Derby Notes: Favorite Essential Quality Posts Final Breeze; Get Her Number Won’t Run

Godolphin’s likely Kentucky Derby (G1) favorite Essential Quality worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 early Saturday morning at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., to headline a quintet of hopefuls for the 147th Run for the Roses that put in their final works for the 1 ¼-mile classic.

Also working on a cloudy but pleasant morning beneath the Twin Spires were Juddmonte Farms’ Mandaloun (five furlongs in 1:00), Klaravich Stables’ Highly Motivated (five furlongs in 1:00.80, Erv Woolsey and Keith Asmussen’s Super Stock (five furlongs in 1:01.20) and Fern Circle Stables and Three Chimneys Farm’s King Fury (five furlongs in 1:00.20).

At Santa Anita, Hronis Racing and David Talla’s Rock Your World worked five furlongs in :59.20. Roadrunner Racing, Boat Racing and Strauss Bros Racing’s Hot Rod Charlie was scheduled to work before Santa Anita’s first race Saturday at approximately 3 p.m. (Eastern).

At San Luis Rey, Gary Barber’s Get Her Number worked five furlongs in 1:02. Miller said later that Get Her Number was being withdrawn from Derby consideration.

At Keeneland, M Racing Group’s Like the King worked five furlongs in 1:01.

BOURBONIC, DYNAMIC ONE, KNOWN AGENDA, SAINTHOOD – “We got done what we wanted to get done (yesterday) and they’re all fine this morning. They’re just going to walk the shedrow today and tomorrow – depending on the weather – they’ll go back to the track in some fashion.”

That was the report from Barn 42 and trainer Todd Pletcher Saturday morning following the Friday drills by his four Kentucky Derby 147 candidates at Churchill Downs.

His quartet had turned in their final Derby exercises a day earlier than planned when weather reports indicated an all-day rain storm for the Louisville area Saturday, a prediction that was revised Saturday to put the likely start of the storm closer to noon time. A pair of the runners – Known Agenda and Sainthood – had worked five furlongs in company in 1:01; another colt – Dynamic One – had covered four furlongs in :47.80 (also in company), while the final colt – Bourbonic – did his half-mile business in :49.60.

Pletcher, who to this point has started a record 55 horses in the Run for the Roses, was asked if he saw a horse in the current Derby lineup that he might be afraid of.

“It looks like a fairly wide-open year,” he said. “I don’t see anybody I’m really afraid of. But on the other hand, I don’t see anybody I’d leave out.”

BROOKLYN STRONG – Owner Mark Schwartz notified Churchill Downs racing officials that Parx-based Brooklyn Strong is now under consideration to run in the Kentucky Derby should there be any further defections between now and entry time Tuesday at 11 a.m. (all times Eastern).

Brooklyn Strong sits at No. 21 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 10 points, following the defection of Get Her Number on Saturday afternoon.

CADDO RIVER, ESSENTIAL QUALITY, MANDALOUN – It was a busy morning at trainer Brad Cox’s Barn 22 where the Louisville-native trainer worked Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality and graded stakes winner Mandaloun for the final time prior to the “Run for the Roses.”

Essential Quality, with exercise rider Edvin Vargas aboard, worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 outside of fellow Godolphin-owned Spa City. The duo began their work at the half-mile pole through splits of :12.80, :24.80 and :48.20. Essential Quality completed a six-furlong gallop out in 1:14.60, according to Churchill Downs clockerJohn Nichols.

(All videos courtesy of Kentucky HBPA and Jennie Rees)

“We keep radios on all of our riders so that way we can stay in contact throughout the work,” Cox said. “Galloping out around the turn, I got on the radio to Edvin and told him not to let him go too strongly. Spa City is a horse we used as a workmate for Essential Quality the last three or four works. He’s a good matchup for him because he’s a good work horse.”

(All videos courtesy of Kentucky HBPA and Jennie Rees)

Shortly after Essential Quality completed his work, Juddmonte Farm’s Mandaloun, with Florent Geroux in the saddle, worked five furlongs in 1:00 outside of recent Keeneland allowance winner Joe Frazier. Mandaloun started about six lengths behind his stablemate and completed swift opening fractions of :23.20, :35.60 and :47.60. Mandaloun galloped out strongly around the first turn through a six-furlong time of 1:12.60 and completed seven furlongs in 1:27.20.

“Going into the pole, Joe Frazier was a little bit strong and I didn’t want to ask Mandaloun to catch up to him too much,” Geroux said. “I didn’t want to get him in the bit too early so we started six or seven lengths behind but going around the turn he really picked up the pace. He has a big stride to him and was full of himself getting over this track.”

Cox’s third Kentucky Derby contender Caddo River had a scheduled walk day following his five-furlong move in 1:00.60 Friday morning.

Saturday was the last major work day for the Cox barn prior to the start of Kentucky Derby Week.

“Glad that’s over,” Cox said with a sigh of relief. “Now, let’s hope the Racing Gods have a little luck they pass down to us.”

The Racing Gods won’t be the only thing Cox will be relying on to help him in the Derby. Cox first started going to Churchill Downs at a young age with his father,Jerry. In 2016, his father passed away at 74 years old.

“I’m sure he’ll be looking down on us on Derby Day,” Cox said. “I’m sure he’d be very proud of our entire family. He would always ask me how our horses were doing and be very interested in every aspect of the barn. I’m sure he’d be very proud of his grandsons (Blake and Bryson) who work with me now at the barn and have become great horsemen in their own right. I’m sure (Cox’s youngest son) Brodie, will follow in their footsteps as well.”

GET HER NUMBER – Gary Barber’s Get Her Number went five furlongs in 1:02 Saturday morning at San Luis Rey Training Center with trainer Peter Miller looking on.

“He went out in 1:14 and it was a nice move,” Miller said via text from the facility, which is about 30 miles northeast of Del Mar racetrack. Miller trains all his horses at the site and ships to Southern California racetracks from there to do most of his running.

Initially, the trainer had indicated that he’d have a decision on starting the Grade 1-winning son of Dialed In in this year’s Kentucky Derby after the work, but instead indicated that he’d need more time to come to that decision. Later in the day, Miller said Get Her Number would not go. That puts Keepmeinmind into the field and Brooklyn Strong at No. 21.

HELIUM, SOUP AND SANDWICH – D J Stable’s Helium and Live Oak Plantation’s homebred Soup and Sandwich both came out of their final Derby works Friday in fine order and had a very light Saturday morning, according to trainer Mark Casse’s assistant David Carroll.

“We were very happy with both of them in their works,” Carroll said. “They had a walk day today and a light jog up the road to make sure everything is OK and they’ll go back to the track tomorrow to gallop. They’ll school in the paddock Tuesday, and possibly once more, depending on their behavior. We got the works behind us, with the weather and all, so we’ll just hope for some luck at the draw (Tuesday) and go from there.”

HIDDEN STASH – BBN Racing’s Hidden Stash jogged Saturday morning at Keeneland and stood in the starting gate a day after working five furlongs in 1:00.60 for trainer Vicki Oliver.

“He jogged to the gate and stood, then jogged back home,” Oliver said.

Fourth in the Blue Grass (G2) in his most recent start, Hidden Stash is scheduled to walk Sunday and gallop Monday and Tuesday before vanning to Churchill Downs after training Tuesday morning.

HIGHLY MOTIVATED – Klaravich Stables’ Highly Motivated completed his last major work for the Derby for trainer Chad Brown, going five furlongs in 1:00.40 under exercise rider Peter Roman during the 7:30-7:45 allotted training time for Derby and Oaks horses. The son of Into Mischief, second to champion and Derby favorite Essential Quality in Keeneland’s April 3 Blue Grass (G2), hit the track immediately after the break and eagerly pulled away from stablemate Southern District, while galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.20 and seven furlongs in 1:28.40.

“I thought he breezed really well and it went exactly how I wanted,” Brown said. “I wasn’t afraid to give him a good solid breeze and he did it and he did it well, with some in reserve too. He got over the track well, which I really wanted to see. He had been galloping well over it, but really, when you get to see a breeze, you can see more, obviously.”

HOT ROD CHARLIE – Roadrunner Racing, Boat Racing and Strauss Bros Racing’s Hot Rod Charlie was scheduled to work before Santa Anita’s first race Saturday at approximately 3 p.m. (Eastern).

He’s scheduled to fly to Louisville Sunday, according to trainer Doug O’Neill.

KEEPMEINMINDSpendthrift Farm, Cypress Creek and Arnold Bennewith’s Keepmeinmind walked the shedrow at trainer Robertino Diodoro’s barn a day after working a half-mile in :46.20.

According to Diodoro assistant Sean Williams, Keepmeinmind is scheduled to jog two miles Sunday.  Keepmeinmind moved into the No. 20 position, putting him in the Kentucky Derby field, after trainer Peter Miller said Get Her Number would not go.

KING FURY – Fern Circle Stables and Three Chimneys Farm’s King Fury put in his final workout for the Kentucky Derby, with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard during the period reserved for training horses pointed to the Derby and Oaks.

Under the watchful eye of trainer Kenny McPeek, King Fury worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 without a workmate, with splits of :12.80, :25.20, :36.80, and :48.40. Hernandez guided him out to 1:12.80 for six furlongs and 1:26.60 for seven furlongs.

“Everything was good,” Hernandez said. “He did it with his ears up and he seems like he’s a happy horse. He’s got a little confidence in himself coming out of the Lexington. He’s coming into the Derby with some confidence.”

The colt, winner of the Lexington at Keeneland in his most recent start, was on the Derby bubble. However, he moved up to No. 20 on the points leaderboard on Friday, following the defections of Hozier and Dream Shake.

“We weren’t fretting about it too much,” McPeek said of the possibility that King Fury might miss the Derby and head instead to the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico. “It was all up to a higher power, if we didn’t get in, then it was to go on to the Preakness. Those things are out of our control. What other people do with their horses, it’s not something we spend a lot of energy on. We would have worked him the same today, if he was going to Baltimore or if he was staying here.”

King Fury was a $950,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton sale in August 2019, and McPeek said that the colt just might provide him with “the biggest shot that I’ve ever had” at winning the Derby.

“He’s a steady horse, and he knows what to do,” McPeek said. “He grinds away and does it quickly. Two weeks and a day ago, I had no notion that we’d be thinking about him running in the Derby. But he ran such a powerful race in the Lexington, that he really deserves a chance. And he’s 2-for-3 here at Churchill, two really good first starts, so we know that he really likes the ground.”

“We were always really high on him,” Hernandez said. “For him to finally show the talent we knew he always had in the Lexington, it was really nice.

“We’re fortunate that now we’ve gotten in the back door for the Derby with our 20 points,” Hernandez added. “Now we just have to give him a good, clean trip and let him show his stuff.”

LIKE THE KING – M Racing Group’s Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) winner Like the King wrapped up his major work for Kentucky Derby 147 by working five furlongs in 1:01 over a fast track Saturday morning at Keeneland. The move was the ninth fastest of 28 at the distance.

Working in company with the 4-year-old Artie’s Princess, the 2020 Sovereign Award winner as Canada’s champion female sprinter, Like the King started two lengths in back and edged clear at the wire, galloping out six furlongs in 1:15.40 with Julio Garcia aboard.

Wesley Ward, who put the finishing touches on the Keeneland Spring Meet training title with four victories on Friday’s closing-day card, plans to have Like the King jog Sunday morning and then gallop Monday and Tuesday morning before vanning to Churchill Downs after training Tuesday.

“He was nice and smooth down the lane,” said Ward, who now has 1,996 career victories. “He had that filly measured, as he did last week. He looked a lot smoother this week than last week. Last week he was kind of on the bridle. Today he was a lot more fluid.

“He’s a very difficult horse to gallop. He had a really, really strong last part of his gallop yesterday when a couple of workers came inside of him. So I wasn’t looking to go :59 or anything today.”

MEDINA SPIRIT – Zedan Racing Stables’ Medina Spirit made his initial trip over the main track at Churchill Downs Saturday morning, jogging a mile alongside a pony.

Runner-up in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) in his most recent start, Medina Spirit arrived at Churchill Downs on Friday afternoon coming a day after working six furlongs at Santa Anita in 1:12.20.

Trainer Bob Baffert is scheduled to arrive in Louisville Sunday night and be trackside Monday morning.

MIDNIGHT BOURBON, SUPER STOCK – Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Midnight Bourbon galloped over the track once again around 6:05 Saturday morning as he builds to his final Derby work, which is scheduled to come Monday morning for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Meanwhile, Erv Woolsey’s and Keith Asmussen’s Super Stock, fresh off an upset win in the April 10 Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park, signaled his readiness for the Derby earlier in the morning, going five furlongs in 1:01.20 in what was his final work for Asmussen. The son of Dialed In worked in company with 4-year-old stablemate Max Player and galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.60, and seven furlongs in 1:28. Super Stock has eight career starts, making him the most experienced member of the prospective Derby field, but looked like a fresh horse when he hit the track at 5:32.

“He went perfect and he gave us exactly what we were looking for,” Asmussen said. “I think that the horse’s confidence level is at an all-time high, he goes really well over this racetrack, and I couldn’t feel any better about him going into the Derby.”

O BESOS – Bernard Racing, Tagg Team Racing, West Point Thoroughbreds and Terry L. Stephens’ O Besos had a light one-mile jog early Saturday morning with exercise rider Margarito Fierro in the saddle for trainer Greg Foley.

“He was feeling pretty good this morning,” Foley said. “That was always good to see after a work. We just have to keep him happy until Saturday.”

ROCK YOUR WORLD – Hronis Racing and David Talla’s Rock Your World worked in company at 6:30 a.m. (Pacific) at Santa Anita Saturday morning and registered a :59.20 drill on a fast racing strip.

The unbeaten Santa Anita Derby winner went together with winner Best Chance and outfinished him by a couple of lengths, according to “Rock’s” trainer, John Sadler

“It was just what we were after,” the conditioner said by phone from his Southern California headquarters. “He went very well, was well within himself throughout and galloped out strongly.”

The Candy Ride colt, three for three lifetime and one of the favorites for Kentucky Derby 147 on May 1, will board a plane Sunday and ship to Louisville. His conditioner also will ship Sunday, though on a different aircraft. They’ll operate out of Barn 43 on the Churchill Downs’ backside starting Monday morning.

STARRININMYDREAMS – Stewart Racing and WinStar Farm’s third-place Lexington Stakes (G3) finisher Starrininmydreams walked trainer Dallas Stewart’s Barn 34 shedrow following his five-furlong move in 1:00.40 Friday.     He’s currently No. 23 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby preference list.

SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY DERBY – Likely starters in the 147th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade 1) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/4 miles on Saturday, May 1 in order of preference (with possible jockey and trainer): Essential Quality (Luis Saez, Brad Cox); Hot Rod Charlie (Flavien Prat, Doug O’Neill); Super Stock (Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen); Like the King (Drayden Van Dyke, Wesley Ward); Known Agenda (Irad Ortiz Jr., Todd Pletcher); Rock Your World (Joel Rosario, John Sadler); Bourbonic (Kendrick Carmouche, Todd Pletcher); Medina Spirit (John Velazquez, Bob Baffert); Midnight Bourbon (Mike Smith, Steve Asmussen); Mandaloun (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox); Caddo River (TBA, Brad Cox); Highly Motivated (Javier Castellano, Chad Brown); Helium (Julien Leparoux, Mark Casse); Soup and Sandwich (Tyler Gaffalione, Mark Casse); Dynamic One (Jose Ortiz, Todd Pletcher); Sainthood (TBA, Todd Pletcher); Hidden Stash (Rafael Bejarano, Vicki Oliver); O Besos (Marcelino Pedroza, Greg Foley); Get Her Number (TBA, Peter Miller); King Fury(Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek);

Next up in order of preference: Keepmeinmind (David Cohen, Robertino Diodoro); Brooklyn Strong (TBA, Daniel Velazquez); Starrininmydreams (TBA, Dallas Stewart).

The post Derby Notes: Favorite Essential Quality Posts Final Breeze; Get Her Number Won’t Run appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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