Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Disarm completed his major preparation for Saturday’s 149th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) by working a half-mile in :49.20 at 5:45 Friday morning under a light shower.
Making their first appearances on track beneath the Twin Spires were C R K Stable’s Skinner for trainer John Shirreffs, Vegso Racing Stable’s Lord Miles for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. and Patricia’s Hope, Phillip Sagan and Madaket Stable’s Two Phil’s for trainer Larry Rivelli.
The Post Position Draw for the Kentucky Derby and the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) will be held at 2 p.m. (all times Eastern) in the Aristides Lounge on the second floor of Churchill Downs’ Clubhouse.
Both post position draws are a traditional “pill pull” in which horses’ entry blanks are pulled simultaneously with a numbered pill to determine what stall a horse will break from the starting gate.
Preference to America’s greatest race is given to the top point-earners on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby.” Up to 24 three-year-olds may enter the 1 ¼-mile race and four horses can be listed as “also eligible” and would be ranked in order accordingly; they could draw into the field should any horse(s) be scratched before scratch time on Friday, May 5, 2023 at 9 a.m.
Preference to the nation’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies is given to the top point-earners on the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks.” Up to 18 horses may enter the 1 1/8-mile race and four horses can be listed as “also eligible” and would be ranked in order accordingly; they could draw into the field should any horse(s) be scratched before scratch time on Friday, May 5, 2023 at 9 a.m.
ANGEL OF EMPIRE/HIT SHOW/JACE’S ROAD, VERIFYING – Trainer Brad Cox sent all four of his Kentucky Derby hopefuls to the track shortly before the 7 a.m. renovation break to jog one mile. It was their first time back to the track since their final works Saturday. Cox said they will resume galloping tomorrow and school in the gate Wednesday.
The trainer gave a quick update on all his runners.
“Angel of Empire came out of his work really well. His works were at the Fair Grounds leading up to the Arkansas Derby and they were good. I think his works leading up to the Kentucky Derby are better and they’re probably going to need to be better. He’s got to step up and run the race in his life. The Arkansas Derby was a great run. But, I do think he needs to move forward off that. I think you will. I love what I’ve seen from him in the mornings and he’s setting up for big effort as long as he has a good week.
“Verifying ran really well in the Blue Grass (when second). I thought his gallop out was very strong. He’s had two works here and they have been very, very good. (Jockey) Tyler (Gaffalione) was aboard him for both of them. He loved what he felt from him and saw from him. I loved what I saw from him. I think he’s going to be set up for a big run.
“Hit Show was on the inside of Verifying the work before last and was aggressive early. We put him on the outside this week. Much better I thought. It was a very good move. He’s needing the pony to the track. That’s a good sign. He’s got great energy.”
“Jace’s Road’s work the other day was good on the inside of Angel of Empire. I’m happy with the way he’s moving. he looks good.”
CONFIDENCE GAME – Don’t Tell My Wife Stables and Ocean Reef Stables’ Confidence Game had a strong gallop at 7:30 a.m. under exercise rider Alex Cano. It was his first time back on the track since firing a bullet five-furlong workout in :59 Saturday
“That seemed to open up some eyes, didn’t it?” trainer Keith Desormeaux said. “Well, we’ve always said he was a good horse. You can’t win the Rebel (Stakes (GII), you can’t win a race like that and not be talented, but that was a strong work and it was his last work. He pulled up well and he galloped fine this morning, so we’re good to go.”
The Kentucky Derby will be Confidence Game’s first start since the Feb. 25 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn. The time between races is not a worry to Desormeaux.
“We think the time has been a beneficial. It can only help. If he was a big heavy muscled, heavy bodied horse, maybe I would have had to start him again in order to win a mile and quarter race like the Derby, but he puts a lot in his works. That’s why everybody’s talking about Saturday’s work. He’s really aggressive. He doesn’t need a crowd of horses in a race for him to put forth a full effort in his work. So, it’s a non-issue. It can only help. The 10 weeks can only help. If he gets beat it’s not because he had 10 weeks.”
CONTINUAR – Lion Race Horse Co. Ltd.’s Continuar (JPN) warmed up in the mile chute under Kazunari Yoshida and then galloped a mile. Continuar may work Tuesday morning.
Trainer Yoshito Yahagi is expected to be at this afternoon’s Post Position Draw.
DERMA SOTOGAKE – Hiroyuki Asanuma’s Derma Sotogake (JPN) warmed up in the mile chute with Masatoshi Segawa aboard and then galloped 1 ¼ miles under Masanori Tanaka.
Trained by Hidetaka Otonashi, Derma Sotogake will be ridden in the Derby by Christophe Lemaire. He is scheduled to work with Segawa up Tuesday, the same day Otonashi is scheduled to arrive in Louisville.
DISARM – Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Disarm completed his major Kentucky Derby preparation Monday with an easy half-mile move in :49.20.
Exercise rider Wilson Fabian was in the saddle on Disarm, who was accompanied to the track by assistant trainer Scott Blasi aboard one pony and trainer Steve Asmussen followed close behind on another.
Disarm completed an opening quarter-mile of :25 and was not asked to gallop out past the wire, which is typical in Asmussen’s works less than one week out of a race.
“We’ve been behind on his training going into the Road to the Kentucky Derby but he’s responded well with each task we’ve asked him to complete,” Asmussen said.
FORTE/KINGSBARNS/MAJOR DUDE/TAPIT TRICE – Trainer Todd Pletcher had his Derby quartet – three of them guaranteed a spot in the Classic, one still hopeful prior to the entries deadline this morning – went trackside during the 7:30 to 7:45 window designated for Derby/Oaks runners only. The Pletcher crew, along with his two Kentucky Oaks candidates, were the first ones on the track when the special training began.
Forte, Kingsbarns and Tapit Trice have earned their way into Derby 149 via performances in “points” races leading up to Saturday’s big one. Major Dude’s connections were hopeful of coming on board, but are headed to the $500,000 American Turf (Grade II) at a mile and one sixteenth Saturday afternoon.
All of the Pletcher charges galloped about a mile and three eighths.
The trainer gave the moves a thumbs up and indicated that he’d start paddock schooling his Derby charges Tuesday when racing resumes at Churchill.
LORD MILES – The Wood Memorial (GII) winner jogged one-mile Monday morning following his arrival at Churchill Downs Sunday.
Lord Miles is stabled in Barn 41.
MAGE – Trainer Gustavo Delgado Sr. has the Good Magic colt following a maintenance program after his final timed breeze on Saturday, in the countdown to the Derby.
Mage was sent to the track Monday morning with regular exercise rider J.J. Delgado for a gallop.
“Today it was a long gallop, and he looked very strong,” Delgado Sr. said. “We’re very happy with him.”
The colt, owned by OGMA Investments LLC, Ramiro Restrepo, Sterling Racing LLC and CMNWLTH, was timed in 1:16.80 for six furlongs on Saturday.
PRACTICAL MOVE/REINCARNATE – Trainer Tim Yakteen’s pair of Derby charges galloped about a mile Monday morning at Churchill Downs, Practical Move, the Santa Anita Derby (GI) winner, doing his business at 5:15 and Sham Stakes (GIII) ace Reincarnate getting his exercise in during the special 7:30 to 7:45 training window.
Both charges galloped about a mile under former-jockey-turned exercise rider Baltazar Contreras and the Yakteen indicated all was good. “It’s been going good since we arrived here at Churchill,” the conditioner said. “I’m happy with how it’s all working out.”
Yakteen brought four other runners with him from Southern California, all earmarked for races Saturday.
Practical Move, a son of the Into Mischief stallion Practical Joke, is owned by Leslie and Pierre Amestoy, as well as Roger Beasley. He’s a winner of four of seven lifetime starts. Reincarnate is owned by a large group headed by Tom Ryan’s SF Racing. The gray Good Magic colt previously worked out of the Bob Baffert barn, but has been handled by Yakteen for the past three months during which he managed a pair of thirds in Oaklawn stakes and earned the points to get him into Derby 149.
The trip to Louisville was the first time Practical Move had been aboard a plane to ship. “He handled it fine,” his trainer said.
RAISE CAIN – Andrew and Rania Warren’s Raise Cain galloped at Keeneland Monday morning before loading onto a van for the 70-mile ride to Churchill Downs for trainer Ben Colebrook. He arrived around 11 o’clock.
The winner of the Gotham (GIII) will be ridden in Derby 149 by Gerardo Corrales, who was aboard for Raise Cain’s first three starts.
ROCKET CAN – Following his Sunday morning 5-furlong breeze, the Into Mischief colt, owned by Frank Fletcher Racing Operations, had an easy morning in trainer Bill Mott’s barn.
“Everything’s good,” Mott said Monday morning. “He just walked the shedrow, and didn’t go to the track.”
Rocket Can put in his final breeze for the Derby, with regular exercise rider Guelser Cardona aboard, in :59.80 for the five furlongs. On Tuesday, Mott plans to return Rocket Can to daily exercise ahead of Saturday’s race.
SKINNER – Trainer John Shirreffs introduced his colt Skinner to the Churchill Downs racestrip Monday morning just after 9. The well-made son of Curlin had had an adventuresome trip getting there from his Southern California headquarters.
Skinner, who is owned by C R K Stable, started out his trip on an airplane out of LAX at 3:30 a.m. Sunday California time and finally made it to Barn 41 on the Churchill’s backside at 9:30 p.m. Kentucky time. He was flown to Memphis, then – because of construction on highways along the way – spent seven hours on a van getting to Louisville.
“He’s a tough horse, though,” Shirreffs said Monday by way of saying he thinks his horse will be fine from here on out.
With the aid of pony rider Monnie Goetz, the trainer secured the riding services of Donnie Balthazar out of the Al Stall barn to take Skinner trackside. Shirreffs remembered Goetz well. She had taken his horse Giacomo to the post in the 2005 Derby, then watched him win the thing at odds of 50-1.
As requested by the trainer, Balthazar took the colt through the six-furlong gap and down the chute for a bit. He let him stand and do some looking, then walked and gently jogged with Goetz’s pony down to the half-mile pole where he broke off for a steady gallop that took him around for about a mile. He then headed back to the barn.
“I’ll play it by ear as to his routine from here on out,” Shirreffs said. “Tomorrow is another day.”
SUN THUNDER – With just a handful of days remaining until the 149th Derby, trainer Kenny McPeek indicated Monday that he’ll give the colt, owned by R.T Racing Stable and Cypress Creek Equine, a final breeze on Tuesday.
“Just basic stuff, boring, boring, boring,” McPeek said. “He galloped a mile and three-eighths, no problems.”
Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr., who will ride the colt in the Derby, is expected to climb aboard him in the workout.
McPeek and his family had a big day Sunday when he celebrated his daughter Jenna’s graduation Summa Cum Laude from Otterbein University.
TWO PHIL’S – Arriving from Hawthorne Race Course on Sunday, Barn 1 Stall 1 now belongs to the Jeff Ruby Steaks (GIII) winner Two Phil’s. At 7:30 on Monday morning he was escorted to Gap 1 by trainer Larry Rivelli and jockey Jareth Loveberry. This was his first time on the local oval since winning the Street Sense Stakes (GIII) over a sloppy track at the end of October.
With Gonzalo Gonzales in the saddle, Two Phil’s spent several minutes on the outside rail near the gap entrance taking in his new surroundings and watching the activity of the Derby and Oaks workers. Patricia’s Hope, Phillip Sagan, and Madaket Stable’s chestnut colt then galloped one mile and one quarter across the main track.
“Shipping in went great,” Rivelli said. “He seems to be comfortable here, and I’m happy with his gallop.”
ALSO-ELIGIBLES – Cyclone Mischief (No. 21), Mandarin Hero (No. 22) and King Russell (No. 23) are all expected to enter the Kentucky Derby on the also-eligible list
LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS UPDATE
AFFIRMATIVE LADY – AMO Racing USA’s Affirmative Lady galloped a mile early Monday morning at Keeneland under Kevin Lundie for trainer Graham Motion.
After training, Affirmative Lady was put on a van for the trip to Churchill Downs.
With a full gate of 14 fillies expected to be entered for the Kentucky Oaks, Motion was asked where he would like to see Affirmative Lady begin her 1 1/8-mile journey.
“In a perfect world, between the 5 and 10,” Motion said.
AND TELL ME NOLIES – Peter Redekop’s And Tell Me Nolies, who arrived from Southern California Saturday, had her first trip to the Churchill Downs track Monday, jogging one mile shortly before 8 a.m.
BOTANICAL, THE ALYS LOOK, WET PAINT – Brad Cox’s three Kentucky Oaks fillies all went to the track at 7:30 a.m. and schooled in the gate before galloping once around the track.
Leading the way was Godolphin LLC’s Wet Paint, who figures to be among the favorites off her three impressive, come from behind victories at Oaklawn in the Martha Washington, Honeybee Stakes (GIII) and Fantasy Stakes (GIII).
“She can make you a little nervous with her running style, but overall she’s just been really consistent, Cox said. “She’ll love the mile and an eighth here. She’s had a great week. Her two works have been fantastic.
“You can usually tell the half-mile or three-eighths pole, if she’s going to put in her run. If she puts in her run, she’s going to be tough. She’s won her last three going away. She’s been so dominate. She’s won on a wet track. On a fast track. She’s closed on a slow pace and on a fast pace. She just brings it every time.”
Cox is also happy with what he is seeing from The Alys Look and Botanical.
“They’re both doing really well,” Cox said. “The Alys Looks is flying under the radar, but I love the way she’s developing.
“Botanical needs to step up on the dirt, but I like what I am seeing. Physically, she looks great. She’s doing really well.”
DEFINING PURPOSE – The Ashland Stakes (GI) winner followed the same training regimen of her stablemate, Derby candidate Sun Thunder, trainer Kenny McPeek said.
“She galloped the same distance, a mile and three-eighths,” McPeek said.
Regular exercise rider Shelby Spalding was aboard the filly, who worked a half-mile on Saturday, timed in :47 for the four furlongs.
DORTH VADER – John Ropes’ Dorth Vader galloped about 1 ½ miles at 7:30 a.m. Monday at Churchill Downs and visited the paddock.
FLYING CONNECTION – Brad King, Randy Andrews, G. Chris Coleman, Jim Cone, Suzanne Kirby and Lee Lewis’ Flying Connection galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Oscar Rojero.
Trainer Todd Fincher plans to add a visit to the starting gate to Flying Connection’s Tuesday itinerary.
Fincher was asked about a post position draw preference for the Sunland Park Oaks (Listed) winner and the answer came quickly: “I don’t want the 1 or the 14.”
GAMBLING GIRL/JULIA SHINING – Repole Stable’s Gambling Girl and Stonestreet Stables’ Julia Shining both went trackside during Monday morning’s special Derby/Oaks training session between 7:30 and 7:45 for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Gambling Girl, the Dialed In filly who is assured a spot in Friday’s 149th edition of the Kentucky Oaks, had Carlos Quevedo in the irons, while Julia Shining, a daughter of Curlin, was handled by Humberto Zamora. The latter isn’t likely to make it into the Oaks field and will await better opportunities further down the road.
Both fillies galloped about a mile and three eighths on a brisk morning in Louisville. Later they were brought over from the backside to paddock school around 10:15.
MIMI KAKUSHI – Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum’s Mimi Kakushi under stable rider Xavier Ziani jogged a mile alongside a pony and then galloped a mile.
The UAE Oaks (GIII) winner had walked Sunday after a half-mile work in :50.40 on Saturday.
“I am very happy with her,” trainer Salem bin Ghadayer said, then alluding to this afternoon’s Post Position Draw, “I’d like to be in the middle; hopefully not inside.”
PRETTY MISCHIEVOUS – Accompanied by trainer Brendan Walsh on pony, Rachel Alexandra-winner Pretty Mischievous made the short walk from Barn 9 to the track at 7:30 a.m. Keeping to her routine, the Godolphin homebred carried her regular exercise rider Albino Martinez one mile and a half across the fast track.
“I’m very happy with her,” Walsh said. “It’s nice to have one in (the Kentucky Oaks) again and give it a go. Everything seems to be going smoothly enough.”
In 2017 Walsh trained the Oaks filly Wicked Lick, homebred by Lee Mauberret, who finished thirteenth to Abel Tasman. Similar to Pretty Mischievous, Wicked Lick finished second in the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) in her final prep before the first Friday in May.
PROMISEHERAMERICA – After arriving at Churchill Downs safely on Sunday night, Hoffman Thoroughbreds and Tom McCrocklin’s Promiseher America settled in to Barn 42 on the backside. Accompanied by assistant trainer Rodrigo Montecino, the Gazelle-winner spent the morning taking in her surroundings and walking the shedrow. Trainer Ray Handal is scheduled to arrive Monday afternoon.
SOUTHLAWN – Robert Masterson’s Southlawn had a 1 ½-mile gallop Monday morning for trainer Norm Casse.
“I can’t find any reasons why she can’t win,” Casse said. “She’s ready, I’m ready.”
WONDER WHEEL – After galloping one mile and a half on Sunday, the 2-year-old champion filly Wonder Wheel had a walk day. With light rain and cold winds blowing through Louisville at her regular morning training time, D.J. Stable’s filly stayed dry as she stretched her legs over the shedrow.
“She’ll be back out to gallop tomorrow morning at 5:45 a.m.,” assistant trainer David Carroll said.
ALSO-ELIGIBLE – Taxed (No. 15), Julia Shining (No. 16) and Hoosier Philly (No. 17) are all expected to enter the Kentucky Oaks as also-eligibles.