Edited Churchill Staff Release – Two entrants for Saturday’s 149th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) put in half-mile works on a sunny Tuesday morning beneath the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs.
First to work during the 7:30-7:45 training window reserved for Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses was Hiroyuki Asanuma’s Derma Sotogake (JPN) who covered the four furlongs in :49.60 under Masatoshi Segawa.
Following him was R. T Racing Stable and Cypress Creek Equine’s Sun Thunder. With jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard, Sun Thunder was timed in :47.80.
Hiroaki Arai’s Mandarin Hero (JPN), who is an also-eligible for the Derby, worked five furlongs in 1:05.60 with Yuji Horita aboard.
ANGEL OF EMPIRE/HIT SHOW/JACE’S ROAD, VERIFYING – Trainer Brad Cox split his four Kentucky Derby contenders up for training Tuesday morning. Albaugh Family Stables’ Angel of Empire and Westerberg, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael B Tabor’s Verifying went out at 5:15 a.m., while Gary and Mary West’s Hit Show and West Point Thoroughbreds and Albaugh Family Stables’ Jace’s Road went out at 7:30 a.m. All four galloped once around. Cox said they also will school in the starting gate Wednesday morning.
Albaugh Family Stables is returning to the Kentucky Derby for the first time since they were the co-owners of Thousand Words in 2020. They return as sole owner of Arkansas Derby winner Angel of Empire and co-owner of Jace’s Road.
“We were talking last night at dinner that since the Arkansas Derby, it’s been the longest four weeks of our life,” said Jason Loutch, the racing manager of Albaugh Family Stables. “It’s all you think about, the excitement and trying to get here. Now that that we are here, it’s really starting to hit us. We’re excited for Saturday.
“I’m really happy. To have two runners is a huge accomplishment for our stable. The way Angel came out of the Arkansas Derby, Brad (Cox) thinks he’s doing even better than before that race. Gives us a lot of optimism, but it’s all about getting the right trip. We like our post positions.”
CONFIDENCE GAME – Don’t Tell My Wife Stables and Ocean Reef Stables’ Confidence Game stayed in the barn and walked the shedrow Tuesday and then schooled in the paddock at 10:15 a.m., while his trainer Keith Desormeaux went to Keeneland to oversee his horses there.
CONTINUAR – Lion Race Horse Co. Ltd.’s Continuar (JPN) galloped a mile under Kazunari Yoshida after warming up in the mile chute during the first harrow break of the morning.
Continuar, who will be ridden in Derby 149 by Ryusei Sakai, drew post 20 for Saturday’s Run for the Roses.
“I’ve been getting the outside draw in a lot of big races lately,” trainer Yoshito Yahagi said. “I feel like I am cursed. It isn’t a good draw at all, but there is only so much we can do.”
DERMA SOTOGAKE – Hiroyuki Asanuma’s Derma Sotogake (JPN) warmed up in the mile chute during the first harrow break of the morning and then breezed a half-mile in :49.60 with Masatoshi Segawa aboard.
Trained by Hidetaka Otonashi, Derma Sotogake will be ridden in the Derby by Christophe Lemaire. Derma Sotogake drew post 17 for the Derby.
“I think from the outside he will be able to take a decent position keeping an eye on the whole field in the early stages. He broke quickly from the gate the other day, so I think it won’t be a problem,” assistant trainer Masanari Tanaka said.
DISARM – Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Disarm had a scheduled walk day at trainer Steve Asmussen’s Barn 38 Tuesday morning following his half-mile move in :49.20 Monday.
Disarm will break from post 11 in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.
“He’s a very durable horse and I think the best is yet to come from him,” Asmussen said. “I think it’s very obvious that the major players in this year’s race lack a lot of early speed. I see a lot of jockeying in the first eighth of a mile. So I’m very curious what will happen in the early stages of the race.”
FORTE/KINGSBARNS/MAJOR DUDE/TAPIT TRICE – The Todd Pletcher Derby trio of Forte, Kingsbarns and Tapit Trice went trackside during their usual exercise time as part of the Derby/Oaks special training period from 7:30 to 7:45 at Churchill Downs on Tuesday morning.
Each of the trio galloped about a mile and three-eighths with their usual exercise riders aboard. That mean Hector Ramos handled Forte, Elder Flores was up on Kingsbarns and Amelia Green was aboard Tapit Trice.
Their Hall of Fame conditioner took it all in, then marched with them back to his Barn 39.
The threesome drew well at Monday’s Derby Draw session. Race favorite (3-1) Forte will start from Post 15 with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the tack. Second choice (5-1) Tapit Trice drew Post five (Luis Saez), while Kingsbarns (12-1) and Jose Ortiz are right alongside in Post six.
“They’ll all paddock school this afternoon,” Pletcher noted. “They’ll be in with the horses from the sixth Race.”
LORD MILES – Vegso Racing Stable’s Wood Memorial (GII) winner jogged one-mile Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs.
Lord Miles drew post 19 in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.
MAGE – Trainer Gustavo Delgado Sr. sent the Florida Derby (GI) runner-up to Forte out for a gallop with regular exercise rider J.J. Delgado. Javier Castellano will ride the son of Good Magic, owned by OGMA Investments LLC, Ramiro Restrepo, Sterling Racing LLC and CMNWLTH, out of the No. eight post position. He’s 15-1 on the morning line.
“So far, so good,” said assistant trainer Gustavo Delgado Jr. “He definitely likes the cooler weather than it is in Florida.”
Mage will gallop each day heading into the Derby, with maybe a “higher tempo” exercise on Wednesday. He’ll get some schooling in the starting gate on Thursday.
PRACTICAL MOVE/REINCARNATE – Following a pattern he set from right after he shipped to Churchill Downs last Saturday from California, trainer Tim Yakteen split his Kentucky Derby workers into an early one (Practical Move at 5:20 a.m.) and a later one (Reincarnate at 7:30 during the special Derby/Oaks training session) on a sunny Tuesday morning Louisville morning. That split allows exercise rider Baltazar Contreras to pilot each horse.
Both trainer and rider were happy with the mile and a quarter gallops the horses put in.
Yakteen also noted that his charges would visit the paddock during racing in the afternoon. That was scheduled to happen with the horses for today’s 2nd Race.
RAISE CAIN – Andrew and Rania Warren’s Raise Cain jogged two miles under Rene Morales for trainer Ben Colebrook and schooled in the paddock after training hours.
Raise Cain arrived at Churchill Downs Monday morning from Colebrook’s main base at Keeneland. The Violence colt’s appearance on the track this morning was not his first beneath the Twin Spires.
“He had his debut here, if you could call it that,” Colebrook said of the eighth-place finish in a 6 ½-furlong sprint. “He was so laid back and the light bulb had not gone on yet.”
Raise Cain, fifth in the Blue Grass Stakes (GI) in his most recent start, drew post 16 for the Derby and will be reunited with Gerardo Corrales, who rode him in his first three starts.
ROCKET CAN – The Into Mischief colt, owned by Frank Fletcher Racing Operations, was back to galloping with regular exercise rider Guelser Cardona after Sunday’s five-furlong breeze for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. Junior Alvarado will ride Rocket Can, listed at 30-1 on the Derby morning line.
Rocket Can drew the No. 18 post position, the same spot from which Mott trainee Country House left the starting gate in 2019. Country House was declared the Derby winner by disqualification.
“I’m fine with it,” Mott said the morning after the draw. “You never know what a good post really is. You can have a bad trip from a good post. So I’m happy to be out there.”
SKINNER – As he did Monday in his first day on the track, trainer John Shirreffs took his Derby charge Skinner to the Churchill oval at 9 a.m. with a pony alongside and exercise rider Donnie Balthazar in the tack. They walked and jogged from the six-furlong gap to the paddock where the bay Curlin colt took a tour, then headed back to the track for a solid mile and one-half gallop out in the middle of the big strip
“He’s settled in nicely and looked good galloping today,” his conditioner offered.
Skinner drew Post nine for Saturday’s $3 million Kentucky Derby and will be handled for thefirst time by California’s leading rider, Juan Hernandez.
SUN THUNDER – Trainer Kenny McPeek had his colt breeze four furlongs Tuesday morning, under jockey Brian Hernandez Jr., who will ride him in the Derby.
With blinkers on, after starting off in :24, the R.T Racing Stable and Cypress Creek Equine colt was clocked for the four furlongs in :47.80, before finishing up five furlongs in 1:01.40.
“It was just a maintenance half for him,” McPeek said. “Brian was happy with him. He was going evenly, that’s what we wanted.”
Sun Thunder and Hernandez will leave the Derby starting gate from post position 13. He’s listed at 50-1 on the Derby morning line.
Since 1995, McPeek has had eight Derby starters, with his best finish coming home second in his first try. Tejano Run finished 2 1/4 lengths behind longshot Thunder Gulch.
“I finished second in that race. So if you had asked me how 28 years later I still hadn’t won it, you’d have to ask the question, how did that happen,” McPeek said. “It takes a certain amount of things lining up. You’ve gotta have the right horse, the right luck, the right jockey … a lot of things have got to come together.”
TWO PHIL’S – Exercise rider Gonzalo Gonzales took Two Phil’s out for another spin on Tuesday, galloping 1 1/4 miles for the second straight day since arriving from Hawthorne.
“He was good,” Gonzales said. “He was a little nervous when we began, but once we got on the other side where there was more traffic, he was relaxed and liked his time standing there watching everything. He’s been steadily improving (throughout the winter and spring).”
Trainer Larry Rivelli and jockey Jareth Loveberry were on hand to watch the Patricia’s Hope, Phillip Sagan, and Madaket Stable’s Jeff Ruby Steaks (GIII) winner stretch his legs. Two Phil’s will break from post four in the Derby.
“It looks like the closers all drew to his outside, so as long as he breaks well, we’re in a good spot, and they can come down and get behind him,” Rivelli said.
“It looks like I’ll be able to find a good trip,” Loveberry said. “My horse has tactical speed. I don’t mind where we’re at all. We’ll have a good shot to track behind the two speed horses who drew to each side.”
ALSO-ELIGIBLES – Cyclone Mischief (No. 21), Mandarin Hero (No. 22) and King Russell (No. 23) all officially entered the Kentucky Derby on the also-eligible list.
Hiroaki Arai’s Mandarin Hero warmed up in the mile chute during Tuesday morning’s first harrow break and then worked five furlongs in 1:05.60 under Yuji Horita.
Following the work, the Santa Anita Derby (GI) runner-up visited the gate and the paddock.
Mandarin Hero is trained by Terunobu Fujita.
LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS UPDATE
AFFIRMATIVE LADY – AMO Racing USA’s Affirmative Lady put in her first on-track appearance Tuesday morning by galloping a mile and a half under Kevin Lundie for trainer Graham Motion.
“I couldn’t be any happier with her,” Lundie said of Affirmative Lady, who drew post 13 for Friday’s Oaks. “But she is going to have to run the race of her life.”
Affirmative Lady will be reunited in the Oaks with Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez, who was aboard for her first three starts. Velazquez won the 2021 Oaks on Malathaat.
Winner of the Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) in her most recent start, Affirmative Lady is scheduled to have a trip to the starting gate Wednesday as well as a paddock schooling session.
AND TELL ME NOLIES – Peter Redekop’s And Tell Me Nolies was reunited with regular jockey Ramon Vazquez, who was aboard the filly for her 1 ¼-mile gallop Tuesday during the 7:30 a.m. training time set aside for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders.
Vazquez, who has seen his career skyrocket since moving to the tough Southern California circuit after the Oaklawn meet ended last May, has been aboard And Tell Me Nolies for all seven of her career starts, including his first American Grade I in the Del Mar Debutante last August. He earned his second Grade 1 this spring aboard Practical Move in the Santa Anita Derby. And Tell Me Nolies will be the first Oaks mount for the native of Puerto Rico, while Practical Move will be his first Derby mount.
“I’m excited,” Vazquez said. “I feel amazing to be here. And, grateful for the opportunity.”
After finishing a disappointing eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) last fall, And Tell Me Nolies earned her way into the Oaks by finishing second in the Santa Ysabel Stakes (GIII) and the Santa Anita Oaks (GII).
“She’s doing good,” Vazquez said. “She’s galloping good. She’s getting better and better. Before she would get so nervous and be sweaty. Now, she’s much more relaxed.”
BOTANICAL, THE ALYS LOOK, WET PAINT – Trainer Brad Cox split his three Oaks fillies up this morning, sending The Alys Look out with his first set and Botanical and Oaks morning line favorite Wet Paint out at 7:30 a.m.
The Alys Look, with exercise Luis Hernandez, went out at 5:15 a.m. with stablemates Angel of Empire and Verifying, who are running in the Kentucky Derby, and galloped 1 ½ miles.
Wet Paint, with exercise rider Edwin Vargas, and Botanical, with exercise rider Fernando Espinoza, also galloped 1 ½ miles when they went to out to train.
DEFINING PURPOSE – At the time reserved for Oaks and Derby horses, the Ashland Stakes (GI) winner stepped onto the track Tuesday with regular exercise rider Shelby Spalding aboard for a gallop of about a mile-and-three-eighths.
On Monday, the filly, who races in the silks of Magdalena Racing, Collette Marie Vanmatre and James Ball, drew the No. 11 post position in the field of 14. Brian Hernandez Jr. will ride 12-1 Defining Purpose in the Oaks on Friday.
“Just a little maintenance work for her,” trainer Kenny McPeek said. “In the Oaks, we’ve done a good job in bringing horses up to the race. We’ve had a little bit of second-itis. But seconds are a respectable run. Maybe this is the year.”
DORTH VADER – John Ropes’ Dorth Vader had a routine 1 ½-mile gallop at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Ropes stated he named Dorth Vader after his wife, Dorothy, and played into the Star Wars theme.
Her half-brother, who Ropes also owned and bred, will also be named as a tie in to Star Wars.
FLYING CONNECTION – Brad King, Randy Andrews, G. Chris Coleman, Jim Cone, Suzanne Kirby and Lee Lewis’ Flying Connection visited the starting gate and then galloped a mile and a half under Oscar Rojero.
Winner of the Sunland Park Oaks (Listed) in her most recent start, Flying Connection is scheduled to school in the paddock this afternoon with horses in the third race.
Two-time Oaks-winning rider Florent Geroux will have the mount Friday and exit post position 10.
“There were a few other spots I wouldn’t want,” trainer Todd Fincher said of watching the Post Position Draw unfold Monday afternoon.
Flying Connection is scheduled to have a walk day on Wednesday.
GAMBLING GIRL/JULIA SHINING – Trainer Todd Pletcher’s Oaks fillies – Repole Stable’s Gambling Girl and Stonestreet Stable’s Julia Shining – went trackside Tuesday morning during the special Derby/Oaks training period between 7:30 and 7:45. Each had their usual exercise rider attached, meaning Carlos Quevedo handled Gambling Girl and Humberto Zamora was up on Julia Shining. They both galloped about a mile and three-eighths.
Gambling Girl was drawn well for Friday’s 149th edition of the Longines Kentucky Oaks, getting the post three with Irad Ortiz Jr. scheduled to ride. They’re listed as 15-1 on morning line.
Julia Shining remains a “hope” for the stable to make the Oaks, but currently sits at No. 16 on the list for the 14-horse race. She, too, was tabbed at 15-1 in the morning line and is scheduled to have Luis Saez up if she gets to run.
MIMI KAKUSHI – Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum’s Mimi Kakushi jogged a mile and galloped a mile under stable rider Xavier Ziani.
Winner of the UAE Oaks (GIII) in her most recent start on Feb. 17 at Meydan, Mimi Kakushi is scheduled to school in the paddock thuis afternoon with horses in the seventh race.
Winner of her past three starts, Mimi Kakushi will break from post one in the 14-horse Oaks field.
“You can’t buy luck,” said trainer Salem bin Ghadayer, who had hoped for a spot in the middle of the gate. “She is not what you would call a super breaker, so she will be right behind the speed.
“She has not had any gate issues and she will not go to the gate this week.”
PRETTY MISCHIEVOUS – A day after drawing to the far outside in post 14, Pretty Mischievous galloped her regular distance of one mile and a half on Tuesday during the Derby/Oaks training time at 7:30 a.m. Trainer Brendan Walsh has decided to add blinkers for the Rachel Alexandra-winner’s run in Friday’s Oaks.
“I think she loses focus a little bit,” Walsh said. “She’s got such a high cruising speed. It might be time to change things up and add an extra dimension.”
PROMISEHER AMERICA – After arriving at Churchill Downs safely on Sunday night, Hoffman Thoroughbreds, Tom McCrocklin, and Medallion Racing’s Promiseher America made her track debut on Tuesday. Foregoing the Derby/Oaks-only training window to spend time with the farrier, at 8:30 a.m she merged from Barn 42 outfitted in new shoes. Accompanied by assistant trainer Rodrigo Montecino on pony, Promiseher America jogged about one mile under exercise rider Fernando Tapara.
“We just jogged today, let her see the sights,” trainer Ray Handal said. “We’ll have an easy gallop tomorrow.”
SOUTHLAWN – Robert Masterson’s Southlawn had a 1 ½-mile gallop Tuesday morning for trainer Norm Casse.
“She’s turned into a very kind horse in her races,” Casse said. “I think she can be wherever the rider tells her to go and she knows her cues when it’s time to show her best run. Drawing inside shouldn’t be a factor because of that ability.”
WONDER WHEEL – Emerging from Mark Casse’s barn at 5:45 a.m., Wonder Wheel took to the track on Tuesday after Monday’s walk day. Assistant trainer David Carroll jogged the D.J. Stable’s filly one lap around the outside rail before leading her through an easy gallop.
In Monday’s Oaks draw, Wonder Wheel drew Post No.5–the same position she broke from when winning the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies. Trainer Mark Casse arrived on Tuesday.
“Great spot,” Casse said. “It’s kind of funny that Norm (son Norm Casse, trainer of Southlawn who drew post four) and I are next to each other. We can keep an eye on each other’s horse. (from post five) I can see Wonder Wheel gathering herself and getting into a nice stride. We have one of the best riders in the world in Joel Rosario—I usually don’t try to give too many instructions.”
ALSO-ELIGIBLE – Taxed (No. 15), Julia Shining (No. 16) and Hoosier Philly (No. 17) all entered the Kentucky Oaks as also-eligibles.
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2023 KENTUCKY DERBY WEEK SCHEDULE
* Tuesday, May 2: 502’sDay / Live racing (First of 9 races: 12:45 p.m.; Last race: 4:55 p.m.) / KTA’s Kentucky Derby Trainers’ Dinner at The Speed Art Museum (6 p.m.)
* Wednesday, May 3: Champions Day / Live racing (First of 10 races: 12:45 p.m.; Last race: 5:25 p.m.)
* Thursday, May 4: Thurby presented by Old Forester / Live racing (First of 11 races: 12:45 p.m.; Last race: 6:14 p.m.)
* Friday, May 5: Kentucky Oaks Day / Live racing (First of 13 races: 10:30 a.m.; Last race: 7:00 p.m.) / Race 11: Kentucky Oaks (5:51 p.m.) / Fillies & Lilies at Kentucky Derby Museum (7:30-10 p.m.) / Barnstable Brown Gala (Barnstable residence) / Unbridled Eve at The Galt House (7:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.) / Rockin’ Derby Eve at Paristown Hall (7:30 p.m.)