Derby Notes: Highly Motivated Impresses First Day At Churchill, Caddo River Confirmed To Race

Klaravich Stables’ Highly Motivated, runner-up to likely Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality in the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) in his most recent start, made his first appearance on the main track at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning galloping under exercise rider Peter Roman.

Highly Motivated arrived Monday morning from Keeneland where he had been training since the Blue Grass. Trainer Chad Brown plans to work Highly Motivated on Saturday, weather permitting. Rain is in the forecast for Saturday.

Trainer Brad Cox reported Tuesday morning that Shortleaf Stable’s Arkansas Derby (GI) runner-up Caddo River would run in the Kentucky Derby. He’s scheduled to work Saturday.

Unseasonably cool temperatures are expected to arrive in the Louisville area overnight Tuesday with snow showers early Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

BOURBONIC, DYNAMIC ONE, KNOWN AGENDA, SAINTHOOD – Trainer Todd Pletcher sent his quartet of Kentucky Derby hopefuls out in groups of two for 1 3/8-mile gallops Tuesday morning.

Going first during the 7:30-7:45 training window for Derby and Oaks hopefuls were St. Elias Stable’s Known Agenda with Hector Ramos aboard and Repole Stable, Phipps Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Dynamic One with Carlos Perez Quevedo aboard.

Coming out just before 8 o’clock were Calumet Farm’s Bourbonic with Ramos aboard and WinStar Farm and CHC Inc.’s Sainthood with Amelia Green aboard.

Pletcher has penciled in Saturday as the work day for his Derby runners but noted, “There could be some weather coming in and we will watch that and could move the works to Friday.”

CADDO RIVER, ESSENTIAL QUALITY, MANDALOUN – Trainer Brad Cox confirmed Tuesday morning that Shortleaf Stable’s Arkansas Derby (G1) runner-up Caddo River would run in the Kentucky Derby.

“If all goes well after his work on Saturday, we’ll run in the Derby,” Cox said. “He came out of the Arkansas Derby in great shape. He’s a sound horse who is training well.”

All three of his Derby contenders galloped about 1 ½ miles Tuesday morning. Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality trained at 5:15 a.m. with Edvin Vargas in the saddle. About 45 minutes later, Caddo River trained with Gustavo Abrego in the saddle. At 7:30, during the exclusive training session for Derby and Oaks contenders, Juddmonte Farm’s Mandaloun trained with Fernando Espinoza in the boot.

All three horses are scheduled to work Saturday morning, according to Cox.

HELIUM, SOUP AND SANDWICH – Live Oak Plantation’s Soup and Sandwich, along with D J Stable’s Helium, galloped 1 ½ miles early Tuesday beneath the Twin Spires.

Trainer Mark Casse’s assistant David Carroll reported both horses would work this weekend. Jockey Tyler Gaffalione rides Soup and Sandwich in the Derby while Helium will be ridden by Julien Leparoux.

HIGHLY MOTIVATED – With exercise rider Peter Roman aboard, Klaravich Stables’ Highly Motivated galloped during the 7:30-7:45 training window for Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses.

Highly Motivated arrived at Churchill Downs on Monday and following shortly thereafter was trainer Chad Brown.

“He got around there good this morning and I am pleased with the way he shipped in,” said Brown, who has started five horses in the Kentucky Derby with his best finish coming in 2018 when Good Magic was runner-up to eventual Triple Crown winner Justify.

Highly Motivated closed his 2020 campaign with a track record-setting performance in the Nyquist Stakes at Keeneland. A third-place finish in the Gotham (G3) opened 2021 followed by the 1 1/8-mile Blue Grass that marked his first start around two turns.

“I thought the Blue Grass was a really good race and that was the first time he had been on the lead,” Brown said. “I am confident he can handle the two turns and I think he will move forward in this race.

“We shut him down on purpose (after the Nyquist) and worked backward from the Derby. He has hit all the marks getting here.”

KEEPMEINMIND – Spendthrift Farm, Cypress Creek and Arnold Bennewith’s Keepmeinmind galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Enrique Benitez at 5:45.

Sitting at No. 22 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, the Robertino Diodoro trainee’s next work date is to be determined.

KING FURY – Fern Circle Stables and Three Chimneys Farm’s King Fury galloped a mile and a half shortly after 5:30 with Danny Ramsey aboard for trainer Kenny McPeek.

Winner of the Lexington at Keeneland in his most recent start, King Fury sits at No. 21 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard. He is scheduled to work Saturday.

MIDNIGHT BOURBON, SUPER STOCK – Winchell Thoroughbreds’ multiple graded stakes-placed colt Midnight Bourbon had a scheduled walk day following his five-furlong move in :59.80 Monday morning at Churchill Downs.

Erv Woolsey and Keith Asmussen’s upset Arkansas Derby (G1) hero Super Stock galloped about 1 3/8 miles with Juan Vargas aboard. He’s scheduled to work Saturday.

O BESOS – Barrett Bernard, Tagg Team Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds’ O Besos will have his final work prior to the Kentucky Derby Wednesday or Thursday morning at Churchill Downs.

Jockey Marcelino Pedroza will be aboard for the work and also ride O Besos in the Kentucky Derby.

“He’s maturing even more as every day goes by,” Pedroza said. “The first time I worked this horse I couldn’t believe he won going six furlongs. He loved the extra distance in the Louisiana Derby.”

O Besos had a light gallop Tuesday morning with exercise rider Margarito Fierro.

Pedroza and Fierro share a common bond entering the Kentucky Derby as both riders are overcoming life changing events. Pedroza lost his mother last year at 44-years-old to brain cancer while Fierro was once told he’d never gallop again because of colon cancer.’s Andrew Brown reported the remarkable story here:

STARRININMYDREAMS – Stewart Racing and WinStar Farm’s third-place Lexington Stakes (G3) finisher Starrininmydreams galloped about 1 ½ miles at 6:30 a.m. under exercise rider Emerson Chavez.

Starrininmydreams sits No. 23 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.

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, 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); 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).

Possible starters within the Top 20 on the preference list: Dream Shake (TBA, Peter Eurton).

Next up in order of preference: King Fury (Brian Hernandez Jr.); Keepmeinmind (David Cohen, Robertino Diodoro); Starrininmydreams (TBA, Dallas Stewart).

The post Derby Notes: Highly Motivated Impresses First Day At Churchill, Caddo River Confirmed To Race appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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