At the request of owner Mike Repole, Pletcher held back his Oaks
In the 6 a.m. session, Charming
Pletcher’s other Derby colts showed good energy in their training efforts and the conditioner gave them all a thumbs
Unbeaten Wood Memorial winner Verrazano, listed as the 4-1 second choice in the
Derby morning line, covered 1 3/8 miles under exercise rider Humberto
Louisiana Derby winner Revolutionary galloped 1 1/4 miles
for Nick Bush, while Arkansas Derby hero Overanalyze went the same distance
for Obed Perez. Finally, Blue Grass second-place finisher Palace
Malice galloped his 10 furlongs under Jake Nelson.
The trainer re-emphasized he was quite happy with the Derby post draws for
his colts (Revolutionary in post 3; Overanalyze in 9; Palace Malice in 10;
Verrazano in 14, and Charming Kitten in 15.) and then answered a question
about possible rain and the effects of an “off” track on his runners.
“The possibility of rain doesn’t
change anything we’ll do with them getting ready for the race,” he said. “That
will all be exactly the same.
“As to how they might do, well, none of them have
any experience on an ‘off’ track. I’ve never breezed one of them on one; just
never had the opportunity to.
Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents continued to move
The bay son of Into Mischief first
Krigger, the only rider the horse has known in his six-race career, will
O’Neill had recovered from his
“Someone said they’d heard I’d shot 71,” O’Neill said. “I said ‘Yeah,
“But that’s a beautiful golf course — world class. Even though I don’t play much golf, it was a treat to play there.
With rain forecast for Derby Day and
the possibility of an “off” track looming, O’Neill was asked how he thought his
charge might handle such conditions.
“Well, he’s never raced on an ‘off’
track, so you can’t be sure about that,” he said. “But we breezed him on a wet
track that had been sealed one time this spring at Santa Anita and he skipped
right over it. He’s a sure-footed horse and nothing seems to bother him.
“And from what I know about this
track, it handles water real well. As long as we don’t have any gushers just
before or during the race, I think we’ll all be all right.”
Newtown Anner Stud, James Covello and Joseph Bulger’s Falling
Sky galloped 1 3/8 miles under exercise rider Cassie Garcea “as good as we could
want it,” trainer John Terranova reported.
“Obviously with all of them, and with him, maybe more so from what we’ve seen,
Terranova may have lingering doubts about the Derby distance, but he remains
“We’ve obviously got some concerns, but at this point, I wouldn’t have changed
“I think the post (13) is fine. We drew outside some
Luis Saez, who won an allowance race at Gulfstream aboard Falling Sky in
December, has the Derby mount.
Charles Fipke’s Golden Soul hasn’t raced on an off track, and
trainer Dallas Stewart said Thursday that he’d prefer dry conditions for the
“I think most trainers are looking at the weather,” Stewart said. “I don’t know,
are we fretting? Are we concerned? It is what it is, as they say. But I hope
Golden Soul, by Perfect Soul out of Hollywood Gold by Mr. Prospector, hasn’t
worked on muddy tracks but has galloped often in mud, Stewart said.
“He’s out of a Mr. Prospector mare. They tend to run well in the mud. Perfect
Souls — I don’t really know.”
The Churchill Downs track handles water well, said Stewart, who is based at the
“It’s the best on training, this and the Fair Grounds, in my opinion.
They do a great job. You know, we’ll just have to see if it rains during the
“If it’s raining while we’re not training or racing, they keep it sealed, and
the water runs off, which is good. We’ll just have to see. Nobody can predict
Golden Soul galloped Thursday under exercise rider Emerson Chavez.
Fipke’s Java’s War and Magic City Thoroughbred Partners’ Frac Daddy both came out during the Derby and Oaks training session for
what trainer Ken McPeek described as “an easy day.”
Arkansas Derby runner-up Frac Daddy — consistently the more aggressive of
the duo this week — jogged one mile and galloped one mile under exercise
rider Hugo Garcia. Meanwhile, Blue Grass winner Java’s War jogged
two miles with exercise rider Marvin Abrego aboard.
Frac Daddy was outfitted with earplugs, which he has worn every day
during training and will also wear to the gate Saturday.
“It’s just to keep him calm,” McPeek
said. “Every now and then he’ll hear a noise and he gets a little spooky. It
helps him to keep quiet. He’ll probably wear them all the way to the gate on
Once Frac Daddy arrives at the gate,
the rider aboard his escort pony will be responsible for removing the earplugs.
In other Derby news:
Sunrise Stable and Partners’ New York-bred colt Giant
Finish arrived at Churchill Downs at 8:48 a.m. Thursday after a 12-hour trip
from the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Maryland.
Ray Handle, assistant to trainer Anthony Dutrow, accompanied Giant
Finish on his journey and led the chestnut son of Frost Giant off truck to his
stall in Barn 42. Handle, 24, stayed with Giant Finish in the back of the truck
and said the colt handled the trip well.
“He was so great about it. Just
professional. That’s how he is about everything,” Handle said. “He’s a cool
Giant Finish was third in the Spiral at Turfway Park on March 23. When a few horses with more qualifying
points were declared from the field this week and Giant Finish moved up to the
20th and final position, the ownership group decided to enter him in the Derby.
While compiling a 2-1-1 record in his
five career starts, Giant Finish has shown that he prefers being on or near the
“He’s a little bit of a one-paced
type of horse,” Handle said. “He doesn’t really get tired, but he doesn’t have a
great kick. He’ll probably be forwardly placed and hopefully he can out-stay
them and be there at the finish.”
Jose Espinoza will ride Giant Finish in the Kentucky Derby.
The Kentucky-bred son of War Front
“He walked this morning and he’ll
Lines of Battle earned his
O’Brien will not attend the Kentucky Derby. He has three starters in the Two