Thursday, May 05, 2016
Derby/Oaks Update for Thursday, May 5
Temperatures are forecast to be in the low 80s
under sunny skies Saturday afternoon for Kentucky Derby 142, but Thursday
morning’s conditions were nowhere close to that as the 22 entrants for the
$2,391,600 race went through their paces.
Temperatures were in the upper 40s with a light, steady rain falling when the
track opened at 5:45 (all times Eastern) with the track condition labeled as
“wet-fast” by Churchill Downs clockers. The rain stopped at 6:30 but by the
time the track reopened at 8:30 after the renovation break, conditions were
downgraded to “good” as a light drizzle began to fall along with a biting
Conditions are forecast
to be more favorable for the weekend with warmer temperatures and little chance
Training hours Friday
and Saturday will be from 5:45-8 a.m. with the 5:45-6 window reserved for
Kentucky Derby entrants and any Kentucky Oaks starter wanting to test the track
the morning of their Run for the Lilies.
KENTUCKY DERBY NOTES
BRODY’S CAUSE/CHERRY WINE – Trainer
Dale Romans sent Albaugh Family Stable’s Brody’s Cause and William
Pacella, Frank L. Jones Jr. and Frank Shoop’s Cherry Wine to the
Churchill Downs track Thursday morning for 1 ½-mile gallops.
Brody’s Cause, the Blue Grass (GI) winner, drew post 19 and is rated at 12-1 in
the morning line for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, while Blue Grass third-place
finisher Cherry Wine is second on the also-eligible list and will need two
defections by 9 a.m. Friday to draw into the field.
joined by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer during the training session for
Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks horses Thursday morning. A lifelong resident
of Louisville, Romans will be seeking his first Kentucky Derby success.
“A lot is
being made about me being from Louisville. But it wouldn’t mean any more to me
than anyone else in this game,” Romans said. “Once you come into this game,
walk through the gate at any racetrack and starting taking care of horses,
you’ve got to be thinking about Kentucky Derby. It would mean as much to the
Japanese who came over here to go back home and say, ‘Konnichiwa, everybody,’
and wave the trophy.”
Cause has given his trainer a lot of confidence about his Derby chances.
peaking at the right time; he’s as good right now as he could possibly be; he’s
extremely sound; he likes this racetrack; he’s won over this racetrack; he’s
beaten a 14-horse field; he’s beaten an 11-horse field; he was third in a
14-horse field; he’s not a plodding closer; he’s an accelerating closer,
from the half-mile pole to the quarter pole in the Blue Grass and passed –
what? – 10 horses? I thought it was pretty amazing. He’s not one who’s going to
be a victim of horses stopping in front of him. He’s one who, when he’s ready,
he’ll catch up to them.
race, what I’ve seen all the times I’ve tried it, acceleration is important.
When the hole opens, you can get through it. He can get to it quickly. There
will be trouble for anyone passing horses,” Romans added. “Those horses that
can accelerate can get to the spot the jockey wants them and won’t get in
CREATOR/GUN RUNNER – Trainer Steve
Asmussen sent WinStar Farm's Creator and Winchell Thoroughbreds and
Three Chimneys Farm's Gun Runner to the starting gate for schooling
after the renovation break Thursday. For exercise, the colts galloped.
Asmussen said that the
colts, "to this point,'' have behaved well at the gate. "The Derby
and that many runners, and both of them drawn considerably inside, it's going
to test their patience,'' he said.
Creator will break from
post position three and Gun Runner drew post five in the 20-horse Derby field.
Since the draw Wednesday, Asmussen said, he has been envisioning race scenarios
and trying to come up with the best strategies for both colts.
"Nothing but,'' he
said. "Nothing but. Simulate it in your head. You know, who's where and
who's doing what? You know, tendencies. Then go back and watch the replays of
them. See if there's a reason they were where they were.''
And there are two more
days to gather information and form plans. "Overanalyze it to say the
least,'' Asmussen said.
DANZING CANDY – Trainer
Cliff Sise Jr. continues to be pleased with Danzing Candy’s training
and schooling sessions as the big day nears.
settled in right away, and has been perfect,” Sise said Thursday morning before
sending out the colt for a gallop under Rolando Quinones and to stand in the
gate. “This weather is cold for us, but for the horses, they like it.”
wouldn’t be the word to describe post 20 the front-runner drew for the Derby,
but Sise and jockey Mike Smith prefer to put a positive spin on it.
texted me yesterday and said, ‘Well, it’s better than one,’ ” Sise said. “We’ll
just let (Danzing Candy) do his thing, which means go to the front, because
it’s really up to the owner (Ted Aroney) and he’s a kind of a speed-bias type
of owner. If it were up to me, I would lay second, because Nyquist has
Halo Farms co-owns Danzing Candy with Jim and Dianne Bashor. Aroney bred
Danzing Candy from his dam, Talkin and Singing. The colt’s sire is Twirling
Candy, a son of Candy Ride.
to my other 2-year-olds early last year, I (ranked Danzing Candy), at
times, second, third, or maybe fourth,” Aroney said this week. “He started to
come around in July, and then he became No. 1, without even making his first
after the Santa Anita Derby, he kept getting better and better and better. I
wouldn’t run him if he didn’t have a chance; and I think he has a good chance.”
Candy, who is 15-1 in the morning-line odds, was scheduled to school in the
paddock Thursday during the first race.
DESTIN/OUTWORK – The Todd
Pletcher-trained duo of Destin and Outwork were trackside at 8:30
Thursday morning to take advantage of Churchill Downs’ special Derby/Oaks
training period. It was chilly and it had rained earlier and the track
had gone from “wet-fast” early to “good,” but the two colts and their showcase
training partners warmed things up noticeably.
With exercise rider Ovel Merida in the saddle on Destin and Hector Ramos aboard
Outwork, the two moved handily over the track for solid gallops of a mile and
The evening before they had drawn posts for Saturday’s $2,391,600 Kentucky
Derby (GI) with Destin being slotted in post nine and Outwork in post 15.
Pletcher spoke to the fact that it appears that the way the Derby horses drew,
the majority of the “speed” horses – which would include Outwork – have drawn
outside in the 20-horse field.
“It looks like the speed is on the outside and most of the deep closers have
drawn inside,” the trainer said. “That certainly is something that has to be
considered coming up to the race. I’ll have my thoughts on what I think should
be our race strategy and my riders (Javier Castellano on Destin and John
Velazquez on Outwork) will have their ideas, too. They’ll be riding (other)
horses for me during (Saturday) and walking back after races we can discuss
what we’re likely to do for the Derby. Waiting until then gives us the extra
advantage of seeing how the track is playing that afternoon, which is another factor
that has to be considered. We’ll work up a plan; we’ll get it figured out.”
EXAGGERATOR – The Santa Anita Derby (GI) winner Exaggerator
headed to the track at 8:30 a.m. Thursday to train with other Derby and Oaks
contenders. Trainer Keith Desormeaux’s dark son of Curlin had exercise rider
Peedy Landry attached and the two did a double “wrong way” jog around the
Among those watching the two-mile exercise was one of the colt’s owners, Matt
Bryan, who is the “big chief” in the Big Chief Racing stable.
“You dream about this,” the tall Texan said. “It is a blessing. If you’re in
the horse business, this is where you want to be. Just to be in the Derby is
great. And then to have a horse that has a real chance to win (Exaggerator is
the 8-1 second choice in the 20-horse Derby field), that is so special.”
Bryan recalled his initial meeting with Desormeaux at a horse sale in Texas in
“Keith was there trying to pick one out and I saw how hard he was working,”
Bryan remembered. “I think I have a bit of a gift to be able to read people and
I just got a really good vibe off him. We were together for about 30 minutes
and in that time I just knew he was the guy I was looking for. I grew up around
horses; not Thoroughbreds, but work horses, Quarter Horses. I know a bit about
them. And I could tell that Keith knew a lot about them and that he had an eye
for them. I saw the way he looked at horses, how focused he was. I knew he was
good. So I signed on with him and the first horse we bought – Ive Struck a
Nerve – turned into a stakes winner. We bought others (including
Exaggerator, of course) and now I think I’ve got about 20 horses with him.
“And one of the nicest parts of all this is that Keith has become one of my
best friends. I like him so much and the team and family he has here at the
barn. It’s just all so good.”
Exaggerator will break from post 11 Saturday in Kentucky Derby 142 and be
ridden by three-time Derby winner (and Keith’s brother) Kent Desormeaux.
LAOBAN – McCormick Racing LLC and
Southern Equine Stable’s Laoban, the first horse on the Kentucky Derby
also-eligible list, jogged two miles Thursday after the renovation break while
accompanied by a pony. As Laoban is stabled in trainer Wes Hawley’s Barn 20,
Guillot used his host’s exercise rider, Eric Scherer, for the jog.
Barn 20 and
stall 15, where Laoban is residing, is the same accommodations used by 2014 Kentucky
Derby winner California Chrome.
defection at the 9 a.m. Friday scratch time for the Derby, Laoban will be on a
10 a.m. van bound for Keeneland, which is where he has been stabled this
spring. The Preakness is the backup plan, and Guillot said the fourth-place
finisher in the Blue Grass (GI) may go to Pimlico as early as next Tuesday.
meant to be, it’s meant to be,” said Guillot, who never has started a horse in
the Derby. “He’ll run past his odds if he gets in.”
If he does
secure a spot in the starting gate, Laoban, who is 50-1 in the morning line,
will race without blinkers, equipment the front-runner has worn in four of his
five career starts.
getting him to relax,” Guillot said. “I’ve been working him behind horses.”
LANI – Koji Maeda’s Lani returned to the
track Thursday morning for a half-hour exercise under exercise rider Eishu
Maruuchi for trainer Mikio Matsunaga.
Lani came on the track at the five-eighths gap, walked to the head of the
stretch and jogged around for his first lap. Lani combined a jog and a gallop
on his second circuit, galloped a third circuit and part of a fourth before
slowing at the three-quarter pole and turning right to walk in the mile chute
before walking back to the gap on which he entered the track.
“I have seen him many mornings here and today was his best form,” Matsunaga
Lani, winner of the UAE Derby (Group II) in his most recent start, drew post
position eight for Saturday’s Run for the Roses and will be ridden by Yutaka
Take. Lani was listed at 30-1 on the morning line.
Matsunaga has had Lani visit the starting gate twice in the past week, but has
no paddock schooling planned for his runner.
“He has raced at several courses in Japan and behaved well, so I am not
concerned,” Matsunaga said. “He has a strong mind of himself. He may get
aggressive when horses come to him, but in the race he always concentrates. If
horses don’t want to be around him that is good for the horse.”
With an early 10:30 a.m. post time Friday, training hours will be from 5:45-8
a.m. with the 5:45-6 slot reserved for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks horses.
Matsunaga indicated that Lani would take advantage of the reserved time Friday.
Mansunaga was not fazed by his colt’s longshot status.
“Someone has to make the odds, but that doesn’t matter to me,” Matsunaga said.
MAJESTO – Grupo 7C Racing
Stable’s Majesto was sent to the Churchill Downs track Thursday morning
for an easy gallop.
very, very happy,” trainer Gustavo Delgado said. “He went very easy. He had his
open gallop (Tuesday), he doesn’t need to do more.”
Derby (GI) runner-up drew the No. 18 post and was rated at 30-1 in the morning
to be inside more, but what can I do?” Delgado said. “But you don’t know what
will happen. Anything can happen.”
reported that jockey Emisael Jaramillo is scheduled to arrive in Louisville
MOHAYMEN – Shadwell Stable’s Mohaymen
galloped once around the Churchill Downs track Thursday morning.
superintendent and his crew have again done a great job. We were able to gallop
after the break. We changed up today and went off to the right and just went
once around, because it was a little wet,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “He
went great. He wasn’t too keen. We had another great morning.”
who had won his first five races before sustaining his first loss in a
fourth-place finish in the Florida Derby (GI) at Gulfstream Park April 2, will
be looking to rebound from post 14 Saturday.
outside horse (Danzing Candy) and Mike Smith are probably going to have
to go to clear. Hopefully, we break good and follow Nyquist and him and
see how it unfolds,” McLaughlin said. “We won’t be too far away – stalking from
MOR SPIRIT – Michael
Petersen's Mor Spirit, runner-up in the Santa Anita Derby (GI) in his
most recent start, galloped once around the Churchill track for the second
straight day under exercise rider George Alvarez during the special 8:30 a.m.
well,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said. “I'm happy with him. He's a nice
horse. He's just as good as any of them here.”
Eskendereya ridgling drew post position 17 Wednesday night, a spot that has yet
to produce a Kentucky Derby winner in the 141-year history of the race.
time I had post 17, it was with Gary Stevens and Point Given (in 2001),”
Baffert said. “And, we all know how that turned out. But, it wasn't the post
that got him beat that day. We'll just have to make history again this year.”
and Stevens, who will be aboard Mor Spirit on Saturday, did go on to win the
Preakness (GI) and Belmont Stakes (GI) as well as Horse of the Year after finishing
fifth as the 9-5 favorite in the Kentucky Derby.
MO TOM – G M B Racing's Mo Tom, with exercise
rider Mario Garcia aboard, jogged to the starting gate for schooling before
having a short gallop. On Friday, he'll gallop his usual two miles, trainer Tom
The colt was to go to
the gate Wednesday, but Amoss said he called a last-minute audible. "I
ended up changing my mind, because I was schooling him in the paddock, and I
didn't want to throw too much at him.'' he said.
Corey Lanerie, Mo Tom's
jockey, said he's grateful to have retained the mount. Lanerie's status was
uncertain after the Louisiana Derby (GII), in which Mo Tom had a troubled
stretch run. Lanerie tried to move him along the rail, but couldn't find
running room. Mo Tom had to be checked for about a sixteenth of a mile and
After the race, Amoss
strongly chewed out Lanerie, and in newspaper reports, Amoss put the blame
squarely on the jockey.
"Like I tell
everybody, the minute I came back on the horse, I wanted to get under a rock,''
Lanerie said. "And I could hear Tom, and I was just like, 'You know what
Tom, give me what you've got. I'm sorry. There's nothing I could do. It's my
fault. I don't remember what he said. ...
“I told that to him. I
don't know if he heard it, but he's hollering. ... I was so embarrassed with
myself for what had happened and for all the connections. I was so sorry for
them. And I couldn't take it back and go do it again. So, I was heartbroken and
embarrassed. I was in another world. I didn't hear him. I know he was mad and
hollering, but I didn't know what he said.''
Back in the jockeys'
room, Lanerie received a text from Amoss, who apologized for his outburst.
"But like I told him, he really didn't have to do that, because, anybody
in my life will tell you, I'm not a mean person,'' Lanerie said. "I give
everybody all kind of options and look at things from the other side. It's not
going to change our relationship. If he never rides me on another horse, I'll
play golf with him next week or do whatever. Tom's a great guy and a great
trainer, and he's been really helpful in my career.''
Mo Tom also had
encountered traffic trouble in the stretch in the Risen Star (GII). Bistraya
crossed toward the rail in front of him and Lanerie had to check Mo Tom
sharply. He finished a close third.
everybody says, twice; I did it to him twice,'' Lanerie said. "The first
time was not my fault at all.''
Amoss agrees that
Lanerie wasn't at fault in the Risen Star. "He did nothing wrong,'' Amoss
But the Louisiana Derby
was different, Lanerie said. "I really hadn't moved yet, and I ended up in
a bad spot,'' he said. "I watch the replay, and I don't know how I ended
up there. But it's only really been one time where I might have made a bad choice.
So, we all make mistakes, and I know the horse. I don't blame them for sticking
with me, but if they would not have, I could not be mad at them one bit. I'm
human. My dad trains. I could have been on the other side of the fence. ... You
can see them going somewhere else. But thank God, they didn't.''
Amoss said that as he
was driving to Louisville on the Monday after the Louisiana Derby, he and
Lanerie talked by telephone and tried to figure out how Lanerie could stay on
Mo Tom. Emotions had cooled.
"I know the media
played it out for a long time after that, but Corey had other horses to ride in
preps, and so we didn't want to say, ‘Corey's our rider’, and have Corey tell
us, 'Listen, you know, I'm going to do something different.' So we wanted to
wait for Corey. ... That's why we didn't say anything.''
Lanerie said that his
non-combative response to the situation probably helped him stay on the horse.
Also, Lanerie said, his success at Churchill Downs probably helped him, too.
"We all make
mistakes, and I've done really well at Churchill, obviously,'' Lanerie said.
"If I hadn't been leading rider here 10 times, I'm sure I wouldn't be on
the horse. But I've done really well here.''
Amoss said: "It's
a huge advantage. You know, people are like, 'Are you going to tell him not to
go to the inside?' I'm not going to tell him anything. Corey knows how to ride
a horse. I watched him win on the rail yesterday. If that's where he chooses to
go, he thinks it's the best move.''
Lanerie, who will be
riding in the Derby for the second time, finished 16th on Harry's Holiday in
2014. Mo Tom is a much different animal, Lanerie said.
"I only rode the
Derby once, so it's easy to say it's my best chance, but I really think he has
a real good chance,'' he said. "In my mind, he's one of the favorites.
Besides what Nyquist has done, I think it's wide-open, and, you know, I
really haven't had a chance to see his quarter of a mile run, except for in the
MY MAN SAM/SHAGAF – Trainer Chad Brown's Kentucky Derby duo followed their usual
routine of going to the track to gallop 1 3/8 miles Thursday during the special
8:30 a.m. training time. Daniel Bernardini was on My Man Sam and Gian
Cueva was on Shagaf.
Wednesday evening, My Man Sam drew post position six and Shagaf got the 16
hole. Both positions were just fine with Brown.
with them,” Brown said. “I was hoping for more of inside post for My Man Sam
and I wanted more of an outside post for Shagaf. He's just a big, steady moving
horses and I don't want him losing his momentum once he gets to running. He
should be OK from the 16.”
NYQUIST – The Kentucky Derby morning-line
favorite Nyquist was in the sizable grouping of Derby/Oaks horses who
slipped through the six-furlong gap on the Churchill Downs’ backside Thursday
morning at 8:30 to take advantage of a cleared racetrack for a bit of training.
He was led out by assistant trainer Jack Sisterson on a pony with regular
exercise rider Jonny Garcia in the tack.
Trainer Doug O’Neill and a sizable contingent of the Nyquist “family” --
including owner Paul Reddam – watched the bay colt set out on his own and
accomplish a gallop of a mile and three-eighths in strong fashion.
On Saturday, the man in the saddle for Nyquist will be Mario Gutierrez, the
same fellow who piloted the Reddam-owned and O’Neill-trained I’ll Have
Another to Derby glory in 2012.
What, O’Neill was asked, did the I’ll Have Another experience in Derby 138 do
for him coming up to this year’s Derby 142?
“It has allowed me to not be overwhelmed this time,” O’Neill said. “We found
out that time that we had success doing what we’d been doing all along. It
worked. So we’re just doing that again – same patterns, same style. We just
want to stay on course. That’s what’s going to work. We know that now.”
OSCAR NOMINATED – Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Spiral (GIII) winner Oscar
Nominated galloped at 8:30 Thursday morning with exercise rider Joel
Barrientos at the controls. The son of Kitten’s Joy, a $200,000 supplemental
nominee, arrived from nearby Trackside Training Center on Wednesday, and
Thursday marked his first day on the Churchill track, although the colt had his
final work for the big dance here April 29.
Back at the
barn after Oscar Nominated’s Thursday training session, trainer Mike Maker,
said it was business as usual for his 50-1 Derby entrant.
“Didn’t see anything that we don’t
see every day from him — nice, smooth action,” Maker said.
Oscar Nominated will be Maker’s
ninth Kentucky Derby starter and his fourth for the Ramseys.
“Ken’s enthusiasm is contagious —
what a fun ride we have had together,” Maker said of the 13 years he has
trained for the loquacious owner.
SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS – Trainer Donnie Von
Hemel and jockey Luis Quinonez have teamed for a lot of races together over the
past 20 years, but Saturday will be biggest one when Quinonez rides the Von
Hemel-trained Suddenbreakingnews in his first Kentucky Derby.
the two have won 202 races together, including such graded stakes as the
Southwest Stakes (GIII) with Suddenbreakingnews, the Azeri Stakes (GII) with Gold
Medal Dancer and Oaklawn Handicap (GII) and Pimlico Special (GIII) with Alternation.
proven to be a very good jockey,” Von Hemel said. “He has a good, level head.
He can tell you a lot about a horse. He's always been known as a strong
finisher, which fits well with this horse. This race won't be too big for him.”
owned by Texan Samuel F. Henderson, continued to prepare for his start in the
Kentucky Derby by galloping 1 ½ miles Thursday morning under regular exercise
rider Ramiro Gorostieta.
TOM’S READY – G M B Racing's Tom's Ready,
with exercise rider Emerson Chavez aboard, galloped a mile and a half Thursday
after the renovation break.
Trainer Dallas Stewart
said he's relieved that in the post draw Wednesday Tom's Ready avoided landing
in one of the inside three positions. He drew No. 12.
"When the one,
two, three are sitting down in there, you're sitting there like, 'We've got to
get by this,' '' Stewart said. "The maiden (Trojan Nation) gets the
one. Now the two's laying out there. And somebody jumped in the three. Then
they call out the 12, and your name goes out, and you go, ‘Whew. I'll take it.'
"The horse just
needs to get out of the gate good, get a position, hopefully not get in
trouble. A lot of things can happen with a 20-horse field. Don't kid
Stewart said he's
expecting a fast pace.
"Mohaymen is going
to rock and roll,'' he said. "I think he'll rock and roll. If you work in
:46, :47 in the morning, you can look for that in the afternoon, in my
Positioning for Tom's
Ready, of course, will be up to jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.
"You just have to
leave it up to him,'' Stewart said. "You can't over-coach him. ... You
just have to let it play out. I don't want him to be thinking (too much). I
hired him to do the job. He knows how to get it done.''
TROJAN NATION – The big Street Cry
colt Trojan Nation went out during the special Derby/Oaks training
period at 8:30 Thursday morning just two days ahead of his attempt to become
the first non-winning winner of the Kentucky Derby in 83 years.
Trainer Paddy Gallagher had exerciser rider Andy Durnin take the Kentucky-bred
maiden for a mile and one-half gallop on the Churchill strip. They reported
back to Barn 41 in good order following the exercise.
Trojan Nation drew post number one for the mile and a quarter test Saturday,
which is sort of a “good news/bad news” thing in the trainer’s mind.
“I don’t mind the post at all for position,” Gallagher said Thursday. “We’re
going to come from the back anyway, so we’re on the rail right away and able to
save ground. But I don’t like the fact that we’ll load first and will have to
wait for everyone else to come in. But what are you going to do? That’s horse
WHITMORE – Earlier in the
week, trainer Ron Moquett used the word “happy” to describe his second straight
Kentucky Derby starter and that continues to be the case, although Whitmore
is putting more of a game face on each day.
me up. He's all attitude,” said Moquett, who described how Whitmore threw him a
warning kick Thursday morning when he was in his stall. “It's got to be his
way. If we get the trip, they're going to know who we are after the race.”
accompanied by a stablemate, galloped one mile under Laura Moquett during the
special 8:30 a.m. training session and also schooled in the paddock during this
KENTUCKY OAKS NOTES
CATHRYN SOPHIA – Cathryn
Sophia’s owner, Chuck Zackney, was on hand to watch his filly gallop
Thursday morning after the renovation break, her final track session in her
preparation for tomorrow’s Kentucky Oaks.
Servis trainee, who was reluctant to exit the track after her Wednesday
training session, was escorted off the track by a pony on Thursday without
Afleet Alex fame, said he hasn’t run a horse at Churchill Downs since Afleet
Alex finished third in the 2005 Derby. Afleet Alex, who was co-owned by
Zackney, went on to win the Preakness (GI) and Belmont (GI).
was named for his son, Alex, and Zackney has continued that tradition of naming
horses for relatives. Cathryn Sophia is named after Zackney’s 19-year-old
niece, a freshman at Rowan University in New Jersey.
actually going to be the first time Cathryn has seen her race,” Zackney said.
“Everybody is really excited. I think we have about 20 people out here.”
said he really tries to gauge a horse’s ability before attaching someone’s name
to the horse.
John (Servis) if he thought this filly had a little bit of talent,” Zackney
said. “I told John I wanted to name her after my niece, and he said that was a
really good idea. I’m always looking to name horses after people, but I want to
find out how the horses are before I name them. It’s a very tricky business,
and I’ve been burnt several times with horses who haven’t been that
purchased Cathryn Sophia, the co-second choice in the Oaks, for $30,000 at
auction and said the daughter of Street Boss completely surpassed his
expectations. The filly enters the Oaks with a record of four wins in five
starts, including the Forward Gal (GII) and Davona Dale (GII). Her sole defeat
came in the Ashland (GI) when she finished third, beaten a half-length.
“This is a
complete surprise,” Zackney said. “We were never expecting to be here at the
Kentucky Oaks. It’s been a dream trip — since Oct. 30, her first race. Other
than the last race, and losing by a couple feet, she has been perfect. We’re
very optimistic; she has been training well and we’re happy with her post. We
have our fingers crossed for tomorrow.”
DOTHRAKI QUEEN – Magdalena Racing’s Dothraki
Queen galloped a little less than a mile and half under Erin Walker shortly
after the track opened for training at 5:45 a.m.
Dothraki Queen is on the also-eligible list for the Kentucky Oaks and would
need one defection by scratch time at 9 a.m. Friday to make the race. Should
she run, she would be ridden by Gary Stevens.
Dothraki Queen won her first start at Churchill Downs in September in the
Pocahontas (GII) and was placed third in the Golden Rod (GII) in November.
“If she gets in, I’d like to see her get comfortable,” trainer Kenny McPeek
said. “Have a decent pace and have something to run at. They are not going to
worry about us.”
DREAM DANCE – Stoneway Farm’s Dream Dance
was on the track shortly after 6 o’clock Thursday morning to gallop a mile and
three-eighths under Joel Dominguez.
“I wanted to get her out early when the track was good,” trainer Neil Howard
said of his filly who galloped on a track labeled as “wet-fast.”
Brian Hernandez Jr. will be aboard Dream Dance in her quest for her first
“She has her work cut out for her,” Howard said. “I’d like to see her take
advantage of the (early) speed.”
GO MAGGIE GO – Mike Tarp’s
Go Maggie Go schooled at the starting gate and galloped 1 ½ miles under
exercise rider Tammy Fox Thursday morning at Churchill Downs.
terrific,” Fox said. “She doesn’t act like a horse that’s run only twice. She’s
very mature out there. She acts like an older horse. She does nothing wrong.
She’s very professional out there.”
late-developing Dale Romans-trained filly broke her maiden in her March 13
debut at Gulfstream Park by four lengths before scoring by 2 ¼ lengths in the
Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) April 2.
LAND OVER SEA – The chestnut Bellamy
Road filly Land Over Sea was sent trackside at approximately 6:50
Thursday morning for a final bit of exercise before her Friday run in the
Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI).
She had regular exercise rider Jonny Garcia up top and assistant trainer Jack
Sisterson alongside on a pony as they went through the six-furlong gap on the
Churchill Downs’ backstretch. The duo stayed together for a two-mile
“backtracking” tour of the oval, a feat the filly accomplished with vim and
“She’s ready,” Garcia said on the way back to Barn 41.
Her trainer, Doug O’Neill, echoed that thought. “She is ready,” he said. “She
had a good jog this morning. She’s feeling good and doing good. It’s time.”
Since entering stakes company six races back, Land Over Sea has been
stakes-placed four times and won another. The four stakes placings were all in
the wake of champion Songbird. There will be no Songbird tomorrow and
O’Neill and the other Land Over Sea connections – owner Paul Reddam and rider
Mario Gutierrez – will tell you readily they are thankful for that.
Land Over Sea is listed at 5-1 in the track’s morning line and will start from
post 13 in the Oaks.
LEWIS BAY – Gazelle
(GII) winner Lewis Bay changed up her routine slightly Thursday,
training after her Kentucky Derby-bound stablemates My Man Sam and Shagaf
instead of before. She came to the track at 9 a.m. and galloped 1 3/8 miles
under Gian Cueva. “She's doing well,” trainer Chad Brown said. “I'm happy
with all my horses. They all drew good post positions, so we're good.”
drew post three for Friday's Kentucky Oaks.
MO D’AMOUR/RACHEL’S VALENTINA – The pair of
3-year-old fillies trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle in the 142nd
edition of the Kentucky Oaks (GI) Friday had their final bits of exercise
Thursday morning at Churchill Downs, each galloping a mile and a quarter under
exercise rider Amy Mullen.
Mo d’Amour went out with the barn’s two Derby colts – Destin and Outwork
– during the 8:30 special training period allotted for Derby and Oaks
horses. Rachel’s Valentina had put in her high stepping at 6:30.
Both galloped strongly, especially so in the case of Rachel’s Valentina, who
has seemed to get stronger in her drills as the week has gone along.
Pletcher has captured the Oaks three times already -- with Ashado in
2004, Rags to Riches in 2007 and Princess of Sylmar in
2013. He was asked if R