Pioneerof the Nile gets his first taste of an off track
Over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs on Monday, Santa Anita Derby (G1) hero PIONEEROF THE NILE (Empire Maker) galloped a little more than 1 1/2 miles with exercise rider George Alvarez up after the renovation break.
"He goes well over everything, but today was his first time on slop," trainer Bob Baffert said. "He's got a big, long stride. He seems to be more focused here than at Santa Anita."
Baffert, who has won the Kentucky Derby three times, plans to work Pioneerof the Nile on Tuesday morning.
"I might wait until Wednesday, but the track was OK today and I don't see a problem," Baffert said. "He's pretty ready. Then he would come back next Monday or Tuesday."
Baffert's most recent Kentucky Derby win was in 2002 with War Emblem. He enjoyed his first Kentucky Derby success in 1997 with Silver Charm and won again the following year with Real Quiet.
"Coming in that gate and seeing the Twin Spires with a contender, it's like 'Here we are!' There are a lot of great memories," Baffert said. "I am going to have fun. You've got to appreciate it, because you never know when you will be back."
Baffert said the key question with any Kentucky Derby horse is whether they can handle the 1 1/4-mile distance.
"The distance is what separates a lot of them and that is one thing I love about this horse is the distance will not be a problem," Baffert said. "People ask me to compare horses but he is maybe like Real Quiet, I knew he'd get the mile and a quarter."
El Camino Real Derby (G3) winner CHOCOLATE CANDY (Candy Ride [Arg]) visited the paddock and then galloped 1 1/2 miles with exercise rider Lindsey Molina up.
Galen May, assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, said Chocolate Candy would work Tuesday morning, most likely after the break.
"We are going to work all of them tomorrow," May said referring to Rendezvous (Victory Gallop), who is being pointed to Saturday's Derby Trial (G3), and Sugar Mint (Ire) (High Chaparral [Ire]), a candidate for the May 2 Humana Distaff (G1) or Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2).
The Godolphin duo of REGAL RANSOM (Distorted Humor) and DESERT PARTY (Street Cry [Ire]), the respective top two from the U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2), jogged Monday morning with exercise rider Bob Chapman handling the duties on both. Regal Ransom was the first colt out shortly after the track opened at 6 a.m. (EDT) and Desert Party followed about an hour later.
Rick Mettee, assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor, is due to be back in Louisville. Kentucky, on Wednesday. Henry Spiller is overseeing morning training in Mettee's absence.
Smarty Jones S. victor FLAT OUT (Flatter) galloped 1 3/4 miles under exercise rider Walter Aguilar early Monday morning.
Trainer Charles "Scooter" Dickey remains hopeful Flat Out can get into the Kentucky Derby (G1) field despite having only $32,500 in graded stakes earnings. If Flat Out does not make the Derby field, Dickey said "there are three or four options out there, but we haven't made a decision."
Lane's End S. (G2) runner-up FLYING PRIVATE (Fusaichi Pegasus) galloped Monday morning under exercise rider Taylor Carty. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said that the son of the 2000 Kentucky Derby winner would likely work Tuesday morning, "weather permitting."
Robby Albarado has been named to ride Flying Private in Kentucky Derby 135.
Owner-trainer Tom McCarthy sent Blue Grass S. (G1) winner GENERAL QUARTERS (Sky Mesa) out for a 1 1/2-mile gallop under exercise rider Julie Sheets.
"He had a slow gallop over a muddy racetrack," McCarthy said. "I didn't see too many going fast out there this morning."
Wood Memorial S. (G1) hero I WANT REVENGE (Stephen Got Even) had a leisurely stroll through the barn area while some maintenance work was being done on the track Monday morning.
"Just doing a little trail riding," said Bobby Troeger, assistant to trainer Jeff Mullins.
After the "trail riding" was complete, I Want Revenge jogged in the mile chute and then galloped one mile under former jockey Joe Deegan. I Want Revenge is scheduled to work Tuesday morning after the renovation break with jockey Joe Talamo coming in for the work.
Illinois Derby (G2) winner MUSKET MAN (Yonaguska) jogged early Monday morning with exercise rider Salvador Dominguez up.
Trainer Derek Ryan, who never has started a horse at Churchill Downs, said Musket Man "probably would work Saturday, weather permitting."
Arkansas Derby (G2) victor PAPA CLEM (Smart Strike) walked the shedrow at Barn 10A, a day after working five furlongs in 1:04 3/5 on Sunday.
Grade 3 winner WEST SIDE BERNIE (Bernstein) galloped 1 3/4 miles with trainer Kelly Breen up.
"I don't think he will breeze until next week," Breen said.
Stewart Elliott, who rode West Side Bernie to his victory in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (G3) and his runner-up effort in the Wood Memorial last time out, is slated has the Derby riding assignment.
Two prospective Kentucky Derby starters are scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Tuesday, according to Director of Stalls Mike Hargrave.
Breeders' Futurity (G1) romper SQUARE EDDIE (Smart Strike), third in last Saturday's Lexington S. (G2) at Keeneland, is scheduled to arrive Tuesday afternoon.
Canadian champion juvenile MINE THAT BIRD (Birdstone) is due in Tuesday night after vanning from Sunland Park.
Arkansas Derby third SUMMER BIRD (Birdstone) is expected to arrive at Churchill Downs on Wednesday.
Coming Thursday are Santa Anita Derby third MR. HOT STUFF (Tiznow) and Rebel S. (G2) winner WIN WILLY (Monarchos), most recently fourth in the Arkansas Derby. Mr. Hot Stuff recorded a six-furlong work over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride on Monday, coming home in 1:12 1/5.
Lane's End victor HOLD ME BACK (Giant's Causeway) is at Keeneland and will move into Bill Mott's Barn 19 when he ships to Churchill Downs.
Louisiana Derby (G2) hero FRIESAN FIRE (A.P. Indy) is expected to arrive Friday afternoon.
Not expected to arrive until April 28 are Florida Derby (G1) winner QUALITY ROAD (Elusive Quality) and runner-up DUNKIRK (Unbridled's Song).
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