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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


LOUISVILLE, Ky, April 20, 2023) – Spendthrift Farm’s duo of Louisiana Derby (Grade II) winner Kingsbarns and Jeff Ruby Steaks (GII) runner-up Major Dude had their penultimate works prior to Kentucky Derby Day when they breezed five furlongs in 1:00.80 Thursday morning at Churchill Downs.

          Kingsbarns, who is qualified for the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) on Saturday, May 6, worked outside his Todd Pletcher-trained stablemate Major Dude, who is No. 24 on the Derby preference list but is also nominated to the $500,000 American Turf (GII). The duo clipped through opening eighth-mile fractions of :12.60, :24.40 and :36.20. They galloped out together through six furlongs in 1:13.40.

          “I think people gave Kingsbarns a discount because of the time of the Louisiana Derby,” Spendthrift Farm President Eric Gustavson said. “I don’t think you should be penalized by going to the front and putting everyone else to sleep like he did. We’re pretty confident coming into the Derby.”

          Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. was aboard Major Dude while Pletcher’s exercise rider Humberto Zamora was in the saddle on Kingsbarns.

          “Both of them went pretty well,” Pletcher said. “I thought it was a good, steady work with a strong gallop out. Kingsbarns accomplished a lot in a short period of time. I thought his debut was very professional. It’s hard to win going one-mile first time out and he did it getting an education being behind horses. For his first start I thought that was impressive. We went the Tampa Bay Downs route to get a two-turn allowance race into him. I thought that worked out well. He made a big step forward then in the Louisiana Derby.”

          Pletcher reported Kentucky Derby favorite Forte will breeze Friday along with Blue Grass Stakes (GI) winner Tapit Trice.

LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS CONTENDERS BOTANICAL, GAMBLING GIRL, SOUTHLAWN, THE ALYS LOOK, WET PAINT WORK TOWARDS FIRST FIRDAY IN MAY – It was a busy morning on the Thursday work tab at Churchill Downs for several 3-year-old fillies that are preparing for the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) on Friday, May 5.

          At 7:30 a.m. (all times Eastern), Botanical (five furlongs, 1:00.20), Southlawn (five furlongs, :58.80), The Alys Look (five furlongs, 1:00.60) and Wet Paint (five furlongs, 1:00.20) all recorded published workouts. About 90 minutes later at 9 a.m., Gambling Girl breezed a half-mile in :49.40.

          Trainer Brad Cox worked The Alys Look and Wet Paint together. Wet Paint, with jockey Flavien Prat aboard, began two lengths back of her stablemate, who was ridden by Florent Geroux, and finished even at the wire. Wet Paint completed a six-furlong gallop out in 1:13 while her stablemate finished in 1:13.40. Immediately following their work, Botanical, with jockey Chris Landeros in the irons, worked outside stablemate Flashy Gem. The duo galloped out six furlongs together in 1:13.40.

          “I thought it was a really good morning for all of our fillies,” Cox said. “The Alys Look (pronounced Alice) began about two lengths in front of Wet Paint and they finished well together and galloped out well together. I thought it was a very solid move. I let Botanical do a little bit more today than last week just to see how she’d really handle the dirt. She was actually here at Churchill last summer and we breezed her on the turf then and thought she handled it well. She didn’t quite have a lot of early speed so that’s why we started her going long on turf. Flashy Gem is a very good work horse and the two fillies ran first and second last time out at Turfway.”

          Southlawn, trained by Norm Casse, started five lengths back of stablemate Burning Bright. The winner of the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) blazed through fractions of :24 and :35.20 with rider Rey Gutierrez in the saddle. She galloped out six furlongs in 1:11.60, according to Churchill Downs Clocker John Nichols.

          Gambling Girl worked with jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. on board and was outside her Todd Pletcher-trained stablemate Cairo Consort. The duo completed early fractions of :12.60 and :24.60 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:02.20.

          In other Kentucky Oaks news, UAE Oaks (GIII) winner Mimi Kakushi is on her way from Dubai to the U.S. She’s scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Saturday and will be stabled in Quarantine Barn 2. 

SPECIAL KENTUCKY DERBY, KENTUCKY OAKS TRAINING BEGINS SATURDAY – The special 15-minute training window for only Kentucky Derby and Longines Kentucky Oaks contenders begins Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET.

          Kentucky Derby contenders will wear a yellow saddle towel while Oaks contenders will sport a pink saddle towel.

          The first morning of the Kentucky Derby Morning Works show is Monday.

DERBY NEWS AND NOTES – Gotham Stakes (GIII) winner Raise Cain worked five furlongs in 1:03.40 on Thursday at Keeneland. The Ben Colebrook-trainee is likely to stay at Keeneland until Kentucky Derby Week. He’ll be ridden in the Derby by Javier Castellano. … Holy Bull (GIII) winner Rocket Can is likely to work Sunday at Churchill Downs, according to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. Depending on the weather, the colt could have his work moved to Saturday. … The special Derby and Oaks saddle towels have been passed out at Churchill Downs and several trainers plan to put them on their horses Friday morning.

SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY DERBY – Here are the horses (with jockeys and trainers) that are qualified for the Kentucky Derby and those on the also-eligible list (in alphabetical order with AEs listed last in preference order):

          Angel of Empire (jockey Flavien Prat, trainer Brad Cox); Blazing Sevens (TBA, Chad Brown); Confidence Game (James Graham, Keith Desormeaux); Continuar (JPN) (Ryusel Sakai, Yoshito Yahagi); Derma Sotogake (JPN) (Christophe Lemaire, Hidetaka Otonashi); Disarm (Joel Rosario, Steve Asmussen); Forte (Irad Ortiz Jr., Todd Pletcher); Hit Show (Manny Franco, Brad Cox); Kingsbarns (TBA, Todd Pletcher); Lord Miles (Paco Lopez, Saffie Joseph Jr.); Mage (TBA, Gustavo Delgado); Practical Move (Ramon Vazquez, Tim Yakteen); Raise Cain (Javier Castellano, Ben Colebrook); Reincarnate (John Velazquez, Tim Yakteen); Rocket Can (Junior Alvarado, Bill Mott); Sun Thunder (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek); Tapit Trice (Luis Saez, Todd Pletcher); Two Phil’s (Jareth Loveberry, Larry Rivelli); Verifying (Tyler Gaffalione, Brad Cox); and Wild On Ice (Ken Tohill, Joel Marr).

          Also-Eligible: Jace’s Road (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox); Skinner (Victor Espinioza, John Shirreffs); Cyclone Mischief (TBA, Dale Romans); Major Dude (TBA, Todd Pletcher); and Mandarin Hero (JPN) (TBA, Terunobu Fujita).

SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY OAKS – Here are the horses (with trainers) that are qualified for the Longines Kentucky Oaks and those on the also-eligible list (in alphabetical order with AEs listed last in preference order):

          Affirmative Lady (John Velazquez, Graham Motion); And Tell Me Nolies (TBA, Peter Miller); Botanical (Chris Landeros, Brad Cox); Defining Purpose (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek); Dorth Vader (TBA, Mike Yates); Flying Connection (TBA, Todd Fincher); Gambling Girl (TBA, Todd Pletcher); Mimi Kakushi (TBA, Salem bin Ghadayer); Pretty Mischievous (Tyler Gaffalione, Brendan Walsh); Promisher America (TBA, Ray Handal); Shidabhuti (TBA, Chad Brown); Southlawn (Rey Gutierrez, Norm Casse); The Alys Look (Luis Saez, Brad Cox); and Wet Paint (Flavien Prat, Brad Cox).

          Also-Eligible: Wonder Wheel (Mark Casse); Taxed (Randy Morse); Julia Shining (Todd Pletcher); Hoosier Philly (Tom Amoss); and Punchbowl (Brad Cox).

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