‘This Is The Time’: Sole Volante Sharp In Five-Furlong Turf Breeze Ahead Of Kentucky Derby

Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Andie Biancone’s Sole Volante turned in a sharp five-furlong workout on turf Friday morning at Palm Meadows Training Facility in preparation for a scheduled start in the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby (G1).

The Patrick Biancone-trained son of Karakontie, who was ridden by jockey Luca Panici, was timed in 57.80 seconds, the fastest of four recorded at the distance on turf at Gulfstream Park’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.

“He worked really well. We did a shorter work today to get a little speed into him,” said the trainer’s daughter and assistant Andie Biancone. “He worked very well and came back great.”

Sole Volante is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs Saturday at 6 p.m.

Sole Volante captured the Pulpit Stakes, in which he defeated Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner King Guillermo on turf, and finished third in the Mucho Macho Man during Gulfstream’s Championship Meet. He went on to win the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs and finish second behind King Guillermo in the Tampa Bay Derby. He won a stakes-quality handicap at Gulfstream June 10 before sustaining his first out-of-the-money finish in the Belmont Stakes (G1).

Panici, who has worked closely with the Biancones in the development of Sole Volante, will ride in his first Kentucky Derby Saturday.

“I’m excited to be there. I’m thankful to the connections for giving me this opportunity with a good horse. I’m very, very happy to be a part of this team,” Panici said. “I’m very, very proud and proud of the people who work with me.”

The son of a jockey, Panici grew up playing soccer with Frankie Dettori across the street from the racetrack in Milan, Italy, Dettori, four years his senior, inspired Panici with his immediate success as a jockey at the age of 16, as well as the subsequent fame and fortune he earned in England and across the world. Panici went on to enjoy success while riding more than 500 winners in Italy, but racing in the U.S. first caught his attention in 1996, when he spent a winter in South Florida galloping for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott for free in exchange for one mount (fifth-place finisher Yokama in a Feb. 19, 1996 allowance at Gulfstream).

Panici, who returned to South Florida the following winter to gallop from trainer Gary Sciacca, moved permanently to the U.S. in 2009. He has won nearly 700 races in the U.S., none more important than Sole Volante’s Sam F. Davis score that put him on the Triple Crown trail.

“When you work with a baby, you think always maybe they can take you to the Derby,” said the 46-year-old Panici, who will travel to Louisville following Sunday’s Gulfstream program. “Finally, this is the time.”

Biancone also sent multiple graded-stakes winner Diamond Oops to the Palm Meadows turf course Friday morning to prepare for a start in the $250,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2) at Churchill Sept. 4. The 5-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky, who is Grade 1 stakes-placed on turf and dirt, was timed in 45.90 seconds, the fastest four-furlong turf work of 19 recorded.

Diamond Oops captured the seven-furlong Mr. Prospector (G3) before stretching out to finish a strong fourth in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) during Gulfstream’s Championship Meet. He finished second in his first start back in a June 13 overnight handicap in his return off a layoff. Diamond Oops finished second back-to-back in last year’s seven-furlong Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1) at Saratoga and Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland before getting eliminated at the start of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Santa Anita.

The post ‘This Is The Time’: Sole Volante Sharp In Five-Furlong Turf Breeze Ahead Of Kentucky Derby appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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