jetting in on a flight that carried 10 runners, including two Kentucky (gr. I) rivals - Bob and John and Point Determined.

Trainer John Shirreffs also took wings to Louisville from Los Angeles and had to be pleased with the good vibe his Kentucky-bred colt received when it came time to bed down on the Churchill backside. A.P. Warrior was given quarters in Barn 45, the same location afforded to Shirreffs' charge Giacamo.

And Kentucky Derby fans surely know what Giacamo did last year - all $102.60 for $2 of it.

BARBARO - Due to the sloppy racetrack Tuesday morning, Lael Stables' Barbaro merely cantered and jogged in the company of a pony.

"I don't like to do too much on a track like that," said trainer Michael Matz, who supervised Barbaro's morning activity aboard the pony.

The 1996 Olympic silver medal-winning equestrian, who will saddle his first Kentucky Derby starter on Saturday, had only one concern about not being able to let his undefeated Florida Derby (gr. I) winner break into a gallop.

"I'm only worried that Peter's got to gallop him in the morning," said Matz with a chuckle, referring to assistant trainer Peter Brette. "(Barbaro) might be a little strong for him to handle."

BLUEGRASS CAT/KEYED ENTRY/SUNRIVER - Trainer Todd Pletcher's potential Derby trio all got in some exercise Tuesday morning, stretching their legs over a "sloppy" Churchill Downs oval that took its share of rain throughout the night.

Bluegrass Cat, a son of supersire Storm Cat, and Keyed Entry, by Honour and Glory, were out in the early Pletcher sets with their regular exercise riders - Luis Castillo on Bluegrass Cat and Jacob Roberts on Keyed Entry. Both colts jogged two miles before returning to Barn 34 where the trainer keeps a full house of runners for the spring Churchill meet.

Sunriver was out at 7:30 under Angel Cordero Jr. for a 1 3/8-mile gallop.

"It isn't looking good for (Sunriver)," Pletcher conceded, referring to the colt's chances to draw in off the graded stakes earnings list. "I'd love to get him in, but the way I see it right now is that he's not going to make it."

Sunriver, a full brother to champion Ashado, who also was trained by Pletcher, is one horse away from making the Classic, but as of Tuesday morning it didn't appear any of the first 20 runners was backing off entering for the big race on Wednesday morning.

Pletcher has an afternoon paddock schooling planned for his Derby hopefuls for Wednesday.

BOB AND JOHN/POINT DETERMINED/SINISTER MINISTER - The California-based colts Bob and John and Point Determined arrived at Churchill Downs midday on Tuesday filling in a pair of the final pieces of the equine puzzle for Saturday.

The twosome, both conditioned by Bob Baffert, went to the trainer's Barn 33 to join stablemate Sinister Minister in anticipation of their appearance in America's most famous horse race.

Bob and John is owned by Stonerside Stable. Point Determined races for the Robert and Beverly Lewis Trust. Sinister Minister goes in the silks of Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable and Bernard Schiappa.

Baffert, who has three runners this year and three previous Derby wins to his credit, also flew to Louisville Tuesday aboard the private plane of Beverly Lewis and her son Jeff, who now oversee the extensive Thoroughbred holdings of the late Bob Lewis.

Sinister Minister, stabled at Churchill Downs since winning the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) at Keeneland April 15, was out at 6 a.m. Tuesday for a 1 3/8-mile gallop around the big oval termed "sloppy."

Stable assistant Mick Jenner was up on the Old Trieste colt for his exercise.

BROTHER DEREK - After putting in his final bit of serious work for the Kentucky Derby Monday morning, the bay colt Brother Derek got to take a day off Tuesday at Churchill Downs, with a walk on the shedrow and a cool-water bath his only notable activities.

"He walked about a half hour, had his bath and is doing fine," trainer Dan Hendricks noted at Barn 42 on a day that started amidst rain, thunder and lightning, but settled into kinder and gentler air with splashes of sun as the morning progressed.

Hendricks had sent Cecil Peacock's son of the Alydar stallion Benchmark through a four-furlong work in :49 1/5 Monday morning, instead of waiting until Tuesday, and, no doubt, was happy he had after seeing how Tuesday started in Louisville weather-wide. The work tab was light – only 31 workers on the "sloppy" main track.

"We'll take him over to the paddock and school him this afternoon with the fourth race if it isn't raining," Hendricks said.

Brother Derek, a winner of six of eight starts including two grade I's and three grade II's in his brief career, will have Alex Solis, the only rider he's known, aboard for his date with destiny.

CAUSE TO BELIEVE - Dodging the lightning bolts and ignoring the thunder, the gray son of Maria's Mon was out for an early morning gallop around the sloppy Churchill Downs oval Tuesday with exercise rider DaRon Long aboard.

Galen May, assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, said the weather was bad, but the track was good when Cause to Believe came out on the track at 6:10 a.m.

"It was the best time to go," May said. "The track's not cut up much at that time. It was raining, but the footing was good."

Cause to Believe galloped once around the oval for his Tuesday morning exercise.

May, who was at Churchill Downs in 2003 when Hollendorfer saddled Eye of the Tiger to finish fifth in the Run for the Roses, said he thought Cause to Believe is coming up to the race the right way.

"He's doing very well here," May said.

Hollendorfer, who was on hand when the colt had his final Derby breeze last Saturday, returned to Northern California, but was expected back at Churchill Downs Tuesday afternoon.

Cause to Believe, a $30,000 purchase at Ocala last year, comes into the race with six lifetime victories (the same as Brother Derek and one fewer than Lawyer Ron) for co-owners Peter Redekop and Peter Abruzzo. He has earned $390,565 so far.

DEPUTY GLITTERS - Trainer Tom Albertrani had a busy schedule planned for Deputy Glitters Tuesday morning after arriving from New York on Monday.

"He galloped a mile-and-a-quarter and he also made the paddock scene and he had some gate schooling," Albertrani said. "We've got to work him tomorrow, so today was a good day to get these things done."

Deputy Glitters, who finished a disappointing sixth over a sloppy Aqueduct track in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) after zipping to victory in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III), is scheduled to work five furlongs Wednesday morning before the break.

Having been soundly defeated in his only two starts on an off track, Albertrani is obviously hoping that Deputy Glitters will be able to run his race over a fast track on Saturday.

"He needs to run back to his race in the Tampa Bay Derby to be there with the rest of the field," said Albertrani.

FLASHY BULL/JAZIL - Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin gave his two Derby starters the day off Tuesday. Both colts just walked under the shedrow.

"With the rain and the muddy track, it seemed like a good day to give them an easy morning," the trainer said.

With Mister Triester pulled out of the race, Flashy Bull, who was 21st on the list of graded earnings, is now a definite starter in the Derby.

"We're very happy he's in," McLaughlin said. "With 17 owners (partners in West Point Thoroughbreds LLC), there's a lot of logistics involved with flights, hotels and seats, so I'm glad we found out early in the week."

McLaughlin saddled Closing Augument to finish second in last year's Derby as a 71-1 outsider. Despite the fact that he was going in with a longshot, the trainer was quietly confident the entire pre-Derby week because he knew his horse would run his race.

"I feel the same way this year," McLaughlin said. "I have confidence that both horses will run their race.

"If you look at the past performances, Flashy Bull has only one bad race (the Florida Derby) and he had an excuse that day (an electrolyte imbalance)."

"Same with Jazil," McLaughlin said. "His only bad race came when he bled through the Lasix (Fountain of Youth). Otherwise, they've both run their races every time out."

Jazil, owned by the Shadwell Stable of Dubai's Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum, was a fast-closing second in the Wood Memorial on April 8 to earn his way into the Derby field. He has a deep-closing style, and as the muddy Wood Memorial effort showed, would move way up on a wet track.

Jazil, a son of Seeking the Gold, will be ridden by Fernando Jara, who was aboard in the Wood Memorial.

LAWYER RON - With an appreciative pat on the neck from exercise rider Betsy Couch, Lawyer Ron completed his morning exercise over a sloppy Churchill Downs strip before the renovation break.

"He was really good this morning," said Couch, who is Lawyer Ron's regular morning partner. Afternoon duties go to jockey John McKee.

Trainer Robert Holthus also liked what he saw.

"He jogged around to the front of the stands and waited for some of the traffic to clear and then galloped about two and a quarter miles," Holthus said. "Everything is going well."

Owned by the Estate of James Hines Jr., Lawyer Ron tentatively was scheduled for a paddock schooling session Tuesday afternoon.

"If the sun comes out, we may go this afternoon, but it looks like it will be nicer Wednesday, so more than likely we will go then," Holthus said.

Post positions for Derby 132 will be drawn Wednesday evening and Holthus is hoping for a favorable spot.

"The draw is especially key for us," Holthus said. "I don't want to be trapped down on the inside and I don't want the 20 (hole). If we get a bad draw, though, I won't be throwing anything up in the air or against the wall."

Holthus has 36 horses stabled in Barn 36 and plans to enter four other runners on the Derby card.

"I will come out here in the morning and try to get away as fast as I can and go home and change clothes and come right back," said Holthus, who will be saddling his fifth Kentucky Derby starter.

PRIVATE VOW/STORM TREASURE - Trainer Steve Asmussen said Tuesday that David Flores will ride Storm Treasure in the 132nd Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

Storm Treasure will be the eighth Derby mount for Flores, 38, a regular on the Southern California circuit. Flores' best finish came in his first Derby ride, a third on Free House in 1997.

Asmussen said he decided not to announce the jockey for Storm Treasure until after both of his Derby candidates had their final breezes. Private Vow turned in a bullet 1:00 for five furlongs Monday morning. Storm Treasure had the second-fastest time at the distance, 1:00 2/5.

"I was just making sure that they both came out of the work well and they were going to run," Asmussen said. "I waited until this morning to see if they were still healthy."

Both colts walked the shedrow Tuesday morning and Asmussen was satisfied with their appearance.

"I'm very pleased," he said. "I have the same concerns: can one of them (Private Vow) go far enough and if the other one (Storm Treasure) is fast enough."

Asmussen said that he has used Flores on his horses in the past.

"He ran fourth on More Than Regal in the Lane's End (gr. II) for us, most recently," Asmussen said. "He's a quality person, a quality rider."

Flores takes over from Mark Guidry, who rode Storm Treasure to a second-place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. Guidry is riding Sharp Humor in the Derby.

SACRED LIGHT - Trainer David Hofmans postponed until Wednesday a scheduled breeze because the track was sloppy Tuesday morning.

Jockey Rafael Bejarano is scheduled to be on the Amerman Racing Stable LLC colt for the workout. If Sacred Light does not make the Derby field, Bejarano will ride him in an allowance race on the Derby Day program.

Sacred Light is 22nd on the list of graded stakes earnings of the Derby candidates. The field is limited to the top 20 graded stakes earners.

Hofmans said the Holy Bull colt would be entered for the Derby Wednesday morning, but acknowledged that his colt probably will be excluded.

"It doesn't look like we're going to get in," Hofmans said.

SEASIDE RETREAT - The morning rains and sloppy track didn't upset Mark Casse-trained Seaside Retreat's schedule Tuesday morning.

"It was a planned day off. Mark had already planned for him to just walk this morning," assistant trainer Mike Anderson said.

Seaside Retreat, who is owned by William Farish Jr., is scheduled to go to the track for strong gallops leading up the Derby.

SHARP HUMOR - Purdedel Stable and WinStar Farm lessee's Sharp Humor jogged two miles after the renovation break under exercise rider Faustino Orantes.

By the time Sharp Humor went out, Churchill Downs was bathed in bright sunlight, a sharp contrast to the lightning and thunder that greeted the early activity when the track opened for training at 6 a.m.

Trainer Dale Romans was asked if there was any way he would select the one hole for Sharp Humor, whom he said would be on the lead.

"No way. I don't ever want the one hole, anytime, anywhere," Romans said. "If you are outside and break bad, you have time to recover. Inside, you have no shot. I had an outside post with a speed horse (Roses in May) in Dubai and that worked out all right."

Mark Guidry will pilot Sharp Humor in Derby 132, one of many Romans runners on the card Saturday.

"I may run five or six others," said Romans, who has 40 horses stabled at Churchill Downs. "I'd like to run in every race, if I could."

SHOWING UP - Trainer Barclay Tagg was still expecting Showing Up to be able to show up for the Kentucky Derby Tuesday morning, while reporting that the undefeated colt came out of Monday's four-furlong breeze of :49 3/5 at Belmont Park in fine order.

"He's doing well; as long as it stays that way, he's all set," said Tagg, who has been closely monitoring a puncture wound that Showing Up suffered in his right front leg during his gutsy Lexington Stakes (gr. II) victory at Keeneland on April 22. "He's ready, as long as the wound doesn't flare up. We have to stop treating him with antibiotics, because, of course, he can't race with them."

Tagg will send the son of Strategic Mission to the track Wednesday morning at Belmont Park before making the final decision whether to enter him in the Derby later in the morning. If he continues to impress his trainer, Showing Up will be shipped to Louisville on Thursday morning. Tagg had shipped Funny Cide to Churchill Downs on the Wednesday before his 2003 Kentucky Derby upset victory.

Showing Up, who has won all three of his lifetime races since debuting at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 11, has impressed his trainer with his uncommon seasoning for such a lightly raced horse.

"The only similarity between him and Funny Cide is that they are both fast horses," Tagg said. "But that's it. They're completely different horses. One's laid back and the other's a coiled spring."

STEPPENWOLFER - Muddy conditions Tuesday morning did not affect trainer Dan Peitz's plans for Robert and Lawana Low's colt.

"We went out and did our normal routine, galloped a mile and a half," Peitz said. "I didn't think the track was that bad. I figured, go ahead and keep him in his routine."

According to Peitz, Steppenwolfer didn't mind the mud.

"He was fine with that," Peitz said. "The track's not going to bother us any, I don't think."

Peitz had planned to take Steppenwolfer to the gate for some more schooling, but decided to postpone that assignment for a day or two.

SWEETNORTHERNSAINT - Joseph Balsamo and Ted Theos' Sweetnorthernsaint waited for the weather to clear before going about his morning activity at Churchill Downs.

Trainer Michael Trombetta was going to go before 7 a.m., but with heavy rain, coupled with thunder and lightning, the 39-year-old conditioner opted to wait until after the renovation break.

Under exercise rider Ernesto Ferdinand, Sweetnorthernsaint stood in the starting gate and then galloped 1 ¼ miles.

"The trip to the gate went well," Trombetta said. "He won't go back there and won't go to the paddock. Schooling is all done."

Even though Sweetnorthernsaint will be Trombetta's first Derby starter, the trainer said he has been here for a Derby weekend before.

"A few years ago I ran Bop in the Aegon Turf on Oaks Day," Trombetta said. "I remember it was crowded and I can only imagine what the Derby would be like on the following day."

Trombetta said the first Derby he could remember watching was Seattle Slew's victory in 1977, but the Derby dreams did not come until later.

"I didn't know any better at that point, but as I started to get involved in it, it is something you always wish for," Trombetta said.

"It doesn't happen right away, but fooling around with young horses is something that I have always enjoyed. That's the only way to get here. You are not going to claim one of these guys too frequently; not going to buy one too frequently, either. I guess your chances might be a bit better starting with them as youngsters."

Trombetta's wife, Marie, is flying to Louisville for Tuesday night's Derby Trainers dinner and then going back to Maryland and returning Friday with the couple's 12-year-old daughter, Nicole.

The Trombettas have two other children, Michael Jr., who will turn 2 on Friday, and 1-month-old Dominic.

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