Grade 2 hero Enticed breezed five furlongs in 1:00.25 over the fast dirt at Palm Meadows Training Center under exercise rider Jason Eracia on Thursday ahead of an expected start in the May 5 Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs.
“He worked great,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “I am very happy with and he has done well (since the Wood Memorial [G2]).”
It was the second move from the Godolphin homebred since he ran second as the 6-5 favorite in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 7. The well-traveled son of Medaglia d’Oro headed back to McLaughlin’s Palm Meadows base in Florida following that effort to begin his preparations for the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby.
Enticed boasts a win over the track at Churchill, capturing the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) as a juvenile last November. He was fourth to open his sophomore campaign in the February 3 Holy Bull Stakes (G2) next out at Gulfstream Park and then took the Gotham Stakes (G3) prior to his second in the Wood Memorial most recently.
Stablemate Take Charge Paula breezed an in-company five-eighths in 1:01 under Rob Massey at Palm Meadows on Thursday to ready for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 4.
“She did everything right,” McLaughlin said of the drill in which Take Charge Paula was outfitted in blinkers. “She had worked in blinkers before, but that will be an equipment change (for the Oaks).”
The well-traveled daughter of Take Charge Indy began her career with trainer Kelly Breen, scoring in three stakes at Delaware Park, Laurel Park and Gulfstream Park as well as a second in the Matron Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park last year.
Sent to McLaughlin for her sophomore season, the dark bay miss has thus far scored a 3 1/2-length triumph in the Forward Gal Stakes (G3) and a pair of seconds in the Davona Dale Stakes (G2) and Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2). Take Charge Paula has finished worse than second only once in her nine-race career, with that coming as a 10th in the Pocahontas Stakes (G2) at Churchill last September.
Enticed and Take Charge Paula are scheduled to leave Florida on Sunday and arrive at Churchill on Monday. Junior Alvarado, who has ridden Enticed in five of his six starts, has the Derby call on the colt. Jose Ortiz, aboard Take Charge Paula in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, retains the mount for the Oaks.
Also preparing for the Kentucky Oaks on Thursday was My Miss Lilly, who readied for her engagement with a half-mile breeze in :48.80 under Emerson Chavez on Churchill Downs’ fast main track Thursday.
The Tapit filly, who worked in company, was caught in splits of :12.40, :24.40 and :36.80. She galloped out five furlongs in 1:02.40
“I told him to go between 48 and 49,” trainer Mark Hennig said. “It was good to see a fast track and I was very happy with it. Just wanted her to stretch her legs.
“Our work is over and we will train normally (up to the Oaks) and hope she is good enough.”
My Miss Lilly exits a half-length victory in the Gazelle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct going the Oaks distance of 1 1/8 miles. Joe Bravo has been tabbed to ride the Courtlandt Farms colorbearer in the Oaks.
More Derby hopefuls will take to Churchill Downs’ track on Friday, including trainer Todd Pletcher’s four contenders – Audible, Magnum Moon, Noble Indy and Vino Rosso. Conditioner Tom Amoss has Louisiana Derby (G2) runner-up Lone Sailor scheduled to work under the Twin Spires as well.
“They all galloped well and it was nice to see a fast track,” Pletcher said of his quartet, who all galloped 1 3/8 miles during Thursday’s training window for Derby and Oaks hopefuls.
“They all have different personalities. We are not looking to set any track records, just good maintenance works. Three of them will work at 7:30 (a.m. [ET]): Javier Castellano will be on Audible, John Velazquez on Vino Rosso and Nick (Bush) on Magnum Moon. Noble Indy will work at 9 o’clock with Florent Geroux up.”
Luis Saez is the Derby rider for Magnum Moon and Pletcher said there was a “good chance” Florent Geroux would wind up on Noble Indy.
Set to work for the Oaks at Churchill on Friday morning is Heavenhasmynikki for trainer Anthony Quartarolo.
In other Kentucky Derby news, owner John Oxley has pledged to donate 1 percent of the Kentucky Derby’s winning purse to the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation should his contender, Flameaway, win the 144th edition of the Run for the Roses. The pledge also extends to the Preakness Stakes (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1), should Flameaway compete in either of the other two Triple Crown races.
“Mr. Oxley has been a bulwark of important financial support for the benefit of all horses through his repeated generosity to Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation,” said Edward L. Bowen, the foundation’s president. “In addition to donating 1 percent of Monarchos’ winning purse (from his 2011) Derby (win), the Oxley Foundation established a $1 million challenge match over four years, which resulted in combined donations of more than $2 million for Grayson.
“We are so appreciative of owners who use their racing successes to give back and contribute to the health and soundness of equines.”