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Papa Clem records five-furlong move at Churchill

Rainy weather didn't keep Papa Clem off the track (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)

PAPA CLEM (Smart Strike), winner of the Arkansas Derby (G2), breezed an easy five furlongs in the rain on Sunday in the Kentucky Derby (G1) contender's first serious training move over the track at Churchill Downs.

Jockey Miguel Mena was in the saddle for the move, which was planned for seven furlongs, but received an official five-furlong clocking of 1:04 3/5. A steady rain was falling as the colt work over a good track and was timed in fractions of :12 2/5 and :38 3/5. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:19.

The breeze ranked 25th out of 28 at the five-furlong distance, but trainer Gary Stute said he was more worried about how much ground Papa Clem actually covered than the time it took to complete the move.

"I didn't care, I just wanted to get seven-eighths in him," Stute said. "It was a little slower than I probably originally wanted. This was just for him to get a feel of the track. I think I had him in 1:30 and change for seven-eighths."

Stute said Papa Clem would have one more work before the May 2 Derby, with Saturday being the most likely day for that move.

Although the Arkansas Derby was the first stakes victory for Papa Clem, he had competed well through the winter against California-based stars PIONEEROF THE NILE (Empire Maker) and I WANT REVENGE (Stephen Got Even). Papa Clem finished between those two in the Robert B. Lewis (G2) over the synthetic Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita on February 7. His only lopsided loss was a runner-up finish to Derby contender FRIESAN FIRE (A.P. Indy) in the Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds, where he finished 7 1/4 lengths back off the winner over a sloppy track.

"I definitely think I've got a shot," Stute said. "I don't think I'm just coming in here to run."

There was one other work by a possible Derby contender on Sunday at Churchill Downs as TAKE THE POINTS (Even the Score) breezed four furlongs in :47 2/5 for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Take the Points worked with a stablemate as he covered the distance in fractions of :12 and :23 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:00 4/5. Horacio De Paz was aboard Take the Points, who worked just after the renovation break.

"He went very well, but I'm not sure where he is going yet," said Mike McCarthy, assistant to Pletcher.

Take the Points has accrued $85,000 in graded stakes earnings, which may not be enough to secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate that is limited to 20 horses. Preference is given to entrants with the total highest earnings in graded stakes races.

The workmate for the Sham (G3) runner-up was Schramsberg (Storm Cat), an unraced three-year-old out of the champion filly Serena's Song (Rahy). The colts finished on even terms and their work times tied as the fastest of 43 moves at the distance.

It was a quiet morning for other Kentucky Derby contenders on the grounds. Here is a rundown of their morning activity:

CHOCOLATE CANDY (Candy Ride [Arg]) galloped 1 1/2 miles shortly after the track opened for training at 6 a.m. (EDT) with exercise rider Lindsey Molina up.

Galen May, who has been an assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer since 2002, said Hollendorfer would be in Louisville on Monday night with a work scheduled for Tuesday for Chocolate Candy, runner-up in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) in his most recent start and the winner of the El Camino Real Derby (G3).

Mike Smith, winner of the 2005 Kentucky Derby on Giacomo, is scheduled to be aboard Chocolate Candy for Tuesday's work at Churchill Downs and will ride him in the Derby.

The Godolphin duo of DESERT PARTY (Street Cry [Ire]) and REGAL RANSOM (Distorted Humor) walked the shedrow at Barn 41 a day after turning in five-furlong works on Saturday.

"They are both doing well and should go back to the track to jog on Monday," said Henry Spiller, deputizing at the barn for Rick Mettee who is scheduled back in Louisville on Wednesday. Mettee is an assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

Regal Ransom was timed in :59 4/5 for his work and Desert Party was clocked in 1:00 1/5. Exercise rider Bob Chapman was aboard for both works.

FLYING PRIVATE (Fusaichi Pegasus) galloped Sunday morning with exercise rider Taylor Carty up. Fifth in the Arkansas Derby (G2) in his most recent start, Flying Private's work schedule is flexible according to trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

"We are pretty much not under the gun here with him because he just ran (on April 11)," Lukas said. "It will depend on the weather, but we have some time to work with."

The Derby riding assignment for Flying Private, who finished second in the Lane's End S. (G2) two starts back, has not been finalized by Lukas.

GENERAL QUARTERS (Sky Mesa) galloped 1 1/2 miles under exercise rider Julie Sheets. Winner of the Blue Grass S. (G1) at Keeneland in his most recent start, General Quarters will have a new rider in the Kentucky Derby in Julien Leparoux. However, owner/trainer Thomas McCarthy said when General Quarters works next, Sheets will be aboard.

"He will probably work Thursday or Friday, depending on what the weather does this week," McCarthy said. "But Julie would handle the work."

I Want Revenge jogged a mile and galloped a mile under Joe Deegan early Sunday morning.

Winner of the Wood Memorial S. (G1) and Gotham (G3) in his past two starts, I Want Revenge is scheduled to have his second Churchill Downs work on Tuesday with jockey Joe Talamo coming in from California for the work.

MUSKET MAN (Yonaguska), winner of the Illinois Derby (G2) and Tampa Bay Derby (G3), walked the shedrow a day after working six furlongs in 1:13 under jockey Eibar Coa.

"It was a good work and I think Eibar was more impressed with the work than the race (in Illinois)," trainer Derek Ryan said. "If it keeps raining like this, I may just shedrow him tomorrow or he'll jog."

Pioneerof the Nile, riding a four-race win streak, galloped Sunday morning under exercise rider George Alverez.

"All of my horses galloped good this morning and we got out there before the heavy rain," said trainer Bob Baffert, who has eight other horses at Churchill in addition to Pioneerof the Nile.

Winner of the Santa Anita Derby (G1) in his most recent start, Pioneerof the Nile worked a half-mile at Santa Anita in :46 1/5 on Wednesday, a day before shipping to Louisville. Baffert said the colt's next work this week would depend on the weather.

WEST SIDE BERNIE (Bernstein), runner-up in the Wood Memorial last out, galloped 1 7/8 miles with trainer Kelly Breen up Sunday morning. Breen has not finalized a work schedule for West Side Bernie, one of six horses Breen has stabled here.

No trainer has served as the exercise rider for a Derby winner since Don Combs got on Dust Commander in 1970 and Johnny Longden the year before on Majestic Prince.


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