Derby Works: Leparoux Pleased With Helium, Pletcher Quartet Tunes Up

On a busy Friday morning at Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby contenders Bourbonic (five furlongs, 1:01.60), Dynamic One (five furlongs, 1:01), Helium (five furlongs, 1:01.80), Known Agenda (five furlongs, 1:00.40) and Sainthood (five furlongs, 1:00.40) all recorded published workouts in preparation for the 147th running of the “Run for the Roses” on Saturday, May 1.

All five horses worked at 7:30 a.m. and D J Stable’s $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Helium was the first of the quintet to work. He breezed on the inside of stablemate Peace Achieved through fractions of :25.60, :37.60 and :49.80. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.60. Peace Achieved completed his five-furlong move in 1:02.

“The most important thing about the work is (jockey) Julien (Leparoux) was happy,” said trainer Mark Casse, who slated to arrive next week in Kentucky.

Helium, an undefeated son of Ironicus, will be ridden by Leparoux in the Derby.

Trainer Todd Pletcher arrived two weeks early in Kentucky and was on-site to watch his Derby contenders work Friday morning. Pletcher’s first duo of St. Elias Stable’s $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) winner Known Agenda and WinStar Farm and CHC INC’s $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) runner-up Sainthood worked through fractions of :12.60, :24.40 and :36.40. They galloped out together through six furlongs in 1:13.40. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. was aboard Known Agenda while exercise rider Amelia Green rode Sainthood.

“Because of the spacing of their last two races, I wanted a more serious work out of them,” Pletcher said. “I thought both horses got over the surface well and that’s what was most important about getting them up here early to work over it. All four of these horses have probably been workmates at one point and I paired these two together because of that spacing of their last race.”

The next Pletcher duo to work was Calumet Farm’s Bourbonic and Repole Stable, Phipps Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Dynamic One. The one-two finishers of the $750,000 Wood Memorial (GII), respectively, began their work together through an opening quarter-mile fraction of :24.40 and half-mile time of :48.60. Dyanmic One finished in front of Bourbonic at the wire and continued to gallop out ahead through a six-furlong time of 1:13.20. Bourbonic completed a six-furlong gallop out in 1:14.60.

“I thought it would be good to work both of these horses together after coming out of the same race,” Pletcher said. “I’d say we were definitely surprised at winning the Wood. (Bourbonic) has always trained a little bit light but we always thought that the further the distance, the better it would be for him. He likes to drop back and make one run.”

Pletcher will be the special guest on “Inside Churchill Downs” Friday at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN 680/105.7. The one-hour radio show, hosted by Churchill Downs Racetrack’s Darren Rogers and Kevin Kerstein, along with handicapper Scott Shapiro, begins at 6 p.m. and those outside the Louisville area can listen live on

Saturday will start the exclusive 7:30-7:45 a.m. training period for Kentucky Derby and Longines Kentucky Oaks contenders. Training hours will move back to a start time of 5:15 a.m. and the track will close at 10 a.m. Saturday’s Kentucky Derby workers are Essential Quality and Mandaloun at 5:15 a.m. and Soup and Sandwich at 7:30 a.m. Fans are invited to watch the workouts for free at Churchill Downs. For more information, visit

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