Barbaro Updates 843
Posted April 30, 2009
updates are now here.
Update 4871: Paragallo horses are entered to run at Delaware Park on Monday: PARAGALLO TRYING TO PULL FAST ONE IN DELAWARE?
Update 4870: Update on La Ville Rouge's foal: News on babynor & LVR.
Update 4869: John Asher's Derby report from Churchill Downs on Thursday:
KENTUCKY DERBY 135 NOTES
Thursday, April 30, 2009
PAPA CLEM SIZZLES IN THREE-FURLONG BLOWOUT
NOWHERE TO HIDE, BRIDGMOHAN GET ACQUAINTED
FAVORED I WANT REVENGE VISITS PADDOCK
ADVICE/DUNKIRK/JOIN IN THE DANCE - The Todd Pletcher Derby trio of Advice, Dunkirk and Join in the Dance were out early, exercised and back in Barn 38 before 7 a.m. Thursday, missing the rains that splashed down on Louisville a bit later in the morning.
Kevin Willey handled both Advice and Join in the Dance in their gallops, while Patti Barry was up for Dunkirk's exercise.
"They all went about a mile and three eighths," Pletcher said. "It's all good."
Just before 8 a.m., the trainer and his right-hand man, Mike McCarthy, each with a shank on one side, led Dunkirk from the barn to a patch of grass near Longfield Avenue for about 20 minutes of grazing. The tall colt with the distinctive white and pink facial markings, was feeling good and dove into the Kentucky grass with gusto, eliminating any need for lawn mowing in the general area of Barn 41.
Dunkirk will be making only the fourth start of his career in Saturday's Derby 135. The $3.7 million yearling did not start as a 2-year-old. Advice has six starts under his belt, including a tally in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (Grade II) April 18 at Keeneland. He started three times as a juvenile. Join in the Dance has been to the post eight times, five of them coming during his 2-year-old season.
Advice breaks from post four and will be ridden by Rene Douglas. Dunkirk will start from post 15 and be handled by Edgar Prado. Join in the Dance will leave from post nine with Chris DeCarlo aboard.
ATOMIC RAIN/WEST SIDE BERNIE - Both colts, Atomic Rain and West Side Bernie, went out before the break for easy one-mile gallops with trainer Kelly Breen aboard Thursday morning.
"They're both doing fine," Breen said. "Atomic Rain is doing quite well considering he worked in New Jersey on Tuesday and then sat on a van for 13 hours to get here yesterday. The way he's acting, I don't think the trip meant much to him."
Breen had the No. 20 selection for West Side Bernie and the only spot in the gate left to him was No. 1. On the other hand, he had the No. 9 selection for Atomic Rain and took post 14 for the colt, who will be ridden by Joe Bravo.
"Atomic Rain is in a good spot," said George Hall, who with wife Lori owns both colts. "It's a good post for his style. West Side Bernie is in a tougher spot. Strategy is all up to Stew (jockey Stewart Elliott) when the gates open."
Hall bought 20 yearlings at the 2007 Keeneland September sale, 10 fillies and 10 colts.
"It's pretty amazing to have two starters in the Kentucky Derby from the 10 colts we got at the sale," the owner said.
West Side Bernie, a son of Bernstein, was a $50,000 purchase, and Atomic Rain, by Smart Strike, cost $170,000.
"When Atomic Rain broke his maiden and then ran second in the Remsen as a 2-year-old, we expected a lot from him," Hall said. "We've been disappointed in a number of his starts since then. But we still think he has a lot of talent, and will be able to show it."
As a 3-year-old, Atomic Rain has run seventh in the Sam F. Davis (Grade III) and fourth in the Wood Memorial (Grade I). West Side Bernie was second in the Wood.
Hall said his wife Lori names all the horses, and West Side Bernie is all Broadway.
"He's by Bernstein, so she immediately thought of Leonard Bernstein, who wrote 'West Side Story,' " Hall said. "So that's how Bernie got his name. They're putting on a revival of 'West Side Story' now, and we're involved in that as a fundraiser for the Hearing Center at New York University."
CHOCOLATE CANDY - "Best morning I ever had with this horse."
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer was upbeat Thursday morning at Churchill Downs after overseeing business with his Kentucky Derby contender Chocolate Candy. The tall bay by Candy Ride went trackside shortly after 7 a.m. under regular exercise rider Lindsey Molina, stood in the gate briefly, then galloped a good mile and five-eighths before coming off the six-furlong gap looking like a happy horse.
"I messed him up yesterday and he didn't like it," the Northern California-based conditioner stated. "I got him out there when all those people were around (after the 8 a.m. renovation break) and he got a little hot. But today we put him back in his usual routine and he was back to his old self. I'm really pleased with how it went today. He galloped strong and he's doing great."
The late-running colt was bred by the late Sid Craig and his wife, Jenny, who is, of course, the weight-loss queen. He currently races in the silks of Craig Family Trust and Saturday will break from post 11 with Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith aboard.
Chocolate Candy will be making the 10th start of his career in Derby 135. Six of those outings came during his 2-year-old season.
DESERT PARTY/REGAL RANSOM - The Godolphin duo of Desert Party and Regal Ransom had a typical morning. Shortly after the track opened at 6 a.m. they were sent out to gallop what trainer Saeed bin Suroor said was a mile and three furlongs.
"They did it well," bin Suroor said. "They're in good form. Happy. Sound. Healthy. No problem at all with them."
Bin Suroor said the colts schooled in the paddock before the seventh race Wednesday.
"Regal Ransom was sweating for about 10 minutes because he could see the horses racing and he got excited," bin Suroor said. "But after that he was cool. Desert Party was fine."
Bin Suroor said his colts are ready for the Derby.
"They are going into this race 110 percent fit," he said. "There is no excuse afterwards for fitness. I hope no excuses happen in the race."
FLYING PRIVATE - Flying Private went to the Churchill Downs track for a morning gallop under exercise rider Taylor Carty on Thursday morning. The son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus has been rated at 50-1 in the morning line, but trainer D. Wayne Lukas hardly views him as a desperate longshot.
Flying Private, who will break from the No. 20 post position, has won only one of 10 starts, but his trainer knows what it takes to win the Kentucky Derby, having saddled four Derby winners: Winning Colors (1988), Thunder Gulch (1995), Grindstone (1996) and Charismatic (1999).
"He's as good as some of them I brought here, including some of them who've won," the Hall of Fame trainer said. "Charismatic went on to be Horse of the Year, but at this stage, I think he's every bit as good as Charismatic, and I think he's better than Grindstone."
When questioned about his opinion on synthetic surfaces, Lukas said that the new surfaces such as Keeneland's Polytrack don't just pose problems to those horses who don't run their best over it.
"I'm not a synthetic person. I think it's caused a nightmare for the bettors. The very lifeblood of our industry is the gambling public, and I think they've been put at such a disadvantage trying to sort this thing out," Lukas said. "I think it'll run its course, and maybe in a couple years, they'll dig them all up and get back to natural dirt.
"They have that Gamblers Anonymous for people who have that bad gambling habit. Polytrack will take care of that. They won't need to worry about that anymore. People will quit gambling."
FRIESAN FIRE - Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm's Friesan Fire galloped a mile after the renovation break with trainer Larry Jones aboard Thursday morning.
"It was a successful morning," Jones said. "We got out around there and came back home. He was much more relaxed this morning than yesterday when he was a little anxious after the day off."
Friesan Fire, who worked five furlongs under jockey Gabriel Saez on Monday morning, walked Tuesday and enjoyed a "goof-off" day Wednesday.
"Apparently some people didn't get the memo on what we did yesterday," Jones said. "I turned on the news last night and they were talking about Larry Jones' unorthodox training methods.
"I galloped him to the gate and then galloped back to the paddock and he maybe did five-eighths (of a mile) total. He enjoyed it out there. I just let him play around a little and have a good time. Horses don't have to go out and gallop a mile and a half every day."
The fourth choice on the morning line at 5-1, Friesan Fire will break from post position six under Saez in Kentucky Derby 135.
GENERAL QUARTERS - Owner/trainer Tom McCarthy's Toyota Blue Grass (Grade I) winner General Quarters jogged 1 1/2 miles Thursday morning under exercise rider Julie Sheets and was full of himself being led back to the barn by his 75-year-old trainer. Around a large gathering of well wishers, General Quarters enjoyed his bath and soaked in the surroundings.
"He likes people," McCarthy said. "He sure enjoys the audience. That will help him Derby Day for sure, I'll tell you that. A lot of people want to see him do well."
The McCarthy stable handed out green General Quarters buttons to those who came by to visit the horse this morning, and among those who came by to check on the horse was Steve Bass, agent for General Quarters' jockey Julien Leparoux and a former student of McCarthy's in the Louisville school system.
HOLD ME BACK - Trainer Bill Mott sent WinStar Farm's Hold Me Back out for a one-mile gallop Thursday morning.
"He had a good gallop," Mott said. "We went early. The track was good. We went out before it was cut up. He went fine."
Hold Me Back, the runner-up in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Grade I) following a victory in the Lane's End (Grade II), will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux.
Desormeaux is a three-time Kentucky Derby winner and will be seeking to become to the first rider to win back-to-back Derbys since Eddie Delahoussaye in 1982 and 1983.
I WANT REVENGE - I Want Revenge went to the track for some light exercise at Churchill Downs on Thursday morning, jogging in the chute, galloping once around and schooling in the paddock.
The son of Stephen Got Even was installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite for the 135th Run for the Roses, a turn of events that trainer Jeff Mullins couldn't have envisioned while advising the colt's breeder, David Lanzman, at the 2008 Barrett's 2-year-olds-in-training sale. Lanzman had consigned I Want Revenge to the sale and considered buying him back when the bidding slowed.
"I was actually telling him to sell him. At that time, he was an ugly horse," Mullins said. "He had a pot belly and long hair."
Lanzman didn't heed his trainer's advice and bought back I Want Revenge for $95,000.
"If we all wanted to buy the same horse at a sale, then everybody would just try to buy the same horse and all the others would be bought back. I had a lot of people who loved the horse. The farm people are all here and they loved him. They told me he's a racehorse," Lanzman said. "We thought he was something. We signed the ticket and I handed it to Jeff. He looked at me and said, 'I wouldn't have bought him for one of my clients.' "
Lanzman would eventually sell a big chunk of I Want Revenge to IEAH Stables and Puglisi Racing while retaining control of the colt's racing career. IEAH bloodstock agent Nick Sallusto subsequently sold "a minute share as a favor to Jeff Singer."
MINE THAT BIRD - Mine That Bird, the 2008 Canadian champion 2-year-old, galloped two miles Thursday around 7:30 a.m. and gave New Mexico-based trainer Chip Woolley reason for optimism, despite a 50-1 morning-line assignment at Wednesday's post position draw.
"He went super and really got over the ground well today," Woolley said. "I'm trying to keep a level keel as Saturday approaches. It's been exciting from Day One, and I'm just happy to be here. His (morning) line was right what I figured, which is fine with me. Besides, I've never bet a horse I've run in my entire life. I don't ever want anyone to worry about that kind of stuff with me."
Woolley said he will gallop Mine That Bird again Friday and then probably "backtrack" him on raceday morning and let him jog a bit.
Calvin Borel, winner of the 2007 Kentucky Derby aboard Street Sense, will have the mount Saturday.
MR. HOT STUFF - The Tiznow colt Mr. Hot Stuff galloped smartly Thursday morning at Churchill Downs, covering a mile and a half under exercise rider Paul Turner. Bowing his neck and grabbing the bit, the dark WinStar Farm homebred looked a picture when he went through his exercises shortly after 7 o'clock.
Half of the WinStar connections - Bill Casner, along with his wife Susan - looked on alongside their trainer, Eoin Harty.
"He's more relaxed today," the trainer said. "Today's Day 3 (his third day at Churchill Downs since coming in from California) and he's got it figured out now. He knows what's going on."
The conditioner said that he had paddocked Mr. Hot Stuff on Wednesday afternoon and would again Thursday during the races.
"He doesn't need to go to the gate," he said. "He's fine in there."
Mr. Hot Stuff will be making the eighth start of his career Saturday and will break from post three under John Velazquez. Three of his starts came during his 2-year-old campaign.
MUSKET MAN - The Yonaguska colt Musket Man was out early for a mile-and-a-half gallop Thursday morning as he eases into the Kentucky Derby.
"He's doing fine," trainer Derek Ryan said of his charge, who has won five of six lifetime starts and comes into the Kentucky Derby off consecutive victories in the Tampa Bay Derby (Grade III) and the Illinois Derby (Grade II).
Ryan had selection No.18 and few options left at the post position draw, and took post two for Musket Man.
"Strategy will be all up to the jockey (Eibar Coa)," Ryan said. "But I expect he'll be somewhere behind the leaders in the second tier heading into the first turn.
"I don't want him on the lead. He does his best when he has some horses to run at. I usually work him in company because he needs a target to do his best."
Musket Man showed speed in his first three races, all sprints, but always sat off the pace before making a late move. In the Tampa Bay Derby, he got into a world of trouble early, and had to make a big wide run to get up. In the Illinois Derby, he gained command on the stretch turn and held stoutly to the wire.
"He's got a high cruising speed," Ryan said, "but the great thing about him is that he also has a real kick for an eighth of a mile."
NOWHERE TO HIDE - Trainer Nick Zito's eleventh-hour Derby 135 entrant met jockey Shaun Bridgmohan for the first time Thursday with a quarter-mile blowout down the lane in :25.20. Nowhere to Hide tugged hard for more as Bridgmohan worked overtime to get him pulled up, even midway down the backstretch.
"Shaun just got familiar with the horse this morning," Zito said. "That's all I wanted. The good thing is that he didn't want to pull up."
The two-time Derby-winning trainer and his owner, Len Riggio of My Meadowview Farm, have been accused of a case of Derby fever, but Zito reasoned that horse racing is the ultimate game of chance.
"No one has a lock on this game - no one," he said matter-of-factly.
"He ran fourth three races in a row - the Risen Star, the Tampa Bay Derby and the Illinois Derby - and if he ran fourth in the Kentucky Derby, it would be all right by me," Zito said. "We've been trying to get him here all along; we've taken him all over the country."
PAPA CLEM - Arkansas Derby (Grade II) winner Papa Clem blew out three furlongs in :34 flat Thursday just before 7 a.m. with Derby 135 jockey Rafael Bejarano in the saddle.
In a true Stute family tradition, trainer Gary Stute said Papa Clem was now officially "Melvinized," a term trainer Bob Baffert coined for the fast blowout works typically given by Stute's father, Mel. The elder Stute was on hand to watch his son's horse prepare for Saturday's Run for the Roses and gave a smile of approval. It also brought good vibes to the younger Stute.
"You see me smiling, don't you?" Gary Stute said. "If he gets beat, it's all my fault."
"He was so comfortable," Bejarano said of the work, which drew splits of :11.20, :22.40 and a gallop-out of :47.20. "I didn't have to push him or nothing. Past the wire, I just let him gallop out strong and stay up in the saddle."
Thursday's workout for Papa Clem perhaps stemmed the tide of a few unimpressive moves from the son of Smart Strike.
"Everyone has been criticizing his works," Stute said, and then admitted, "I would have been worried if he didn't work well today."
Papa Clem will walk the shedrow for the next two days, Friday and race day. Stute indicated that if Papa Clem had worked slower this morning, he might have brought him to the track Saturday morning, but now feels they are ready to go.
PIONEEROF THE NILE - With owner Ahmed Zayat and trainer Bob Baffert watching from the gap closest to the five-eighths pole, Pioneerof the Nile galloped about a mile and a half right after the track reopened at 8:30 a.m. following the renovation break.
The Santa Anita Derby (Grade I) winner stood patiently for several minutes while people snapped photos before walking onto the track.
Baffert said the Empire Maker colt was moving toward the race according to plan.
"Everything is smooth and he looks good out there on the track," Baffert said. "He's been very relaxed. My whole mission was to get him here, keep the weight on him and keep his mind relaxed. He was getting a little racy on me at Santa Anita. I didn't put any fast works into him, just decent works into him.
"He's fit. He looks really fantastic, flesh-wise. His mind is great. He's been handling everything. I want him to go up there and be a gentleman. I want him to walk into the gate. I don't want him to get stirred up. So far, I haven't seen that here. I'm really happy with that."
Garrett Gomez will ride Pioneerof the Nile in the Kentucky Derby. Baffert used the fifth choice in the post position draw to select post 16.
SUMMER BIRD - Summer Bird, a lightly raced son of Birdstone, is one of the most relaxed horses on the Churchill Downs backside coming into the Kentucky Derby. Thursday morning the chestnut colt was lying down in his stall taking a nap at 7 o'clock because he wasn't scheduled to go to the track until 8:30, after the break.
"He woke up early, ate up all his breakfast and then went back to sleep," trainer Tim Ice said. "He is a very calm horse."
Out on the track after the break, Summer Bird schooled in the gate, and then galloped one mile under jockey Chris Rosier.
Ice had selection No. 14 and chose post 17 for Summer Bird, who made his first start on March 1, broke his maiden on March 19, and finished third in the Arkansas Derby (Grade II) on April 11.
"Better 17 than post three," Ice said. "I expect him to be mid-pack early, and make his way over toward the inside before the first turn. I think he'll run well."
Update 4868: My latest entry for The Rail: Rachel Alexandra and the Oaks.
Update 4867: A pretty straightforward morning this morning for Steve at Woodbine. We had eight sets. Four before the break, and then four that went to the gate for some gate schooling. All mine went nicely. And the weather was good for galloping too. As I was coming off the track on my second to last horse a horse in front of me started bucking, and leaping, and you just knew the rider was coming off. And she did. And the horse went to leave the track, then came back on and started galloping backwards along the inside rail, and then ducked in towards the chute to the gate, and then I am not sure what he did. I exited the track quickly!
Update 4866: Many are analyzing the post positions now that the draw was done: I Want Revenge: Post 13, Derby Favorite
Here is my post on The Rail this morning: Derby Contenders Go Back to School
And please call the Governor of Montana and request he veto the slaughter bill: 406-444-3111
Posted by Alex at 11:07 AM
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Barbaro Updates 842
Posted April 29, 2009
Updates are now here
Update 4865: John Asher's Churchill Downs report on the post position draw for the Derby:
KENTUCKY DERBY 135 POST POSITION SELECTION
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
ADVICE (Selection No. 13, Post position No. 4, morning line 30-1)/DUNKIRK (Selection No. 6, Post position No. 15, morning line 4-1)/JOIN IN THE DANCE (Selection No. 1, Post position No. 9 morning line 50-1) - Trainer Todd Pletcher
(On Dunkirk): "We talked about it this morning and our first choice was 15. So we got what we wanted. I was a little hesitant about going in next to Pioneerof the Nile (who picked fifth and selected No. 16) because I know he doesn't always come out of there the right way. But 15 is a good spot. You've got some room there (it is the first opening in the auxiliary gate with space to the inside) and being outside you can fall into a good spot. We're happy with it."
(On Join in the Dance): "Well, we thought about it a lot - sort of. Then when you know that Rashard's jersey number is 9, you'll know why we picked it." (Rashard Lewis, a 10-year veteran of the NBA who currently plays for the Orlando Magic, wears No. 9 on his basketball jersey. He is one of the horse's three owners along with Jake Ballis and Reagan Swinbank).
Elliott Walden, vice president and racing manager of WinStar Farm on Advice: "We like it. It'll be fine. We like the selections for all our horses."
(The other two WinStar horses drew on either side of Advice - Mr. Hot Stuff in No. 3 and Hold Me Back in No. 5.)
ATOMIC RAIN (Selection No. 9, Post position No. 14, morning line 50-1)/WEST SIDE BERNIE (Selection No. 20, Post position No. 1, morning line 30-1) - Trainer Kelly Breen
(On Atomic Rain): "It's a good post for him, just outside the speed. It should be OK."
(On West Side Bernie): "It is what it is. I'll get together with Stew (jockey Stewart Elliott) and we may have to change our tactics."
CHOCOLATE CANDY (Selection No. 3, Post position No. 11, morning line 20-1) - Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer: "It's good; good. I would rather have had the 10, but 11 is the next best thing. We're happy."
DESERT PARTY (Selection No. 17, Post position No. 19, morning line 15-1) / REGAL RANSOM (Selection No. 2, Post position No. 10, morning line 30-1) - Trainer Saeed bin Suroor
(On Regal Ransom): "That's a good draw. The horse always shows a good turn of foot. He can take a good position early in the race. It depends how fast they go, but if he sits close behind the lead I'll be really happy.
(On Desert Party): "He's been more calm and relaxed in his races. If he can take a nice position, I'd be happy with that. I'm happy with the draw."
FLYING PRIVATE (Selection No. 19, Post position No. 20, morning line 50-1) - Trainer D. Wayne Lukas: "I went outside. There are four or five horses inside of me that aren't speed horses. I feel like we'll be able to get a better position. In reality, probably 100 yards out of the gate, we'll probably be in the 14 or 15 post. I don't think it's so bad, but I really didn't have much of a choice."
FRIESAN FIRE (Selection No. 11, Post position No. 6, morning line 5-1) - Trainer Larry Jones: "I was surprised the six was still left. I thought there would be more speed horses to draw inside. Right now we are in good shape. We had the five last year with Eight Belles and worked out a great trip. He should be laying anywhere from third to fifth early and suck back behind the speed and hopefully get a clear run when the real running starts."
GENERAL QUARTERS (Selection No. 8, Post position No. 12, morning line 20-1) - Owner-trainer Tom McCarthy: "I was really worried we wouldn't get in the middle where we wanted to be, but it all worked out. Post 12 ought to be just fine. I'm hoping we're sitting 3-4-5 going into the first turn right behind the speed horses."
HOLD ME BACK (Selection No. 12, Post position No. 5, morning line 15-1) - Trainer Bill Mott: "We would have had to go, I think, to 17 or inside.
Who knows? I didn't want to be in the one, two or three. Sometimes you take a lot of pressure down in there going into the first turn. You can have a good trip from anywhere and a bad trip from anywhere. It's a little hard to determine until the gate opens. We're satisfied with the draw."
I WANT REVENGE (Selection No. 10, Post position No. 13, morning line 3-1) - Trainer Jeff Mullins: "I kind of left it up to the owners to pick. I'm just going to concentrate on getting him ready and getting him there safe. Ideally we wanted most of the speed inside of us. That's what we tried to do, but there's maybe one outside of us. But we're here to play and hope our horse stays healthy and everyone has a nice trip. I haven't given (jockey Joe Talamo) any instructions so far, so I don't think I'll start now." David Lanzman, managing partner of I Want Revenge: "We could see where it was going; we could see the direction it was going. We wanted the 14, but they took it right in front of us. We just wanted to avoid a disaster. We didn't want one, two, three, four and we didn't want 17, 18, 19, 20. So, we couldn't be happier."
MINE THAT BIRD (Selection No. 7, Post position No. 8, morning line 50-1) - Trainer Chip Woolley: "Everything is super. We were hoping for six through nine, and wound up with eight. Where we're at, he'll get a chance to settle without being jostled too much on the far inside going into the first turn."
MR. HOT STUFF (Selection No. 16, Post position No. 3, morning line 30-1) - Trainer Eoin Harty: "It's good, sure. We'll save lots of ground."
MUSKET MAN (Selection No. 18, Post position No. 2, morning line 20-1) -
Trainer Derek Ryan: "Well, he broke his maiden going from the two hole, so it should be OK. And anyway, we can't change it."
PAPA CLEM (Selection No. 4, Post position No. 7, morning line 20-1) - Trainer Gary Stute: "It went perfect. Lucky No. 7 is what we were hoping for. I was hoping more of the speed would be inside us, but I think it will work out. Then again, if he blows out (three furlongs) in 34-and-change tomorrow morning, I might have wished we put him even farther inside." Note: Papa Clem will work 3 furlongs Thursday at 6:15 a.m.
PIONEEROF THE NILE (Selection No. 5, Post position No. 16, morning line 4-1) - Trainer Bob Baffert: "It all depended on the draw. When I got the five-draw, I said I'm going to go to 16. If I had had a higher number, I might have gone inside with him. He hasn't had that dirt experience, so there will be less dirt on the outside than there will be on the inside."
SUMMER BIRD (Selection No. 14, Post position No. 17, morning line 50-1) - Trainer Tim Ice: "I'm happy with the post. Once he breaks, he should be able to drop over toward the inside and get good position into the turn."
Update 4864: Post positions and morning line odds for the Derby: Kentucky Derby post positions.
Update 4863: My interview with Knowledge@Wharton, which will be released later today: Social Media for Social Causes: Alex Brown's Passion for the Welfare of Horses.
Update 4862: More details on the decision not to run Win Willy: Win Willy Out of the Derby.
Update 4861: Twitter reports Win Willy will not run in the Derby on Saturday. He will be replaced in the starting line-up by the Nick Zito trained Nowhere to Hide.
A straightforward morning this morning for Steve at Woodbine. We had six sets. All mine galloped nicely. We did take one set to the gate for a little schooling. They stood nicely. It looks like it is turning into a pretty day here today.
Update 4860: The final analysis of the Derby field on the Paulick Derby Index (Paulick Derby Index by Amwest Entertainment: Final Poll Loses Some Quality).
My latest article on The Rail (Behind the Scenes: Robert Chapman).
And Nicanor, who is back at Fair Hill, put in a work yesterday (Nicanor Back at Home at Fair Hill)
And please call the Governor of Montana and request he veto the slaughter bill: 406-444-3111
Posted by Alex at 11:13 AM
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Barbaro Updates 841
Posted April 28, 2009
Updates are now here
Update 4859: While Rachel Alexandra will be the overwhelming favorite in the Oaks on Friday, I was relieved to see Hooh Why was not in the entries. It would have been a lot to ask of Hooh Why, to make her first start on the dirt against such a dominant filly. Hooh Why left town yesterday and has taken her roadshow to Chicago!
Update 4857: John Asher's Tuesday Derby report from Churchill Downs:
KENTUCKY DERBY 135 NOTES
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
SHIN INJURY TAKES SQUARE EDDIE OUT OF DERBY 135
I WANT REVENGE WORKS HALF-MILE IN :47.20
ATOMIC RAIN JOINS KENTUCKY DERBY LINEUP
DUNKIRK ARRIVES; PLETCHER NAMES RIDERS
ADVICE/DUNKIRK/JOIN IN THE DANCE - It now appears trainer Todd Pletcher will start three horses in Saturday's Kentucky Derby 135 - Advice, Dunkirk and Join in the Dance.
After consulting with the various owners of his four potential Derby starters, the five-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer decided to go with three and drop one - that horse being Take the Points, who is owned by the Starlight Partners stable of Jack and Laurie Wolf.
"Around noon today Mr. Wolf and I had a discussion in which we weighed all the factors," Pletcher said. "When we looked at it from all angles, we decided the best way to go with Take the Points was the Preakness. That race gives him two extra weeks, a shorter distance (mile and three-sixteenths) to work with and a track where we think his tactical style will work to best advantage. In the end, we just thought it was the right choice."
The trainer also noted that he had finalized riding assignments for his three Derby horses, with Edgar Prado on Dunkirk, Rene Douglas on Advice and Chris DeCarlo on Join in the Dance.
Tuesday morning Pletcher had sent his three workers from Monday - Advice (:47.20), Join in the Dance (1:00.20) and Take the Points (1:00.20) -- back to the track for easy jogs of a mile around the big oval.
Dunkirk, the $3.7 million yearling who flew in from Florida on Tuesday morning to bed down in Pletcher's Barn 38, was once considered a possible outside-looking-in type on the graded stakes earnings' list. But now he is assured a spot in the starting field for the 10-furlong race, and is likely to be one of the solid betting interests.
ATOMIC RAIN/WEST SIDE BERNIE - The minute after he heard that Atomic Rain was a likely Kentucky Derby starter, trainer Kelly Breen had the colt put on a van at Monmouth Park in New Jersey and had him headed for Churchill Downs.
"They left Monmouth at 12:30, and it's about a 13-hour trip," Breen said, "so they should get here about 2 in the morning."
Atomic Rain, a bay son of Smart Strike-Paradise Pond, by Cox's Ridge, is owned by George and Lori Hall, who already have a Derby starter in West Side Bernie. Atomic Rain finished fourth when West Side Bernie was second to I Want Revenge in the Grade I Wood Memorial last out.
Atomic Rain has yet to win since breaking his maiden at Monmouth last June, but finished second to Old Fashioned in the Grade II Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct last November. This season at 3, he was second, beaten a neck, in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park, ran seventh in the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay, and then third in a Gulfstream allowance test before his Wood Memorial outing.
Breen said that Joe Bravo, who has been aboard Atomic Rain his past two starts, will have the mount in the Derby. Bravo had his first and only previous Derby mount in 2005, when he finished 16th aboard Spanish Chestnut.
West Side Bernie was out early Tuesday morning, taking a mile and a half gallop around the Churchill Downs oval with Breen aboard.
"We thought we'd beat the weather," Breen said, "so we got him out early today. He's doing fine, coming up to the race the right way."
This will be Breen's first Kentucky Derby, but his rider for West Side Bernie, Stewart Elliott, won the race aboard Smarty Jones in 2004. Elliott rode West Side Bernie for the first time in the colt's most recent start, the Grade I Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 4.
The Bernstein colt closed ground in the stretch and finished second behind I Want Revenge in the nine-furlong Wood.
"Bernie ran really well that day," Breen said. "He kicked it in late, maybe a little too late. The extra eighth of a mile in the Derby should be what he needs."
CHOCOLATE CANDY - All was well with the Chocolate Candy crew at Barn 42 Tuesday morning. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, assistant trainer Galen May and exercise rider Lindsey Molina had nothing but good things to say about their colt, who had turned in a nifty :59.20 prep Monday morning in his final major exercise for Kentucky Derby 135.
"He came out of it good, ate up and just walked the shedrow this morning," Hollendorfer said. "We're all good."
The veteran trainer, currently the nation's sixth-leading conditioner with more than $2.2 million in earnings, will jog his Candy Ride colt Wednesday, gallop him Thursday and Friday, then walk him the morning of Kentucky Derby 135.
Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith, who flew overnight from California to be aboard for the Monday work, once more will be in the tack when they "Run for the Roses."
DESERT PARTY/REGAL RANSOM - Shortly before dawn and well before rain arrived, trainer Saeed bin Suroor sent the two Godolphin colts out to gallop a mile and a quarter.
Bin Suroor said the colts are happy, healthy and in good form.
After starting their careers in the United States last summer, the colts were sent to Dubai for the winter racing season. Desert Party beat Regal Ransom in the first two of the preps for the $2 million U.A.E. Derby, but Regal Ransom won the main event by a half-length.
"One week before the race, I told the boys in the stable "Listen, there might be a surprise in the UAE. Derby,' " bin Suroor said. "I was right.
"At the same time, Desert Party, who is always happy and does everything you ask him in a professional way, wasn't really happy when I saddled him for the race. He was really quiet before the race. I thought that wasn't his day. I checked him for two days after the race and he was very quiet, but later it seemed that he was coming back really good to his form. Now he's really a different animal."
Bin Suroor said his colts have flourished in the month since their most recent race.
"When they were in Dubai they improved all the time, but since the last race they look much better than ever," bin Suroor said. "We come here with some confidence. We're looking to see our horses run a big race."
This is the fifth time that Godolphin - the racing operation headed by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum - sent horses to Louisville for America's biggest race. The top finish was a sixth by China Visit in 2000.
"This is the hardest race in the world," bin Suroor said, "and the best race in the world, a mile and a quarter for 3-year-olds. It's hard to win. You need a special horse. Tough. Class. Speed. Everything in one horse.
"We tried coming from Dubai four times. Now, I think we have better horses than what we saw in Dubai. We're trying this year and it looks to me that our horses are doing much, much better than ever."
FLYING PRIVATE - Robert Baker and William Mack's Flying Private walked the shedrow at D. Wayne Lukas' Barn 44 a day after working a half mile in :47.40. Robby Albarado, who has the mount for Derby 135, had been aboard for the work.
This colt has been compared to Charismatic, Lukas' Derby winner in 1999, in that he figures to be a longshot on Saturday. Charismatic won at odds of 31-1.
Lukas pointed out that in addition to Charismatic, his Thunder Gulch in 1995 was a 24-1 longshot.
"Flying Private's strength is his pedigree and he's truly a mile-and-a-quarter horse," said Lukas, whose other Derby winners were Winning Colors in 1988 and Grindstone in 1996.
FRIESAN FIRE - It wasn't Derby Fever that had the attention of Friesan Fire on Tuesday morning at Barn 45.
"He was on his toes before he knew Zenyatta was here," trainer Larry Jones said referring to the arrival of the undefeated champion mare who is housed seven stalls down from Friesan Fire. "He is quite taken with her."
Friesan Fire, worked five furlongs in :57.80 on Monday under jockey Gabriel Saez, walked the shedrow Tuesday and will return to the track Wednesday.
"Wednesday will be a goof-off day," Jones said. "He will go to the gate, paddock, jog and maybe 'lope' around there, whatever he wants to do for about 20 minutes."
Jones said that the Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm colt never has had problems with either the gate or paddock.
"I just want to stand him in the gate," Jones said. "At the Fair Grounds (for the Louisiana Derby), he was on the outside and loaded last and they sprung the latch. I just don't want him to think it is like that all the time."
In the Louisiana Derby, Friesan Fire romped by 7 1/4 lengths on a sealed, sloppy track. With rain in the forecast for the rest of the week, the chance for an off track remains a possibility.
"We are not hoping for rain. We want a fast track," Jones said. "We know we are OK because he ran well at the Fair Grounds in the Louisiana Derby. Churchill Downs gets very good when it is wet. If it rains, we won't spend the day panicking."
GENERAL QUARTERS - Owner/trainer Tom McCarthy sent Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Grade I) winner General Quarters out for a mile and half gallop under regular exercise rider Julie Sheets before the renovation break Tuesday morning.
"He's doing good, couldn't be any better," McCarthy said as a steady rain beat down on Barn 37.
General Quarters never has raced on an off track, but McCarthy does not think it will be a problem for the son of Sky Mesa.
"Whenever he gallops on an off track, Julie says he just floats over it," McCarthy said. "He was here all last summer when there was a lot of rain and handled it fine."
Julien Leparoux, who will ride General Quarters in Derby 135, stopped by the barn and had a five-minute chat with McCarthy. Leparoux has not been aboard General Quarters, who was ridden in the Blue Grass by Eibar Coa.
HOLD ME BACK - WinStar Farm's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Grade I) runner-up Hold Me Back jogged a mile Tuesday morning. He turned in his final breeze Sunday.
Hold Me Back has picked up all three of his career victories on synthetic surfaces and his only off-the-board result was on the dirt in the Remsen at Aqueduct. Trainer Bill Mott said the colt moves beautifully over the dirt in training and that it is too early to say he prefers one surface to another.
"We're not about to say our horse can't run on the dirt just off one race," Mott said. "We're going to give him the chance on Saturday and then we'll see."
Kent Desormeaux has the riding assignment on Saturday.
I WANT REVENGE - Just after the renovation break and minutes before torrential rains fell at Churchill Downs on Tuesday morning, I Want Revenge took good advantage of a fresh and fast race track during a four-furlong workout in :47.20 under jockey Joe Talamo.
The Wood Memorial (Grade I) winner turned in fractions of :11.40, :23.20 and :35.40 during his final serious prep for a start in the Kentucky Derby.
"We got a great race track today, and we got to let him do what he normally does. I think we accomplished what we wanted to do today," trainer Jeff Mullins said. "We just wanted to see him moving forward and into the work and happy. He worked this morning like he normally does."
The workout was the fastest of 49 recorded at the distance. Managing partner David Lanzman's homebred colt galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.80.
"Like Dave was saying to his kids: This is the final hurdle before the big show. But we have four more hurdles to go until Saturday," Mullins said. "Every day you have to wake up and hope that he's in good health and stays that way until Saturday."
Talamo also expressed satisfaction with the tune-up.
"I'm pretty confident, especially today. Like Jeff said, I feel like we accomplished pretty much what we wanted to do," said Talamo, a 19-year-old Louisiana native who had worked I Want Revenge at Churchill Downs twice prior to Tuesday's bullet move. "We caught a real good race track today. The last couple of times, it was a little deep because of rain the day before. But it was great. He finished up real well; just the way we wanted him to."
The Southern California-based jockey had gained a world of confidence in I Want Revenge during their eventful journey in the Wood Memorial, in which he broke dead last and was blocked behind a wall of horses in mid-stretch before jetting through a hole on his way to a courageous victory.
"From the Gotham and even before that, we knew he was a pretty good horse. Obviously, in the Wood, that answered a lot of questions for everyone. To overcome a trip like that is just incredible," Talamo said. "He's so mature for his age. It's hard to explain. He does everything so easily.
"He's definitely one that has a few gears on him, which helps in a race like the Derby, because there's a lot of stop and go - hopefully not, but it does happen. But he's definitely one of the contenders."
Preparing for his first ride in the Derby, Talamo has sought out the advice of several prominent jockeys, past and present.
"I've talked to a few guys, Gary Stevens, Robby Albarado, Jerry Bailey, that's just to name a few. They've all pretty much given me the same advice: Don't cry when 'My Old Kentucky Home' comes on," Talamo said.
Talamo will particularly take Stevens' words to the starting gate with him for his initial Derby experience.
"He said just keep both feet on both sides and your mind in the middle," Talamo said.
Mullins said I Want Revenge would walk the shedrow Wednesday, jog a mile and gallop a mile on both Thursday and Friday, and jog a mile on Saturday.
MINE THAT BIRD - Trainer Chip Woolley was feeling philosophical at Barn 42. His Kentucky Derby colt, Mine That Bird, had come out of his final work for the race Monday in good fashion and had merely walked the shedrow Tuesday. The Birdstone colt had "eaten up" and was a happy camper, and so was his conditioner.
"It's down to racin' luck and what happens," the 45-year-old native of New Mexico said, sounding like a man who realized he'd done all the heavy lifting and that much of what would happen next would be in the hands of the racing gods.
"I'm just so tickled that me and my horse and my owners are now going to be part of the history of the Kentucky Derby," he said. "We're going to do it and they won't ever be able to take that away from us.
"I just wanted my horse to be ready to give the best effort of his life, and I believe we're there. He's never been better and now we're going to see just what he can do. When the race is done we'll know where we're at with him. But we're going in ready to give it our best and we can't ask for more than that."
Calvin Borel, who won the 2007 Derby on Street Sense, worked Mine That Bird Monday in 1:02 and has the call on Saturday.
MR. HOT STUFF - Owned by WinStar Farm, Mr. Hot Stuff made his first appearance on the Churchill Downs racing strip Tuesday morning at 7, beating the rains that hit the area by getting in both a leg-stretching of a mile and one half under exercise rider Paul Turner and a quick bath back at Barn 41 before the skies opened.
Half of the WinStar connection ownership connection, Bill Casner, looked on trackside with trainer Eoin Harty as their handsome, near-black youngster went through his exercise.
Mr. Hot Stuff, of course, is a full brother to another WinStar runner, the more-heralded Colonel John, who last year - like his brother - came from California for the race. Circumstances this time are a bit different, however. Colonel John was one of the "buzz" horses for the 2008 Derby, finally going off the second-betting choice. Little brother Mr. Hot Stuff comes to town with a much lower-key resume and figures to be one of the outsiders in Derby 135.
John Velazquez has the call on Mr. Hot Stuff for the Saturday classic.
MUSKET MAN - Musket Man was out early Tuesday morning. With exercise rider Salvador Dominguez aboard, Musket Man schooled at the gate and then galloped a mile and a half around the fast main track.
"He just stood in the gate a while," trainer Derek Ryan said after bicycling back to Barn 41 behind Musket Man. "He'll gallop up to the race now."
Musket Man, who has won the mile and a sixteenth Tampa Bay Derby (Grade III) and the mile and an eighth Illinois Derby (Grade II) in his past two starts, has already breezed twice at Churchill Downs since he got to Kentucky two weeks ago. He went six furlongs in 1:13 flat on April 18, and then five furlongs in 1:01.60 last Saturday with jockey Eibar Coa aboard. The Derby will be his fifth start of the year.
There have been questions about Musket Man getting the Derby distance with what is essentially sprint breeding, but his half-sister, whom Ryan also trained, won short and long on dry and muddy tracks, on turf and synthetics.
"She just liked to win, and he's the same," Ryan said. "I've been hearing about his distance 'limitations' since his first start last October. Well, so far he's won at six and seven furlongs, a mile and a sixteenth, and a mile and an eighth. I think he'll handle another furlong."
Musket Man is owned by the partnership of Eric Fein and Vic Carlson, and they've watched the $15,000 yearling purchase win five of six career starts and earn $572,600 since he debuted on Oct. 25 at Belmont.
PAPA CLEM - Bo Hirsch's Papa Clem galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Mundo Gonzalez before the renovation break and before the rain Tuesday morning.
"He will gallop Wednesday and Thursday I'll breeze him," trainer Gary Stute said. "Rafael (jockey Bejarano) is supposed to be here to work him. He'll blowout a good quarter down the lane and out to the seven-eighths."
Papa Clem's lone race on an off track was a runner-up finish to Friesan Fire in the Grade II Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds and Stute would prefer not to see an off track on Saturday.
"I'd rather not see an off track because Friesan Fire beat me so easy," Stute said of Papa Clem finishing 7 1/4 lengths back. "The first time he sees something, he is a little hesitant. It should help him for this time if it rains."
PIONEEROF THE NILE - Trainer Bob Baffert said the Empire Maker colt owned by Zayat Stables came out of a fine work in fine shape.
Pioneerof the Nile breezed five furlongs in 1:01 Monday morning. Tuesday was a quiet morning.
"He walked the shedrow today and will jog tomorrow," Baffert said. "He looks fantastic."
Garrett Gomez has the riding assignment on Saturday.
SQUARE EDDIE - Kentucky Derby 135 lost a candidate Tuesday morning when trainer Doug O'Neill said that the Smart Strike colt Square Eddie had been withdrawn from consideration for the race.
"We thought he'd come out of his work (:50.20) Sunday in good shape," O'Neill said at Barn 17 on Tuesday morning, "but then Monday we felt some heat in his left front shin. We called Dr. (Mark) Cheney and took some X-rays. The X-rays didn't show anything, but that heat is there and Dr. Cheney said it might be best not to take any chances; that we were probably looking at a sign of possible problems.
"In the end, we decided to err on the side of caution. Mr. (Paul) Reddam said 'Do what's in the best interests of Eddie,' and that's what we've done."
Square Eddie had suffered a small fracture in his left front leg following a workout in February in California and had been backed off training and racing until he returned to action April 18 at Keeneland in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (Grade II), where he made a swooping move to the front in the stretch, but then fell back to finish third.
The Canadian-bred now will be shipped back to California "either next Monday or Tuesday," according to O'Neill.
"We're just on chill mode with him now," he said. "There's no real plan from here; we'll let him tell us how he's doing and when we can start back with him."
SUMMER BIRD - Trainer Tim Ice braved the approaching storm Tuesday morning and took Summer Bird to the track when the track reopened at 8:30 a.m. The Birdstone colt was still galloping under jockey Chris Rosier when the rain came pelting down.
"It didn't bother him a bit," Ice said. "He trained all winter down at Oaklawn and it rained a lot there, too. I thought he trained well here today, and I'm very happy with the way he's coming up to the race."
Summer Bird, who has had just three career starts - all on a fast track - has a pedigree that says he'll run on any surface.
"He trained as good on wet tracks as dry tracks in Arkansas," Ice said, "maybe even better. I don't think track condition will affect him at all."
Summer Bird made his first start March 1, broke his maiden March 19, and then ran third behind Papa Clem in the Grade II Arkansas Derby on April 11. The money he earned in that race, shot him right into the top 20 on the earnings list and guaranteed him a Derby berth.
This will be the 34-year-old trainer's first Derby, and first Grade I stakes runner. A former assistant to Morris Nicks, Cole Norman and Keith Desormeaux, Ice went out on his own less than a year ago, in late May of 2008. But he's been around the track most of his life.
"I first went to the track when I was 13, with my stepfather Frank Rapp," Ice said. "He took me to Waterford Park (now Mountaineer in Chester, W.Va.) where he trained a couple of horses. Not long after that, we moved to Louisiana where I grew up near Louisiana Downs."
Ice still lives in Bossier City, La., with his wife Heather.
WIN WILLY - One day after his final Kentucky Derby breeze, Win Willy just walked under the shedrow in Barn 45 for trainer Mac Robertson.
The colt by Derby winner Monarchos was credited with a five-furlong breeze in 1:02.40 on Monday with exercise rider Eli Lopez aboard.
"I'm not certain the time is right," Robertson said, "because he was out there with a bunch of other Derby horses when the accident happened and there was a lot of confusion. But the time doesn't really matter.
"He went along nice and even the whole way, and I was very happy with the way he finished up the work, he looked really strong galloping out. I was very happy with the way he came back and cooled out. He's doing great today."
Robertson, one of several first-time Derby trainers, said he'll be leading the rain dance party this week.
"I hope it rains and keeps on raining," the trainer said. "I hope it rains so much they think about canceling the races, but they can't because it's Derby Day."
Win Willy, whose pedigree drips with off-track form, shows just one start over a track other than fast. That was the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 14, a race he won by more than two lengths going away. The track was officially listed as "good" that day.
"I don't know what they called it, but I called it muddy," Robertson said. "Deep muddy. And my horse just loved it. That's why I'm hoping for a wet track, because I know some of the others won't like it a bit."
Update 4856: Superfecta here, with your regular weekly update.
There's been another wholly sensible Derby defection; following in the slightly-bloody hoofprints of Quality Road, Square Eddie is also bowing out of the Derby field. It's rather refreshing to see that two very talented horses are being handled with such caution - both should be back later in the season once they have fully returned to fighting shape.
The Blood-Horse reports that in addition to coverage in peculiar places like Access Hollywood, there is also promotion of the Derby via BlogHer ('an iVillage partner' - and I should mention that back in the day I used to work with one of the founders of BlogHer at Women.com, which was eventually subsumed by iVillage). This is news to me, despite the fact that I am a BlogHer member - I have yet to see anything racing-related over there that isn't just a feed from my site. I had to miss yesterday's NTRA/blogger conference call since it was scheduled for my usual train home, but I wonder if it was mentioned at all in that discussion. I'd be very curious to see exactly what sort of promotion the BlogHer deal covered - but I digress, back to the horses!
The weather report is looking fairly ominous for Oaks Day at this point; while it should be better on Saturday, just in case the wet weather stays on one wonders what that means for Papa Clem (sure, he was still second in the slop on Louisiana Derby day, but it was a long way back behind Friesan Fire), or if this indeed hands an advantage to Friesan Fire (whose lightning-fast workout was the subject of much discussion yesterday). Checking everyone's Tomlinson ratings after the field is set will no doubt be in order this year - just in case.
All the contenders are getting their final works in; Chocolate Candy worked yesterday as well, with I Want Revenge burning up the track earlier today - it was 'GREAT' according to jockey Joe Talamo (who seems to have become quite the media property this week - well done to him for staying cool under that sort of pressure) - and I should add that I Want Revenge did not sell himself short either. Tomorrow's post position draw won't be televised, but I'm sure it will be very popular on Twitter as well...
Update 4855: A must read update on the situation of the neglected Mustangs in Nebraska: URGENT-3-Strikes Horses Need Funds!!, it ends:
Well, that brought tears to the eyes of a number of people. Not me, of course, because I'm one tough SOB, but I think Jim ever teared up. Not sure because I got dust in my eyes. It was really windy, you understand.
And every day, in every way, the horses are getting better and better.
Update 4854: It is being reported on Twitter that Square Eddie is out of the Kentucky Derby.
Update 4853: Today I have my first day off in Canada! Very cool. But it's raining!
Here is the ABR Facebook e-mail 22: The Rail, Barbaro's Memorial, Derby, Paragallo, Mustangs in Nebraska, YouTube Contest, Montana, Woodbine.
Here is my weekly contribution for Eclipse Magazine (UK): Alex Brown 28 April 2009.
And my latest entry on The Rail notes the training tragedy at Churchill Downs yesterday: Training Tragedy at Churchill Downs.
Update 4852: Friday's Kentucky Oaks and the undercard races are looking to be very good. Rachel Alexandra worked with Calvin Borel in preparation for the Oaks (Rachel Alexandra Fires Bullet in Preparation for Oaks) and Zenyatta looks to start her 2009 campaign in the Louisville Distaff (Zenyatta Headed for Louisville Distaff)
And please call the Governor of Montana and request he veto the slaughter bill: 406-444-3111
Posted by Alex at 11:05 AM
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Barbaro Update 840
Posted April 27, 2009
Updates are now here
Update 4851: John Asher's Monday Derby report from Churchill Downs:
KENTUCKY DERBY 135 NOTES
Monday, April 27, 2009
FRIESAN FIRE DRILLS 'BULLET' FIVE FURLONGS
'PIONEER' AMONG EIGHT OTHER DERBY WORKERS
FOOT WOES TAKE QUALITY ROAD OFF DERBY TRAIL
JOHN VELAZQUEZ PICKS UP MOUNT ON MR. HOT STUFF
ADVICE/DUNKIRK/JOIN IN THE DANCE/TAKE THE POINTS - A trio of Todd Pletcher-trained Kentucky Derby "possibles" went through their final serious drills for the Saturday spectacular on Monday morning, putting a "put me in coach" spin on activities Pletcher's Barn 38.
Pletcher took up a post in the grandstand and oversaw the activities, which began shortly after the renovation break ended at 8:30 a.m. (all times EDT) when Hall of Fame jockey-turned-jockey-agent-and-sometimes-exercise-rider Angel Cordero Jr. guided the Sky Mesa colt Join in the Dance through a five-furlong workout timed in 1:00.20.
Join in the Dance, stakes-placed and No. 21 on the Kentucky Derby "eligible" list based on graded stakes earnings starting out the day, has a good turn of foot and could be a solid forward factor in the full field if he gets to run.
"He's an enthusiastic work horse, so it was good to see him settle and work well today," Pletcher said afterward. "He should be ready now."
Next from the Pletcher barn - just after 9 a.m. - came two other Derby candidates, the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (Grade II) winner Advice and the gray Even the Score colt Take the Points.
Advice went off first with exercise rider Kevin Willey up and covered four furlongs in :47.20, then galloped out an extra furlong in 1:00. He is already solidly "in" the Derby lineup based on graded earnings, should his connections - the WinStar Farm crew of Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt - decide they'd like a third horse in Derby 135. The Kentucky farm already has Hold Me Back and Mr. Hot Stuff scheduled to run in the 10-furlong classic, so the thought of wheeling Advice back in two weeks off his Lexington tally has been debated.
"I got him (Advice) finishing up that work in :23 and 1," Pletcher said. "It was a good move for him."
Shortly after Advice took care of business, exercise rider Horacio De la Paz had Take the Points ready to ramble five-eighths and he was joined - once again - by the unstarted potential star (he's by Storm Cat out of champion Serena's Song) Schramsberg, with Cordero on board. The pair had worked in company last week and they went at it again with the unraced chestnut youngster starting out a length or two in front as they went by the five-furlong marker.
The gray colt - who sits at No. 22 on the Derby "eligible" list - took dead aim on his "rival" around the turn and by the time he'd gone by the wire in 1:00.20, he was well clear and drawing out on the less-experienced colt, who was given a final time of 1:01.60.
"I was happy to see the work by Take the Points," Pletcher said. "He picked up his workmate and went right on by. He looked good doing it."
The trainer said decisions on who might - and might not - be entered in the Derby on Wednesday morning would be made Tuesday. Possible jockey assignments will be fixed then, too.
"We'll see how they come out of these works tomorrow morning," the trainer said. "We're happy with the overall activity today and it sets us up for lots of possibilities."
The final Pletcher Derby candidate - and one of the possible favorites for the race - Dunkirk, spent his Monday morning shipping to West Palm Beach Airport for a flight to Louisville. He was expected to join the Pletcher barn Monday afternoon.
CHOCOLATE CANDY - Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer made a beeline from Barn 42 to the clocker's stand on the Churchill Downs backside Monday morning just before 8:30 a.m. and the end of the track's renovation break. He got there in time to watch Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith backtrack his colt Chocolate Candy from the six-furlong gap to the eighth pole, then turn and ease on in to a five-furlong workout.
As the work began to unfold on the backstretch near the five-eighths pole, a two-horse collision near the finish line occurred and sent track sirens wailing. It also sent Hollendorfer - and everyone else at the track - into moments of high anxiety. Fortunately for the Chocolate Candy connections the unhappy incident did not disrupt their business and the tall, bay son of Candy Ride clipped off a drill of :59.20, galloping out an extra furlong in 1:12.80. (Clockers caught the early splits in :12, :23.60, :35.60 and :47.)
"We both saw the horses down," Smith said afterward. "Luckily, it happened over by the outer rail. He (Chocolate Candy) just looked that way for a second, but he turned back and kept on going. We both were able to focus and complete what we had to do."
A slightly shaken Hollendorfer was happy to have the work and the incident behind him.
"We were lucky we got to finish the work," he said heading back to the barn. "So many things can happen. It is worrisome.
"I had told Mike 'Just like Santa Anita' (a reference to a :59.20 work turned in by the pair at the California track on April 12). He hit it right on. Now I think my horse has a chance to run well here. He can handle this track and now we know he can run well here. Handling the track is key and he's show us he can."
Smith had little doubt about that subject.
"Sure, he'll handle this track," the rider said. "He'll handle anything. He's a nice colt. His work today felt just like the one at Santa Anita. He's ready to go."
Chocolate Candy is a winner of four of nine starts and $532,500. He was bred by the late Sid Craig and his wife Jenny and currently races for the family's Trust.
DESERT PARTY/REGAL RANSOM - Trainer Saeed bin Suroor watched his Kentucky Derby prospects jog a mile shortly after the track opened for training at 6 a.m.
The Godolphin duo turned in the two fastest five-furlong works Saturday morning: Regal Ransom in :59.20 and Desert Party in :59.60. Sunday morning they walked the shedrow at Barn 41.
"They came out of their work in good form. No problem," bin Suroor said. "They are perfectly, sound, happy, fresh. No problems at all."
The veteran trainer said the colts would gallop Tuesday morning. Both colts started their racing careers in the United States last year, spent the winter in Dubai and competed in the international race meet at Nad al Sheba race track. Regal Ransom, who had finished second to Desert Party in the first two races at Nad al Sheba, pulled off a bit of an upset in the UAE Derby on March 28, beating his stablemate by a half-length.
"Both of these horses are much better than they were in Dubai," bin Suroor said. "They each had three runs in Dubai. They handled the travel very well."
Alan Garcia will ride Regal Ransom and Ramon Dominguez has the assignment on Desert Party in the Derby.
FLYING PRIVATE - Robert Baker and William Mack's Flying Private worked four furlongs in :47.40 after the renovation break Monday. Robby Albarado, who has the mount for Derby 135, was aboard for the move that featured fractions of :23.80 for the quarter and :35.80 for three-eighths.
"He went well," Albarado said. "It was just a maintenance work with company. Wayne (trainer D. Wayne Lukas) wanted to get a good finish and that's what we got."
FRIESAN FIRE - Larry Jones had said he did not expect Friesan Fire to work as fast in his final Derby drill as Hard Spun did two years ago.
He was right. Friesan Fire worked bullet five furlongs in :57.80 with jockey Gabriel Saez up. Hard Spun had worked in :57.60 under Jockey Mario Pino on the Monday of Derby Week.
"A fifth of a second off," Jones said, adding with a laugh, "that's good, people would have said I worked him too fast."
Working immediately after the renovation break over a "fast" track, Friesan Fire reeled off fractions of :11.20, :22.20, :33.60, :45.20 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.
"I was very happy with it," Jones said. "Gabe said he thought he went in about a minute. If I could have written the perfect script, I would have had him gallop out in 1:12, but he has been watching those tents every day (on the backside) and I wanted to put the blinkers on to keep him more focused."
Jones, whose horses have run second in the past two editions of the Kentucky Derby, was asked if he felt the Derby gods might smile on him this year.
"I feel blessed to have run in the past two Kentucky Derbys and have horses run well," Jones said referring to Hard Spun and Eight Belles. "If the gods want to smile on me, I'm gonna grin from ear to ear."
Jones said Friesan Fire would walk Tuesday, jog Wednesday and then gallop up to Derby 135.
"Wednesday is going to be an easy day," Jones said. "He may go to the paddock and the gate and walk around and see some folks. We're fine (after this work); he wasn't blowing at all when he came back."
Friesan Fire is owned by Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm, the same partnership that owns Kodiak Kowboy who worked five furlongs in :59.80 immediately after Friesan Fire as a prep for a run in Saturday's Grade II Churchill Downs. Saez was aboard Kodiak Kowboy and also worked Just Jenda, owned by Jones' wife Cindy, a half-mile in :48 in preparation for the Eight Belles on Saturday.
GENERAL QUARTERS - Owner/trainer Tom McCarthy looked on as his Toyota Blue Grass (Grade I) winner turned in a second straight spirited gallop mid-track under exercise rider Julie Sheets. McCarthy said he won't change plans with his one-horse stable and continue to just gallop General Quarters up to Derby 135.
"He's a strong galloper, maybe too strong sometimes," McCarthy said moments after this morning's 1 1/2-mile exercise.
General Quarters does not have the prettiest conformation or stride, especially in the right-front foot, which is why he sold for just $20,000 as a yearling. But, as McCarthy noted, "It does not affect him when he gallops or runs, there's no doubt about that. You have to do something corrective when they are a baby, or just live with it. He's always had it and always will."
One area where McCarthy won't have to worry about his horse is familiarity with Churchill Downs. McCarthy said because General Quarters has raced, trained and stabled here in the past, "He knows his way around. There's no need to school him in between races in the paddock or do too much with him at this point."
HOLD ME BACK - Typically, horses spend a day away from the track the morning after a timed workout. Not WinStar Farm's Hold Me Back, who needed more action than a stroll around trainer Bill Mott's shedrow.
Sunday morning, the Toyota Blue Grass (Grade I) runner-up worked five furlongs in 1:01.60 under Hall of Fame jockey and three-time Kentucky Derby-winner Kent Desormeaux. At 6:55 a.m. Monday, Mott led the colt and assistant trainer Kenny McCarthy to the track, where they galloped a mile.
"He doesn't like to walk," Mott said. "He'd rather train. He's full of energy and gets anxious. He wants to get out and do a little something."
I WANT REVENGE - One day before he's scheduled for his final tune-up for the Kentucky Derby, I Want Revenge jogged a mile and galloped a mile under exercise rider Joe Deegan at Churchill Downs on Monday morning.
"I think he's just peaking now," trainer Jeff Mullins said. "He looks just as good as he did in New York, maybe a little better. For as much traveling as he's done for a young horse, he hasn’t missed a beat. I don't think he's ever come out of his feed tub one time."
Mullins will send the Kentucky-bred colt to the track Tuesday morning right after the renovation break, although he said he hadn't decided whether the workout will be four or five furlongs.
While getting his morning bath following his exercise Monday morning, I Want Revenge looked like the picture of health, except for a few minor abrasions on his left knee.
"He got cast in his stall the night before his first work here," said Mullins, whose colt has worked the two previous Tuesdays at Churchill Downs. "You can see the scrapes on his head and everywhere else."
I Want Revenge will be ridden by 19-year-old Joe Talamo, who guided him from last to first with a heads-up ride in the eventful Wood Memorial (Grade I) at Aqueduct in his final prep.
"He definitely moved up a couple notches in my book, that's for sure. I knew he was a good rider, but to tell you the truth, I didn't realize he was that young," Mullins said. "I thought he was 20-something years old. To show that kind of confidence and patience, it's pretty strong for a guy that age."
Although the son of Stephen Got Even settled nicely in the back of the pack after a very slow start, Mullins isn't so sure that his Wood Memorial winner necessarily showed a new dimension with his deep-closing effort at Aqueduct.
"That happened by accident. Sometimes you might not be able to make him do that," he said. "He's a strong-minded horse. If he breaks without any trouble, I don't think you're going to be able to wrangle him back."
MINE THAT BIRD - Expected to be Canada's first champion 2-year-old in the Kentucky Derby starting gate since Talkin Man in 1995, Mine That Bird drilled five furlongs in 1:02 flat Monday morning under jockey Calvin Borel. Churchill Downs clockers had the son of Birdstone galloping out an additional furlong in :13.20.
Mine That Bird was ponied to the five-eighths pole easily and broke off slowly for Borel, asked to run through the lane at trainer Chip Woolley's instructions. Fractions were :13, :25.40, :37.40, :49.80 and 1:02 for the official clocking.
"Things went super," Woolley said afterward. "I'm really happy with my horse. It's pretty much exactly what I wanted - he started slower and finished up super-strong. He came back to the barn really playing. That's as good as you are ever going to see him feeling. He's not an animated horse."
Mine That Bird will walk the shedrow Tuesday and "lope" up to the race the rest of the week. Woolley said his colt may school in the starting gate Wednesday, but will not be schooling in the paddock during racing days this week.
Monday's exercise was delayed approximately 40 minutes because of an on-track accident that temporarily forced the track's closure. Woolley said Mine That Bird was just about to be bandaged and ready to go out when the closure announcement was made.
"Luckily we weren't all the way ready at the time," he said. "It's unfortunate for the horses and horsemen involved any time something like this happens. We just had to be patient."
It was a big morning for Borel, who also worked Kentucky Oaks favorite Rachel Alexandra just moments before being hustled to the Woolley barn via golf cart to partner with his Derby 135 mount.
MR. HOT STUFF - WinStar Farm's Mr. Hot Stuff was airborne from California on Monday, a day after drilling five furlongs in 1:00.40 at Santa Anita.
The stretch-running full brother to Travers Stakes (Grade I) winner Colonel John is trained by Eoin Harty, who shipped successfully to Kentucky on Sunday after overseeing the work.
Harty confirmed that the Eastern-based rider John Velazquez has taken the call on Mr. Hot Stuff for Derby 135. Velazquez had been scheduled to ride Florida Derby (GI) winner Quality Road in the Kentucky Derby, but became available after that colt's foot concerns took him out of Derby consideration on Monday morning.
NOTE: The plane carrying Mr. Hot Stuff from California was scheduled to arrive in Louisville at approximately 5 p.m., and the colt is expected to arrive on the grounds around 6 p.m.
MUSKET MAN - Illinois Derby (Grade II) winner Musket Man had another easy day Monday, and trainer Derek Ryan said the colt's work is done until Saturday.
"He galloped an easy mile and a half today," Ryan said, "and then he went to the gate to school at 7 a.m. That's really it for him. He'll just gallop up to the race now."
Musket Man, a colt by Yonaguska–Fortesque, by Fortunate Prospect, had his last serious breeze for the Derby on Saturday, going five furlongs in 1:01.60 with jockey Eibar Coa aboard.
He is coming off back-to-back victories in the Tampa Bay Derby (Grade III) and the Illinois Derby and has only lost once in six career starts, a third-place finish in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (Grade III) at Tampa Bay in February.
Ryan bought the colt as a yearling in 2007 at Keeneland because he had trained Musket Man's half-sister, a filly named Casablanca Babe.
"I gave $20,000 for her as a 2-year-old," Ryan said. "She ended up getting claimed for $50,000, but she was a remarkable mare. She won on everything – dirt, mud, turf, synthetics – anything.
"So when I saw this colt in the book, I went to the sale to buy him. He's turned out to be a runner like his sister."
Casablanca Babe won 12 of her 46 career starts and earned more than $200,000.
PAPA CLEM - One of the potential Derby 135 pace players walked the shedrow Monday morning for the second straight day as scheduled. Papa Clem will return to the track Tuesday morning and will blow out on Thursday with a "quarter-mile breeze, maybe let him go out three-eighths," trainer Gary Stute said.
"He came out of Saturday's work perfect; his legs were ice cold," Stute said. "When I work him alone like that, it takes nothing out of him. He's really one who needs to see another horse to get serious. He's never been one to impress you training, so we'll find out Saturday for sure how he's handling the track, honestly."
With the defection of Quality Road Monday morning, the Derby's pace scenario softened somewhat, which could benefit horses with solid early foot like Papa Clem.
"He can be up there or sit off the pace like we found out in Arkansas," Stute said. "He pretty much runs his :47-and-change for the half. If it's slow, that will put him up there. If it's fast, he'll be a few lengths off it. I wouldn't mind a post somewhere in that 6-7-8 range."
Stute will be making his Kentucky Derby debut, but he carries on a family legacy. His father, Mel, ran Snow Chief in the 1986 Derby. After an 11th-place finish in Louisville, Snow Chief rebounded to win the Preakness. The younger Stute will have family support this week.
"My mom and dad are coming in this week, and dad has Kitty in the Bag running Thursday in the 2-year-old stakes ($100,000 Kentucky Juvenile)," Stute said. "It figures to be an exciting week for all of us."
PIONEEROF THE NILE - Regular exercise rider Joe Steiner guided Pioneerof the Nile through a five-furlong work in 1:01 moments after the track reopened at 8:30 a.m. following the renovation break.
Trainer Bob Baffert watched the work from the front side of the track and, as is his custom, was in touch with the rider via radio. Pioneerof the Nile, owned by Zayat Stables, cruised through fractions of :11.80. :23.80, :36 and :48.60. He was allowed to gallop out a long way and was timed in 1:13.40 for the six furlongs.
"He went really nice," Baffert said. "There was a lot of wind. He left the half-mile pole, went five-eighths and he galloped out pretty strong all the way around there. He was moving really well and looked comfortable over the track."
Pioneerof the Nile has won all four of his starts on synthetic surfaces in California since being moved to Baffert's care late last year. The son of 2004 Kentucky Derby runner-up Empire Maker has trained well on dirt, but the Derby will be his debut on dirt.
"He's got a long stride as it is, but he really moves better over the dirt, I think," Baffert said. "His stride is just tremendous."
Baffert was pleased with the way the colt performed in his final breeze before the Derby.
"He did it pretty effortlessly," Baffert said. "I think he wanted to go a little faster; I wouldn't let him. I was really happy with the work. I'm really excited about the work."
Steiner gave the Santa Anita Derby winner high marks, too.
"It was a comfortable, smooth move," Steiner said. "He just kind of coasted around there and we let him gallop out on his own. He felt perfect."
Steiner, who has been a jockey for nearly 25 years, said he likes the way the colt is approaching the race.
"Mentally, he's focused, he's confident, he's calm,” Steiner said. "The way you want a horse to act, he's shown everything. He's like a dream to gallop. He's very kind.
"I think the key at this point is being focused and confident. He's handling all the media and all that stuff around him. It doesn't faze him. And physically, he's right on. With the combination of the two, now it's up to luck."
Steiner said Pioneerof the Nile feels the same way to him on the dirt track at Churchill Downs and the synthetic surfaces in California. The Derby will be Pioneerof the Nile's first race on dirt.
"You couldn't ask a horse to be doing any better than this." Steiner said.
QUALITY ROAD - Trainer Jimmy Jerkens canceled his Kentucky Derby plans for Quality Road on Monday morning, reporting that the quarter crack in the right front hoof of his Florida Derby winner was still too sensitive to go forward with a scheduled workout at Belmont Park.
"It's devastating," said Jerkens, who had planned a six-furlong workout over the Belmont training track. "I don't know if you can get another horse in the Derby with his credentials."
The quarter crack had been patched by hoof specialist Ian McKinlay on Sunday morning before Quality Road was sent to the track for a 1 3/4-mile gallop. However, his Kentucky Derby future became tenuous when a tinge of blood was detected in the hoof upon his return to the barn.
"He's really sensitive on the quarter. It's not terribly bad, but it's not right," Jerkens said. "Even if we could work him tomorrow, it's hard to fathom that he can get sound enough to work and come out of it good."
Quality Road had previously developed a quarter crack in his right rear leg at Gulfstream Park, but it was successfully patched and has not hindered his training.
Jerkens said that future plans for the son of Elusive Quality, who has won three of four starts, are on hold until he and McKinlay can successfully treat the half-inch crack in wall of the right front foot.
"We've got to get it right. I don't know how long it will take," he said. "We'll re-patch it, but we can't do that until all the soreness is out of it. This crack is a lot different than the other one (in the right rear). It's a lot more sensitive."
NYRA notes writer Jenny Kellner contributed to this report.
SQUARE EDDIE - The chestnut charger Square Eddie limited his fancy footwork to a walk around the shedrow at Barn 17 Monday morning following his four-furlong drill in :50.20 on Sunday.
"Quiet day; all's good," exercise rider Tony Romero said.
Trainer Doug O'Neill was an early visitor to the barn to check on his charge and he had noted that the horse was scheduled to go back to the track Tuesday for a light jog.
Romero confirmed that the Smart Strike colt would once again ship to Keeneland Monday afternoon to continue his "swimming" routine, using the pool and treadmill at a Lexington facility. The Square Eddie connections have attributed a fair share of their runner's fitness and recovery from a small fracture suffered in California in February to his additional regular exercise in various pools.
SUMMER BIRD - Summer Bird, a son of 2004 Belmont Stakes (GI) winner Birdstone was out right after the track reopened at 8:30 Monday morning. He galloped a mile and a half around the Churchill Downs strip with jockey Chris Rosier aboard, and then went to school in the paddock. He was in the paddock when an accident occurred near the finish line, and he stayed there for 30 minutes until the track was clear.
"He had already finished his gallop and was in the paddock when the track was closed," trainer Tim Ice said. "He was out of harms way, and I told Chris just to stay there until everything was clear.
"He's doing great, and he'll just gallop up to the race. He'll school in the gate on Thursday."
Summer Bird had his final breeze - six furlongs in 1:15.80 - at Churchill Downs on Friday.
The colt was bred by his owners, the husband-wife team of Drs K.K. and V. Devi Jayaraman. They had a Derby starter in 1989, when Irish Actor ran seventh behind Sunday Silence.
"We got to the Derby after being in the business six or seven years, and we thought how easy it was," Dr. K.K. Jayaraman said with a smile. "It only took us 20 years to get back here."
The Jayaramans raced Summer Bird's dam, the Summer Squall mare Hong Kong Squall. Although she failed to win in nine career starts, Hong Kong Squall has produced five starters and five winners in five years.
"She hasn't missed a season," Dr. Jayaraman said. "She has a 2-year-old by Jump Start who hasn't run yet, a yearling by Johar, and she's due to foal on May 11 from a cover to Friends Lake.
"When she does foal, she'll be bred back to Birdstone. She's been wonderful to us."
WEST SIDE BERNIE - With trainer Kelly Breen aboard, West Side Bernie galloped a mile and three-eighths around the Churchill Downs oval Monday morning.
"He felt great out there," Breen said. "The work (a half-mile in :48.20 on Saturday) set him up right for the race."
This is Breen's first Derby experience, but his rider Saturday will be Stewart Elliott, who won the Run for the Roses aboard Smarty Jones in 2004.
"Stew and I had dinner the other night," Breen said, "and we started talking about what post we would want if we had this pick or that pick. I had some ideas, but Stew came up with some interesting stuff.
"I think I've run the race a thousand times in my head to figure out what the best post will be. The draw will be interesting."
West Side Bernie ran well to be third in the Holy Bull Stakes (Grade III) at Gulfstream Park in January, but then threw in a clunker when sixth in the Lanes End (Grade II) at Turfway Park in March.
"He just didn't fire in that race, for whatever reason," Breen said. "We knew we wanted to run in the Derby, and we wanted another race for him, so we settled on the Wood Memorial."
In that Grade I event at Aqueduct on April 4, West Side Bernie made a big run around the turn and finished second, a length and a half behind I Want Revenge.
"Now everybody is giving me statistics," Breen said. "Like the fact that both Monarchos and Funny Cide finished second in the Wood before they won the Derby.
"All I know is that you need the best horse, or the luckiest horse, to win the Derby. I hope that's us."
WIN WILLY - Win Willy, a son of Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos, came out on the track after the break Monday morning for his final serious work and was timed in 1:02.40 for five furlongs over the fast main track.
With exercise rider Eli Lopez aboard, Win Willy cruised through splits of :13.20, :25.60 and :37.80, and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.60.
"He looked good, went along nice and smooth," trainer Mac Robertson said. "It looked like he finished strong, which is what I wanted to see."
Robertson said he deliberately used his regular exercise rider, who weighs 140 pounds, rather than jockey Cliff Berry because that particular plan had worked before with Win Willy.
"Coming into the Rebel (Grade II on March 14 at Oaklawn Park), Eli breezed him three times, in what looked like slow times," Robertson said. "He went three-quarters in 1:15 4/5, then a half in :50, and a half in :51 2/5. But that set him up perfectly for the race, and he won big (by 2 1/4, going away).
"Then, coming into the Arkansas Derby, I had the jockey up in the breezes. It was just different for the horse. With Cliff up, he breezed a half in :48 2/5, and then a bullet half in :48 flat just before the race. And then, of course, he ran fourth in the race.
"So I just thought I'd go back to what worked for us earlier in the year, and had Eli breeze him at Oaklawn last week (a half in :51.20) and then again today.
"We've done all we can do, and now he's gonna belong in there, or he isn't."
Update 4850: Steve Haskin reviews all the final Derby works, while also noting the carnage the occured this morning at Churchill due to a training accident: Haskin's Derby Report: Monday Madness.
Update 4849: More on Quality Road's condition: Quality Road Out of the Derby.
Update 4848: Quality Road is out of the Derby.
A quiet morning for me this morning at Steve's. I only had three to ride. All went nicely. We worked a bunch of horses later so I went up to watch a couple of those horses work. All seemed to work well. It's going to be a terrific day here weather-wise too!
Here is my latest entry on The Rail: Training Can Be Far From Routine.
Update 4847: Here are links to some of the stories written about yesterday's Barbaro Statue unveiling:
ESPN: Barbaro Statue Unveiled in Louisville
Bloodhorse: Churchill Downs Unveils Barbaro Statue
ThoroughbredTimes: Churchill Unveils Barbaro Statue (Includes video of the event, speakers include Mr. Jackson and Dr. Richardson.)
Photos and discussion about the event can be found here.
And please call the Governor of Montana and request he veto the slaughter bill: 406-444-3111
Posted by Alex at 11:16 AM
| Comments (70)
Barbaro Updates 839
Posted April 24, 2009
Updates are now here
Update 4846: Sunday's Kentucky Derby update from John Asher at Churchill Downs:
KENTUCKY DERBY 135 NOTES
Sunday, April 26, 2009
HOLD ME BACK WORKS 5/8THS ON CHURCHILL DIRT
SQUARE EDDIE BREEZES HALF-MILE OVER DIRT
MR. HOT STUFF WORKS IN CALIFORNIA, SHIPS MONDAY
FRIESAN FIRE SET FOR MONDAY WORK AT CHURCHILL
ADVICE/DUNKIRK/JOIN IN THE DANCE - At Churchill Downs, assistant trainer Mike McCarthy had two of trainer Todd Pletcher's candidates for the 135th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) out for exercise early on a beautiful morning beneath the Twin Spires.
With the first set, shortly after the track opened at 6 a.m., Join in the Dance and exercise rider Kevin Willey took a mile and three-eighths tour of oval, galloping along in the dark with only a few other Thoroughbreds joining them on the mile oval.
At about 6:30, Willey switched tack to Advice and took him roughly the same distance. They had more company on the big strip for their leg-stretching just as daylight began to arrive on the scene.
Pletcher was scheduled to fly from Florida on Sunday and oversee Derby preparations for Join in the Dance and Advice, which will include works for each on Monday. Advice is slated to work a half-mile and Join in the Dance will breeze five furlongs.
Meanwhile, at Palm Meadows training center in Florida, another Pletcher charge - this one being the $3.7 million dollar yearling sales purchase Dunkirk - went back to the track for a light jog following his five-furlong drill in 1:01.05 on Saturday.
"He came out of that work in great shape," Pletcher said. "His energy level was good this morning and we're pleased with where he is."
Dunkirk will ship to Louisville by air Monday.
Pletcher also will work Take the Points five furlongs after the break Monday. The Even the Score colt has $85,000 in graded stakes earnings and would need a couple of defections from the list of Kentucky Derby probables to secure a starting gate slot.
CHOCOLATE CANDY - Chocolate Candy ambled to the racetrack Sunday morning at 7 o'clock under exercise rider Lindsey Molina, stopping along the way to take in the scene, eyes bright and ears pricking.
"He'll get there, one of these days," stable overseer Galen May said with a smile, knowing that his big, easy-going son of Candy Ride liked to take his time about going about his business.
Chocolate Candy did, in fact, make it to the track in fairly short order and go for a good gallop of a mile and a half. Molina nodded when he walked off into the six-furlong gap. "He's doing good," she said.
May noted that trainer Jerry Hollendorfer would be in from his Northern California headquarters later Sunday and would no doubt be at the barn early Monday morning to call the shots for Chocolate Candy's final major work heading toward Kentucky Derby 135 on Saturday.
"He'll probably go out early," May said. "Jerry likes to get things done as soon as he can."
May, who for 31 years ran the testing barns at the Northern California tracks before "retiring" in 2003 and signing on as Hollendorfer's "head traveling lad," noted that this was his fourth trip to the Derby in that role.
"Eye of the Tiger (fifth in 2003) was my best finish so far," May said. "But this colt - he's special. He might be able to do better."
DESERT PARTY/REGAL RANSOM - The Godolphin duo of Regal Ransom and Desert Party walked the shedrow at Barn 41 a day after putting in five-furlong works.
Henry Spiller, an assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor, said both colts came out of their works well and would return to the track to jog in the morning with Regal Ransom going out first at 6 o'clock and followed soon after by Desert Party.
The duo posted the fastest works of 30 at the distance on Saturday with Regal Ransom going in :59.20 and Desert Party in :59.60. Exercise rider Bob Chapman handled both works.
Both colts broke their maidens in their first attempts with Regal Ransom debuting at Saratoga and Desert Party at Arlington Park. Alan Garcia, who rode Regal Ransom in his first two starts and partnered him again to victory in the UAE Derby (Grade II), has the Derby riding assignment on that colt. Ramon Dominguez will get a leg up for the first time on Desert Party in Derby 135.
FLAT OUT - Oxbow Racing's Flat Out has been injured and is off the Kentucky Derby trail.
Trainer Charles “Scooter” Dickey said a precautionary exam performed at Lexington's Hagyard-Davidson-McGee Equine Clinic on Saturday revealed a stress fracture in the colt's shoulder.
Flat Out, winner of the Smarty Jones Stakes this January at Oaklawn Park, will be sidelined "about four months," Dickey said.
Flat Out stood 22nd on the graded earnings list and would've needed a couple of defections to make the field for Derby 135.
FLYING PRIVATE - Robert Baker and William Mack's Flying Private galloped under exercise rider Taylor Carty.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has enlisted the services of Robby Albarado for Kentucky Derby 135, said Flying Private will work "Monday or Tuesday."
FRIESAN FIRE - Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm's Friesan Fire galloped a mile and a half under trainer Larry Jones after the renovation break.
Jones plans to work Friesan Fire five furlongs on Monday after the renovation break with jockey Gabriel Saez up.
"We just want him to go out and come back good," Jones said when asked what he was looking for on Monday. "I'd just like to see him get over the track without a lot of effort."
Friesan Fire will work in blinkers in the morning.
"He's looking around now and the last two days he has not been focused," Jones said. "Hopefully the blinkers will help."
Friesan Fire's final works before his three races at Fair Grounds this year ran the gamut, but the end result was always the same: a stakes victory.
"His work before the LeComte (:48.60 for a half, second-best of 69) was the first time Gabe got on him," Jones said. "Before the Risen Star (1:04.40 for five furlongs), people thought it was too slow and before the Louisiana derby (:58.20 for five furlongs), people thought it was too fast."
Jones is following a similar pattern with Friesan Fire as he did two years ago with Hard Spun, who would finish second to Street Sense in Derby 133. Hard Spun worked a mile at Keeneland in 1:42.40 on April 23 before shipping to Churchill Downs and then worked five furlongs in :57.60 on April 30. Friesan Fire worked a mile in 1:39.60 at Keeneland on April 19.
"I think he'll work well, but not like Hard Spun did," Jones said. "They are different types of horses. I just don't want him going in 1:04 after seven weeks off."
Immediately after the Friesan Fire work tomorrow, Jones and Saez will return to the track to work Kodiak Kowboy for Vinery and Fox Hill. Winner of the Grade I Carter in his most recent start on April 4, Kodiak is being pointed to Saturday's $250,000 Churchill Downs (Grade II) at seven furlongs.
GENERAL QUARTERS - Former Louisville high school principal Tom McCarthy, owner/trainer of this year's Toyota Blue Grass (Grade I) winner, did not hand out any demerits or discipline Sunday, but rather waited patiently for exercise rider Julie Sheets to arrive at Barn 37. General Quarters, however, was not as patient, pulling McCarthy's son, Tom, around the barn with high energy and eventually going back into his stall before teaming with Sheets and heading to the track.
General Quarters showed much more spark than in recent days, but relaxed nicely as he was hand led to the track by the elder McCarthy.
Once into his 1 1/2-mile gallop, it was clear that the son of Sky Mesa was feeling fresh. Said McCarthy as his colt cruised by, "He's full of himself today. Easy Julie!"
"We only gave him a lackadaisical five-eighths work to keep some fire in the tank," McCarthy said trackside, referring to last week's workout, which was intended to be the horse's last before the Derby. "Apparently, there's plenty of gas still in there."
If General Quarters remains this fresh, McCarthy said that he could give the colt a blowout later this week "if we need to take the edge off."
Julien Leparoux will have the mount in the Derby. His first time getting a leg up on General Quarters will be when they call for "riders up."
"That's nothing new," McCarthy said. "Julien rides a lot of horses that way. We'll go over a few things right before the race."
HOLD ME BACK - WinStar Farm's Hold Me Back closed out his serious training for Kentucky Derby 135 by working five furlongs in company in 1:01.60 under three-time Kentucky Derby-winning rider Kent Desormeaux.
Working before 7 a.m., Hold Me Back reeled off fractions of :13,:25.20, :37.20 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.80 while working in company with Flying Warrior. The move was the 13th-fastest of 24 at the distance over a track rated as "fast."
Hold Me Back broke off about a length and half behind Flying Warrior at the five-eighths pole, caught up to his workmate at the head of the stretch and moved by before the eighth pole.
"I thought the work was very good," trainer Bill Mott said. "He was under a hold the whole way and finished well on his own. He appeared to handle the track very well and that is a good sign. Kent said he still wanted to gallop out after a mile."
Hold Me Back's lone race on a dirt track resulted in a fifth-place finish in the Grade II Remsen at Aqueduct to close out his 2-year-old campaign.
"He had trained well there, but he just didn't show up that day," Mott said. "He was immature at the time and I am willing to give him the benefit of doubt. He trained well on dirt before and has since."
I WANT REVENGE - Wood Memorial (Grade I) winner I Want Revenge stayed on edge with a two-mile open gallop around the fast main track Sunday morning. Regular exercise rider Joe Deegan was aboard. I Want Revenge was scheduled to school in the paddock before the first race Sunday.
"He went really well this morning," said trainer Jeff Mullins, who arrived on the Derby scene Saturday night from California. "We plan to breeze him on Tuesday, either a half or five-eighths, I haven't decided yet."
The colt by Stephen Got Even, who will be one of the favorites on Saturday, has breezed the last two Tuesdays at Churchill Downs, getting a half-mile in :50 flat on April 14, and five furlongs in 1:01.60 on April 21.
I Want Revenge, owned by the partnership of David Lanzman, IEAH Stables, Charles Winner and Puglisi Racing, has won his past two starts, the Grade III Gotham and Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. Joe Talamo, who has been aboard in all the colt's victories, has the mount Saturday.
MINE THAT BIRD - With his final major Kentucky Derby 135 workout looming Monday morning, Mine That Bird turned in an easy 1 3/4 miles Sunday, jogging a quarter-mile and "loping about a mile and a half," trainer Chip Woolley said. Mine That Bird, last year's Sovereign Award winner as Canada's top juvenile colt, is scheduled to work at 8:50 a.m., but that time could be pushed back a few minutes given the busy schedule of jockey Calvin Borel.
"He's working the big mare (Oaks favorite Rachel Alexandra) at 8:30 and then my horse at 8:50," Woolley said. "We'll work five-eighths and I want to see him finish. I'd like to see something in about a minute-and-one (fifth); something that won't kill him, but show he's sharp. The main part of the work I want to see is how he does down the lane."
Woolley is among a sizable list of Kentucky Derby rookie trainers this year, but they follow great company in recent history. Five of the past six Derbies have been won by trainers making their debut in the race (Barclay Tagg, John Servis, John Shirreffs, Michael Matz and Rick Dutrow).
MR. HOT STUFF - WinStar Farm's Mr. Hot Stuff worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 over the synthetic Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita on Sunday morning and will board an airplane for Churchill Downs on Monday with Kentucky Derby plans on his agenda.
Trainer Eoin Harty oversaw his charge's drill in California and termed it "a nice, easy move."
"We didn't ask him to do too much today," the transplanted Irishman said. "He just went about it in good fashion and finished up well. He'll fly tomorrow."
The brother to Colonel John, the sixth-place finisher in the 2008 Kentucky Derby, will be stabled in Barn 41.
Harty, who was flying to Louisville himself Sunday, said rider plans still have not been finalized for Mr. Hot Stuff.
"We're still working on it," he said. "We'll have one by Wednesday morning."
Entries for Kentucky Derby 135 will close at 10 a.m. on Wednesday with the order of post position selection starting at 12:04 p.m. and the actual post position selections beginning at 12:15 p.m.
MUSKET MAN - The day after working five furlongs in 1:01.60, Musket Man had an easy morning Sunday, walking under the Barn 41 shedrow.
Trainer Derek Ryan said he will bring Musket Man up to the Derby with daily gallops, and has scheduled a session at the gate for Wednesday.
This is the first Derby for Ryan, who trains primarily at Monmouth Park in New Jersey during the summer and Tampa Bay Downs in the winter.
Musket Man came into prominence by winning the Pasco Stakes and Tampa Bay Derby (Grade III) this winter, and then added to his resume by taking the Illinois Derby (Grade II) at Hawthorne in his most recent start on April 4. The colt has won five of six career starts.
This will be the third Derby mount for jockey Eibar Coa, who finished fifth on Eye Of The Tiger in 2004, and fourth on Tale of Ekati last year.
Eric Fein, who owns the horse in partnership with Vic Carlson, has a starter in the Derby for the second straight year. He made the big show last year with Big Truck, who finished 18th.
PAPA CLEM - No news was good news around the barn of the Arkansas Derby (Grade II) winner, one day after he worked seven furlongs in 1:29.20. The Gary Stute trainee was given an easy morning walking the shedrow and is scheduled to walk for a second straight day Monday before returning to the track Tuesday.
Rafael Bejarano will ride Papa Clem on Saturday in search of his first Derby score. A leading jockey in California and Kentucky, Bejarano's best Triple Crown race finish was his second-place run aboard Andromeda’s Hero in the 2005 Belmont Stakes.
PIONEEROF THE NILE - Santa Anita Derby (Grade I) winner Pioneerof the Nile was out early on the racetrack Sunday for a mile and a half gallop under exercise rider George Alvarez.
"He went good," Alvarez said enthusiastically afterward. "He's doing really well. He couldn't be doing any better. I gallop him in California, too, and this is the best he's felt."
Pioneerof the Nile, an Empire Maker colt, will partner with two-time Eclipse Award winner Garrett Gomez in Derby 135 and is scheduled for his final major breeze Monday morning.
QUALITY ROAD - "Tinges" of blood appeared twice on the pesky right-front quarter crack of potential Kentucky Derby favorite Quality Road on Sunday morning as trainer Jimmy Jerkens, hoof specialist Ian McKinlay and owner Edward Evans continue to race against the clock. All in all, it was an eventful Belmont Park morning for the Florida Derby (Grade I) winner, who galloped 1 3/4 miles after McKinlay outfitted him with an acrylic patch and drain.
After galloping sound and going over the ground well under exercise rider Juan Moreno, Quality Road returned to the Jerkens barn with a "tinge" of blood seeping from the newly patched quarter crack.
"Everything had been stabilized," McKinlay said. "When I changed the wires today, the crack opened up a bit during the process. A bit of sensitive tissue was aggravated. Hopefully tomorrow when he breezes there won't be a tinge of blood."
The Quality Road camp will press on toward Monday's scheduled workout over the Belmont training track. If the son of Elusive Quality is to travel to Churchill Downs on Tuesday and be entered in the Run for the Roses on Wednesday, he'll have to pass Monday's 9:20 a.m. test with flying colors. The six-furlong breeze will determine his Derby fate.
"He has to work to our liking and come out of it perfect," Jerkens said. "If he takes one bad step anywhere, forget it. I would have liked to have seen no blood (this morning), but it didn't surprise me because he was still tender."
"It's not a soundness issue," McKinlay said, adding, "He is well on the mend. This is live tissue; we're not changing a flat tire. There are a lot of judgment calls."
Quality Road's original right-hind quarter-crack patch has held perfectly and has not been problematic. Still, the latest set-back looms over his Derby 135 .
"I'm optimistic it's going to work out," Evans said.
-- NYRA notes writer Jenny Kellner contributed to this report.
SQUARE EDDIE - Following a mile and one-half gallop around the big Churchill Downs oval, Square Eddie put it in drive for exercise rider Tony Romero and drilled four furlongs in :50.20 Sunday morning. The son of Smart Strike broke off at the three-eighths pole and finishing up at the seven-eighths, with a solid gallop-out around the clubhouse turn.
The move was accomplished shortly after the morning renovation break at approximately 8:30 with trainer Doug O'Neill, along with his brother Dennis, in the grandstand overseeing the exercise. The O'Neills arrived Saturday evening and are signed on to stay through Derby 135 on Saturday.
Clockers timed the move with the following early splits -- :12.80, :25, :37.60 – then a gallop-out time 1:03.20.
"I thought it was an awesome work," Doug O'Neill said afterward. "We're very pleased with it. We know we're asking a lot of this horse, but we think he's up to it. Obviously, when you want a horse to come back in two weeks (off his third-place finish in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 18) following a three-month break in his racing schedule (his prior start was the San Rafael at Santa Anita on Jan. 17) to run in a race as tough as the Kentucky Derby, you're asking a lot. The only way you could do that is to think you've got a 'super' horse. And in our minds that's what he is - a 'super' horse."
The trainer indicated that Square Eddie would get a day off tomorrow and merely walk the shedrow, followed by a jog day Tuesday, gallop days Wednesday and Thursday, then jogs on Friday and Saturday as his final preparations for the Run for the Roses.
Corey Nakatani will get a leg up on Square Eddie in Derby 135 next Saturday, the first time he's handled the Canadian-bred, who'll be making the ninth start of his career and first on a pure-dirt surface.
SUMMER BIRD - Summer Bird, a son of 2004 Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone, jogged two miles around the Churchill strip Sunday morning with jockey Chris Rosier aboard.
Trainer Tim Ice was on hand to supervise the exercise after traveling to Lone Star Park Saturday to saddle runners in two stakes. Affirmed Truth ran third in the Richland Stakes, while Catmantoo finished out of the money in the Texas Mile, both with Rozier aboard.
This is the first Derby experience for Ice, a 34-year-old Ohio native who went out on his own just this year after serving as assistant to Morris Nicks, Cole Norman and Keith Desormeaux.
"To make it here to the Derby in my first year as a trainer is extraordinary," Ice said Sunday while watching Summer Bird graze behind the barn. "Just extraordinary. I'm thrilled to be here."
Summer Bird, a good-looking chestnut, has had just three lifetime starts, his only win in maiden company at Oaklawn Park on March 19. He went right from that race into the Grade II Arkansas Derby, where he finished a fast-closing third behind Papa Clem and Old Fashioned.
Summer Bird's final breeze, six furlongs in 1:15 4/5 on Friday, was dismissed by some observers as too slow, but the trainer was satisfied.
"He got what he needed out of the work," Ice said. "He's looking and acting really well. I look for him to run good Saturday. He won't disappoint me no matter what he does."
The colt was bred by his owners, the husband-wife team of Drs. K.K. and V. Devi Jayaraman. They had a Derby starter in 1989, when Irish Actor ran seventh behind Sunday Silence.
WEST SIDE BERNIE - West Side Bernie who had his final Derby breeze on Saturday, just walked under the shedrow Sunday morning.
"He cooled out well, and he's got the right demeanor today," said trainer Kelly Breen, who is experiencing his first Derby. "He ate good, and he's acting good. That's all I can ask."
The son of Bernstein, a $50,000 yearling purchase by Breen on behalf of George and Lori Hall, breezed a half-mile in :48.20 Saturday with jockey Stewart Elliott aboard. In his most recent start, West Side Bernie ran second to I Want Revenge in the Grade I Wood Memorial.
WIN WILLY - Win Willy, a red-roan son of Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos, had a busy Sunday morning, schooling at the gate and then galloping a mile and a half around the Churchill Downs oval.
Trainer Mac Robertson, who will be participating in his first Derby, is still at Canterbury Downs, bedding down a large string of horses that will race there this summer. His wife, Cyndi, a veterinarian, was on hand Sunday to supervise preparations with the aid of groom Luis Moldonado and exercise rider Elias Lopez.
"Mac will work him either Monday or Tuesday," Cyndi said. "Whatever day he gets here, the horse will have his final breeze."
Win Willy took the Grade II Rebel at Oaklawn Park, with Old Fashioned more than two lengths behind, but then finished fourth behind that rival in the Arkansas Derby. He has not worked yet at Churchill Downs since shipping in from Arkansas.
The colt is owned by Jerome and Marlene Myers, who campaign as the Jer-Mar Stable, and was a $25,000 yearling purchase at Keeneland.
The 35-year-old Robertson got his start on the racetrack working for his father, trainer Hugh Robertson, who campaigns at the Chicago-area tracks.
Update 4845: Two weeks remain in the ABR YouTube contest re: Horse Slaughter, and we have a virtual two horse race! Video 4 has overtaken Video 2 for the lead, by a mere 10 points! Video 4 did gain more than 500 more points than Video 2 over the last week, so it has momentum. Video 2 has the most page views: 3,543. Video 4 has the most comments: 405. In total, the videos have more than 26,000 page views and more than 1500 comments.
Here are the current standings.
Update 4845: Jennifer Morrison, who runs a great daily update on all things related to Ontario racing (Jen's Thoroughblog) is also a freelance writer for the Toronto Star. She had a great article in the paper yesterday about some of the Paragallo horses getting adopted up here, west of Toronto: Rescue mission: Caring for sick, starving thoroughbreds, excerpt:
Next to the mare, Canadian-foaled Boldly Victorious was in a similar state, but also sported a puncture wound on her right front leg. She was using her teeth to scratch the lice from another mare, Shotanabeer.
Update 4844: Very cool! We won the first 2yo race here at Woodbine with a 2yo we bought here last year from the sale! Elated Moon.
Update 4843: Off back to the races at Woodbine. We have five runners, so lets hope for a little racing luck!
Quality Road, who is recovering from a second quarter crack, galloped this morning at Belmont and is scheduled to work tomorrow. Tomorrow's work will determine if he starts in the Kentucky Derby: Quality Road Update: Some Blood After Gallop.
Update 4842: A bit of a damp and dreary morning this morning at Woodbine. But not cold. We had six sets for Steve. All mine galloped nicely.
First set though was chaos. As I was breaking into a gallop on a filly, who can be a little "goofy", a horse came flying by me on my inside. As soon as it cleared me it bolted to the outside fence. The rider had no control. All I was thinking was this rider is about to get buried as the horse leaps over the outside fence. Well he did get buried, but the horse did not clear the fence. He straddled it. Front legs over the fence, back legs still on the track. My horse was spooked by the entire episode, as any horse would be that witnessed it. She wheeled to the left. But then calmed down and we basically became "outrider" for a little while as we stopped traffic from galloping by so as not to spook the horse. What complicated matters further was another loose horse, galloping the wrong way. This triggered the track siren and the attention of the outriders. Once that horse was caught we were still left with needing to make sure everyone was aware of the straddling horse's predicament. The track was closed, and however it happened, the horse leaped out of harms way!
Update 4841: Today is the day of the Barbaro Statue unveiling which I wrote about on The Rail (Barbaro Memorial to be Unveiled Sunday)
Update 4840: Kentucky Derby update from John Asher at Churchill Downs:
KENTUCKY DERBY 135 NOTES
Saturday, April 25, 2009
GODOLPHIN DUO SHARP IN FIVE-FURLONG DRILLS
QUALITY ROAD TESTS FOOT IN AQUEDUCT JOG
DUNKIRK WORKS AT FLORIDA’S PALM MEADOWS
PAPA CLEM, MUSKET MAN, WEST SIDE BERNIE WORK
ADVICE/DUNKIRK/JOIN IN THE DANCE - Trainer Todd Pletcher sent his chief Derby threat Dunkirk through a five-panel drill in company at the training center at Palm Meadows in Florida on Saturday morning - and he was tickled with the outcome.
Clockers gave the Unbridled's Song colt a final time of 1:01.05 for the drill, while his workmate - the 3-year-old stakes-placed Munnings - was given a time of 1:01.25.
"I was very, very pleased with the work," Pletcher said. "I caught him (Dunkirk) in splits of :12 4/5, :24 4/5, :36 4/5 and 1:01, and I had him galloping out in 1:14 2/5. He started out about a length and a half or two lengths behind the other horse, then he finished up about a half-length ahead. It was a very good move for him."
The five-time Eclipse Award winner as the nation's top trainer said he couldn't be happier with the way his $3.7 million yearling was coming up to Derby 135.
"We couldn't be more pleased with the way things have gone as he's come up to this race," Pletcher said. "Everything has fallen into place. Every one of his works has taken place when we wanted it to and they have all come off the way we hoped. He's coming up to the race right and we're feeling very good about him. We couldn't be happier."
Pletcher said Dunkirk would ship by air from Florida on Tuesday. Pletcher himself was coming to Louisville late Sunday.
Coolmore Lexington Stakes (Grade II) winner Advice galloped a mile and three-eighths at Churchill Downs under exercise rider Kevin Willey shortly after the 8:30 renovation break.
Pletcher's right-hand man, Mike McCarthy, oversaw the exercise out of their Barn 34 headquarters.
Advice, a son of Chapel Royal, is scheduled to have his final blowout toward his possible Derby start on Monday. To this point, no rider has been assigned to the colt, who is owned by WinStar Farm.
Join in the Dance, expected to be a serious forward factor in Derby 135 if he gets to run, continued his training toward next Saturday's race with a mile and three-eighths gallop under Willey.
Join in the Dance is currently No. 21 on the graded stakes list and would need one of the horses ahead of him to withdraw prior to the taking of entries on Wednesday if he is to get to dance.
CHOCOLATE CANDY - The big bay colt with the mellow disposition came trackside under exercise rider Lindsey Molina Saturday at 7 a.m., but Chocolate Candy wasn't in any rush. He stepped into the clearing near the six-furlong chute and stopped to look around. He moved forward a few yards and halted to take it all in again. And then he did it once more before walking through the chute and going about his business.
"He's such a big, easy goin' fella," said Galen May, the right-hand man on the scene for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. "Nothing bothers him. That's why I like him so much."
Chocolate Candy took a tour of the paddock, then galloped a solid mile and a half, doing it in his low-key style out in the middle of the track.
Hollendorfer, the king of Northern California racing, had a busy day at Golden Gate Fields where he was going to saddle - among others - Our Partner the San Francisco Mile. He was scheduled to travel to Louisville on Sunday.
DESERT PARTY/REGAL RANSOM - With exercise rider Bob Chapman up, the Godolphin duo of Regal Ransom and Desert Party put in their final works for Kentucky Derby 135.
Regal Ransom was first out shortly after the track opened at 6 a.m. Accompanied by a pony, Regal Ransom backtracked to the front side then galloped to the backstretch where he broke off at the five-eighths pole. Churchill Downs clockers caught Regal Ransom in fractions of :12.40, :23.80, :35, :47 and completing the five furlongs in :59.20 for the fastest clocking of 30 at the distance.
Regal Ransom galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.40 and pulled up seven-eighths in 1:27 over a track labeled "fast."
Desert Party came out without a pony after the renovation break and worked in :59.60, second-fastest of the morning. Fractions for the work were :12.60, :24.60, :36.40 and :48.20 with a six-furlong out time of 1:12.40 and up seven-eighths in 1:25.80.
Chapman, who has been wearing a finger watch for 10 years when working horses, had Desert Party covering the final quarter mile in :22.91.
"They both worked nicely this morning," trainer Saeed bin Suroor said. "They are really in good form here and that is a good sign. They will walk tomorrow, jog Monday and then gallop up to the race. They both may go to the gate and paddock one time next week.
"Regal Ransom goes out with a pony because he is always keen in the morning. Desert Party is a more laid back and relaxed and always easy to train."
The works were the second for each at Churchill Downs. Regal Ransom worked five furlongs in :59.80 and Desert Party 1:00.20 last Saturday.
Desert Party and Regal Ransom will represent the sixth and seven Kentucky Derby starters for Godolphin. They had three starts in Dubai before shipping to Churchill Downs and only one of the stable’s previous starters had had more: Curule, who had four starts in Dubai in 2000 before running seventh here.
"They are fit and ready to go," bin Suroor said in explaining why this year may be different than in previous Derby attempts. "There will be no excuses for our horses."
Alan Garcia will have the Derby riding assignment on Regal Ransom and Ramon Dominguez is on Desert Party.
FLAT OUT - Oxbow Racing's Flat Out was taken to Lexington's Hagyard-Davis Equine Clinic on Friday afternoon and underwent a precautionary scan Saturday morning.
"He's fit and there is no problem," trainer Charles "Scooter" Dickey said. He said the owners just wanted the scan as a precaution to make sure the heel bruise he suffered in the Southwest Stakes on Feb. 16 is not redeveloping.
Flat Out is scheduled to return to Churchill Downs early Sunday morning in hopes of making it on the track before training hours are over.
He is currently 22nd on the graded earnings list and needs a couple of defections in order to make the field for Derby 135.
FLYING PRIVATE - Robert Baker and William Mack's Flying Private galloped under exercise rider Taylor Carty. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Flying Private would likely work Monday or Tuesday depending on weather. Robby Albarado has the Derby riding assignment on Flying Private.
FRIESAN FIRE - Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm's Friesan Fire made his first appearance on the track at Churchill Downs, galloping a mile and a half under trainer Larry Jones after the renovation break.
"Everything is good here," Jones said. "I like the way he handled his first day here."
Friesan Fire enters the Kentucky Derby on a three-race win streak, having taken the LeComte (Grade III), Risen Star (Grade III) and Louisiana Derby (Grade II) at Fair Grounds this winter. Friesan Fire had been stabled at Keeneland for a month before shipping to Churchill Downs on Friday afternoon.
Gabriel Saez, who has been aboard for Friesan Fire's past three victories, has the Derby riding assignment and is scheduled to work Friesan Fire on Monday morning after the renovation break.
Friesan Fire worked three times at Keeneland.
GENERAL QUARTERS - Toyota Blue Grass (Grade I) winner General Quarters galloped 1 1/2 miles just after 7:30 a.m. Saturday, tugging at exercise rider Julie Sheets. Today's routine will become "routine" for the Sky Mesa colt, who had what is expected to be his final Derby 135 workout on Thursday.
Owner-trainer Tom McCarthy said General Quarters will gallop up to the Derby in all likelihood.
General Quarters was calm and composed walking to and from the track, led by hand by McCarthy, a retired Louisville teacher and principal who has become the Derby darling of 2009. On Friday night McCarthy was featured on ABC World News with Charles Gibson as the newscast’s “Person of the Week.”
"The phone has been ringing off the hook in all honesty," McCarthy said of his recent fame. "Old friends, people I haven't heard from in years, they're all calling. It's great, but it has not changed me. I just go on every day and keep doing what I do. Hope springs eternal. Everybody who trains horses hopes someday to be here. We're going to enjoy it."
General Quarters likely will become the most famous one-horse stable in America over the next seven days. But he won't fly solo for long. McCarthy said he has a 3-year-old filly, Miss Sunshine, ready to come to the track this summer after the Derby hub-bub subsides.
HOLD ME BACK - WinStar Farm's Hold Me Back went twice around under assistant trainer Kenny McCarthy before the renovation break.
Trainer Bill Mott said the winner of the Lane's End (Grade II) would work "maybe Sunday; maybe Monday."
Three-time Kentucky Derby-winning rider Kent Desormeaux will have the riding assignment next Saturday.
Hold Me Back has a record of three wins and a runner-up finish in four starts on synthetic surfaces. In his lone dirt try, Hold Me Back ran fifth in the Grade II Remsen.
"He was a big, tall, light 2-year-old who needed time to fill out," said Elliott Walden, vice president and racing manager for WinStar. "His Ragozin number in the Remsen was the same he ran at Keeneland (in an allowance win).
"It would be reasonable to question that (his ability on dirt). But I am more confident in him than one would have just by looking at the past performances."
I WANT REVENGE - Wood Memorial (Grade I) winner I Want Revenge galloped two miles Saturday morning with regular exercise rider Joe Deegan aboard.
Bobby Troeger, assistant to trainer Jeff Mullins, supervised the exercise. He said that Mullins was en route from California and was expected to arrive in Louisville at 7 p.m. Saturday.
I Want Revenge, a Stephen Got Even colt, has been working on Tuesdays the past month, and is expected to have his final Derby breeze this Tuesday. He's worked twice at Churchill Downs, a 1:01.60 breeze on April 21, and a :50 half-mile on April 14.
MINE THAT BIRD - Last year's Canadian champion 2-year-old Mine That Bird logged two miles Saturday morning, jogging a quarter-mile before galloping 1 3/4 miles under exercise rider Charlie Figueroa.
"He looks like he's getting over the ground a little better than yesterday and better than the day before," trainer Chip Woolley said "That's what we're hoping to see - him getting better each day until next Saturday."
The son of Birdstone will breeze five furlongs Monday (approximately 8:50 a.m.) with Calvin Borel in the irons. Woolley said that he never has had Borel aboard one of his horses in a race, but that the rider of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense makes a lot of sense.
"We just weighed our options of riders out there and kept coming back to him," Woolley said. "I've always liked him and thought he'd fit this horse. He's patient and that's the trip we're likely to get if we're to do any good in the Derby."
Woolley has spent much of his training career with Quarter Horses, but said the increased chances to run Thoroughbreds in slots-rich New Mexico was part of the reason his stable has branched out in breeds in recent years. Plus, he said, "The Quarter Horse game can be awfully tough. You do everything right; but one bad break, and you're done. It's different with Thoroughbred racing. Look at I Want Revenge in the Wood. He stumbled, but still had a chance to run to his ability. In Quarter Horse racing, he would have been done in at the start."
MR. HOT STUFF - WinStar Farm's Mr. Hot Stuff, third in a pair of graded stakes at Santa Anita in his most recent starts, will put in his final Kentucky Derby drill Sunday morning at the Los Angeles track.
"He'll go five eighths with one of our exercise riders up," said his trainer, Eoin Harty, via phone, from a working trip in Chicago. "We'll work him tomorrow and he'll fly out Monday. I'll be flying to Louisville Sunday afternoon."
Mr. Hot Stuff, a son of Tiznow, is still missing a jockey for Derby 135 after his regular rider, Corey Nakatani, chose to jump ship and ride Square Eddie.
"We don't have a rider yet," Harty said, 'but we've got lots of time to get one. We will. You can be sure of that."
MUSKET MAN - The Yonaguska colt Musket Man had his final Kentucky Derby breeze Saturday morning, and the move was a little more exciting than trainer Derek Ryan would have liked.
"A horse crossed in front of him when he broke off," Ryan said, "and that got him a little excited. Then, near the eighth pole, some guy going the wrong way of the track ducked over toward the rail. A little excitement, but no big deal. Nothing happened."
With Derby jockey Eibar Coa aboard, Musket Man broke off at the 5 1/2-furlong pole and breezed straight through the wire to the 15/16ths pole. He was credited with a move of five furlongs in 1:01.60, out the six furlongs in 1:14.80.
"It was a good work, just what we wanted," Ryan said. "I didn't want him to do too much a week before the race."
This was the second time Musket Man had worked over the Churchill Downs strip. The Illinois Derby winner breezed six furlongs in 1:13 flat last Saturday.
"I was happy with him today, and I know Coa was more impressed this morning than he was last week," Ryan said.
"I was happy with him this morning," Coa said. "He was more aggressive than usual, I think because that horse crossed in front of us when we broke off. He's usually a very quiet horse."
Musket Man has now won stakes at a mile and a sixteenth and a mile and an eighth his past two starts. Ryan, who is participating in his first Derby, has no doubts the colt can get a mile and a quarter.
"I've been hearing about his distance limitations since October," the trainer said. "So far he's handled every track and every distance. He's improved off his last start each time, and each race he gets a little better."
Coa rode Musket Man for the first time in the Illinois Derby and has been impressed since.
"He's an easy horse to ride," Coa said. "He'll sit behind horses and wait. He runs better with a target. He'll have plenty of targets Saturday."
Ryan purchased Musket Man for $15,000 as a yearling from the Keeneland September Sale in 2007 on behalf of owners Eric Fein and Vic Carlson.
PAPA CLEM - Arkansas Derby (Grade II) winner Papa Clem worked seven furlongs in 1:29.20 Saturday just after the renovation break in what could be his final major preparation for Derby 135. Trainer Gary Stute said that the Bo Hirsch home-bred could blow out a quarter-mile in the final day or two before the Derby "if he's biting and kicking."
"The main goal was just to get him tired," Stute said of Saturday's drill, which went in splits of :12.60, :24.80, :37.00, :49.60, 1:02.40 and 1:15.40. "He broke off kind of fast and got a little 'late'."
Exercise rider Mundo Gonzalez was aboard for the workout and had a few anxious moments at the gap as Papa Clem bucked before heading onto the track and also was stirred up on the front side.
"With him," Stute said, "I always take him with a pony. He gets to feeling pretty good."
Fitness should not be a question with Papa Clem, who has rattled off four consecutive route races (three in stakes company) since the opening of the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting. But while the first three of those races went in moderate paces with easy trips for Papa Clem, Stute said the Arkansas Derby (Grade II) provided the most education.
"He had trouble on the first turn and got dirt in his face," Stute said of the Oaklawn experience. "Everything wasn't just handed to him. He had to work for it."
Papa Clem will walk the shedrow next two days and is expected to return to the track Tuesday morning. Rafael Bejarano will be in from California for the mount Saturday.
PIONEEROF THE NILE - Looking an absolute picture on a sunny and warm Kentucky morning, the dark son of Empire Maker went trackside under exercise rider George Alvarez immediately after the morning renovation break at 8:30. Assistant trainer Jim Barnes astride his pony led Pioneerof the Nile on a backtrack to the frontside, then let him do his thing - and do it he did.
Galloping well out in the middle of the track, the Zayat Stables' homebred was strong, then stronger, going through his mile and a half exercise, finishing up just as well as he started in an impressive display or readiness for his upcoming 10-furlong task.
"He's doing good," said his trainer, Bob Baffert, the man who just had his ticket punched to racing's Hall of Fame. "He likes it here. In fact, I think he might like this track more than he does Santa Anita (where he is a three-time graded stakes winner this year). He seems to lower his head and stride out even better here.
"But he's in a tough race with some nice horses and we'll need some luck. Twenty horses; anything can happen. We'll need some luck."
Pioneerof the Nile, a winner of five of his eight starts and $1,234,200, is scheduled to have his final Derby work Monday morning.
QUALITY ROAD - Florida Derby (Grade I) winner Quality Road jogged 1 3/4 miles at Belmont Park, just one day after a second quarter crack appeared. Quality Road's latest malady appeared in his right front hoof, adding to the quarter crack he suffered in his right hind hoof after his signature win at Gulfstream Park on March 28.
"Jogging is obviously a lot easier on the horse in all ways, respiration-wise and on the legs, than galloping is," trainer James Jerkens said of the reduced workload this morning. "It's not quite as good of a conditioner ... but it was all we could do to be on the safe side. He came back and the crack was dry and (there was) no blood seeping from it. We're planning on patching him at 7 o'clock tomorrow morning and galloping him at about 9:20 after the second harrow break."
According to the NYRA Press Office notes, noted hoof specialist Ian McKinlay reported, "There was no blood and he's sound. He's feeling good and I couldn't be happier."
McKinlay "laced" the half-inch quarter crack Friday and treated it with antiseptic and a "hoof toughener," Jerkens said.
Jerkens addressed a national media teleconference Saturday morning and said the Kentucky Derby still remains in Quality Road's crosshairs. "The way things are going, I'm pretty confident," Jerkens said, then admitted, "I'm usually negative about everything by nature."
If Quality Road gallops sound on Sunday, he'll advance on to a serious workout Monday. "Tomorrow is the big day in finding out where we're going," Jerkens said, adding that the acrylic patch will be tested for pressure by the gallop.
Quality Road last worked five furlongs April 10 in 1:02.19 at Belmont, but Jerkens said more will need to be done to be Derby-ready.
"That was quite a while ago and we'll definitely have to do something by Monday to be prepared," he said. "A mile-and-a-quarter against the best horses in the country, you don't want to be going in short of conditioning. That's for sure."
Jerkens said the quarter-crack problems may have more to do with pedigree and Quality Road's build than anything. "For a horse his size," Jerkens said, "(his feet) in comparison to the rest of him, are a little on the small side. His (hoof) walls are kind of thin."
He said Quality Road's three-quarter sister, Kobla Road, was a quarter-crack nightmare. "We had a horrible time with her. We were forever patching quarter-cracks up." Her racing career had to be cut short and now is a broodmare.
While the quarter crack remains a serious concern, Jerkens said, "He hasn't been weight-bearing sore on it."
Quality Road will ship to Churchill Downs Tuesday if all goes well over the next two days.
SQUARE EDDIE - Square Eddie was out for a very easy jog once around the Churchill oval Saturday morning at 6:30. Exercise rider Tony Romero did the honors, moving easily alongside a big pony.
"Nice and easy today," said assistant trainer Leandro Mora, who is holding down the fort until chief trainer Doug O'Neill makes the scene. "He's going to work tomorrow morning after the break, so we want him fresh for that."
Square Eddie announced his return to the racing wars with a swooping move to the front in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes on April 18 at Keeneland, only to fall back and finish third behind winner Advice. That start was the first in three months for the Smart Strike colt, who last year won the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (Grade I) at Keeneland and then finished second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Grade I) at Santa Anita.
Square Eddie is scheduled to work Sunday morning. Mora wasn't sure whether or not his new rider, Corey Nakatani, would be coming from California for the exercise.
Mora noted further that Square Eddie's conditioning for his comeback has been supplemented by "swimming" on an equine treadmill.
"His work routine wouldn't have been enough to get him ready for this race on his own," he stated. "The swimming has been a big help. In fact, we're going back over to Keeneland with him this afternoon and let him 'swim' for 45 minutes or so. We'll try to keep that up during the week, but it may be that we won't be able to take him out of here (because of security concerns) as we get closer to the race. But we'll keep 'swimming' him as long as we can. He loves it."
Mora, a veteran of the Southern California racing scene, remembered another case of a "swimming" Derby horse.
"I was at Hollywood Park back in 1983 when David Cross Jr., had Sunny's Halo. He's only had a few races prepping for the Derby and a lot of people didn't think he could be ready. But I saw David 'swim' that horse for 40 straight days at the old pool and treadmill they had there and I knew he was going to be fit. And he was."
Sunny's Halo, with only two 3-year-old prep races coming into Kentucky Derby 109, was always prominent under Eddie Delahoussaye and drew clear to win by two lengths.
SUMMER BIRD - The lightly raced colt by Birdstone who had his final major Derby work on Friday here (6 furlongs in 1:15.80) just walked under the shedrow Saturday morning.
Trainer Tim Ice and jockey Chris Rosier were off to Lone Star Park in Texas, where the trainer has three horses entered, including Catmantoo in the Texas Mile Stakes and Affirmed Truth in the Richmond Hills Stakes.
Both trainer and rider are due back in Louisville on Sunday. Before Ice left at 6:30 he had a chance to take in the pre-dawn work of Godolphin's Regal Ransom.
WEST SIDE BERNIE - West Side Bernie had his final Kentucky Derby breeze Saturday morning, drilling a half-mile over the fast main track in :48.20 with jockey Stewart Elliott aboard.
"I told 'Stew' to go in :48, so it was just what I wanted," trainer Kelly Breen said of the move. "Better a fifth slower than a second too fast.
"The track has been kind of dull, so I think that was a very good work. And 'Stew' told me that he had a lot of horse left when he passed the wire. So I was happy he stayed well within himself today, instead of leaving his race on the track.
"He got something out of the work without knocking himself out. The time was as close to the plan as you can get, so I'm happy."
Breen, who will be saddling his first Kentucky Derby starter, said that West Side Bernie will gallop up to the race now.
This was the first recorded breeze West Side Bernie has put in since he drilled a half in :48.80 at Palm Meadows on March 12. He went on to run second in the Wood Memorial (Grade I) on April 4.
"I want to have a sharp horse in the Derby," Breen said. "That's why he worked a half-mile."
Elliott, who won the Derby aboard Smarty Jones in 2004, said he thought the work was perfect.
"He went just like we wanted him to," the rider said. "A very good work."
And was the rider happy to be back at Churchill Downs?
"Thrilled," he said. "It's great to have a horse in the Derby."
Breen gave $50,000 for West Side Bernie at the Keeneland September yearling sale in 2007 on behalf of George and Lori Hall.
WIN WILLY - Win Willy, a son of 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos jogged a mile and galloped a mile Saturday morning with exercise rider Elias Lopez aboard.
Luis Moldonado, who is caring for the horse at Churchill Downs, said that trainer Mac Robertson is due in Monday or Tuesday to supervise final preparations for Win Willy, who won the Rebel Stakes and then ran fourth in the Arkansas Derby. Cliff Berry, who was aboard in those races, will again be the rider next Saturday.
Moldonado said that Robertson was in the process of moving his entire string of some 60 horses from Oaklawn Park to Canterbury Downs, his summer headquarters.
Update 4839: Phew, a busy morning this morning for Steve at Woodbine. We had eight sets, and a new rider started so plenty of horses trained. And it was warm. OK, I won't complain about that just yet! All my horses galloped nicely. We have a couple of runners this afternoon, and we are also going to paddock school the five horses we have running tomorrow. So a busy weekend is ahead here.
This weekend we have the unveiling of Barbaro's Statue at Churchill Downs (Sunday) and many FOBs will be attending. Here is the itinerary for the weekend: Barbaro Memorial.
And the Lexington Herald-Leader wrote a very cool story on Fans of Barbaro: Friends of Barbaro.
Update 4838: Quality Road's quarter crack was assessed and treated yesterday (Quality Road Treated, Jerkins Optimistic), and here is the article which I wrote for The Rail regarding this issue (Quality Questions)
Update 4837: Friday's Derby report from John Asher at Churchill Downs:
KENTUCKY DERBY 135 NOTES
Friday, April 24, 2009
SUMMER BIRD WORKS SIX FURLONGS UNDER ROSIER
FRIESAN FIRE NOW ON THE CHURCHILL GROUNDS
GODOLPHIN DUO SET FOR SATURDAY WORKS
MUSKET MAN, PAPA CLEM, ‘BERNIE’ WORK SATURDAY
ADVICE/DUNKIRK/JOIN IN THE DANCE - Two of the three Todd Pletcher Kentucky Derby hopefuls galloped Friday morning at Churchill Downs.
Tampa Bay Derby (Grade III) runner-up Join in the Dance galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Kevin Willey. With $90,000 in graded earnings, Join in the Dance would need one defection for the list of possible Kentucky Derby starters to gain a spot in the starting gate.
Willey was out in the next set on WinStar Farm's Advice, galloping a mile and a half. Advice won the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (Grade II) last Saturday.
Dunkirk, owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, is stabled at Palm Meadows in Florida and scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Tuesday, the same day as Pletcher. Edgar Prado has the mount on Dunkirk.
CHOCOLATE CANDY - El Camino Real Derby (Grade III) winner Chocolate Candy visited the paddock and galloped a mile and half under exercise rider Lindsey Molina shortly after the track opened for training at 6 a.m.
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is scheduled back in Louisville on Saturday to saddle Rendezvous in the Derby Trial (Grade III). Chocolate Candy, owned by the Sid and Jenny Craig Trust, is scheduled to work Monday or Tuesday.
Mike Smith has the Derby riding assignment.
DESERT PARTY/REGAL RANSOM - The Godolphin duo of Desert Party and Regal Ransom galloped a mile and a quarter each before the renovation break with exercise rider Bob Chapman handling both activities.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said both colts would work Saturday morning with Regal Ransom going out at 6 a.m. and Desert Party after the break at 8:30. Chapman will handle both five-furlong works.
Ramon Dominguez will ride Desert Party in Kentucky Derby 135 and Regal Ransom will be piloted by Alan Garcia.
FLAT OUT - Oxbow Racing's Flat Out had an easy day and just walked the shedrow in Barn 48. Trainer Charles "Scooter" Dickey still has not named a jockey and has not yet decided when Flat Out will work next.
Flat Out is 22nd on the graded earnings list and needs a couple of defections to make the field for Derby 135.
FLYING PRIVATE - Robert Baker and William Mack's Flying Private galloped an unspecified distance according to trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Lukas says how far he went "doesn't matter." Exercise rider Taylor Carty was aboard.
Flying Private is scheduled to work Sunday or Monday according to Lukas. Robby Albarado has the Derby riding assignment.
FRIESAN FIRE - Louisiana Derby (Grade II) winner Friesan Fire arrived at Churchill Downs shortly after 3 p.m. (EDT) following a van ride from Lexington's Keeneland Race Course.
Trained by Larry Jones for Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm, Friesan Fire is scheduled to be ridden in the Kentucky Derby 135 by Gabriel Saez.
Friesan Fire will be stabled in Barn 45.
GENERAL QUARTERS - Owner-trainer Tom McCarthy reported all was well with General Quarters on Friday morning, a day after the colt worked five furlongs in 1:01.80 under exercise rider Julie Sheets.
Julien Leparoux, who has ridden in the past two Kentucky Derbies, has the call on General Quarters.
HOLD ME BACK - WinStar Farm's Hold Me Back galloped a mile and a half under assistant trainer Kenny McCarthy before the renovation break Friday morning.
"And Twinkie had a good gallop, too, if anyone is asking," trainer Bill Mott said with a chuckle, referring to his pony.
Mott is looking at Sunday or Monday as the final work for Hold Me Back, who will attempt to make Kent Desormeaux the first jockey in 26 years to ride back-to-back Kentucky Derby winners. Eddie Delahoussaye last turned the trick in 1982-83 with Gato Del Sol and Sunny's Halo.
I WANT REVENGE - Wood Memorial (Grade I) winner I Want Revenge started the day with a paddock schooling session and then galloped a mile and a half under Joe Deegan.
Owned by IEAH Stables, David Lanzman and Puglisi Racing, I Want Revenge is scheduled to have his third work at Churchill Downs on Tuesday with jockey Joe Talamo slated to be aboard as he has been for the first two.
Trainer Jeff Mullins is scheduled to return to Louisville from his Southern California base on Saturday.
MINE THAT BIRD - Double Eagle Ranch and Bueno Suerte Equine's Mine That Bird jogged a half-mile and then galloped a mile and half before the renovation break under exercise rider Charlie Figueroa.
"He looked sharp this morning," trainer Chip Woolley said. "He will work Monday morning, a little after the break, around 8:50."
Calvin Borel will have a get-acquainted session that morning on Mine That Bird, who comes into the Kentucky Derby off a fourth-place finish in the March 29 Sunland Derby.
MUSKET MAN - Eric Fein and Vic Carlson's Musket Man galloped a mile and five-eighths under Salvador Dominguez early Friday morning and was scheduled for his final pre-Derby work on Saturday.
"When (Eibar) Coa gets here in the morning, we'll work," trainer Derek Ryan said.
Coa was aboard for Musket Man's victory in the Grade II Illinois Derby on April 4 in his most recent start.
PAPA CLEM - Bo Hirsch's Papa Clem galloped a mile and a half before the renovation break under exercise rider Mundo Gonzalez. Gonzalez is scheduled to be aboard for Papa Clem's work Saturday morning.
"Mundo gallops for me in California and I was thinking that if we do good here and go on to Pimlico, I'd like to have my regular guy who gets on him," trainer Gary Stute said.
Stute got an extra starter to watch over on Thursday when Kitty in the Bag arrived from Southern California to run in next Thursday's Kentucky Juvenile (Grade III), the first graded stakes race of the year for 2-year-olds. Stute's father, veteran California trainer Mel Stute, trains Kitty in the Bag, who won her debut by 3 1/4 lengths going two furlongs at Santa Anita on April 1.
"Dad's coming in Sunday," Stute said.
Mel Stute has trained two Kentucky Derby starters: Bold 'n Rulling, who ran sixth in 1980 and Snow Chief, who ran in 11th in 1986 and came back two weeks later to win the Preakness (Grade I).
Rafael Bejarano has the riding assignment on Papa Clem.
PIONEEROF THE NILE - Zayat Stables' Pioneerof the Nile galloped a mile and a half after the renovation break with exercise rider George Alvarez up.
Trainer Bob Baffert has Monday penciled in as the next work day for Pioneerof the Nile, who will be ridden in the Derby by Garrett Gomez.
SQUARE EDDIE - J. Paul Reddam's Square Eddie was on the track before 7 a.m. Friday for a mile and a half gallop under exercise rider Tony Romero.
Leandro Mora, assistant to trainer Doug O’Neill, was asked how the gallop looked to him.
"Pretty damn good," Mora said with a smile.
Corey Nakatani is scheduled to ride Square Eddie, who is slated to have his final pre-Derby work Sunday with O'Neill expected to be on hand.
"We are working all three that morning," Mora said, alluding to Claimboxdotcom, O'Neill and Sarno's Informed, a candidate for next Friday's Grade III Alysheba, and Reddam and Mark Schlesinger's Modification, who is nominated to next Friday's Grade II Louisville Distaff and the Grade I Humana Distaff scheduled for Derby Day.
SUMMER BIRD - K.K. and Vilasini Jayaraman's Summer Bird, working after the renovation break with jockey Chris Rosier up, worked six furlongs in 1:15.80 from the five-eighths pole to the seven-eighths.
Summer Bird stood quietly in the six-furlong gap waiting for the track to reopen. The chestnut son of Birdstone then went about his business with Churchill Downs clockers recording fractions of :12.80, :25.20, :37.20, :49.40, 1:02.60 and out seven furlongs in 1:29.60 over a track rated as "fast".
"I am happy as I can be with it," Rosier said. "He was relaxed and calm all the way through."
Trainer Tim Ice, who will heading to Lone Star Park on Saturday with Rosier and coming back Sunday, liked the work.
"I got him in 1:15 and 3, but he doesn't work much by himself," Ice said. "He needs something in front of him.
"He is a deep closer and he picked it up nice and galloped out strong. He gets better the longer he goes."
Ice said Summer Bird would walk Saturday, jog Sunday morning and gallop into the race "with a two-minute clip down the lane on Wednesday, which is the same thing he did before the Arkansas Derby." Summer Bird ran third in the Arkansas Derby, coming from 15 lengths back to finish 1 1/4 lengths behind Papa Clem in only his third start.
"We expected good things out of him, but didn't expect as much of a jump right off the bat," said Ice, who has saddled horses at Churchill Downs before as an assistant. "It's a whole new experience having one for yourself for the Derby. There is no other race like it."
WEST SIDE BERNIE - George and Lori Hall's West Side Bernie galloped a mile and five-eighths before the renovation break with trainer Kelly Breen up.
Breen plans to work West Side Bernie after the break Saturday morning and hoes to have jockey Stewart Elliott aboard for the work.
WIN WILLY - Jer-Mar Stable's Win Willy walked the shedrow at Barn 45, a day after arriving from Oaklawn Park where he finished fourth in the Grade II Arkansas Derby in his most recent start.
Cliff Berry is scheduled to ride Win Willy in the Derby for trainer Mac Robertson.
Update 4836: Joe Drape reports the Paragallo horses, involved in a terrible case of neglect, are recovering well (includes a terrific photograph): Rescued Horses Are Improving.
Update 4835: Railbird here, with your weekly update.
A quiet weekend of racing ahead, with a short list of major races to watch. The Churchill Downs spring meet kicks off Saturday, with an opening day card featuring the Derby Trial. Long ago a Derby prep, the race is now a stop for 3-years-olds mostly pointing to sprint careers (not that there's anything wrong with that). Silver City, second to Old Fashioned after setting a very quick pace in the Southwest Stakes, is the likely favorite. The Derby Trial also drew Gato Go Win, scratched from the Bay Shore three weeks ago after trainer Jeff Mullins was observed dosing the colt with Air Power in the NYRA detention barn, and the undefeated Hull, scratched last week from the Lexington Stakes to run at Churchill tomorrow.
While Derby contenders await the first Saturday in May, Preakness prospects are prepping in the Withers at Aqueduct. Only seven are entered, but the field includes This Ones for Phil, winner of the Sunshine Millions Sprint and the Swale Stakes (after Big Drama was DQ'd for interference), and Mr. Fantasy, a hot early Derby prospect after demolishing two NY-bred fields. He then finished third in the Gotham, behind I Want Revenge and Imperial Council. Shipping in from Santa Anita is Supreme Summit, starting off straight wins in one-turn races. Trainer Doug O'Neill will be on hand to saddle the front-running upset possibility.
At Lone Star Park, the Texas Mile was looking like a match between Smooth Air and Jonesboro, both aiming to become millionaires, but a bout of colic has knocked Smooth Air out. The 6-5 morning-line favorite was found ill late Thursday night. He's much improved this morning, reports trainer Bennie Stutts, but there'll be no rush to get him back to racing.
If you're in Southern California, consider spending Saturday at Hollywood Park. It's Gold Rush Day, a celebration of Cal-breds with 10 straight restricted stakes on the card. Bel
Posted by Alex at 11:14 AM
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Barbaro Updates 838
Posted April 23, 2009
Updates are now here
Update 4831: Kentucky Derby Notes for Thursday, e-mail from John Asher:
KENTUCKY DERBY 135 NOTES
Thursday, April 23, 2009
GENERAL QUARTERS WORKS AT CHURCHILL DOWNS
BIN SUROOR NAMES RIDERS FOR GODOLPHIN DUO
WIN WILLY ARRIVES FOR DERBY 135 PREPARATION
MOTT'S HOLD ME BACK GETS FEEL FOR CHURCHILL
ADVICE/DUNKIRK/JOIN IN THE DANCE - WinStar Farm's Advice, winner of the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (Grade II) last Saturday, had his first trip over the Churchill Downs track Thursday morning, galloping under exercise rider Kevin Willey.
Advice had arrived at Churchill Downs from Keeneland on Wednesday, along with Join in the Dance, owned by Jake Ballis, Rashard Lewis, et al. Join in the Dance, fifth in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Grade I), galloped with Willey up.
Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's Dunkirk is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on April 28 along with trainer Todd Pletcher. Edgar Prado has the mount on Dunkirk.
CHOCOLATE CANDY - Triple stakes winner Chocolate Candy took one loop around the paddock and then jogged a mile on Thursday morning at Churchill Downs with exercise rider Lindsey Molina up.
Owned by the Sid and Jenny Craig Trust, Chocolate Candy enters Kentucky Derby 135 off a runner-up finish to Pioneerof the Nile in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby. Prior to that, the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee had won the El Camino Real Derby (Grade III) and the California Derby.
Hollendorfer is scheduled to return to Louisville on Saturday with the colt's final pre-Derby work slated for Monday or Tuesday. Mike Smith has the riding assignment.
DESERT PARTY/REGAL RANSOM - Trainer Saeed bin Suroor announced Thursday morning that Alan Garcia would ride Regal Ransom in Kentucky Derby 135 and Ramon Dominguez would have the mount on Desert Party for Godolphin.
"Alan is staying on the horse he rode in Dubai," bin Suroor said of the rider who won the UAE Derby (Grade II) by a half-length over Desert Party. "We have two very good riders."
Bin Suroor had not seen his two Derby hopefuls since they left Dubai for Churchill Downs, arriving here on April 9.
"I was surprised at how well they looked," bin Suroor said. "Sometimes horses don't travel well, but they look happy and in good condition. They look better to me than they did in Dubai."
Exercise rider Bob Chapman handled morning duties on both colts. First out was Desert Party, who galloped a mile and a quarter, and then Regal Ransom visited the starting gate and then galloped a mile and a quarter.
"Both of them will work Saturday and Bob will handle both works," bin Suroor said.
Godolphin is returning to the Derby for the first time since Essence of Dubai ran ninth in 2002. Previous Godolphin starters were Worldly Manner (seventh in 1999), China Visit and Curule (sixth and seventh, respectively in 2000) and Express Tour (eighth in 2001).
"We are hoping for good fortune this time," bin Suroor said. "I feel like we have better horses this time than we have had in the past. This is a tough race to win."
FLAT OUT - Oxbow Racing's Flat Out was "feeling good" Thursday morning according to trainer Charles "Scooter" Dickey. He galloped 1 3/4 miles with exercise rider and assistant trainer Walter Aguilar in the irons.
Dickey says he hopes to name a rider for Flat Out within the "next few days". He wants that rider to be aboard for Flat Out's final work which will be Sunday, Monday or Tuesday.
Flat Out is 22nd on the graded earnings list and will need a couple of defections in order to make the field for Derby 135.
FLYING PRIVATE - Robert Baker and William Mack's Flying Private jogged two miles with exercise rider Taylor Carty aboard.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Flying Private will put in his final work on Monday or Tuesday.
Robby Albarado has the mount for Derby 135.
FRIESAN FIRE - Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm's Friesan Fire is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs from Keeneland on Friday afternoon.
Trainer by Larry Jones and scheduled to be ridden in the Kentucky Derby by Gabriel Saez, Friesan Fire will be housed in Barn 45.
GENERAL QUARTERS - Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Grade I) winner General Quarters turned in his final work for Kentucky Derby 135 by covering five furlongs in 1:01.80 under exercise rider Julie Sheets.
Working at 7 o'clock, General Quarters recorded fractions of :12.60, :24.20, :36.60, :48.80 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:16.20 according to Churchill Downs clockers. The move was the 13th fastest of 30 at the distance.
"I was looking for between 1:01 and 1:02, so this was perfect," owner-trainer Tom McCarthy said. "I wanted a nice, steady work, and that is what I got. I did not want anything like his work before the Blue Grass (:58.20 on April 4). I am happy with the work."
Sheets, who has been General Quarters' regular morning partner since the colt arrived here last month, said, "He went nice and easy, very comfortable."
McCarthy said General Quarters would walk on Friday.
HOLD ME BACK - WinStar Farm's Hold Me Back "made two rounds" of the track with assistant trainer Kenny McCarthy up according to trainer Bill Mott.
Winner of the Lane's End (Grade II) and runner-up to General Quarters in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Grade I) in his most recent start, Hold Me Back had arrived at Churchill Downs on Wednesday from Keeneland.
Mott said that Hold Me Back would work Sunday or Monday. Two-time Kentucky Derby-winning rider Kent Desormeaux has the mount.
I WANT REVENGE - Wood Memorial (Grade I) winner I Want Revenge galloped a mile and a half under Joe Deegan shortly after the racetrack opened for training.
Bobby Troeger, assistant to trainer Jeff Mullins, said I Want Revenge would visit the paddock on Friday as part of his morning activity.
Joe Talamo has the mount on I Want Revenge, who is owned by IEAH Stables, David Lanzman and Puglisi Racing. I Want Revenge is scheduled for his final pre-Derby work on Tuesday.
MINE THAT BIRD - Double Eagle Ranch and Bueno Suerte Equine's Mine That Bird jogged a half-mile and then galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Charlie Figueroa before the renovation break.
"He looked sharp this morning, came back bucking and play and he doesn't do that at home," trainer Chip Woolley said.
Calvin Borel has the Derby riding assignment and is scheduled to work Mine That Bird on Monday.
MR. HOT STUFF - WinStar Farm's Mr. Hot Stuff, third in the Santa Anita Derby, is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Monday following a flight from southern California. The son of Tiznow will work for trainer Eoin Harty on Sunday over the synthetic Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita.
Mr. Hot Stuff does not have a confirmed rider at this point, but Harty said there's no rush to make that assignment.
"We'll just wait and see what happens," he said. "Unfortunately, or fortunately, something could happen to one of the other horses and a rider will come available. There are plenty of riders out there, so we'll deal with that one when we come to it."
MUSKET MAN - Illinois Derby (Grade II) winner Musket Man galloped 2 1/4 miles under exercise rider Salvador Dominguez early Thursday morning.
"He two-minute licked the second time around," trainer Derek Ryan said of Musket Man, who is owned by Eric Fein and Vic Carlson. Eibar Coa, who was aboard for the Illinois Derby victory, has the Kentucky Derby riding assignment.
Musket Man is scheduled to have his final pre-Derby work on Saturday.
PAPA CLEM - Bo Hirsch's Papa Clem galloped a mile and a half before the renovation break with exercise rider Nate Quinonez up.
"He'll gallop a mile and a half in the morning and then work Saturday," trainer Gary Stute said.
Rafael Bejarano has the Kentucky Derby riding assignment.
PIONEEROF THE NILE - Zayat Stables' Pioneerof the Nile stood in the starting gate and jogged once around with exercise rider George Alvarez up.
Trained by three-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert, Pioneerof the Nile will be ridden by Garrett Gomez next Saturday. Winner of four consecutive starts, Pioneerof the Nile is scheduled for his final pre-Derby work on Monday or Tuesday.
SQUARE EDDIE - J. Paul Reddam's Square Eddie visited the paddock and then galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Tony Romero.
Leandro Mora, assistant to trainer Doug O'Neill, said more paddock schooling would be on tap for Square Eddie, whose final pre-Derby work is slated for Saturday or Sunday.
Corey Nakatani has the riding assignment on Square Eddie for Kentucky Derby 135.
SUMMER BIRD - Kalarikkal and Vilasini Jayaraman's Summer Bird galloped a mile and a half under jockey Chris Rosier after the renovation break.
Third in the Grade II Arkansas Derby in only his third start, Summer Bird is scheduled to work six furlongs after the break Friday morning with Rosier up for trainer Tim Ice.
This will be the second Kentucky Derby starter for Kalarikkal Jayaraman. Racing under the Tiffany Farms banner in 1989, Irish Actor finished seventh behind Sunday Silence. LeRoy Jolley was the trainer of Irish Actor.
WEST SIDE BERNIE - With trainer Kelly Breen up, George and Lori Hall's West Side Bernie galloped a mile and five-eighths before the renovation break.
West Side Bernie is scheduled to work Saturday morning.
Stewart Elliott, winner of the 2004 Kentucky Derby aboard Smarty Jones, has the Derby mount on West Side Bernie.
WIN WILLY - Jer-Mar Stable's Win Willy arrived at Churchill Downs shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday and settled in at Barn 45, Stall 21.
Trained by Mac Robertson, Win Willy is slated to be ridden in the Kentucky Derby by Cliff Berry.
KENTUCKY OAKS 135 NOTES
Thursday, April 23, 2009
McLAUGLIN'S 'DIXIE', 'FITZ' GET FIRST CD GALLOPS
GOMEZ LIKELY TO RIDE MOTT'S FLYING SPUR
ANOTHER EASY MORNING FOR RACHEL ALEXANDRA
BE FAIR - Four-time Kentuckcy Oaks-winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Thomas Van Meter and Charles Kidder's Be Fair "galloped strong" under exercise rider Omar Golon on Thursday morning at Churchill Downs. But how far did she gallop?
"Doesn't matter," Lukas said. "She was strong."
Rafael Bejarano has the Oaks mount on Be Fair, who will work Sunday or Monday.
FITZ JUST RIGHT/JUSTWHISTLEDIXIE - West Point Thoroughbreds' Fitz Just Right and Justwhistledixie galloped a mile and a half each after the renovation break with exercise rider Danny Wright handling both activities.
Neal McLaughlin, assistant to his brother Kiaran McLaughlin, said both fillies would work "probably a half-mile" after the renovation break Friday with Wright handling both works.
Ramon Dominguez will ride Fitz Just Right in the Oaks and Julien Leparoux has the call on Justwhistledixie.
FLYING SPUR - Mike Rutherford's Flying Spur galloped under exercise rider Joanne Trout on her first day at Churchill Downs. The Bill Mott trainee has been stabled at Keeneland since finishing second in the March 14 Fair Grounds Oaks (Grade II).
Mott said that Garrett Gomez would have the mount on Flying Spur in the Oaks and that the filly's final pre-Oaks work likely would be Monday.
GABBY'S GOLDEN GAL - Arnold Zetcher's Gabby's Golden Gal galloped a mile under exercise rider George Alvarez for trainer Bob Baffert.
Victor Espinoza has the Oaks riding assignment on Gabby's Golden Gal, who is slated for her final pre-Oaks work on Sunday or Monday.
NAN - J. Paul Reddam's Nan galloped a "strong" 1 1/4 miles according to Wally Dollase, who's handling training duties for his son Craig while the younger Dollase takes care of other business on the West Coast.
Dollase says it's not yet determined when Nan will put in her final work for Oaks 135. Corey Nakatani has the riding assignment for the Oaks.
RACHEL ALEXANDRA - L & M Parnters LLC's probable Kentucky Oaks favorite Rachel Alexandra galloped a mile and a half before the renovation break with exercise rider Rudy Gallegos up.
Trained by Hal Wiggins, Rachel Alexandra is scheduled to work a half-mile on Monday morning with Oaks rider Calvin Borel up.
Update 4830: Today's entry on The Rail, as I try to explain the timing of work outs before the big race: Spacing the Workouts.
Update 4829: A wonderful profile of Hal Wiggins, trainer of Rachel Alexandra: 'Rachel' has the spotlight on Wiggins in Kentucky Oaks.
Found on Paulick Report.
Update 4828: Phew! A long and busy morning this morning for Steve at Woodbine. We had ten sets, six of which went to the gate for some gate schooling. All went nicely, but the weather here is getting ridiculous. Another cold wind blowing right across the racetrack.
We also had four more horses arrive this morning from Kentucky. We are nearly full now. We had a new groom start today so hopefully that works out too!
Update 4827: Churchill Downs meet opens this weekend and features the Derby Trial (Derby Trial Kicks Off Churchill Meet)
On Saturday, a few horses who once were pointing towards the Kentucky Derby but now are gearing for The Preakness will be running in The Withers (Preakness Hopefuls do Battle in Withers)
And please call the Governor of Montana and request he veto the slaughter bill: 406-444-3111
Posted by Alex at 10:59 AM
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Barbaro Updates 837
Posted April 22, 2009
Updates are now here
Update 4826: Another very sad case of neglect: Scores of dead horses are found; rancher charged. Found on Paulick Report.
Here is the discussion: URGENT-3-Strikes Horses Need Funds!!
Update 4825: My entry on The Rail today: Preparations Before the Big Race.
Update 4824: Hooh Why, a horse I used to gallop at Woodbine, remains uncertain for the Oaks next week: Oaks: Hooh Why Still a Possible Starter.
Update 4823: A busier morning this morning at Woodbine for Steve. We had eight sets, three of which did some gate schooling. All mine galloped nicely. It was also a chilly morning, again, here. I guess Spring will arrive soon enough!
Update 4822: Steve Haskins gives us his weekly Derby Dozen (Steve Haskin's Derby Dozen)
If you missed it live, the Jeannine Edwards interview on Talkin Horses is available as a podcast (Talkin' Horses: Jeannine Edwards)
And please call the Governor of Montana and request he veto the slaughter bill: 406-444-3111
Posted by Alex at 10:51 AM
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Barbaro Updates 836
Posted April 21, 2009
Updates are now here
Update 4821: My first contribution to this year's The Rail: A Derby List With Some Stars Missing.
And here is the updated Paulick Derby Index, which includes my current picks: PAULICK DERBY INDEX by AmWest Entertainment: A TIGHTENING AT THE TOP.
Update 4820: Superfecta here, with your regular weekly update.
Whether Advice's rather nice win in the Coolmore Lexington will have any Derby reverberations remains to be seen (although I think we can all agree Square Eddie was predictably short on fitness), but there has been plenty of other action on that front. Perhaps most notable is that Garrett Gomez officially committed to ride Pioneerof the Nile (and I tip my hat to him for adding a little drama to the proceedings - I presume this will appear in a future episode of 'Jockeys' - along with Joe Talamo pledging $25,000 to Children's Hospital in New Orleans should I Want Revenge win).
A few more horses are quite sensibly leaving the Derby trail; Giant Oak will likely head back to the turf and Big Drama will wait for the Preakness, but some I really don't rate are sticking with the Derby plan - those would include Mine That Bird and Win Willy. Summer Bird looks more like a Belmont horse to me, but he's also planning to have a go in Kentucky.
While I did consider adding Advice (whom I definitely prefer of the two Todd Pletcher trainees - at least at this point in the season), in the end, this week's top ten is a rerun of last week's edition:
1) I Want Revenge
2) Friesan Fire
3) Chocolate Candy
4) General Quarters
5) Papa Clem
6) Quality Road
7) Pioneerof the Nile
8) Regal Ransom
9) Musket Man
10) Hold Me Back
It's very hard for me to separate the top six; I have something a mental break in between Quality Road (who would be in the first or second spot without the quarter crack) and Pioneerof the Nile in the seventh position; if I had to pick the winner today, it would be one of those six.
That narrows it down, doesn't it?
Update 4819: Some of the leading Derby contenders putting in their penultimate works for the Derby: Pioneerof the Nile, I Want Revenge work at Churchill.
And my weekly contribution to Eclipse Magazine (UK): Alex Brown 21 April 2009.
Now off to OLEX.
Update 4818: Phew, the rain that gave us all a good soaking yesterday ended before work this morning. We had three sets today, so a quiet and easy morning's work. All mine galloped nicely, all before the break. After the break we had three workers, and I went up to the track to clock them. Luis, our jock, seems to be very good at getting the times we are asking for for the works. And each of the workers worked nicely.
And here is this week's ABR Facebook e-mail: Jake Howard Center, Tin Cup Chalice, Lexington, The Rail, Tattoos, Paragallo, Mustangs, MT, Highland Blush, Barbaro Memorial.
Update 4817: The Kentucky Derby field continues to go through changes as owners and trainers make final evaluations of their horses. This time Giant Oak, who was runner up to Musket Man in the Illinois Derby has been taken out of the Derby line-up to freshen up and point towards turf races (Giant Oak to Pass on Kentucky Derby). Excerpt:
"What I'd be scared to death of is the experience of the Derby is tough on some of those three-year-olds who aren't mentally prepared. I'm afraid we'd take major steps backwards. We'd love to be there, but in the best interests of him, I think we'll wait it out and look for something else."
Steve Haskins offers his final Derby Trail thoughts before he heads to Louisville (KY Derby Trail: Derby Dynamics).
And please call the Governor of Montana and request he veto the slaughter bill: 406-444-3111
Posted by Alex at 11:16 AM
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Barbaro Updates 835
Posted April 20, 2009
Updates are now here
Update 4816: Bob Baffert, Silverbulletday, Eddie Maple, JaneT Elliot will be elected to the Racing Hall of Fame this year: Baffert, Maple, Elliot to Hall of Fame.
Now someone give Tice a pat and a carrot. He is one of Silverbulletday's babies, and running in low level races in New Mexico.
Update 4815: The New York Times' The Rail is back for another Triple Crown series. The Rail also has it's own Facebook Group.
Update 4814: A wet and chillier morning this morning at Woodbine. We had six sets. All mine galloped nicely. I also helped walk a few horses as we were a little short of help on the ground. This happens when new horses ship as they did last week. I am sure things will get back to a more regular routine in the next few days.
Update 4813: The trainer for I Want Revenge, Jeff Mullins, has been fined $2,500 and given a 7 day suspension which will be conveniently between the Derby and Preakness (Trainer Mullins Suspended Seven Days)
Nicanor put in a 4 furlong work yesterday (Nicanor Works; Special Offer)
Excerpt: "He went nicely," commented trainer Michael Matz, who also said the 3-year-old Dynaformer colt will be leaving Keeneland in the next couple days. "He's going to run up north at Delaware."
And please call the Governor of Montana and request he veto the slaughter bill: 406-444-3111
Posted by Alex at 11:08 AM
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Barbaro Updates 834
Posted April 17, 2009
Updates are now here
Update 4812: Phew! After going winless with five starters yesterday Charming Assassin won our only race today at Woodbine!
Update 4811: The first full week of phase II of the ABR YouTube contest re: Horse Slaughter is over. Video 2 remains the leader, but two other videos (numbers 4 and 24) gained more points this week. Certainly Video number 4 is closing in on the leader, and the more recent videos are starting to gain more momentum. Here is a full list of videos and scores: Leader Board.
May 10 noon is the deadline for the contest.
In total the videos have now received 23,397 page views (an increase of 5341 over last week) and 1325 comments (an increase of 403 over last week).
Update 4810: A straightforward morning this morning for Steve at Woodbine. We had five sets, and all mine galloped nicely. The barn is definitely getting busier with more horses, and more people to help out. This afternoon we have one runner, so lets hope for a little racing luck!
And last night Commentator, one of the leading candidates for much of last year for the older horse division, was upset in his debut at Charles Town in the inaugural Charles Town Classic. Charles Town is a tighter track and homefield advantage may have helped Researcher take the honors. Commentator checked in fourth: Researcher Right at Home in CT Classic.
Update 4809: As noted, WinStar Farm's horse, Advice, pulled an upset in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes. Advice Pulls 15-1 Shocker in Lexington and Advice takes Coolmore Lexington-with Video
Excerpt: "I actually had a good trip from the 11-hole," said Gomez. "(Square Eddie) kind of got left (at the starting gate), it looked like. I just kind of clocked him the whole way and followed him from there. I just took my time with this horse, and he gave me real confidence".
Update 4808: Not too surprising, Stardom Bound is out of the Oaks and getting some needed rest: STARDOM BOUND SIDELINED; OUT OF KENTUCKY OAKS.
Advice comes flying to win the Lexington. Square Eddie moved too soon to take the lead going wide around the far turn and faded in deep stretch: Thoroughbredtimes Video: Lexington.
We were blanked this afternoon at Woodbine with two seconds and a long day!
Update 4807: Off back for the races at Woodbine. And I'll also be keeping an eye on things at Keeneland!
Update 4806: A straightforward morning this morning at Woodbine for Steve. I had six sets. No gate schoolers. All went nicely. We had more horses ship in this morning too. I think seven. Our barn is about 2/3rds full now, so we are going to get busier. We also have five runners this afternoon.
The weather has also picked up, let's see if this is a temporary phenomena or more permanent.
Update 4805: The final traditional Kentucky Derby prep is today. Square Eddie is the favorite for the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (G2) where he will take on 11 contenders: Square Eddie Set for Coolmore Lexington.
The last time a horse won the Lexington Stakes and went on to win the Kentucky Derby was in 1999 with Charismatic.
Update 4804: Paragallo abuse case on the Today Show today.
Update 4803: ABR YouTube contest gets more coverage: Thousands view anti-horse slaughter video contest.
Update 4802: New York favorite Tin Cup Chalice, was euthanized this morning after a training accident: Tin Cup Chalice euthanized following accident.
Discussion: Tin Cup Chalice Euthanized!.
Update 4801: Railbird here, with your weekly update.
So, the Lexington is a Derby prep after all, although I'm skeptical anyone will emerge as a legitimate Derby threat. That includes Square Eddie, who won the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland last fall, but is unraced since finishing second to The Pamplemousse in the San Rafael in January, a long layoff due to an injury. "I would want to see a really good effort and have him come out of it in good shape," said trainer Doug O'Neill, leaving little doubt that should 'Eddie finish well and sound, he'll start next at Churchill in two weeks. Edgar Prado, without a Derby horse after Imperial Council flopped in the Wood, picks up the mount on the colt.
Also entered is Jeranimo, third in the San Felipe behind Pioneerof the Nile and Fiesty Suances, another Derby-bound if he picks up enough earnings on Saturday, and Masala, third in the Gotham. Note: Hull will be scratched to run in the Derby Trial next weekend.
ESPN2 will air live coverage of the Lexington beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET.
Don't forget to check out a couple of other races on Saturday: At Charles Town, New York-bred Horse of the Year Commentator kicks off his 2009 campaign in the Charles Town Classic. "He has had a pretty good winter ... I'm hoping he gives a great effort," said trainer Nick Zito. Mast Track is the only other graded stakes winner entered, but he's also trying dirt for the first time in his career. A bigger threat may come from local starter Researcher, who set a track record going nine furlongs last month.
At Hawthorne, Santa Teresita, second to Life Is Sweet in the Santa Margarita, looks the likely favorite in the Sixty Sails Handicap.
On Sunday at Keeneland, Dominican and Monba -- the 2007 and 2008 Blue Grass Stakes winners -- will meet in the Bel Ali Stakes. Monba is coming off a third in the Thunder Road Handicap in February and a fourth in the Santa Anita Handicap last month. Dominican is making his first start of the year.
Update 4800: Well it may be spring time at Woodbine, soon! The weather is starting to warm up a little. We had five sets this morning at Steve's. Another very pleasant morning's work. Three of mine went to the gate for a little gate schooling. All went nicely. We have no runners this afternoon, but five tomorrow. All will be paddock schooling during the second race. I'll go back and help a little.
As I was leaving I ran into Joy. She ships horses from Fair Hill, and brought in Graham Motion's runner for this afternoon. Always fun to catch up with people from Fair Hill and get some news!
Update 4799: Many of the Kentucky Derby contenders are arriving or have arrived at Churchill Downs now that we are only a couple weeks away. Yesterday, Pioneerof the Nile and Chocolate Candy, two top California runners, arrived (Top West Coast Derby Contenders Arrive). And Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin announced that Mafaaz, the winner of the Kentucky Derby Challenge at Kempton Park will not run in the Kentucky Derby (McLaughlin: Mafaaz Won't Run in Derby).
And please keep calling.
Posted by Alex at 11:10 AM
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Barbaro Updates 833
Posted April 16, 2009
Updates are now here
Update 4798: More on Jeannine Edwards: Horse Notebook: Derby talk Edwards' specialty. Found on Paulick Report.
Update 4797: Montana legislature sends their horse slaughter bill back to their Governor after rejecting his amendments. The governor can now veto the bill or sign it into law: Montana legislature rejects amendments to horse slaughter bill.
Update 4796: A little more than a week to go to Barbaro's Memorial unveiling at Churchill Downs. According to an e-mail I received, 130 FOBs have signed up for a dinner on Saturday night.
A here is some additional information on the Derby Museum exhibit: Derby Museum to Hold Barbaro Tribute.
Update 4795: Submit questions to Jeannine Edwards, who has been very supportive of this site. Jeannine will appear on Bloodhorse's Talkin' Horses April 21: Jeannine Edwards.
Update 4794: Some cool coverage for the ABR YouTube contest re: horse slaughter: Moby Makes Some Noise Against Horse Slaughter.
Update 4793: A very pleasant morning's work this morning at Woodbine. We had seven sets. Three of which did some gate schooling. All mine galloped nicely. And the weather looks like it is improving.
Someone on the backside yesterday asked me about placing a horse. Very cool that people here are becoming more aware of what we are doing. Now to find a spot for a horse before he goes to auction. He is currently at a farm. A couple of people, also here, may be able to help out.
Update 4792: Steve Haskin's gives an interesting review of the highlights from the Kentucky Derby Trail in this article - KY Derby Trail: Memorable Moments, excerpt:
Of course, most everyone will single out I Want Revenge's Gotham and especially Wood Memorial, Quality Road's Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby, and Friesan Fire's Louisiana Derby, but for the purpose of this column, the object is to recall moments a bit less obvious that left a lasting impression and will go a long way in finding those elusive potential overlays.
And please keep calling.
Posted by Alex at 11:11 AM
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Barbaro Updates 832
Posted April 15, 2009
Updates are now Gerry Carwood on training his first winner: Keeneland Race 3.
Gerry was at one time a room mate at Fair Hill. He was also Eddie Kenneally's assistant when he hired me to work for Eddie during the Keeneland Fall meet of 2007. Gerry has only recently taken out his own trainer's license and I stopped by to see him in his barn at Keeneland on my way from Oaklawn Park to Woodbine. Very cool!
And more good news, the Jockey Club is allowing access to it's database to search tattoo numbers: Jockey Club to Offer Free Tattoo Service.
Update 4790: My report from my trip to OLEX yesterday: OLEX APRIL 14th 2009, excerpt:
The two main buyers that were bidding on most of the horses last week were back and doing the same this week. They probably bought more than two thirds of the horses today. One is a straight kill buyer, the other a kill buyer who does a bit of horse trading.
Update 4789: A nice and relaxing morning this morning at Woodbine. We had five sets for Steve. Two of which went to the gate for a little schooling. All mine galloped nicely, and the weather appears to be warming up a little!
During my break I went to the HBPA Office to read the Daily Racing Form. And not unsurprising news from Paragallo's New York trainer: Campo standing by Paraneck Stable, excerpt:
Campo, the son of the late John Campo Sr., who trained Derby winner Pleasant Colony, was nearly out of the training business when Paragallo hired him last fall. For that, Campo said, he is grateful and plans to stick by Paraneck Stable. The best horse in the stable is the sprinter True Quality, who won the Grade 2 General George at Laurel in February and the Paumonok here in January.
"I won't turn my back on Ernie," Campo said. "I was dead and he brought me alive."
Update 4788: Old Fashioned had surgery at Rood and Riddle and will now be retired from racing: Old Fashioned Retired
Steve Haskins gives us his weekly Derby Dozen with I Want Revenge at the top of his list: Steve Haskin's Derby Dozen
And please keep calling.
Posted by Alex at 11:13 AM
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Barbaro Updates 831
Posted April 14, 2009
Updates are now here
Update 4787: This week's Paulick Derby Index, along with my picks: PAULICK DERBY INDEX by AmWest Entertainment: THE RISE OF THE PAPA AND A GENERAL SALUTE.
Update 4786: Superfecta here, with your regular weekly update.
The best story to come out of last weekend's Derby preps is certainly that of General Quarters; the Blue Grass victor's tale has all the elements of a perfect script: former claimer, slow to mature, and single-horse owner-trainer (although, as the Blood-Horse pointed out, he's had a little help here and there, which is no bad thing). It will be interesting to see if his good recent form in Florida translates back to Kentucky; in any case, it's probably unlikely that many other Derby starters started their careers in a 14K claimer at Churchill Downs. It's worth reflecting that his eleven lifetime starts give him nearly four times as much racing experience as, say, Dunkirk. Hold Me Back and Massone both finished the race well too - Massone will head to more synthetic surfaces in California, while Hold Me Back is on track for a Derby berth.
Also likely to make the field now is the aforementioned Dunkirk - largely because Arkansas Derby runner-up Old Fashioned has a date with Rood & Riddle, rather than Churchill Downs. They grey colt fractured his knee (although it was not apparent at any point during the race) and we've very likely seen the last of him on the track (given his value at stud), so Coolmore's Dunkirk is left to carry the Unbridled's Song banner in the Derby (and make of that what you will - this is owner Rick Porter's third prominent Unbridled's Song offspring to meet with a major injury on the Derby trail, after Rockport Harbor and, of course, Eight Belles).
But it was a very interesting race; I was glad to see Papa Clem finally get a big win, since I felt he'd been flying under the radar for far too long (and his win vaulted me to the top of the Brooklyn Backstretch Road to the Roses league). He's been steadily improving (and getting some bad luck along the way) and while his 99 Beyer for the Arkansas Derby wasn't earth-shattering, I think he's going to be a lot of fun to watch.
It's still not clear whether Mafaaz's deeply uninspiring effort in the Blue Grass will put him on a plane back to England; Patena's non-firing in the same race means that the horse will be 'regrouping.' (Given that IEAH purchased the horse with the sole intent of running him in the Derby, one wonders if he'll quietly slip away in a claiming race - after all, they have I Want Revenge now). Larry Jones must be glad he has Friesan Fire to fall back on; despite the seven-week layoff, he's still one of my top Derby picks (this week):
1) I Want Revenge
2) Friesan Fire
3) Chocolate Candy
4) General Quarters
5) Papa Clem
6) Quality Road
7) Pioneerof the Nile
8) Regal Ransom
9) Musket Man
10) Hold Me Back
So, we're nearly done with Derby prep season; yes, there's still the Coolmore Lexington next weekend, and once upon a time the Derby Trial mattered to the Derby field, but in reality we're nearly there. Check back later in the week for more on how the field is shaping up.
Update 4785: Another chilly and windy morning this morning at Woodbine. I had an easy morning for Steve, galloping three sets. All galloped nicely. Luis, our jock, came in again and worked five horses. They all seemed to work well too, but it was chilly just standing at the rail watching. Much better actually doing something!
Here is my weekly contribution to Eclipse Magazine: Alex Brown 14 April 2009.
Update 4784: This week's ABR Facebook e-mail: Sunday morning, Thoroughbred Times, Derby report, ABR YouTube contest, Paragallo, Dundalk ON, OLEX, NTRA and ESPN.
Update 4783: Steve Haskins wrote an interesting article about one of the connections to what is most likely the "feel good" story of the Kentucky Derby: Ky. Derby Trail: It's Miller Time, Too
Excerpt: "I know it's going to be especially tough when I come back to Kentucky at the end of the month with all the publicity he's going to get. I realize Tom is on a dream, and he takes good care of the horse. And I'll always give him credit for a hell of a claim. I didn't claim that horse, he did. I'll bet the three people he out-shook (for the claim) are just kicking themselves. What's most frustrating about losing him is that I love the horse. Man, I love that horse."
And please keep calling.
Posted by Alex at 11:11 AM
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Barbaro Updates 830
Posted April 13, 2009
Updates are now here
Update 4782: A commentary of the times: Death on the Track, Doping, and Animal Abuse, excerpt:
Bad publicity is by no means a new complaint. But what's happening in the press now is different. What the world is reading and hearing about lately are serious blows to the sport that in large part are self-inflicted, and for many people, disturbing enough to cause a permanent turn-off. Adhering to the old world mentality that making money is an end in itself that's worth risking the market for, horse racing continues to behave like a few things need fixing but, by and large, a little touch up here, a little patch up there -- that's the extent of the corrections warranted. Meanwhile, these are the kinds of unsettling debates that occupy the Op-Ed in the few remaining places where commentary can be taken seriously.
Back teaching Internet for First Time Starters at Woodbine Monday's at 5 at Woodbine.
Update 4781: Suffolk Downs overturned its ban on three horsemen who violated their no slaughter policy. The horsemen that were banned in November are now reinstated. The meet reopens after a winter break on May 2: Banned Suffolk Downs trainers reinstated.
Discussion: Suffolk Reinstates Banned Trainers.
Update 4780: A letter to the editor: Our Debt to the Horse. Found on Paulick Report.
Update 4779: Another cold morning at Woodbine! I had five sets today, all before the break and all galloping two miles. And each was pretty strong too! After the break we had our jock, Luis, come in and work five horses. I went to the track to watch. And was on a pony watching three of them breaking out of the gate. All appeared to go nicely. A chilly morning's work, but fun nonetheless.
Update 4778: The Kentucky Derby is restricted to 20 starters. When more then 20 horses are entered then preference is given to those horses with the top graded stakes earnings with one exception - the winner of the Churchill Downs sponsored race held at Kempton Park in England last March (Mafaaz). Here is the current list of 3 year olds ranked by graded stakes earning: Kentucky Derby Graded Stakes Earnings
And please keep calling.
Posted by Alex at 11:07 AM
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Barbaro Updates 829
Posted April 10, 2009
Updates are now here
Update 4777: Possibly the "feel good" story for the 2009 Kentucky Derby: Stories like McCarthy's make racing.
Update 4776: More on Nicanor and the logistics of visiting Keeneland: Nicanor Posts First Work at Keeneland.
Update 4775: It's April, it's Canada, and it's still COLD! Bright blue skies but you would think the wind is blowing right over the top of an iceberg or something! We had six sets. April came in to help out. All galloped nicely, if not with a little extra energy from the chilly weather! And there were a few loose horses out there. Two riders fell off right in front of me as I was galloping along the front side. Not sure what caused the spills, but they seemed to do it in a synchronized fashion! After I had finished I went up to the track to watch a friend's horse work (Alison, my tour guide from last year). He seemed to work well but it was far too chilly to hang out and enjoy watching!
No runners this afternoon, so an easy day to celebrate easter!
Update 4774: Articles about the Arkansas Derby and Bluegrass Stakes:
Papa Clem Up in time in Arkansas Derby;
Papa Clem overhauls Old Fashioned to Win Arkansas Derby - with video;
General Quarters Orders Up Bluegrass Stakes;
General Quarters wins Bluegrass - with video;
And more information regarding Old Fashioned's injury (Old Fashioned Injured in Arkansas Derby)
"It's not life-threatening, it should be okay," Jones said. "Career-ending is a possibility just because of the type of horse he is. But we'll see. We'll let them make that call."
Update 4773: Old Fashioned is out of the Kentucky Derby with an injury to his right front knee. More to come.
Update 4772: Papa Clem defeated Old Fashioned in a thrilling stretch dual in the Arkansas Derby. Old Fashioned set the early (and fast) fractions, and tried to hold on down the lane. I think he ran a more creditable race than he did in the Rebel Stakes, but I don't think the jockey switch made any difference. Papa Clem was coming off a second place finish in the Louisiana Derby after coming from the west coast.
Update 4771: Nicanor worked this morning at Keeneland. Look who was on board: Nic works again.
Update 4770: General Quarters, who most recently ran behind Musket Man in the Tampa Bay Derby, won the Blue Grass Stakes. He was claimed out of his first start last year for $20,000. And now he will be heading for the Kentucky Derby, all being well. Hard to think that any of the horses finishing behind General Quarters will be considered for the Derby.
Update 4769: We ran fourth in the first race at Woodbine. Now to focus on the big races: LIVE BLOGGING THE BLUE GRASS CARD, ARKANSAS DERBY.
Update 4768: Off to the races at Woodbine. And to also watch the Arkansas Derby and Blue Grass Stakes. The last two Derby preps.
Update 4767: All entries have now been received for the ABR YouTube contest re: Horse Slaughter.
The winning video will be determined by the video with the highest total score, on May 10, at Noon eastern time. The score is based on the number of comments, multiplied by the overall rating of the video, and adding the number of pageviews.
The "leader" as of April 11 is video number 2 with a current score of 3415.5 Obviously the videos that were posted earlier in the contest have an advantage at this stage, but as the next month progresses it's likely that advantage will become less so. Each week over the next month I will update the "leader board".
Also, as of today, the videos collectively have garnered 18,000 page views and 922 comments.
Update 4766: New York State Police have now charged Ernie Paragallo with 22 counts of animal cruelty. The New York State Racing and Wagering Board has announced that Paragallo can no longer be involved in racing in the state: State Police Charge Horse Breeder With Animal Cruelty.
Update 4765: Seven sets this morning for Steve at Woodbine. Three of the ones I rode were new here, having just shipped in a couple of days ago. Our jock, Luis, also came in and galloped three horses for us. All went nicely for a straightforward morning's work. And the weather is not too bad, it should be a nice afternoon for the races. We have one runner, in the first race.
Update 4764: Quality Road and Dunkirk, winner and runner-up in the Florida Derby, both put in 1/2 mile workouts yesterday (Quality Road, Dunkirk Breeze on Eve of Key Preps).
The deadline for entries into the ABR YouTube Horse Slaughter contest has passed. 27 entries have been accepted.
Update 4763: A fun afternoon at the races at Woodbine, especially after wining a race. We also had two thirds. The highlight of the afternoon though for me was meeting Wendy. I am guessing Wendy works for Reade Baker (she was with his horse that beat us for second in the allowance race). She introduced herself to me and said she was a big fan of this site. Cool! She came across the site thanks to Jennifer Morrison's blog.
Update 4762: Paragallo to be charged on 22 counts of Animal Cruelty
Found on the Paulick Report
Update 4761: Phew! Off the mark at Woodbine with a nice win in the third race with Merkel. He ran a terrific race on the lead, then drawing away at the end.
Update 4760: Off to the races here at Woodbine. We have three runners and one to paddock school in the first, so a busy afternoon!
Update 4759: NYRA is the first racing organization to take action against Ernie Paragallo, who is now not welcome on any of its tracks and can no longer represent Paraneck Stables. All their horses that are currently entered to run have been scratched until a new authorized agent is appointed: Paragallo's Credential Is Revoked by NYRA.
Update 4758: A pleasant morning's work at Woodbine. A short morning for me with a couple of gate schoolers. Our jock (Luis) came in and worked one. I went up to watch. Beautiful weather too!
Three more entries in the ABR YouTube contest re: Horse Slaughter. Noon today is the deadline for entries.
Update 4757: Dubai World Cup winner, Well Armed, is currently ranked the top thoroughbred racing on dirt: Well Armed Top Weighted Dirt Horse
And Bill Finley of ESPN wrote an interesting aritcle addressing the issue of different racing jurisdictions making their own choices regarding who they license. Their decision making is driven, in part, by attracting horses and horsemen to compete in their jurisdiction. A Place For Paragallo?
Posted by Alex at 11:19 AM
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Barbaro Updates 828
Posted April 9, 2009
Updates are now here
Update 4756: Paul Moran on Paragallo: Paragallo: Time to pay the piper.
And Thoroughbred Brief offers a case study: Redux.
Update 4755: Horse slaughter is becoming a more commonly discussed topic within horse racing. Which is good. Matt Hegarty writes about the topic today for the Daily Racing Form. My only concern with this article is the assumption that horses going to slaughter are simply old and useless. The ones I see most sought after by kill buyers at kill auctions (that go for the top meat prices) are relatively young and healthy: Horse slaughter: Don't ask, don't tell, excerpt:
"They were the worst-looking things you ever saw," Chambers said. "What was anyone going to do with them? They weren't good for anything. What are you going to do, put them on the White House lawn? If you can't afford to feed these horses, you have to get rid of them, and the only way I know to do that is to send them to the slaughterhouse."
It is good to learn though that the NTRA is developing a policy for it's racetracks, excerpt:
The NTRA, which launched an accreditation program this year that requires tracks to form a relationship with retirement organizations, has not yet decided if the accreditation program will require racetracks to also adopt policies banning associations with slaughter, according to Keith Chamblin, the association's vice president of marketing. The reason, Chamblin said, is that the organization has not been able to get "widespread consensus on what is 'indirect or direct' involvement" with slaughterhouses.
"It's something that took up a lot of our discussion when forming the accreditation requirements," Chamblin said. "We're not there yet, but we anticipate getting there."
I made a trip this afternoon to a slaughter plant in Ontario. It was closed today and I was told to return on a Tuesday or Wednesday.
Update 4754: British news from Sue McMullen, who will, from time to time, keep us updated on the flat season that lies ahead:
Gosden: English 1,000 Guineas prospect Rainbow View, and Mafaaz's tilt for the Derby.
Newmarket trainer John Gosden entertained the racing press this week with his 1,000 Guineas hopeful, Rainbow View, taking centre stage. The diminutive Dynaformer filly topped the betting throughout the winter for the first fillies' classic of the season on May 3rd but Gosden believes the Cheveley Park winner, Serious Attitude, is the main danger to his own filly's unbeaten record.
Describing the fiery Rainbow View as the wildest filly he has every dealt with, Gosden says that her nervous energy is key to her competitiveness and he is pleased with the progress she has made over the winter:
"She is very well, and I'm happy with the way she is coming in her coat. She is bouncy and very happy. I have been around a lot of good fillies who were small but I don't think size is everything"
Gosden plans to run his little fireball in the English and Irish Guineas before a possible tilt at the Oaks, although he admits he's not yet certain about the step up in distance from a mile and a quarter to a mile and a half.
A prep for the Guineas was ruled out as Gosden didn't want her to run with a penalty and have to start training her earlier, especially as there are longterm plans to head to the Breeders Cup (which she missed last year as she became 'woolly' in her coat) at what will be for her, the end of a long season. So instead she will have a breeze up at Newmarket, which he hopes will take some of the gas out of her:
"She does have a lot of nervous energy, and I would imagine she will be more on the metal in the Guineas than she normally would - but that is the way she is. A lot of horses run fresh first time out."
Gosden was showing off his 'heavy guns' for the season ahead, but it was the horse currently missing from the yard who inevitably attracted interest.
Mafaaz heads for the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday, a run that is anticipated here to attract much interest in the US following some negative comments about the horse's possible participation in the Run for the Roses, for which the colt earned a guaranteed place after winning a qualifying race at Kempton last month.
But Gosden is adamant that Mafaaz will line up in the Derby only if he is a serious challenger, for which reason he is running him in the Blue Grass Stakes, one of the Derby trials. Commenting on Mafaaz's victory at Kempton and Derby challenge Gosden expressed support for the initiative:
"When they said that they were going to put on this Kempton race I thought it needed supporting as a concept because I very worried about the slightly parochial approach that some people have towards racing now. We've got to open up the international borders. Churchill have given a bold initiative and it needs supporting, so we supported it and we're over there now but what I don't want to do is go and grab a place at the starting gate at Churchill without proving some worth in North America, which is why he runs on Saturday.
"He was one of four I'd nominated for the Bluegrass, in the hope that one of them would win at Kempton, so it was a plan that I'd had for some time."
Asked about the adverse response of some US trainers Gosden, who used to train there, was unequivocal:
"It's understandable, but a little bit redneck. I think we've got to open our minds up a bit. If we're going to make this game more interesting to the general public you've got to have international dimensions to it. You've got to have something to promote and Churchill would like make the Kentucky Derby more international. It's a fabulous race but it's rather like when the baseball is called the world series -- it's a North American event. But I will be sensitive to the fact that we have to belong in the race.
"He's got to run a good race on Saturday. He's got to have a legitimate excuse if he doesn't have a good finishing position for me to think it's right to go on to Churchill, but I'll have to discuss everything with the owner."
Gosden appreciates it's a tough task for a three-year old who had a difficult journey, but says he's now settled and seems happy:
"He cantered well, he'll stand in the gate tomorrow and we're pleased with him. I knew if he won the race at Kempton the one thing I wanted to do was to go to the Bluegrass. I didn't want to go March 18th to May 2nd without a run. I thought it was wise to go to Keeneland and run there".
For those trainers in the US who remain unconvinced about this particular European raider, Gosden was emphatic that Mafaaz must earn the right to line up in the Derby:
"He would have to run a big race to prove himself, as I would not want him to take a barrier at Churchill and deny someone else a place."
Hopefully this will silence some of the more vocal critics in the US and like it or not, Gosden's colt won the right to line up at Churchill with his hard fought win at Kempton but his trainer, rather wisely, will let the horse decide his fate at Keeneland.
Update 4753: A nice straightforward morning this morning at Woodbine for Steve. I only had four to go. We had another rider (April) come in and help us out. All the horses trained nicely, which included a couple of gate schoolers. We also had a few more horses ship in from Kentucky this morning, so we will start getting busier in a couple of days. It is a little warmer today too, and is supposed to be a great spring afternoon!
Update 4752: Another weekend of Derby prep races is coming up. This Saturday will feature the Arkansas Derby where Old Fashioned will be running (Old Fashioned Favored in Arkansas Derby) and The Blue Grass Stakes where Hold Me Back is the betting favorite (Improving Hold Me Back Heads Blue Grass)
We have our 20th entry into the YouTube Horse Slaughter Video Contest. As a reminder, entries close at noon on Friday.
And please keep calling.
Posted by Alex at 10:36 AM
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Barbaro Updates 827
Posted April 8, 2009
Updates are now here
Update 4751: More on Paragallo, a farm raid today by the New York State Police and the SPCA: New York Takes Over Paragallo's Horse Farm, excerpt:
"It's really bad," Perez said. "It's the worst I've ever seen in a thoroughbred situation. The animals themselves are in horrific condition. It's a sad, sad scene."
Joseph Mahoney, a spokesman for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, which had an agent at the farm, said all of the horses, ranging from 1 to 20 years old, showed signs of various stages of malnutrition. In addition, Mahoney said, the veterinarians on site said the horses had lacked proper veterinarian care, vaccinations and suitable shelter.
Update 4750: Quality Road's quarter crack problem appears to be improving: Quality Road Gallops: Foot Much Improved, excerpt:
"His foot was absolutely ice-cold this morning and I actually patched him today and put a drain in him," McKinlay said. "That thing looked perfect. He went to the track, galloped, came back and looked great. The drain leaves a tunnel right over top of where the crack is and where he bled the other day. So, if there was going to be any blood it would have a channel out. He galloped perfect and there was no blood when he came back. If the foot is cold tomorrow, it's a done deal; it's behind us. I asked Jimmy (trainer Jerkens) what his schedule was and he sounded like he's ready to go. It looks like I got an easy one."
Update 4749: Alex Waldrop, of the NTRA, speaks out regarding the Mullins and Paragallo cases: WALDROP: AUTHORITIES SHOULD MOVE SWIFTLY TO IMPOSE THE MOST SEVERE PENALTIES.
Update 4748: Six sets today for Steve at Woodbine. I was scheduled to ride seven, but then our jock arrived and he got on one of the gate schoolers. Two of mine also went to the gate for a little schooling. All schooled nicely and galloped nicely. The weather was a little better today, but only a little. And there were also a couple of loose horses on the track!
Here is my report from my visit to OLEX yesterday: OLEX April 7th, 2009, excerpt:
Of the actual horses sold, there was one nice 4yo thoroughbred broodmare. I do not think she went to kill, she sold for $510, which would be just over the top for the high kill price. The buyer's number was not one of the main kill buyer's numbers anyway. There was a 10 month old thoroughbred filly sold at 22 cents / pound. I do not know whether she went for kill. A grey horse was sold for 15 cents / pound to the kill buyer. This dispels the myth that grey horses don't go to kill. They do, if only cheaper. One horse I observed before the sale had a nasty cut over one of his eyes. The auctioneer described him as "a little short sighted". He sold for 22 cents / pound, but was not bought by one of the two main bidders so I am not sure his fate.
Update 4747: The New York State Racing and Wagering Board has begun an investigation into the mares owned by Ernie Paragallo (Paragallo Investigation Underway).
Steve Haskins has come out with this week's Derby Dozen (Steve Haskin's Derby Dozen 04/07/09).
We have entries 18 and 19 into the ABR YouTube Contest. Entries will be accepted until noon this coming Friday April, 10, 2009.
And please keep calling.
Posted by Alex at 10:43 AM
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Barbaro Updates 826
Posted April 7, 2009
Updates are now here
Update 4746: This week's edition of the Paulick Derby Index, which includes my picks: PAULICK DERBY INDEX by AmWest Entertainment: MISSING THE 'MOUSSE.
Update 4745: Superfecta here, with your regular weekly update.
Last weekend's Derby preps may, unfortunately, become more remembered for what happened off the track (and not even to horses pointed toward Kentucky) - all thanks to Jeff Mullins, conditioner for I Want Revenge. But let's set him aside for the moment to recall how things went in California.
Naturally, hearing that The Pamplemousse was scratched from the Santa Anita Derby (and the subsequent news that he will be out at least six months) was a disappointment, but otherwise the Santa Anita Derby went off according to the script. Pioneerof the Nile won as expected in the absence of his on-paper rival, with a fine second-place finish by Chocolate Candy (who seemed to me like he might have caught the favorite in a slightly longer race). While I'm still not entirely convinced how his form will translate to real dirt (although I'm not a total synthetic/dirt unbeliever), I'm keeping him quite high up on the Top Ten list (and bumping up Chocolate Candy):
1) I Want Revenge
2) Quality Road
3) Pioneerof the Nile
4) Friesan Fire
5) Chocolate Candy
6) Old Fashioned
7) Regal Ransom
8) Papa Clem
Regardless of the shady shenanigans going on around I Want Revenge (who, like jockey Joe Talamo, is on Twitter now - hat tip to Green But Game), a performance like the one he turned in in the Wood Memorial rocketed him to the top of the list. It's really a shame that rumors of doping will be hanging around the horse who overcame every unfortunate thing that happened to him in Saturday's race to win impressively - even at that level, most horses would have been effectively taken out of their race a number of times, yet he prevailed (thanks in no small part to a very smart ride by the aforementioned young Mr. Talamo). I'd love to at least see a switch to a different trainer, but I also live in the real world and know that is unlikely at this point - but it would save the sport (not to mention the horse) a lot of unpleasantness in the coming weeks.
The news of Quality Road's quarter crack came after I submitted this week's list for the Paulick Derby Index, but if recent reports are to be believed, it's not a bad one - we'll see how it goes. I'm not thrilled that Friesan Fire isn't racing again before the Derby and I'm on the fence about his fellow Larry Jones trainee, Old Fashioned, but both remain very much on the list (along with the foreign horses). Papa Clem and Dunkirk are the two I really can't decide about - but Papa Clem will at least get the chance to face Old Fashioned in Hot Springs next weekend.
Check back later in the week for more on both the Arkansas Derby, the Blue Grass and the sure-to-be ongoing saga of Jeff Mullins and the non-war on drugs...
Update 4744: More on the Paragallo abuse cases:
New York Times: Under Investigation, Paragallo Says Some Horses He Owns Are Underweight
Paulick Report: PARAGALLO OWNER'S LICENSE REVOKED IN 2005
Update 4743: 17th entry received in the ABR YouTube contest re: Horse Slaughter. Noon Friday is the deadline for submitting entries.
Update 4742: Here is the ABR Facebook Group e-mail 19: YouTube Contest, Settling in, Rachel, Hooh Why, Paragallo abuse cases, Woodbine, Derby preps, OLEX, MT and IL updates, Nicanor at Keeneland.
My weekly blog at Eclipse Magazine: Letter from North America.
And it was cold this morning at Woodbine. Very cold for this time of year. I had five to ride, and we got them all out before the break so as to avoid any further bad weather. All mine galloped nicely. It was just one of those mornings to survive and get through. And we did!
Update 4741: Quality Road recently developed a quarter crack which doesn't appear to be as bad as first thought. He is being treated by specialist Ian McKinley who treated Big Brown last year. Quality Road Quarter Crack Not Serious
McKinlay said he's optimistic Quality Road will be able to make the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). The main priority right now is drawing out the heat that is lingering in the foot.
And Steve Haskins gives us his report as to how the Derby field is shaping up. Ky Derby Trail: Coast Clash Looms Big
And please keep calling.
Posted by Alex at 11:20 AM
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Barbaro Updates 825
Posted April 6, 2009
Updates are now here
Update 4740: Thoroughbred Times takes a look at some of the issues related to our development and growth: Exercise rider uses Internet to raise anti-slaughter awareness.
Update 4739: Quality Road's Derby status is now questionnable after suffering a quarter crack injury, likely in the Florida Derby: Quality Road has quarter crack, excerpt:
Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said Monday morning that he is "very concerned" about the situation but that it would be premature to say the horse can't make the Derby,
"You hope it was resolved by now, that's for sure, but he's not out of it yet," said Jerkens, who trains Quality Road for owner/breeder Ed Evans. "The fact that he's not lame from it is a good thing."
Jerkens said he noticed the quarter crack in the winner's circle of the Florida Derby, which Quality Road won at Gulfstream Park on March 28. Quality Road had a patch put on the crack while still in Florida and he even trained last Wednesday morning at Palm Meadows before shipping back to New York.
By Friday afternoon, however, Jerkens noticed that Quality Road "wouldn't put all his weight on" his right hind foot.
Update 4738: Some great photos of Nicanor, now he is at Keeneland.
Update 4737: Jeff Mullins, who trains I Want Revenge, was caught administering a drug to a horse in the detention barn at Aqueduct on Saturday: Race-Day Medication Sets Off an Inquiry.
Update 4736: It's a blizzard here at Woodbine! And it's April. Crazy! Thankfully I only had two to ride, both to do some gate schooling. Since the gate does not open for schooling until 8:30 am I also had a lie in. The siren went off when I was out there, but not much chance of spying what the trouble was. A good day to have only a couple to ride. And our runners from the weekend (three seconds and a fifth) all appear happy after their races.
Update 4735: Rachel Alexandra was super impressive yesterday in her win of the Fantasy Stakes (G II): Fantasy Foes at Rachel Alexandra's Mercy
Excerpt: "The one thing missing on Rachel Alexandra's past performances is a grade I win and she should have an excellent shot at taking care of that in the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) May 1. That is unless trainer Hal Wiggins and owners Mike Lauffer and Dolphus Morrison (L and M Partners) give in to temptation and take a crack at the boys in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) a day later."
Also in Derby news, the Pamplemousse is off the Derby trail due to a tendon flare up: The Pamplemousse out of Kentucky Derby
"'We’re grateful that Julio scratched yesterday,' Solis said. 'The Pamplemousse will run again. His time off will be indefinite. but it will be longer than six months.''
And please keep calling.
Posted by Alex at 11:49 AM
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Barbaro Updates 824
Posted April 4, 2009
Updates are now here
Update 4734: Wow! Rachel Alexandra dominated. Again. She must be the best 3yo in North America right now.
Update 4733: Affirmatif was upset at Keeneland, finishing second. And off my Derby list. Course he should have been off the list a while ago with no graded stakes earnings.
Update 4732: Off back to the races at Woodbine. We have two runners this afternoon. I'll also be keeping an eye on Oaklawn Park and Rachel Alexandra: Rachel Alexandra, Just Jenda, Top Fantasy Five on Sunday.
And Hooh Why ate up everything last night after her victory and appears to have come out of her race well.
Update 4731: It appears the Paragallo abuse case that was reported yesterday may not be a one time issue, according to the New York Times. In 2007 horses belonging to the same owner breeder were rescued from abuse and neglect by Equine Advocates: More Horses Rescued From Owner's Care in 2007, excerpt:
Barnes said the horses were anywhere from 175 to 250 pounds underweight and had skin problems and parasites.
They were released from the clinic on Feb. 21, 2007.
"They had no groceries," he said. "They were starving to death."
Paragallo, who was at Aqueduct on Saturday watching his colt Cellar Dweller finish sixth in the $750,000 Wood Memorial, said he had given horses away from his farm in Climax, N.Y., around that time but said he was not aware that they were in poor shape.
Wagner said they were in "dire shape."
A quiet morning for me again this morning at Woodbine. We had a couple of runners yesterday, so they were off. We also had our jock working three horses, all worked nicely. I galloped two, and they went nicely. And it was a more pleasant morning weather wise. A little chilly but less windy. We have a couple of runners this afternoon, so I will be returning to the races.
And race reports yesterday from key races:
I Want Revenge rallies to win Wood Memorial
Santa Anita Derby:
Pioneerof the Nile wins Santa Anita Derby
Musket Man stays hot with Illinois Derby win
Hooh Why upsets Stardom Bound in Ashland
Update 4730: More coverage of the Paragallo mares: Horses sent to be bred nearly slaughtered.
Update 4729: Paulick Report on today's Derby preps: 'PIONEER,' 'REVENGE' AND MUSKET MAN FIRE BIG IN DERBY PREPS.
Update 4728: And Pioneerof the Nile won the Santa Anita Derby. While that's a great bankroll to pick up, I am not sure it prooved anything in terms of his Kentucky Derby credentials!
Update 4727: Hooh Why, who I used to gallop at Woodbine, dominated the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland! How cool is that ?
I Want Revenge won the Wood Memorial despite his jockey.
Update 4726: The Pamplemousse, Santa Anita Derby favorite and leading contender for the Kentucky Derby, was scratched this morning after a vet inspection.
Update 4725: Two stories have emerged regarding abuse and neglect cases for horses owned by Ernie Paragallo and Paraneck Stables. He is a half owner of Unbridled's Song whose progeny are among the leading contenders for this year's Kentucky Derby.
Sadly our racing industry has simply enabled this type of behavior as we continue to look the other way. Fortunately in an era of transparency and connectedness, fostered by the internet, this type of behavior can no longer continue undetected despite our industries lack of oversight.
The two stories:
New York Times: Prominent Horseman Faces Questions About Neglect.
Paulick Report: VAN DRIVER: PARANECK HORSES WERE 'WALKING SKELETONS'.
The discussion on ABR: AC4H-TB mares need Angels now.
It's a very windy and chilly morning this morning at Woodbine. If this wind keeps up, opening day may be cancelled. We shall see. Fortunately for me I only had three to ride. The first one, I nearly got blown off turning into the lane. Anyway, I made it. Not so for everyone else. The siren has been busy this morning for sure!
Update 4724: Another big Derby Prep Day: Stars to Shine on both Coasts
NBC Sports will be televising the Illinois Derby, the Wood Memorial and the Santa Anita Derby from 5pm-6pm ET today.
Posted by Alex at 12:04 PM
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Barbaro Update 823
Posted April 3, 2009
Updates are now here
Update 4723: Some more great coverage for the ABR YouTube contest re: Horse Slaughter: Help Save Horses: One Week Remaining to Enter Alex Brown's Video Contest.
And it appears the Govenor of Montana has come through, at least for now: Governor VETOES 418.
Update 4722: Railbird here, with your weekend racing roundup.
It must be spring: Keeneland is open, horses are running around the "big turns" of the Aqueduct main track, and across the land, Kentucky Derby fever rages. Far from the bluegrass, the illness has Doug O'Neill tight in its grasp. The trainer remains hopeful that Square Eddie, #2 on the graded earnings list and unraced due to shin issues since finishing second in the San Rafael Stakes in January, will make the first Saturday in May. The colt returned to the worktab last month; on Monday, he breezed four furlongs in :50.80 at Hollywood. Another workout is scheduled for Sunday. One trainer who seems to have escaped the seasonal disorder is Barclay Tagg, who plans to enter Hello Broadway in an April 10 allowance at Keeneland, but if that race doesn't go, the half-brother to Nobiz Like Shobiz could start in the Blue Grass Stakes. Uh-oh.
On Saturday, more likely contenders vie for graded earnings in yet another round of final Derby preps. Consensus is that I Want Revenge -- now part-owned by Derby-dazed IEAH -- is the horse to beat in the Wood, but take away the freaky 113 Beyer speed figure IWR earned winning the Gotham and the Wood looks a bit more open, with Imperial Council a legitimate closing threat, West Side Bernie poised to rebound from his past two poor starts with a switch back to dirt, and Atomic Rain returning to the track where he finished second to Old Fashioned in the Remsen.
At Santa Anita, the story is of the popular Pamplemousse meeting Pioneerof the Nile and the rabbit, Z Day, who might help the former more than the latter by setting a pace that the front-running Pamplemousse can comfortably track into the far turn and giving Pioneerof the Nile too much ground to make up in the stretch. Not to be overlooked is El Camino Real winner Chocolate Candy, who starts off a couple fine works, or Take the Points, second in the Sham and certainly capable of hitting the board.
The Illinois Derby has yield a Kentucky Derby starter every year since 2002, but only one Derby winner (War Emblem) in the past 10 years. This year's renewal features Tampa Bay Derby winner Musket Man, the lone stakes winner in the field, as well as trouble-plagued Giant Oak, and Maryland-based Perfect Song, the likely pace in a race light on early speed. Hawthorne plays well to the front-running types; the last two winners of the Illinois Derby led at every call. It would be no surprise if the same happened this year.
At Keeneland, Stardom Bound goes for her sixth straight Grade 1 win in the Ashland Stakes on Saturday. What a Pear, one of the stars of the Aqueduct winter meet, will be tested for class in the same, while Alcibiades winner Dream Empress will try to break her three-race losing streak. At Oaklawn, Acoma takes on a short field in the Apple Blossom, the race champion Proud Spell was pointing to before she suffered a minor injury -- which may lead to her retirement. Entries weren't yet up when I looked earlier this afternoon, but Rachel Alexandra is expected to start in the Fantasy Stakes on Sunday at the Hot Springs track. Aqueduct offers much more than the Wood on Saturday with the Bay Shore and the Carter Handicap also on the card. In the Bay Shore, Capt. Candyman Can drops off the Derby trail to run at the same distance at which he earned his last win, the Hutcheson Stakes. The Carter drew a competitive foursome in Tale of Ekati, Kodiak Kowboy, Toboggan winner Ah Day, and a freshened Fabulous Strike.
Update 4721: A quieter morning this morning for me at Woodbine. I had four sets, all before the break. Some light drissle was in the air. All galloped nicely. We had three workers after the break, with a jockey. And it really did start to rain. I went up to watch the workers and was glad to do so while trying to keep out of some of the rain. This weather may be in for a while, which is a shame for opening day tomorrow!
And remember, Keeneland Spring meet opens today!
Update 4720: Another weekend of Kentucky Derby prep races is here. In New York the Wood Memorial will be run while (Wood: I Want Revenge the One to Beat) in California the Santa Anita Derby (The Pamplemousse on Outside in SA Derby).
Keeneland opens this weekend where Stardom Bound will be running in the Ashland Stakes: Stardom Bound Looking for Sixth Grade I, excerpt:
The big question mark lies in how Stardom Bound will fare outside of her home base of Southern California. In making her Keeneland debut, her connections are hopeful she will relish the Polytrack as much as she did the Santa Anita Pro-Ride surface, over which she won the March 7 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) by a nose last out.
Nicanor is also at Keeneland: Nicanor Arrives at Keeneland
And please keep calling.
Posted by Alex at 11:49 AM
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Barbaro Updates: 822
Posted April 2, 2009
Updates are now here.
Update 4719: Last year's champion 3yo filly, who was upset in her 2009 debut at Oaklawn Park, is being sent to the farm with a hind leg injury: Proud Spell recuperating at Airdrie.
Update 4718: A pleasant morning's work again this morning at Woodbine. Still chilly. We had six sets today, so an easier morning for me, four before the break and two after the break. All mine galloped nicely. Everyone seems in good humor as we get closer to the opening day of the meet, Saturday. Entries were made yesterday and we will have a couple of runners.
We now have our fifteenth entry in the ABR YouTube contest re: Horse Slaughter. April 10 is the deadline for entries, eight more days to go!
Update 4717: Spring is here. Keeneland's Spring meet opens on Friday: Spring bright spots shine through. Woodbine's 2009 meet opens on Saturday: Woodbine opener just days away.
Derby preps this weekend include the Wood Memorial (I Want Revenge), the Santa Anita Derby (The Pamplemousse and Pioneerof the Nile) and the Illinois Derby. Friesan Fire will train up to the Derby, attempting to win the race seven weeks after his Louisiana Derby victory: Friesan Fire Training Up to the Derby.
And please keep calling.
Posted by Alex at 9:54 AM
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Barbaro Update 821
Posted April 1, 2009
updates are now here.
Update 4716: I Want Revenge remains at the top of Steve Haskin's Derby Dozen.
Updates on Lentenor, La Ville Rouge and her new colt foal: Checking In on Lentenor and La Ville Rouge.
And the Curlin team gain more 2008 accolades: Curlin and connections honored by New York writers.
Update 4715: Another busy morning this morning at Woodbine for Steve. We had nine sets. Four before the break and five after the break. All the five after the break went to the gate for some schooling. And because we had to wait a little for the gate to open for schooling it was a relatively long morning's work. And we got a little wet at the end as the rain moved in. Still seeing people for the first time who I got to know a little from last year's meet.
After I was finished I went over to the licensing office to get my track license. One more task accomplished which is required when you move from one racetrack to another. We are still looking for accomodation, which I am hoping is resolved within the next week. In the meantime I am sleeping on a friend's couch!
Update 4714: So yesterday I attended OLEX for the first time since November last year.
Here is my report: March 31 2009 OLEX, excerpt:
I studied the "buying behavior" of one of those buyers. He probably bought about 25 horses, with prices ranging from as low as 19 cents / pound to as high as 41 cents per pound. He dropped out of bidding on horses whose price went above what he was willing to pay but not close to the maximum he paid, and he did not bid on some of the cheaper horses at the sale. He also helped others (non-kill buyers) bidding on horses that he was bidding on. Pointing them out to the auctioneer.
Update 4713: The Paulick Derby Index came out yesterday. Paulick Derby Index by Amwest Entertainment - Road To Top Paved with Quality Seems that many of us, including myself have Quality Road at the top of our list.
It was reported the other day that IEAH purchased a 50% share in I Want Revenge from Mr. David Lanzman. Yesterday, Lanzman purchased a 25% share into IEAH owned champion filly Stardom Bound: 25% Interest In Stardom Bound to Lanzman, excerpt:
"I am thrilled to be a part of this great filly's 2009 campaign," Lanzman said in making the announcement March 31. "She's an amazingly talented filly and we are expecting a big effort from her in next weekend's Ashland Stakes. We're looking forward to the thrill of running a starter in both of the industry's two biggest races for three year-olds at this year's Oaks and Derby."
And please keep calling.
Posted by Alex at 11:29 AM
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