Sumaya U.S. Stables’ Pioneer of Medina, third-place finisher in the Louisiana Derby (GII) in his most recent start, tuned up for a possible start in Kentucky Derby 148 by working five furlongs in company in :59.80 over a fast track on a cloudy morning at Churchill Downs.
Trained By Todd Pletcher, Pioneer of Medina is 21st on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard for the Run for the Roses that is limited to the top 20 point earners that pass the entry box next Monday, May 2.
Working during the special training session reserved for Kentucky Derby and Oaks hopefuls between 7:30-7:45 and working with maiden winner Macallan, Pioneer of Medina posted eighth of a mile fractions of :12.60, :24.40, :35.60, :47.80 and :59.80 and galloped out in 1:12.60, 1:25.40 and 1:40.20.
Shortly after the track opened at 5:15, Briland Farm’s Secret Oath worked six furlongs on her own in 1:13 with jockey Luis Saez aboard for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
Fractions on the work were :24.20, :36, :48, 1:00, 1:13 and out seven furlongs in 1:28.20.
Owners Kentucky West Racing and Clarke Cooper’s Tampa Bay Derby (GII) winner Classic Causeway is back into Kentucky Derby contention, according to the Churchill Downs Racing Office.
CHARGE IT, MO DONEGAL, PIONEER OF MEDINA – Trainer Todd Pletcher’s three Kentucky Derby hopefuls were on the track at 7:30 with the prime object of attention being Sumaya U.S. Stable’s Pioneer of Medina who worked five furlongs in :59.80, the best of eight at the distance for the morning.
Working during the special training session reserved for Kentucky Derby and Oaks hopefuls with Carlos Perez up and working with maiden winner Macallan, Pioneer of Medina post eighth of a mile fractions of :12.60, :24.40, :35.60, :47.80 and :59.80 and galloped out in 1:12.60, 1:25.40 and 1:40.20.
“You can use all the trainer clichés you want,” Pletcher said. “We saw what we wanted to see. It was very good, well executed with a strong finish and he galloped out well.”
Fourth and third behind possible Kentucky Derby favorite Epicenter at Fair Grounds in his past two starts in the Risen Star (GII) and Louisiana Derby (GII), Pioneer of Medina stands 21st on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
“I’ll talk it over with Mr. (Oussama) Aboughazale) and we’ll see how he comes out of the work and make a decision,” Pletcher said. “He got a good breeze over the track and he has the opportunity to draw in.”
Donegal Racing’s Mo Donegal, winner of the Wood Memorial (GII) in his most recent start, galloped 1 3/8 miles under Amelia Green and will be ridden in the Derby by Irad Ortiz Jr.
Whisper Hill Farm’s Charge It, runner-up in the Florida Derby (GI) in his most recent start, galloped 1 3/8 miles under Hector Ramos and will be ridden in the Derby by Luis Saez.
CROWN PRIDE (JPN) – Teruya Yoshida’s Crown Pride (JPN) returned to the track a day after working a half-mile in :49.20.
With Masa Matsuda aboard, the UAE Derby (GII) jogged in the mile chute and then schooled in the starting gate before returning to the Quarantine Barn.
Trainer Koichi Shintani is scheduled to arrive in Louisville on Sunday with jockey Christophe Lemaire scheduled to come in the following day.
CYBERKNIFE, TAWNY PORT, ZOZOS – It was a routine morning of training for trainer Brad Cox’s trio of Derby contenders Cyberknife, Tawny Port and Zozos.
Gold Star’s Arkansas Derby (GI) winner Cyberknife, with Katie Tolbert in the saddle, jogged about one mile with the pony at 6:40 a.m.
About an hour later, Peachtree Stable’s Lexington Stakes (GIII) winner Tawny Port galloped with Edvin Vargas in the irons. He was joined on the track by Barry and Joni Butzow’s Zozos and Kelvin Perez. The runner-up in the Louisiana Derby (GII) has been on a Friday work schedule while Cyberknife and Tawny Port could work Saturday.
Cox has not made any rider decisions for Tawny Port and Zozos. Florent Geroux has the call on Cyberknife.
EPICENTER – Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Louisiana Derby (GII) winner Epicenter had a scheduled walk day in Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen’s Barn 38.
The Not This Time colt worked six furlongs in 1:12.20 Sunday at Churchill Downs.
SMILE HAPPY, TIZ THE BOMB – Lucky Seven Stable’s Smile Happy and Magdalena Racing’s Tiz the Bomb returned to the track for trainer Kenny McPeek for the first time since working five furlongs Saturday morning.
Danny Ramsey was aboard Smile Happy, winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) here last fall, while Edwardo Ruvalcaba was aboard Tiz the Bomb, winner of the Jeff Ruby Steaks (GIII) in his most recent start.
Corey Lanerie has the mount on Smile Happy in the Derby while Brian Hernandez Jr. will pilot Tiz the Bomb.
SUMMER IS TOMORROW – Michael and Negar Burke’s Summer Is Tomorrow, runner-up in the UAE Derby (GII) in his most recent start, galloped a mile and half under Heinz Runge.
Summer is Tomorrow arrived at Churchill Downs Saturday morning and had his first exercise on the track Sunday.
“This is a big eye opener for him,” said Caroline Seemar, wife of trainer Bhupat Seemar. “We have a private track at home and this is like a festival for him.”
Summer Is Tomorrow is scheduled to work Sunday with gate and paddock schooling on the agenda leading up to the Derby, said Seemar, whose husband is scheduled to arrive in Louisville Wednesday.
Mickael Barzalona has the Derby mount.
UN OJO – Cypress Creek Equine and Whispering Oaks Farm’s Un Ojo jogged twice around under Clay Courville, son of trainer Ricky Courville, in his return to the track following a five-furlong work of :59.40 on Saturday, the second-fastest of 70 at the distance.
Winner of the Rebel (GII), Un Ojo is scheduled for a gate schooling session Thursday and will have his final pre-Derby work on Saturday.
Ricky Courville is scheduled to arrive in Louisville Thursday night. Ramon Vazquez has the Derby mount.
ZANDON – Jeff Drown’s Blue Grass Stakes (GI) winner Zandon made his first appearance at Churchill Downs Monday at 9:40 a.m. Zandon shipped to Louisville Sunday morning from Keeneland.
The Upstart colt worked a half-mile in :48.80 Saturday at Keeneland.
“It looked like he was galloping through the lane,’ trainer Chad Brown said, who was on hand to oversee his string of horses Monday at Churchill Downs. “It was a super move. I really just wanted to stretch his legs and evaluate how he’s moving and maintaining where he’s at.”
Zandon and several other stablemates are in Barn 25.
ALSO ELIGIBLES: Julie Gilbert and Aaron Sones’ Lexington Stakes (GIII) fourth-place finisher Ethereal Road worked five furlongs in 1:02 Monday morning at Churchill Downs. … RED-TR Racing’s Rich Strike, No. 24 on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs tonight, according to trainer Eric Reed. Rich Strike will train Tuesday morning and has a breeze scheduled for Wednesday.
SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY DERBY – Here’s the current Top 20 horses in this year’s Kentucky Derby (with jockey and trainer): Epicenter (Joel Rosario, Steve Asmussen); Zandon (Flavien Prat, Chad Brown); White Abarrio (Tyler Gaffalione, Saffie Joseph Jr.); Mo Donegal (Irad Ortiz Jr., Todd Pletcher); Tiz the Bomb (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek); Cyberknife (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox); Crown Pride (JPN) (Christophe Lemiere, Koichi Shintani); Taiba (Mike Smith, Tim Yakteen); Simplification (Jose Ortiz, Antonio Sano); Smile Happy (Corey Lanerie, Kenny McPeek); Classic Causeway (TBA, Brian Lynch); Tawny Port (TBA, Brad Cox); Barber Road (Reylu Gutierrez, John Ortiz); Un Ojo (Ramon Vazquez, Ricky Courville); Early Voting (TBA, Chad Brown); Messier (John Velazquez, Tim Yakteen); Zozos (TBA, Brad Cox); Summer Is Tomorrow (Mickael Barzalona, Bhupat Seemar); Charge It (Luis Saez, Todd Pletcher); Happy Jack (Rafael Bejarano, Doug O’Neill).
LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS UPDATE
COCKTAIL MOMENTS – Dixiana Farms’ Cocktail Moments, runner-up in the Ashland (GI) in her most recent start, galloped during the special Derby/Oaks training window from 7:30-7:45 for trainer Kenny McPeek.
GODDESS OF FIRE, NEST, SHAHAMA – Trainer Todd Pletcher’s trio of Kentucky Oaks hopefuls all galloped 1 3/8 miles Monday morning.
Red Oak Stable’s Goddess of Fire, runner-up in the Rachel Alexandra (GII) and Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) in her past two starts, was partnered by Humberto Zamora. Pletcher said John Velazquez would have the Oaks mount.
Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House’s Nest, winner of the Ashland (GI) in her most recent start, was partnered by Nora McCormack. Irad Ortiz Jr., who has ridden Nest in all four of her victories, has the Oaks mount.
KHK Racing’s undefeated Shahama had Zamora aboard for her morning exercise. Flavien Prat has the Oaks mount.
HIDDEN CONNECTION – Hidden Brook Farm and Black Type Thoroughbreds’ Hidden Connection had an easy one mile jog Monday around 5:30 a.m.
NOSTALGIC – Godolphin’s Nostalgic had a 1 ½-mile gallop Monday morning with veteran exercise rider Penny Gardiner in the saddle.
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott was in attendance Monday and accompanied his 3-year-old filly on the pony.
SECRET OATH – Briland Farm’s top Longines Kentucky Oaks contender Secret Oath worked a sharp six-furlong move in 1:13 early Monday morning.
Secret Oath, with jockey Luis Saez in the saddle, began her three-quarters of a mile work from the 5 ½-furlong marker and completed the move 1/16 mile past the wire.
“It was a big plus with the five-week break since the Arkansas Derby,” Lukas said. “We took our shot in the Arkansas Derby and it didn’t quite work out but we’re really excited to get to run her in this year’s Oaks.”
Lukas has won the Oaks four times but has not run in the race since Colonial Empress’ 11th-place finish in 2012. His most recent victory in the Oaks was in 1990 with Overbrook Farm’s Seaside Attraction.
TURNERLOOSE – Ike and Dawn Thrash’s Turnerloose had an easy morning of training with a one-mile jog under Edvin Vargas.
SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY OAKS – Here’s the Top 14 horses on the leaderboard for the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) (with jockey and trainer): Kathleen O. (Javier Castellano, Shug McGaughey); Echo Zulu (Joel Rosario, Steve Asmussen); Nest (Irad Ortiz Jr., Todd Pletcher); Yuugiri (Florent Geroux, Rodolphe Brisset); Desert Dawn (Umberto Rispoli, Phil D’Amato); Nostalgic (Jose Ortiz, Bill Mott); Venti Valentine (Tyler Gaffalione, Jorge Abreu); Secret Oath (Luis Saez, Wayne Lukas); Goddess of Fire (John Velazquez, Todd Pletcher); Turnerloose (TBA, Brad Cox); Hidden Connection (Reylu Gutierrez, Bret Calhoun); Cocktail Moments (Corey Lanerie, Kenny McPeek); Candy Raid (Rafael Bejarano, Keith Desormeaux); Shahama (Flavien Prat, Todd Pletcher).
STAKES PROBABLES – The following are the early probable stakes race entrants for Kentucky Derby Week, according to assistant racing secretary and stakes coordinator Dan Bork:
The 12th running of the $160,000 Roxelana Overnight Stakes, run on Saturday, April 30 at six furlongs, entries close Wednesday, April 27: Bayerness (trainer Cherie DeVaux); Carribean Caper (Al Stall Jr.); Cheetara (CHI) (Ignacio Correas IV).
The 4th running of the $160,000 Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight Stakes, run on Tuesday, May 1 at 1 ½ miles, entries close Thursday, April 28: Lone Rock (Robertino Diodoro).
The 1st running of the $160,000 St. Matthews Overnight Stakes, run on Wednesday, May 2 at six furlongs, entries close Friday, April 29: Bango (Greg Foley); Tiger Dad (Robertino Diodoro); Tulane Tryst (Cherie DeVaux).
The 7th running of the $200,000 William Walker, run on Wednesday, May 2 at 5 ½ furlongs on turf, entries close Friday, April 29: B D Valeski (Greg Foley); Run Curtis Run (Mike Maker); Sooley (Greg Foley).
The 17th running of the $160,000 Opening Verse, run on Thursday, May 3 at one mile on turf, entries close Saturday, April 30: Captivating Moon (Chris Block).
The 28th running of the $200,000 Kentucky Juvenile, run on Thursday, May 3 at five furlongs, entries close Saturday, April 30: Abinadi (Luis Mendez); King Adrock (Luis Mendez); Lone Leader (John Hancock); Mr. Gordy (John Hancock); Simply Super (Mike Maker).
The 28th running of the $500,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint (GII) presented by Sysco, run on Friday, May 6 at 5 ½ furlongs on turf, entries close Monday, May 2: Chasing Artie (Saffie Joseph Jr.); Diamond Oops (Patrick Biancone); Johnny Unleashed (Eric Foster).
The 65th running of the Modesty (GIII) run on Friday, May 6 at 1 1/8 miles on turf, entries close Monday, May 2: Bleecker Street (Chad Brown); Crystal Cliffs (Graham Motion); Hendy Woods (Mark Casse); She Can’t Sing (Chris Block).
The 19th running of the $500,000 Alysheba presented by Sentient Jet (GII), run on Friday, May 6 at 1 1/16 miles, entries close Monday, May 2: Olympiad (Bill Mott); Title Ready (Dallas Stewart); Weyburn (Brendan Walsh).
The 38th running of the $500,000 Edgewood presented by Forcht Bank (GII), run Friday, May 6 at seven furlongs, entries close Monday, May 2: Beachnut Trophy (Saffie Joseph Jr.); Dream Lith (Robertino Diodoro).
The 67th running of the $500,000 Eight Belles (GII, run Friday, May 6 at seven furlongs, entries close Monday, May 2: Ain’t Easy (Phil D’Amato); Lac Vieux Desert (Robertino Diodoro); Marissa’s Lady (Bill Morey); Pretty Birdie (Norm Casse).
The 37th running of the $750,000 La Troienne (GI), run Friday, May 6 at 1 1/16, entries close Monday, May 2: Ava’s Grace (Robertino Diodoro); Battle Bling (Rob Atras); Shedaresthedevil (Brad Cox); Temper Time (Dale Romans).
The 1st running of the $160,000 Knicks Go, run Saturday, May 7 at one mile, entries close Monday, May 2: Collaborate (Saffie Joseph Jr.); Perfect Speighty (Dallas Stewart); Three Technique (Jason Cook).
The 31st running of the $500,000 American Turf (GII), run Saturday, May 7 at 1 1/16 miles on turf, entries close Monday, May 2: Grand Sonata (Todd Pletcher); Stolen Base (Mike Maker).
The 98th running of the $500,000 Pat Day Mile presented by LG&E and KU (GII), run Saturday, May 7 at one mile, entries close Monday, May 2: Doppelganger (Tim Yakteen); Hoist the Gold (Dallas Stewart); Jack Christopher (Chad Brown); McLaren Vale (Tim Yakteen); Newgrange (Tim Yakteen); Pappacap (Mark Casse); Trafalgar (Al Stall Jr.)
The 37th running of the $500,000 Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (GII), run Saturday, May 7 at one mile on turf, entries close Monday, May 2: Mona Stella (Patrick Biancone); Wakanaka (Bill Mott).
The 36th running of the $750,000 Derby City Distaff presented by Kendall-Jackson Winery (GI), run at seven furlongs on Saturday, May 7, entries close Monday, May 2: Bell’s the One (Neil Pessin); Center Aisle (Paulo Lobo); Four Graces (Ian Wilkes); Obligatory (Bill Mott).
The 87th running of the $750,000 Churchill Downs presented by Ford (GI), run at seven furlongs on Saturday, May 7, entries close Monday, May 2: Aloha West (Wayne Catalano); Jackie’s Warrior (Steve Asmussen); Long Range Toddy (Dallas Stewart); Prevalence (Brendan Walsh).
The 36th running of the $1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (GI), run at 1 1/8 miles on turf on Saturday, May 7, entries close Monday May 2: Cavalry Charge (Dallas Stewart); Ivar (BRZ) (Paulo Lobo); Santin (Brendan Walsh).
KENTUCKY DERBY, OAKS MORNING WORKOUTS OPEN TO PUBLIC – Churchill Downs will be open free-of-charge daily from 7-10 a.m. through Wednesday, May 4 so guests can watch the nation’s top 3-year-old Thoroughbreds train toward their engagements in this year’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks.
Horses train on Churchill Downs’ main track daily from 5:15-10 a.m. with an exclusive training window only for Derby and Oaks participants from 7:30-7:45 a.m. following the 7-7:30 a.m. renovation break.
Those horses are identified by special saddle towels which include their names: yellow saddle towels for Derby horses and pink saddle towels for Oaks contenders.
Kentucky Derby Morning Works presented by TwinSpires.com will begin Monday and air on www.kentuckyderby.com/works, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Fans in attendance will be able to watch the show on the track’s Big Board and infield televisions.
Guests can enter Churchill Downs through the Paddock Gate and should park for free in the nearby White Lot for convenient entry. Guests will be directed to Sections 115-117 to watch the morning workouts.
No outside food and beverage is allowed. Churchill Downs’ Paddock Grill will be open each morning with breakfast food and beverage options.
Also, the Churchill Downs Store will be open daily featuring all of the best official race merchandise, collectibles, drinkwear, party supplies, gifts, apparel and gear for men and women in advance of the Kentucky Derby.
On Sunday, May 1 and Monday, May 2, fans can enjoy a premium breakfast in Millionaires Row or the Stakes Room for Dawn at the Downs. Tickets start at $41 and can be purchased on www.KentuckyDerby.com/tickets.
The 148th runnings of the $1.25 Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) and $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) will be held Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7, respectively. Opening Night of Derby Week and the 44-day Spring Meet is Saturday, April 30.