Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert sent out Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) contender Midnight Lucky and potential Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) runner Code West in company the morning of April 28 at Churchill Downs, tuning the powerful filly up and evaluating whether to run the ridgling.
A call is expected April 29 on whether Code West, currently 21st on the Derby points list after finishing sixth in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II), and Sunland Derby (gr. III) winner Govenor Charlie, 11th on the list to make the 20-horse field, will make the Run for the Roses.
Baffert said Mike Pegram's Govenor Charlie, who lost training time due to a foot bruise, will breeze or gallop April 29 before he makes up his mind regarding both contenders.
With a decision from trainer Todd Pletcher also pending on whether Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. III) winner Winning Cause will run in the Derby (he, too, is expected to work April 29), "bubble horses" Tiz a Minister and Golden Soul could move up. Winning Cause is number 20 on the Derby list, Tiz a Minister is 22 (and ran third April 27 in the Snow Chief Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park), and Golden Soul is 23.
Midnight Lucky, breaking off about four lengths behind Code West, closed the distance easily with powerful strides and finished a head in front after five furlongs in :59 3/5. Splits were :12 2/5, :24 2/5, :36 3/5, :48, and out in 1:11 4/5 and 1:25. She was ridden by exercise rider Dana Barnes.
Code West was timed in 1:00 2/5 under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, with splits of :12 3/5, :24 4/5, :37 1/5, and :48 4/5. He galloped out in 1:12 3/5 and 1:25 4/5.
Midnight Lucky, a lightly-raced gray daughter of Midnight Lute , out of the Citidancer mare Citiview, won the Sunland Park Oaks by eight lengths straight off a debut victory for owners Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman. She will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano in the May 3 Kentucky Oaks.
Baffert also worked 3-year-old filly Fiftyshadesofhay in company with Fed Biz April 28; she was clocked four furlongs in :47 4/5 while her grade II-winning stablemate went the distance in :47 2/5. The daughter of Pulpit was third in the April 6 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) last time out. Baffert said he will target either Churchill's Eight Belles Presented by Xerox (gr. III) May 3, or the May 17 Black Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) at Pimlico Race Course.