Archarcharch, who made his racing debut here last fall with a troubled second-place finish going seven furlongs, is trained by Jinks Fires and will be ridden in Kentucky Derby 137 by regular pilot Jon Court. It will mark the first Kentucky Derby start for Fires and Court.
Arias plans to work the colt on Thursday.
MIDNIGHT INTERLUDE/THE FACTOR – Arnold Zetcher’s Midnight Interlude, winner of the Santa Anita Derby (GI) in his most recent start, galloped after the renovation break under exercise rider Dana Barnes.
Jim Barnes, assistant to three-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert, said Midnight Interlude would most likely work on Tuesday, depending on weather.
Victor Espinoza, who won the 2002 Kentucky Derby on War Emblem for Baffert, has the mount on Midnight Interlude.
Fog City Stable and George Bolton’s The Factor, seventh as the favorite in the Arkansas Derby (GI) in his most recent start, jogged under Dana Barnes before the renovation break.
MUCHO MACHO MAN – Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team One Racing Stable’s Mucho Macho Man got his first serious taste of Churchill Downs on Sunday morning, working seven furlongs in 1:29.20 over a sloppy track under jockey Rajiv Maragh.
Working by himself after the renovation break at the outset of the special training period for Kentucky Derby and Oaks hopefuls, Mucho Macho Man clicked off fractions of :13.60, :26.40, :39, :51.60, 1:04, 1:16.60 and galloped out a mile in 1:43.80.
“He worked good and I was very happy with it and Rajiv also seemed to be,” trainer Kathy Ritvo said.
A steady rain fell most of the morning but then picked up with much enthusiasm shortly before Mucho Macho Man’s work. Ritvo went on with the work as planned.
“I think it is supposed to rain the next few days, so I decided to go,” said Ritvo, who never has started a horse at Churchill Downs. “I wanted to keep as close to our schedule as possible. He will come back and work again Saturday or Sunday.”
Mucho Macho Man would represent the second Derby mount for Maragh, who rode Mission Impazible to a ninth-place finish last year.
NEHRO – Zayat Stables’ runner-up in the Louisiana Derby (GII) and Arkansas Derby (GII) galloped on Sunday for trainer Steve Asmussen and is scheduled to work at Churchill Downs on Monday.
Assistant Scott Blasi, like every other Derby trainer on the grounds, is keeping an eye on the weather and said the son of Mineshaft could work during the Derby/Oaks training period at 8:30 a.m., but could also go out as early as the barn’s second set at 6 a.m., depending on weather conditions. Training hours open at 5:45 a.m.
"A lot depends on how good a seal he gets on the racetrack,” Blasi said. “I loved how it looked this morning. The track was good this morning. That track was really good.”
PANTS ON FIRE – George and Lori Hall’s Pants On Fire, winner of the Louisiana Derby (GII) in his most recent start, arrived at Churchill Downs from Palm Meadows in South Florida at 11:30 a.m. (EDT) Sunday.
Trained by Kelly Breen, Pants On Fire is stabled in Barn 27. Rosie Napravnik has the Kentucky Derby riding assignment.
SANTIVA – Tom Walters’ Santiva, winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) here last fall, galloped after the renovation break under Brendan Walsh, assistant to trainer Eddie Kenneally.
Shaun Bridgmohan, who rode Santiva to victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club, will have the Derby Day riding assignment. It will be the fifth Derby mount for Bridgmohan.
STAY THIRSTY/UNCLE MO – Repole Stable’s Stay Thirsty, one of two contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) trained by Todd Pletcher, worked a strong five furlongs in a steady rain on Sunday at Churchill Downs.
The 3-year-old son of 2006 Preakness (GI) winner Bernardini worked in company with older workmate Bridgetown and covered the distance over sloppy going in 1:00. Three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel was in the saddle aboard Stay Thirsty for the move. Pletcher and Borel teamed to win last year’s Run for the Roses with WinStar Farm’s homebred Super Saver, which was the first Kentucky Derby win by Pletcher.
Stay Thirsty will attempt to rebound in the Kentucky Derby from a disappointing seventh-place finish in the $1 million Florida Derby (GI) on April 3 won by Dialed In. He opened his 3-year-old campaign prior to that with a win in the Gotham (GIII) at Aqueduct.
The persistent rain of the past few days had tapered off to a few sprinkles during morning training at the historic track, but the skies opened again only minutes before Stay Thirsty stepped on the track just after the maintenance break. The first 15 minutes of training after the break are devoted to training moves contenders for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks (GI) through Thursday, May 5.
Stay Thirsty and Borel worked along the rail with Bridgetown, a 4-year-old sprinter expected to run in the $100,000-added Twin Spires Turf Sprint Presented by GE – Appliances & Lighting (GIII) on Kentucky Derby Day, was poised to the outside as the pair zipped over the sloppy going in fractional splits of :11.60, :23, :35.20 and :47.60. Stay Thirsty stuck his neck in front near the finish line and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.
“I thought he breezed really well,” Pletcher said. “The time was solid and he got over the off going well. He finished up with a good last quarter and galloped out strongly. So overall I was really pleased.”
“We leaned on him a little bit this morning. I told Calvin we wanted a good, solid work and I think we got that. So we’ll see how he responds to that this week, and we might have a similar a similar-type work next week.”
“He worked good,” Borel said. “I was doing Todd a favor – I’m not on the horse. … That’s what he wanted, so that’s what I gave him.”
There was ample water on the track surface thanks to the steady rain that fell during the work, but Borel said the wet surface was not an issue for him or Stay Thirsty.
“I’m not much of a fan of the lightning, but other than that I thought the track was good,” he said. “This track gets better when it rains. I love it when it rains here – it tightens it up and gets it good. You can’t fault the track.”
Pletcher was pressed after the work as to whether Borel’s presence in the saddle for Sunday’s move might have been a dress rehearsal for a ride aboard Repole’s colt in the Kentucky Derby. Ramon Dominguez was aboard Stay Thirsty for his win in the Gotham and his disappointing run in the Florida Derby, and Borel does not yet have a firm mount for Derby 137 despite his unprecedented run of success over the past four years.
“We haven’t really talked about it,” Pletcher said. “We asked him if he was available to work the horse and he said yes, he’d love to. I haven’t had a chance to really talk with Mike Repole about it that much. But I’d say it’s a possibility, but we haven’t done anything yet.”
Borel maintained his was simply doing a favor for Pletcher and expressed confidence that he’ll find a way to stay occupied on Derby Day at Churchill Downs.
“I’ll ride something,” said Borel. “This is how it goes – that’s horse racing. We’ll find one.”
Repole and Pletcher’s other Kentucky Derby hope – once-beaten 2-year-old champion Uncle Mo, galloped early on the rainy Sunday morning at Churchill Downs. The son of Indian Charlie was a heavy favorite for Derby 137 until his third-place finish to Toby’s Corner in the $1 million Wood Memorial (GI) at Aqueduct.
Uncle Mo was found to be suffering from a gastrointestinal infection after the race and has been treated with antibiotics since that discovery. Repole’s colt is scheduled to work on Tuesday – his first major training move since his return to Churchill Downs last week.
“I think he’s really responding well to treatment – his last 48 hours in particular,” Pletcher said. “His appetite is the best it’s been since the Wood, and I’m feeling really good about the direction we’re heading. Like I said when we got here, we need to have a really good 19 days and, so far, we’ve had a really good five here. We need to have 13 more, but we’re really, really pleased with the progress we’re making at the moment.”
Jockey John Velazquez will fly to Louisville on Monday and will be in the saddle for Uncle Mo’s work, which is scheduled at approximately 8:30 a.m. in the training period for Derby and Oaks hopefuls. Pletcher said Uncle Mo would work five furlongs in company with his Repole-owned stablemate Calibrachoa, the 4-year-old winner of the Tom Fool (GIII) at Aqueduct on March 5. The son of Southern Image is scheduled to run in the $300,000-added Churchill Downs Presented by Navistar (GII) at seven furlongs on Kentucky Derby Day.
“We’re looking for a good solid work,” Pletcher said. “We’ll be looking for a similar work to what we got from Stay Thirsty today.
“One of the good things about what he has is that we haven’t had to miss those daily gallops. Normally, I maybe would have worked him today, but I decided to give him a couple of more days just to continue to let the medication kick in. With the results we’re seeing, it’s working, so we’ll go on Tuesday and hopefully build off that. We haven’t had to adjust his training much at all.”
Pletcher’s annual spring visit to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby is different this year as the five-time Eclipse Award winner as America’s top trainer has arrived as the defending winner of America’s greatest race. It was pointed out by a reporter that he no longer has to answer the question about when he would grab that elusive Kentucky Derby victory, a query that elicited a broad smile from Pletcher.
“Winning the Derby is awesome – it’s great,” Pletcher said. “It doesn’t change your life in a lot of ways. The feed man still wants to get paid, your wife still thinks you work too much and if you get beat in the Wood Memorial everybody wants to know why. I don’t have to answer that specific question, but a lot of the other ones are still there.”
TWICE THE APPEAL/SWAY AWAY – Edward Brown Jr., Victor Flores and Henry Hernandez’s Sunland Derby (GIII) winner Twice the Appeal walked the shedrow at Barn 42. The Successful Appeal colt had worked six furlongs on a fast track in 1:17.20 here on Friday.
Miguel Carranza, assistant to trainer Jeff Bonde, said Bonde is expected to return to Louisville on Friday.
Bonde’s other Kentucky Derby hopeful, Batman Stable, Philip Lebherz, Cindy Olsen, Janet Sharp and Glen Wallace et al’s Sway Away, jogged under exercise rider Nate Quinonez.
Fourth in the Arkansas Derby (GI) in his most recent start, Sway Away has $111,500 in graded stakes earnings and would need several defections from horses under consideration for the Kentucky Derby to make the race that is reserved for the top 20 Triple Crown-nominated graded stakes earners that pass the entry box on May 4.
KENTUCKY OAKS 137 BARN NOTES
* FANTASY WINNER JOYFUL VICTORY TO WORK IN COMPANY MONDAY MORNING
* WEATHER PUSHES WORK BY HOLY HEAVENS BACK ANOTHER DAY
* R HEAT LIGHTNING, KATHMANBLU WELL AFTER SATURDAY WORKS
ARIENZA – Robert and Lawana Low’s regally bred Arienza galloped a mile before the renovation break under exercise rider Eva Jansson for trainer Dan Peitz.
Peitz, who also is considering the $100,000 Eight Belles (GIII) to be run May 6 for Arienza, said the daughter of 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri by Giant’s Causeway probably would work again on Friday. Arienza worked a half-mile in :49.40 here last Friday.
BOUQUET BOOTH – Right Time Racing’s Bouquet Booth galloped early Sunday morning under exercise rider Jose Castanon for trainer Steve Margolis.
Margolis plans to work Bouquet Booth on Friday for the Oaks, in which Robby Albarado is scheduled to have the mount. Albarado rode Bouquet Booth for the first time in her most recent start, a fourth-place finish in the Central Bank Ashland (GI) at Keeneland on April 9.
Margolis said Sunday morning that he plans to work Right Time Racing’s Street Storm on the grass Thursday for a likely run in the $100,000 Edgewood to be run on Friday, May 6.
DAISY DEVINE – James Miller’s Daisy Devine galloped after the renovation break under exercise rider Miles Dunne for trainer Andrew McKeever.
McKeever plans to work the winner of the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) most likely on Wednesday. James Graham has the Oaks riding assignment on Daisy Devine.
DELIGHTFUL MARY – John Oxley’s Delightful Mary, third in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) here, jogged two miles under exercise rider Melanie Giddings.
Norman Casse, son of and assistant to trainer Mark Casse, said the filly would work toward the end of the week. Shaun Bridgmohan has the Oaks riding assignment.
HOLY HEAVENS – With rain coming down heavily Sunday morning, trainer Benard Chatters opted to keep K.K. and Vilasini Jayaraman’s Holy Heavens in the barn and wait an extra day to work.
“Looks like we are in a holding pattern with this weather, but hopefully we can work tomorrow,” Chatters said of Holy Heavens, who made the move from the Trackside Training Center to Churchill Downs on Thursday afternoon. “I just didn’t want to take her out there today.”
Winner of the Martha Washington at Oaklawn Park in February, Holy Heavens ran second in the Honeybee (GIII) and third in the Fantasy (GII) behind probable Oaks rival Joyful Victory.
JOYFUL VICTORY – Fox Hill Farms’ Joyful Victory galloped after the renovation break under exercise rider Robert Cline.
Two-for-two this year with victories in the Honeybee (GIII) and Fantasy (GII) at Oaklawn Park, Joyful Victory is scheduled to work Monday morning in company with Winslow Homer according to trainer Larry Jones.
Mike Smith has the Oaks mount on Joyful Victory.
KATHMANBLU – Five D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Stables’ Kathmanblu walked the shedrow at trainer Ken McPeek’s barn a day after working five furlongs over a sloppy track in 1:02.80.
Lars Becdelamotte, assistant to McPeek, acknowledged the filly came out of the work fine, which was her first breeze since finishing third in the Central Bank Ashland (GI) at Keeneland on April 9.
Julien Leparoux, who rode Kathmanblu to an 8 ½-length victory in the Golden Rod (GII) here last fall, will have the Oaks riding assignment.
PLUM PRETTY – Peachtree Stable’s Plum Pretty, 25-length winner of the Sunland Park Oaks on March 27 in her most recent start, galloped after the renovation break under exercise rider Peter Hutton.
Plum Pretty is trained by Bob Baffert, who won the 1999 Kentucky Oaks with Silverbulletday.
R HEAT LIGHTNING – E. Paul Robsham Stable’s likely favorite for the Kentucky Oaks earned trainer Todd Pletcher’s approval when she walked on the morning after Saturday’s half-mile work in :49.80.
“She looked good,” said Pletcher. “She came back in good shape.”
Pletcher said the daughter of Trippi would have her final pre-Oaks work on Saturday.
ST. JOHN’S RIVER – Dede McGehee’s St. John’s River, runner-up to Daisy Devine in the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) in her most recent start, galloped after the renovation break under exercise rider Robert Wright for trainer Andy Leggio.
St. John’s River is scheduled to work Thursday. Rosie Napravnik has the riding assignment in the Oaks.
WORK TAB – Two horses pointing for Derby Week stakes turned in works Sunday morning over a sloppy track. The Virginia H. Tarra Trust’s Giant Oak, winner of the Clark Handicap (GI) last fall and Gulfstream Park’s Donn Handicap (GI), worked five furlongs in 1:02.40 in preparation for a likely run in the $300,000 Alysheba (GIII) on May 6. Casa Farms I’s Prince Will I Am worked the same distance in 1:02.80 under trainer Michelle Nihei for a likely run in the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI) to be run May 7.