Three Kentucky Derby hopefuls as well as a Kentucky Oaks possible entrant worked Wednesday morning over a fast track at Churchill Downs.
Hiroyuki Asanuma’s UAE Derby (GII) winner Derma Sotogake (JPN) worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 and was partnered with Lion Race Horse Co. Ltd.’s Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby invitee Continuar (JPN), who worked a half-mile in :50.
Shortly after those breezes during the 7:30-7:45 training window for Derby and Oaks horses, R.T Racing Stable and Cypress Creek Equine’s Sun Thunder worked a half-mile on his own in :48.60 with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard.
Richard Bahde’s Taxed, the runner-up in the Fantasy (GIII) and No. 15 on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard, worked a half-mile in :47.60 under jockey Rafael Bejarano.
One Kentucky Derby work is scheduled for Thursday morning and that is Frank Sumpter’s Wild On Ice. Jockey Ken Tohill is flying to Louisville this afternoon and will be aboard for the work for trainer Joel Marr.
The Kentucky Oaks work schedule Thursday is much heavier with nine breezes slated.
Trainer Brad Cox is expected to work his trio of Wet Paint, Botanical and The Alys Look. Trainer Todd Pletcher has his duo of Gambling Girl and Julia Shining scheduled to breeze along with Southlawn for Norm Casse, Flying Connection for Todd Fincher, Wonder Wheel for Mark Casse and possibly Pretty Mischievous for Brendan Walsh
ANGEL OF EMPIRE/HIT SHOW/JACE’S ROAD, VERIFYING – Trainer Brad Cox’s quartet of Angel of Empire, Hit Show, Jace’s Road and Verifying all had their normal 1 ½-mile gallops Wednesday morning but their work plans remain at the hand of Mother Nature.
“We’re playing things by ear with the weather coming in Thursday,” Cox said. “We’ll likely work them all on Saturday if the track is bad Friday.”
Cox schooled all four Derby runners in the paddock following training.
“We got them used to the paddock and we’ll probably do it again since it’s new,” Cox said. “I love it. I think the horses will love the extra space in here. It’s going to be really cool once it’s complete next year but even this year it looks great.”
CONFIDENCE GAME – Don’t Tell My Wife Stables and Ocean Reef Racing’s Confidence Game jogged two miles under exercise rider Alex Cano.
Trainer Keith Desormeaux has been in Louisiana for the last several days following the death of his father, Harris, Saturday.
Harris was the father of Keith and Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux.
Harris was involved in horse racing and livestock farming for most of his life. He created Acadiana Downs track in Louisiana.
Keith is expected to return to Louisville in the coming days.
CONTINUAR/DERMA SOTOGAKE – Lion Race Horse Co. Ltd.’s Continuar (JPN) and Hiroyuki Asanuma’s Derma Sotogake (JPN) worked together with Derma Sotogake continuing through five furlongs and Continuar completing a half-mile.
Breaking off at the half-mile pole, Continuar was 3 lengths in front under Kazunari Yoshida. By the head of the stretch, Derma Sotogake had drawn even under Masatoshi Segawa and was clear at the wire.
Fractions for Derma Sotogake were :25.80, :37.20, :48.60 and 1:01.40. Continuar was clocked in :13.40, :26.40, :50 and out five furlongs in 1:04.40.
Kate Hunter, the Japan Racing Association representative for the Kentucky Derby, said that both riders were happy with the works with Segawa pleased with the response in the stretch from Derma Sotogake.
Both horses will walk in the Quarantine Barn on Thursday.
Yoshito Yahagi, trainer of Continuar, is scheduled to arrive in Louisville on Monday with Hidetaka Otonashi, trainer of Derma Sotogake, due in the following day.
DISARM – Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Disarm had an easy one-mile jog Wednesday morning following his scheduled walk day Tuesday.
FORTE/KINGSBARNS/MAJOR DUDE/TAPIT TRICE – The Todd Pletcher Derby trio of Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Forte (Hector Ramos aboard), Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable’s Tapit Trice (Amelia Green aboard) and Spendthrift Farm’s Kingsbarns (Elder Flores aboard) all galloped 1 3/8 miles.
With rain expected to begin in Louisville Thursday afternoon and continuing through Friday morning, Pletcher is looking at Saturday as the final work day for his Derby hopefuls.
“That is what I am leaning toward now,” Pletcher said.
MAGE – With exercise rider J.J. Delgado, the colt owned by OGMA Investments LLC, Ramiro Restrepo, Sterling Racing LLC and CMNWLTH finished an easy gallop.
“He galloped a mile-and-a-half today, and he looked pretty good doing it,” said Gustavo Delgado Jr., assistant trainer to his father, Gustavo Delgado. “He definitelywanted to do more. We like everything that we’ve seen from him.”
After his Derby rider, Javier Castellano, arrives in Louisville on Thursday, they’ll finalize plans for a breeze, most likely Saturday morning.
Unraced as a 2-year-old, and with just three starts this year — including two graded stakes at Gulfstream Park, a fourth in the Fountain of Youth (GII) and a second to Forte in the Florida Derby (GI) — Mage is still learning the ropes.
“It’s going to take a couple more races for us to figure him out, and for the horse to put it all together, too,” Delgado Jr. said. “He’s shown three different styles — the first one he was in the front, the second one you can say he was in the middle, and then he was coming from behind. With a few more races, we’ll figure out what his best style is.”
ROCKET CAN – Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott again sent the colt owned by Frank Fletcher Racing Operations out for a gallop with regular exercise rider Guelser Cardona aboard.
“He had an easy gallop of about 1 3/8 miles,” Mott said. “He galloped great, and he went through the paddock. Our plans call for us to breeze him over the weekend.”
SUN THUNDER – R.T Racing Stable and Cypress Creek Equine’s Derby hopeful breezed a half-mile in :48.60 with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. with just 10 days before the 149th running.
The workout gave his connections and trainer Kenny McPeek an indication that the fourth-place finisher in the Blue Grass Stakes (GI) at Keeneland is coming into the Derby the way they want him.
“He pretty much just clipped 12s the whole way around,” Hernandez said. “They added blinkers to him this morning, and that seems to make him want to go forward, and kind of get into things a little earlier than he did before the blinkers. He finished in 48 and 3(-fifths), with a good gallop out.”
Hernandez rode Sun Thunder, an Into Mischief colt out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Greenfield d’Oro, to a fifth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby (GII), after crossing the wire behind Angel of Empire in the Risen Star (GII).
“Everybody kind of bunched up (in the Louisiana Derby), and it wasn’t the right kind of setup for him,” Hernandez said. “Here in the Derby, we’re hoping to get a little pace in front of us, and hopefully by the time we get to the second turn, things will start to spread out, and we can make our run.”
Sun Thunder finished his 2-year-old season by breaking his maiden on New Year’s Eve at Oaklawn Park in just his second start. At 3, he’s only had four starts, all graded stakes.
“He’s still a lightly raced horse, and he’s going to get better and better with each race,” Hernandez said. “That’s the nice thing about riding for Kenny: These guys do such a good job here at the barns, and give us live horses. I’m fortunate that Kenny trusts me, so I can go out and just ride my race.”
WILD ON ICE – Frank Sumpter’s Wild On Ice came on the track at 6:15 and warmed up in the mile chute under Oscar Rojero before galloping 1 ½ miles. After training, Wild On Ice had a paddock schooling session.
Trainer Joel Marr plans to give the Sunland Park Derby (GIII) winner his second Churchill Downs work Thursday morning at 5:45 with a five-furlong breeze scheduled.
Jockey Ken Tohill is scheduled to arrive in Louisville this afternoon and will be aboard for the work as he was April 17 when Wild On Ice worked five furlongs in 1:00.
ALSO-ELIGIBLES – Albaugh Family Stables and Castleton Lyons’ Cyclone Mischief (No. 22 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard), galloped 1 ½ miles under Faustino Herrarte for trainer Dale Romans.
Spendthrift Farm’s Major Dude (No. 23) galloped 1 3/8 miles under Joel Osorio for trainer Todd Pletcher and is scheduled to work Saturday.
SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY DERBY – Here are the horses (with jockeys and trainers) that are qualified for the Kentucky Derby and those on the also-eligible list (in alphabetical order with AEs listed last in preference order):
Angel of Empire (jockey Flavien Prat, trainer Brad Cox); Confidence Game (James Graham, Keith Desormeaux); Continuar (JPN) (Ryusei Sakai, Yoshito Yahagi); Derma Sotogake (JPN) (Christophe Lemaire, Hidetaka Otonashi); Disarm (Joel Rosario, Steve Asmussen); Forte (Irad Ortiz Jr., Todd Pletcher); Hit Show (Manny Franco, Brad Cox); Jace’s Road (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox); Kingsbarns (TBA, Todd Pletcher); Lord Miles (Paco Lopez, Saffie Joseph Jr.); Mage (Javier Castellano, Gustavo Delgado); Practical Move (Ramon Vazquez, Tim Yakteen); Raise Cain (TBA, Ben Colebrook); Reincarnate (John Velazquez, Tim Yakteen); Rocket Can (Junior Alvarado, Bill Mott); Sun Thunder (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek); Tapit Trice (Luis Saez, Todd Pletcher); Two Phil’s (Jareth Loveberry, Larry Rivelli); Verifying (Tyler Gaffalione, Brad Cox); and Wild On Ice (Ken Tohill, Joel Marr).
Also-Eligible: Skinner (Victor Espinioza, John Shirreffs); Cyclone Mischief (TBA, Dale Romans); Major Dude (TBA, Todd Pletcher); and Mandarin Hero (JPN) (TBA, Terunobu Fujita).
LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS UPDATE
BOTANICAL, THE ALYS LOOK, WET PAINT – Botanical, The Alys Look and Wet Paint galloped 1 ½ miles Wednesday morning for trainer Brad Cox.
All three fillies are scheduled to breeze Thursday at 7:30 a.m.
DEFINING PURPOSE – The impressive Ashland Stakes (GI) winner, trained by Kenny McPeek put in a mile-and-a-quarter gallop with regular exercise rider Shelby Spalding, without any issues.
Plans still call for the Magdalena Racing, Collette Marie Vanmatre and James Ball filly to breeze Saturday.
“She looks well,” said Brian Hernandez Jr., who will ride her in the Oaks. “That’s the nice thing about her, she’s been developing with each race, so she seems to be getting better and better. That race in the Ashland was huge. She beat some nice fillies that day, and she did it all on her own terms.”
FLYING CONNECTION – Brad King, Randy Andrews, G. Chris Coleman, Jim Cone, Suzanne Kirby and Lee Lewis’ Flying Connection galloped 1 ½ miles under Oscar Rojero.
Winner of the Sunland Park Oaks (Listed), Flying Connection is scheduled to work Thursday morning with jockey Florent Geroux slated to be aboard for trainer Todd Fincher.
Geroux was aboard Flying Connection on April 17 when she breezed five furlongs in 1:01.
GAMBLING GIRL – Repole Stable’s Gambling Girl visited the starting gate and then galloped 1 ¼ miles under exercise rider Carlos Quevedo.
Trainer Todd Pletcher plans to work Gambling Girl Thursday morning.
MIMI KAKUSHI – Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum’s Mimi Kakushi jogged a mile and galloped a mile under jockey Xavier Ziani.
Winner of her past three starts at Meydan and capped by a victory in the UAE Oaks (GIII), Mimi Kakushi is scheduled to breeze a half-mile Saturday morning for trainer Salem bin Ghadayer.
Ziani, a jockey in the UAE, is one of the stable riders for bin Ghadayer. Mikael Barzelona will ride in the Oaks.
PRETTY MISCHIEVOUS – The Godolphin filly, trained by Brendan Walsh, again went out for an easy gallop, with exercise rider Albino Martinez.
“She went her usual mile-and-a-half,” said Walsh assistant Charlie Lynch. “Brendan is going to look at things tonight, and she might have a workout tomorrow.”
Plans originally called for a workout Friday or Saturday. “It all depends on the weather,” Lynch said.
SOUTHLAWN – Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) winner Southlawn galloped about 1 ½ miles at 7:30 a.m. for trainer Norm Casse.
Casse’s exercise rider Joel Garcia was in the saddle for Southlawn’s Wednesday training session.
“We’ll have her continue her normal Thursday work pattern,” said Casse, who spent the morning with his mother, Jennifer, watching his horses train. “This is a lot of fun being involved this week. I have a lot of family who are coming in town to support me and I’m looking forward to making the walkover with my son, Crew, and wife, Gabby, for the Oaks.”
Jockey Rey Gutierrez is scheduled to be aboard for Thursday’s work and will ride in the Oaks.
WONDER WHEEL – The champion 2-year-old filly of 2022 again stepped onto the dirt shortly after the track opened for training Wednesday with exercise rider Kim Carroll aboard for another easy gallop.
David Carroll, assistant to trainer Mark Casse, said plans still call for the daughter of Into Mischief, out of the Tiz Wonderful mare Wonder Gal, who races in the colors of D.J. Stable, to breeze Thursday morning. She’ll go out after the harrow break, at 7:30 a.m., with her Oaks jockey, Joel Rosario. Casse will arrive in Louisville next week.
“She galloped her usual mile-and-a-quarter,” said Carroll. “She’ll go a half on Thursday. She’s fit and ready, and she wants to get on with it. We’re very happy with her, and hopefully tomorrow all goes well. It’ll be nice to see Joel get on her, and to get a little feedback from him.”
ALSO-ELIGIBLES – Richard Bahde’s Taxed (No. 15) worked a half-mile in :47.60 under jockey Rafael Bejarano for trainer Randy Morse.
Working on her own, Taxed produced fractions of :23.80, :47.60 and out five furlongs in 1:00.40. The half-mile time was the second fastest of 40 at the distance.
“She worked amazing,” said Bejarano, who would have the Oaks mount should Taxed make the field. “She was 12s (seconds) all the way … 12, 24, 36.”
Stonestreet Stables’ Julia Shining (No. 16) visited the starting gate and then galloped 1 ¼ miles under exercise rider Humberto Zamora for trainer Todd Pletcher. She is scheduled to work Thursday.
SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY OAKS – Here are the horses (with trainers) that are qualified for the Longines Kentucky Oaks and those on the also-eligible list (in alphabetical order with AEs listed last in preference order):
Affirmative Lady (John Velazquez, Graham Motion); And Tell Me Nolies (Ramon Vazquez, Peter Miller); Botanical (Chris Landeros, Brad Cox); Defining Purpose (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek); Dorth Vader (TBA, Mike Yates); Flying Connection (Florent Geroux, Todd Fincher); Gambling Girl (Irad Ortiz Jr., Todd Pletcher); Mimi Kakushi (Mickael Barzelona, Salem bin Ghadayer); Pretty Mischievous (Tyler Gaffalione, Brendan Walsh); Promiseher America (TBA, Ray Handal); Southlawn (Rey Gutierrez, Norm Casse); The Alys Look (Luis Saez, Brad Cox); and Wet Paint (Flavien Prat, Brad Cox); Wonder Wheel (Joel Rosario, Mark Casse).
Also-Eligible: Taxed (Rafael Bejarano, Randy Morse); Julia Shining (TBA, Todd Pletcher); Hoosier Philly (Edgar Morales, Tom Amoss).
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 37th running of the $1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (GI) on Saturday, May 6 for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on turf (entries close Monday, May 1): Santin (Brendan Walsh); Spooky Channel (Jason Barkley); Up to the Mark (Todd Pletcher); and Wolfie’s Dynaghost (Jonathan Thomas).
The 88th running of the $750,000 Churchill Downs presented by Ford (GI) on Saturday, May 6 for 4-year-olds and up at seven furlongs (entries close Monday, May 1): Cody’s Wish (Bill Mott), Endorsed (Mike Maker); Get Her Number (Peter Miller); Here Mi Song (Billy Stinson); Hoist the Gold (Dallas Stewart); Sir Alfred James (Lynn Cash); and Steal Sunshine (George Papaprodromou).
The 37th running of the $750,000 Derby City Distaff presented by Kendall-Jackson Winery (GI) on Saturday, May 6 for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up at seven furlongs (entries close Monday, May 1): Frank’s Rockette (Bill Mott); Hot and Sultry (Norm Casse); and Matareya (Brad Cox).
The 32nd running of the $500,000 American Turf (GII) on Saturday, May 6 for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on turf (entries close Monday, May 1): Far Bridge (Todd Pletcher); Johannes (Tim Yakteen); Major Dude (Todd Pletcher); Mendelssohns March (Kenny McPeek); Mo Stash (Vicki Oliver); Scoobie Quando (Ben Colebrook); Talk of the Nation (Shug McGaughey); and Wadsworth (Brad Cox).
The 38th running of the $500,000 Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (GII) on Saturday, May 6 for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up at one mile on turf (entries close Monday, May 1): Haughty (Chad Brown); Sharp Hero (Bradley Ross); Spenderella (Graham Motion); Sweet Dani Girl (Carlo Vaccarezza); and Wakanaka (IRE) (Bill Mott).
The 99th running of the $500,000 Pat Day Mile (GII) on Saturday, May 6 for 3-year-olds at one mile (entries close Monday, May 1): Bourbon Bash (D. Wayne Lukas); Dreaming of Kona (Aldana Spieth); Frosted Departure (Kenny McPeek); General Jim (Shug McGaughey); Gilmore (Brendan Walsh); Kangaroo Court (Tim Yakteen); and Tall Boy (Doug O’Neill).
The 29th running of the $500,000 TwinSpires Turf Sprint (GII) on Saturday, May 6 for 3-year-olds and up at 5 ½ furlongs on turf (entries close Monday, May 1): Artemus Citylimits (Mike Maker); Bad Beat Brian (Brittany Vanden Berg); Big Invasion (Christophe Clement); Carotari (Brian Lynch); Evan Sing (Al Stall Jr.); Go Bears Go (Wesley Ward); and Oceanic (Jordan Blair).
The second running of the $175,000 Knicks Go Overnight Stakes on Saturday, May 6 for 4-year-olds and up at one mile (entries close Monday, May 1): Caddo River (D. Wayne Lukas); Gulfstream Way (Rachel Sells); Masqueparade (Al Stall Jr.); Noble Drama (David Fawkes); Petulante (Victor Barboza Jr.); Promise Keeper (Dallas Stewart); Surly Furious (Glenn Wismer); Three Technique (Jason Cook); and Zozos (Brad Cox).
The 38th running of the $750,000 La Troienne (GI) on Friday, May 5 for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up at 1 1/16 miles (entries close Monday, May 1): A Mo Reay (Brad Cox); Classy Edition (Todd Pletcher); Kathleen O. (Shug McGaughey); Played Hard (Phil Bauer); and Secret Oath (Wayne Lukas).
The 20th running of the $600,000 Alysheba presented by Sentient Jet (GII) on Friday, May 5 for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles (entries close Monday, May 1): Milliken (Ian Wilkes); Rich Strike (Eric Reed); Smile Happy (Kenny McPeek); and West Will Power (Brad Cox).
The 39th running of the $500,000 Edgewood presented by Forcht Bank (GII) on Friday, May 5 for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on turf (entries close Monday, May 1): Cairo Consort (Todd Pletcher); Girl Named Charlie (Tom Amoss); Heavenly Sunday (Brad Cox); Mission of Joy (Graham Motion); and Sabalenka (Whit Beckman).
The 68th running of the $500,000 Eight Belles (GII) on Friday, May 5 for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs (entries close Monday, May 1): Ami Please (Doug O’Neill); Grand Love (Rodolphe Brisset); Munnys Gold (Todd Pletcher); Olivia Twist (Todd Fincher); Positano Sunset (Ian Wilkes); Red Carpet Ready (Rusty Arnold); and Yvonne’s Miss (Bill Morey).
The 13th running of the $300,000 Unbridled Sidney presented by Sysco (Listed) on Friday, May 5 for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at 5 ½ furlongs on turf (entries close Monday, May 1): Bay Storm (Jonathan Thomas); Caravel (Brad Cox); Mamba Wamba (IRE) (Brendan Walsh); and New Boss (Bret Calhoun).
The 66th running of the $300,000 Modesty (GIII) on Friday, May 5 for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up at 1 1/8 miles on turf (entries close Monday, May 1): Australia Mia (Michael McCarthy); New Year’s Eve (Chad Brown); and Transient (GB) (Chad Brown).
The second running of the $175,000 St. Matthews Overnight Stakes on Thursday, May 4 for 4-year-olds and up at six furlongs (entries close Sunday, April 30): Bagboss (Brendan Walsh); Bango (Greg Foley); Heart Rhythm (John Oritz); Miles Ahead (Paul McGee); and Pirate Rick (Lynn Cash).
The 18th running of the $300,000 Opening Verse (Listed) on Thursday, May 4 for 4-year-olds and up at one mile on turf (entries close Sunday, April 30): Camp Hope (Kenny McPeek); Churchtown (Roger Attfield); Gray’s Fable (Brian Lynch); and Stitched (Greg Foley).
The 29th running of the $200,000 Kentucky Juvenile on Thursday, May 4 for 2-year-olds at five furlongs (entries close Sunday, April 30): Nullify (Wayne Lukas).
The fifth running of the $175,000 Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight Stakes on Wednesday, May 3 for 4-year-olds and up at 1 ½ miles (entries close Friday): Good Skate (Mike Maker); Lone Rock (Robertino Diodoro), Next (Doug Cowans); Scarlet Fusion (Joe Sharp); and Warrant (Brad Cox).
The fourth running of the $225,000 Mamzelle (Listed) on Wednesday, May 3 for 3-year-old fillies at 5 ½ furlongs on turf (entries close Friday): Margoinabubblebath (Donnie Habeeb); and Sassy Nature (Luis Mendez).