Derby Notes: Improving O Besos Shows Strong Gallop Out In Final Breeze

Bernard Racing LLC, Tagg Team Racing, West Point Thoroughbreds and Terry L. Stephens’ O Besos was the lone Derby contender to breeze Thursday at Churchill Downs where he cruised a half-mile in :48.

With jockey Marcelino Pedroza in the saddle, O Besos began his work at the three-furlong pole and worked through early fractions of :12 and :36.20. Pedroza shook the reins at the Orb colt at the wire where he picked up his tempo through a five-furlong gallop out of 1:00 and continued six furlongs in 1:12.60.

O Besos will have a scheduled walk day Friday when at least 16 Derby and Oaks contenders are scheduled to have their final works. They are: Ava’s Grace (Oaks), Bourbonic (Derby), Coach (Oaks), Competitive Speed (Oaks), Dynamic One (Derby), Helium (Derby), Highly Motivated (Derby), Keepmeinmind (Derby), Known Agenda (Derby), Malathaat (Oaks), Sainthood (Derby), Search Results (Oaks), Soup and Sandwich (Derby), Starrininmydreams (Derby), Travel Column (Oaks), Will’s Secret (Oaks).

The National Weather Service is calling for a 90 percent change of precipitation Saturday morning in Louisville and Lexington. At Keeneland, Derby contenders Hidden Stash and Like the King could move their works to Friday, according to their respective trainers.

At Santa Anita, Zedan Racing Stable’s Medina Sprit worked six furlongs in 1:12.20 and is slated to arrive at Churchill Downs Friday at 1 p.m.

BOURBONIC, DYNAMIC ONE, KNOWN AGENDA, SAINTHOOD – Friday will be the work day for trainer Todd Pletcher’s Kentucky Derby quartet.

“The forecast keeps changing, but it is looking dicey for Saturday,” Pletcher said after his runners galloped 1 3/8 miles over a fast track Thursday morning. “Twenty-four hours won’t make a difference.”

Pletcher plans to work three of the Derby horses at 7:30: St. Elias Stable’s Known Agenda with jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, Repole Stable, Phipps Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Dynamic One with jockey Jose Ortiz aboard, and WinStar Farm and CHC Inc.’s Sainthood with exercise rider Amelia Green aboard.

Calumet Farm’s Bourbonic likely would work at 9 o’clock with exercise rider Hector Ramos aboard.

Ramos was aboard Known Agenda this morning at 7:30 and 20 minutes later on Bourbonic while Green partnered Sainthood at 7:30 and Carlos Perez Quevedo was on Dynamic One at 7:30.

HELIUM, SOUP AND SANDWICH – D J Stable’s Helium and Live Oak Plantation’s homebred Soup and Sandwich stretched their legs Thursday morning on the eve of their planned final Derby preparations. Helium, with Paolo Levi aboard, and Soup and Sandwich, with Gilbert Hernandez, both galloped 1 ½ miles for trainer Mark Casse.

“They’ll both breeze tomorrow; Helium will go around 5:25 and Soup and Sandwich will go at 7:30,” Casse’s assistant David Carroll said. “They’ll just go an easy half-mile. They both had their major works last week and came out of it extremely well. Tomorrow will just be a maintenance move. Normally we’d go Saturday but with the forecast we’ll back it up a day and play it on the safe side.”

Helium, who is undefeated in three starts, and Soup and Sandwich, who is 2-for-3, are both lightly raced and full of potential, though that’s where the similarities end.

“They are two different types of horses to train,” Carroll said. “Helium is a really beautiful mover and gets over the ground and trains into the bridle while Soup and Sandwich has his own way of going, but when he breezes, he’s all business.”

HIGHLY MOTIVATED – Klaravich Stables’ Highly Motivated came out onto the track under Peter Roman shortly after 7:30 and galloped then walked to the starting gate during the 15-minutre training window for Derby and Kentucky Oaks horses.

Trainer Chad Brown was pleased with what he saw and will keep an eye on the weather for the Blue Grass (G2) runner-up’s final work.

“It went fine and it was good to get that out of the way,” Brown said. “I’m just trying to figure out now when I’m going to try and breeze. I’m going to watch the weather; I’d prefer to work him Saturday morning before the rain comes. I was speaking to the track superintendent and looking for a little guidance on that.”

HOZIER – Rebel Stakes (G2) runner-up Hozier galloped a mile and a half at 9:15 under exercise rider Joel Osorio for trainer Bob Baffert.

Hozier is No. 21 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.

KEEPMEINMIND – Spendthrift Farm, Cypress Creek and Arnold Bennewith’s Keepmeinmind galloped a mile and a half a little before 6 o’clock with Walter Davila aboard for trainer Robertino Diodoro.

Winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) here last fall, Keepmeinmind is scheduled to work shortly before 6 o’clock Friday morning.

“David Cohen is flying in tonight to work Ava’s Grace (for the Oaks) and Keepmeinmind and then fly back to ride that afternoon at Oaklawn Park,” said Sean Williams, assistant to Diodoro. “We put Walter on him this morning to get a feel for him in case something happens and David doesn’t get in.”

Keepmeinmind is No. 23 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard

KING FURY – Fern Circle Stables and Three Chimney’s Farm’s King Fury galloped 1 ½ miles during the reserved time for Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses. The winner of the Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland in his most recent start is expected to have his final workout on Saturday, according to Greg Geier, assistant to trainer Kenny McPeek. He’s at No. 21 on the Derby points leaderboard and needs a defection to make the field of 20.

MIDNIGHT BOURBON, SUPER STOCK – Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Midnight Bourbon and Erv Woolsey’s and Keith Asmussen’s Super Stock each had an easy Thursday morning as they readied for their final Derby works in the coming days for trainer Steve Asmussen.

“Midnight Bourbon stood in the starting gate and galloped a mile and Super Stock backed up to the wire and galloped a mile and a quarter,” Asmussen’s longtime assistant Scott Blasi said.

Blasi indicated that Super Stock will work Saturday, followed by Midnight Bourbon on Monday

O BESOS –Bernard Racing, Tagg Team Racing, West Point Thoroughbreds and Terry L. Stephens’ O Besos worked a half-mile in :48 early Thursday morning at Churchill Downs.

With jockey Marcelino Pedroza in the saddle, O Besos began his work at the three-furlong pole and worked through early fractions of :12 and :36.20. Pedroza shook the reins at the Orb colt at the wire where he picked up his tempo through a five-furlong gallop out of 1:00 and continued six furlongs in 1:12.60.

“We’re really pleased with how the overall work went and how strong he galloped out,” trainer Greg Foley said. “Our horse has shown improvement in every start so far. We think leading up to the Derby he’s going to keep showing that improvement and run a big effort. He’ll be ready to make a run at the field at the top of the stretch.

“We had some distance questions when we ran in the Louisiana Derby but he was the only horse in the field that day who was making up any ground.”

O Besos will have a scheduled walk day Friday.

STARRININMYDREAMS – Stewart Racing and WinStar Farm’s third-place Lexington Stakes (G3) finisher Starrininmydreams is scheduled to work early Friday morning, according to trainer Dallas Stewart.

SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY DERBY – Likely starters in the 147th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) 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); 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).

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

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

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