Derby Trial win could propel Titletown Five into Kentucky
Saturday’s Grade 3, $175,000
Trial is the final scoring race in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented
by TwinSpires.com,” offering 20 points to the winner as a “wildcard” race, but
Titletown Five is the only member of field under serious consideration for the
Run for the Roses a week later. The D. Wayne Lukas-trained colt will face eight
rivals in the one-mile test.
“He is really a talented horse,” Lukas said. “We got behind the eight-ball,
we took a chip out of his knee, so we were playing catch-up earlier this year.
We didn’t start galloping him until the first week in January, he’s been two or
three months behind the others (stablemates and confirmed Kentucky Derby
starters Oxbow and Will Take Charge). But I do look for a great effort in the
“If he were to win, I don’t know how the Leaderboard will shake out at that
point but it’s going to be close. The (Kentucky Derby) is still very much in the
Titletown Five will move into the 22nd spot on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard
if he wins the Derby Trial, needing a couple of defections to make the field.
The son of Tiznow posted his lone career victory at Churchill Downs last
October, winning a seven-furlong maiden special weight by an overwhelming
nine-length margin, but he didn’t return to the races this year until the March
2 Gazebo at Oaklawn Park, finishing second in the six-furlong test.
The dark bay showed his customary speed when stretching out to two turns in
the March 30 Louisiana Derby but was forced to travel too fast during the early
stages on a blistering pace at Fair Grounds, weakening to ninth. Titletown Five
figures to appreciate the cutback to a one-turn mile on Saturday and will
receive a rider switch to Gary Stevens.
Todd Pletcher will send out a pair of contenders in Capo Bastone and Forty
Capo Bastone was transferred to Pletcher following a rallying third in the
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and opened his sophomore season with an optional claiming
victory at Gulfstream Park on February 16. However, the chestnut colt will be
looking to rebound from a disappointing ninth in the March 23 Spiral on Turfway
Park’s Polytrack. The late-running son of Street Boss will pick up the services
of Garrett Gomez.
Forty Tales won his first two career starts before recording a close second
in the seven-furlong Hutcheson on February 2, but he faltered as the even-money
favorite in the March 2 Swale last out, both stakes attempts coming at
Gulfstream. Joel Rosario, the leading rider at the Keeneland spring meet, will
take over the reins aboard the stalker.
Zee Bros is a runner of interest for Bob Baffert. Second when making his
career bow at Santa Anita on February 9, the Brother Derek colt impressively
broke his maiden last time out over the same oval, notching a field-best 105
BRIS Speed rating for the 2 1/2-length decision. Mike Smith will guide the
Multiple stakes victor Officer Alex brings a two-race win streak into the
Derby Trial for conditioner Lynn Whiting, capturing the April 6 Bachelor at
Oaklawn most recently, and will break from the rail with Robby Albarado. Ruble
is set to make his stakes debut for Ian Wilkes following maiden and optional
claiming wins at Gulfstream and gets Alan Garcia in the saddle.
The remaining contestants are G.T. Tabu, Ruler of Love and Tour Guide.