Working on his own after the renovation break in the 8:30-8:45 a.m. (all times Eastern) training period reserved for Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders, Liaison posted fractions of :12.60, :24.80, :37 and 1:00.80.
Winner of the Real Quiet and CashCall Futurity (Grade I) last fall at Hollywood Park, Liaison is winless in three 2012 starts, all of them at Santa Anita.
“He did not like Santa Anita at all. It was too hard for him,” Baffert said. “This track is a lot softer. He still has a lot to prove, but he is training well and looks well.”
Martin Garcia will have the mount on Liaison in Derby 138.
Baffert’s other Derby hopeful, Zayat Stables LLC’ Bodemeister walked the shedrow a day after working five furlongs in 1:00.80 under Garcia.
“He came out of the work well and will go back to the track in the morning,” Baffert said of the Arkansas Derby (GI) winner who worked in company with Kentucky Oaks (GI) hopeful Jemima’s Pearl. “I liked the way he sat off that other horse in the work, very controlled.”
Mike Smith, winner of the 2005 Kentucky Derby on Giacomo, has the assignment next Saturday on Bodemeiser.
DADDY NOSE BEST / ISN’T HE CLEVER / SABERCAT – J. Kirk and Judy Robison’s Isn’t He Clever, runner-up in the Sunland Derby (GIII) and most recently eighth in the Arkansas Derby (GI), was considered to be a possible Kentucky Derby starter at number 21 on the graded stakes earnings list; however, trainer Steve Asmussen confirmed Wednesday morning the 3-year-old gelded son of Smarty Jones will not be in the starting gate for the Run for the Roses.
“Isn’t He Clever has been withdrawn from consideration (for the Derby),” Asmussen said.
Isn’t He Clever had been under the care of trainer Henry Dominguez, but was transferred to Asmussen following the Arkansas Derby. He arrived at Churchill Downs on April 17 and breezed four furlongs over the track in :51.60 Monday.
Asmussen listed the Preakness (GI) at Pimlico on May 19 and the Woody Stephens (GII) on June 9 at Belmont Park as potential targets for Isn’t He Clever.
The two remaining Kentucky Derby contenders in the Amussen barn, Bob and Cathy Zollars’ Daddy Nose Best and Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC’s Sabercat, galloped around the Churchill Downs oval prior to the renovation break Wednesday morning.
DULLAHAN – Donegal Racing’s Dullahan galloped 1 ½ miles beneath the Twin Spires on Wednesday after the renovation break under regular exercise rider Faustino Aguilar. The chestnut son of Even the Score, a half- brother to 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, captured the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (GI) in his most recent start. He is scheduled to breeze after the renovation break Saturday.
HANSEN – Kendall Hansen and Skychai Racing’s Hansen galloped 1 ½ miles early Wednesday morning at the nearby Trackside Training Center under exercise rider Joel Barrientos.
Trainer Mike Maker plans to work the 2011 juvenile champion Saturday morning and bring Hansen to Churchill Downs next Wednesday.
Ramon Dominguez, who has ridden the Tapit colt in his past four starts, will have the Derby mount.
MARK VALESKI – Brereton Jones’ Mark Valeski galloped a mile after the renovation break under trainer Larry Jones.
Runner-up in the Louisiana Derby (GII) in his most recent start, Mark Valeski will be ridden in the Kentucky Derby by Rosie Napravnik.
OPTIMIZER – Bluegrass Hall’s Optimizer galloped after the renovation break under exercise rider Joel Cano.
It was the first day back on the track for Optimizer, who had worked a half-mile in :48.60 on Monday.
Trained by four-time Kentucky Derby winner D. Wayne Lukas, Optimizer would need one defection from horses under consideration for Derby 138 to make the 20-horse starting gate. If Optimizer makes the field, Jon Court would have the mount.
PROSPECTIVE – John Oxley’s Prospective, winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (GII) prior to finishing sixth in the Toyota Blue Grass (GI) over Keeneland’s Polytrack, galloped 1 ½ miles at Churchill Downs after the renovation break under regular exercise rider Juan Bernardini.
He is scheduled to breeze after the renovation break Saturday under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan. Regular rider Luis Contreras will be aboard the dark bay son of Malibu Moon in the Derby.
WORK TAB – Dede McGehee’s 2011 Kentucky Oaks runner-up St. John’s River breezed four furlongs from the gate in :49.20 over the “good” Churchill Downs track on Wednesday morning after the renovation break for trainer Andrew Leggio Jr. It was the 11th fastest of 35 workers at the distance. The 4-year-old daughter of Include is being pointed to the $300,000-added La Troienne Presented by Steelcase and ORI (GII).