By Jennie Rees – Trainer Greg Foley has been on a roll, and he hopes that translates into O Besos rolling into the $300,000, Grade 3 Indiana Derby winner’s circle at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino on July 7.
O Besos, who finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby and second in Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn (G2), had his final serious training move Tuesday morning at the Louisville track. With Indiana Grand’s meet-leader Marcelino Pedroza aboard, the chestnut colt powered five-eighths of a mile in 1:00.20 in company right after the track opened for training at 5:30.
The work was designed to start at the half-mile pole and end at the seven-eighths pole past the wire. “I put a horse with him just to get him to focus and have a good work,” Foley said. “I wanted a good, solid work this morning, a good gallop out. The other horse broke off probably two, three lengths in front — a little further than I intended to — but it went great. They didn’t go real quick the first quarter. But the half went in 48 (seconds), the five-eighths in a minute-and-change and three-quarters in 1:12-and-two, I believe.
The jock liked it a lot. He said, ‘We’re ready to go.’” Pedroza confirmed that assessment. “He galloped out just like he was before the Derby, galloped out really strong,” he said. “I’m really confident in him now, the way he worked today. I like him a lot.”
Foley’s horses won four races in a two-day span during Churchill Downs’ closing week, including 2020 Indiana Derby runner-up Major Fed in an allowance race and Bango in the $110,000 Kelly’s Landing Stakes as part of a three-bagger on June 25. Two days later, Yes It’s Ginger took the $75,000 Chicken Fried Stakes at Lone Star Park near Dallas.
Overall, the stable won 10 races, with another 12 seconds, while earning more than $1 million in purses at the recently concluded Churchill meet. Asked if he believes in mojo, Foley said, “I really do. When it’s going good, it’s just funny the way things go.
“It just seems like you can’t do anything wrong. And when it goes the other way — I’ve been on the end of that, too — it just seems like you can’t do anything right. But right now, we’re rolling along. We’ve got some good horses, though, the best I’ve had in a long time. That helps more than anything.”
Foley is hoping that O Besos can top last year’s second-place finish by Major Fed in the Indiana Derby won by Shared Sense. O Besos already has improved on Major Fed’s 10th in the 2020 Kentucky Derby. O Besos will again face Matt Winn victor Fulsome, trained by 2020 Indiana Derby winner Brad Cox.
“We’re going over there to run good,” Foley said. “We’re not just going over there to run. The horse that beat us in the Matt Winn is going to be over there, so we’ve got to turn the tables on him. “I thought our horse was a little keen that day, a little wired up for some reason. We’ve been working on that, to get him to relax a little more. That’s kind of why we wanted the company today. Marcelino said he did that really well, finished up the work good and galloped out really good.”
Trainer Bret Calhoun also worked his Indiana Derby horse (Mr Wireless) and Indiana Oaks filly (Lovely Ride) very early Tuesday at Churchill. Calhoun wasn’t wanting either horse to do much, and he got his wish.
Lovely Ride, going first, was clocked going an easy half-mile in 50.60 seconds. Mr. Wireless went more leisurely, to where the move was more of a “two-minute lick” than a workout, which Calhoun said was fine with him. Gabriel Saez was aboard both horses. He rides Allied Racing’s Lovely Ride in the Indiana Oaks, where she seeks her fourth straight victory while making her stakes debut. Mr. Wireless comes into the Indiana Derby off of a close second in the Texas Derby under Ramon Vazquez, who will ride him at Indiana Grand.
“We intended it to be pretty easy,” Calhoun, who won the 2019 Indiana Derby with Allied Racing’s Mr. Money, said of the works. “It was a hot, humid morning. We didn’t want much. I think they’re both fit and ready. “Lovely Ride obviously is a bit more aggressive, but a nice easy work. Nice gallop out. Just smooth and easy. Mr Wireless, a little bit of pilot error there. He gets pretty strong going to the pole. Gabe had a pretty good hold on him and he didn’t let him do too much this morning, which was fine with me. That horse had some hard races and shipped. So I was happy with everything.”
Fulsome will have his final workout Wednesday morning. “He’s coming up to this race real well,” Cox said. “He’s going to breeze (Wednesday) and will ship up probably Sunday evening. But we’re very pleased with how he’s training.”