Daily Derby Update

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4:45 pm EDT

Tuesday, May 3, 2006

BRODY’S CAUSE/CHERRY WINE – Brody’s Cause followed up Monday’s two-mile jog with a strong 1 1/2-mile gallop Tuesday at Churchill Downs, as did Cherry Wine.

Cherry Wine stands 25th in the point standings and is very unlikely to get needed defections to draw into the field.

The son of Giant’s Causeway broke his maiden at Churchill Downs with a last-to-first performance at a mile last September. Brody’s Cause demonstrated a superior late kick that carried him to victory in the Blue Grass on April 9, as well as a triumph in last year’s Breeders’ Futurity and a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, all at Keeneland.

“That’s the thing about him – and it should help him not be a victim of pace – he has acceleration. He’s not just a closer, a grinding closer. He can go zero to 60 like a Ferrari,” trainer Dale Romans said. “He’s not a freight train that has to get going slowly. He can dictate what he’s doing. He can keep himself out of trouble. I think that’s why he’s been able to compete in two 14-horse fields and an 11-horse field already. There’s a lot to be said for that.”

Romans said if Cherry Wine doesn’t draw into the Derby field, he’ll be pointed to the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico May 21.

CREATOR/GUN RUNNER – Trainer Steve Asmussen's Kentucky Derby duo – Creator and Winchell Thoroughbreds and Gun Runner – walked in the barn Tuesday morning, the day after they posted half-mile workouts. Asmussen expressed satisfaction with how they came out of the workouts.

Asmussen discussed the circumstances that led to his choices of jockeys. Florent Geroux, 29, will ride Louisiana Derby winner Gun Runner, and Ricardo Santana Jr., 22, will ride Arkansas Derby winner Creator.

Geroux will be making his Derby debut. He was to ride Stanford last year, but Stanford was scratched on the Thursday before the race. Santana will be making his second Derby appearance. He rode Tapiture for Asmussen in 2014.

"Florent has had a good run the last couple years – his Breeders' Cup last year and the meet he was having at the Fair Grounds this winter – obviously put him in position on Gun Runner,'' Asmussen said. "I like how he's handled him. I like the work he has done with him. We feel we're in a very good spot.

"And then Creator, Ricardo had a very strong belief in the horse last fall. I think we got a little off track this winter in New Orleans with the horse. And then, reuniting him with Ricardo and the strong belief Ricardo's had in the horse the whole time, we've been rewarded for it. So it's been a good match with both riders and horses.

"(Santana) knows Creator, and it's quite obvious Creator has responded for him. That's what we're looking for. We're trying to win the Derby with Creator. You're working with the tools you have, and that's what the match is here.''

Geroux said he's thrilled about the chance to ride in the Derby.

"It's a good feeling,'' he said. "Not too many jockeys get the opportunity of doing that. Last year, I was so close and didn't make it. I'm grateful to be in this position, because lots of jockeys would love to have the opportunity. And I'm just going to try to get the most out of it.

"I like my chances, because I've been riding him the last two times, and both of them have been winners. So it's pretty exciting.''

DANZING CANDY – Both Danzing Candy and his trainer, Cliff Sise Jr., became acquainted with Churchill Downs Tuesday morning after arriving from Southern California on Monday afternoon.

With exercise rider Rolando Quinones in the saddle, Danzing Candy, accompanied by a pony, jogged once around the track, before going solo in a light gallop around the oval.

Back at Barn 41, Sise, who never has started a horse at Churchill Downs, said he was pleased with the way Danzing Candy moved over the surface, and indicated that he would have a stronger gallop Wednesday.

“He shipped well, and only left a little bit [feed] last night,” Sise said. “But that’s to be expected with shipping in and we fed him kind of late last night. We fed him a big mash, too, and he only left a couple of handfuls.”

Sise, 64, never has had a Derby starter, but has had a couple horses who were on the Kentucky Derby trail before being derailed. Last year Sise was preparing Prospect Park for the Kentucky Derby when the colt exited his fourth-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby with an elevated white blood cell count. The other horse that Sise had hoped to run in the Derby was California Chrome’s sire, Lucky Pulpit, in 2004.

“My biggest disappointment was last year with Prospect Park because he wants to go a mile and a quarter,” Sise said. “The only relief from that disappointment was that no one was going to beat American Pharoah, although it would have been nice to hit the board.”

Sise said Danzing Candy would paddock school Thursday morning, and then again during the races Friday afternoon. Danzing Candy will be schooled at the gate on Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

DAZZLING GEM – Dazzling Gem continues to impress trainer Brad Cox with his training, but the trainer still has not made a decision on whether to enter the Kentucky Derby as an also-eligible in hopes of making the actual field if there were some defections.

“He looks unreal right now,” Cox said. “He's not going to get in, but he looking really good right now. I'll talk it over with Mr. Landers and see what he wants to do as far as entering.”

Cox said that Dazzling Gem remains under consideration for the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont May 14 or the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico May 21.

DESTIN/OUTWORK – Everyone, it seems, is looking for the Kentucky Derby “buzz” horse this year. America’s most famous race always has a “buzz” horse, one that the wise guys and the straight out stabbers figure they’ve got a good angle on; one that they’ll be able to cash that ticket with, for sure. But this year that “buzz” horse has gone missing.

Trainer Todd Pletcher’s duo of Destin and Outwork fit the “non-buzz” mode perfectly. Neither the Tampa Bay Derby winner (Destin) nor the Wood Memorial hero (Outwork) has drawn whispers or knowing winks from the Derby watchers. They’ve just gone on about their business with that steady hum – the kind that fits their trainer’s MO to just about a perfect T.

Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs the gray Destin and the bay Outwork came trackside at 8:30 in time for the special Derby/Oaks training period. Most of the other runners in the two big races joined them. And just as they have for months now, exercise rider Ovel Merida (Destin) and Hector Ramos (Outwork) were aboard the colts as they galloped a mile and three-eighths – steadily, strongly, but not, of course, with any big splash. They just kept moving forward to Saturday and their run in the Kentucky Derby – no buzz, no roar, just that steady, steady hum.

DISCREETNESS – Discreetness will be entered Wednesday in the Pat Day Mile instead of the Kentucky Derby.

“It looks like we have no chance to get in,” Fires said of Discreetness, who is 26th on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard. “It is a shame because the owner wants to run.”

EXAGGERATOR – It was back to the racetrack for the Santa Anita Derby winner Exaggerator on Tuesday morning following two days of barn walking after a Saturday workout (1:02.60) at Churchill Downs and Monday schooling in the paddock.

Trainer Keith Desormeaux and his assistant, Julie Clark, took their colt through the six-furlong gap during the special Derby/Oaks training period, then looked on closely as exercise rider Peedy Landry galloped him one time around the oval.

Earlier at Barn 25, Desormeaux had been asked by a TV reporter where he believed his charge would be running come Saturday.

“He’s going to be far, far in the back,” the conditioner said, making no attempt to disguise his strategy. “He’ll be so far back, he’ll be behind the kick-back. You know these horses throw kick-back when they run. I want that kick-back from the pack to go up and come down and then you’re going to see Exaggerator. Kent will be back there counting cars.”

FELLOWSHIP – Fellowship, No. 21 on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, had a routine gallop this morning under exercise rider Brian O’Leary. Fellowship is scheduled to paddock school today in the second race.

The son of Awesome of Course gallops in blinkers, something that trainer Mark Casse doesn’t normally do with his horses. “It just seems to make him go better,” said Casse, who became the colt’s trainer shortly after his third-place finish in the Florida Derby. “If you don’t put blinkers on him, he looks at everything in the infield, and he will tend to get out. With the blinkers, he goes as straight as an arrow.”

If there are no defections from the anticipated Derby field before entries are taken Wednesday evening, or after the 9 a.m. scratch time Friday morning, Fellowship will run in the Preakness, Casse said.

“It’s funny, every time I get a call from the media, I think that we’re getting in,” said Casse. “You have mixed emotions about it, because for your good luck someone has to have bad luck. He really gets over this track very well, and it would be a shame not to get to run him but, you know, it’s the way the cookie crumbles. It is what it is; we’re just happy to have him in the barn.”

LANI – Keita Tanaka, who has been serving as the spokesman for the Lani camp at Churchill Downs, outlined the Tuesday morning plan for the UAE Derby winner.

“He may work six furlongs if he is happy after one lap,” Tanaka said.

Apparently, Lani was happy as on his second trip around the track he worked five furlongs in 1:01 with exercise rider Eishu Maruuchi aboard. Fractions for the work were :12.40, :24.40, :36.60 and :48.60. The work was the third fastest of 18 at the distance.

“The rider did a very good job. It was a nice work,” trainer Mikio Matsunaga said through Tanaka. “I think he is fast enough and happy enough to run in the Derby.”

Matsunaga said the Tapit colt would be handwalked in the barn Wednesday. Lani has been to the gate twice in the past week for schooling but not the paddock. Matsunaga said he does not paddock school during the races in the afternoon but may consider a morning session this week.

Tuesday was the first time Matsunaga had seen Lani in a month.

“He had just put in a big race (in Dubai) and I wanted to give him time to relax the past three weeks to be fresh to run in the Kentucky Derby,” Matsunaga said. “He is doing very well.”

After the breeze, Lani walked one more time around the track before returning to his barn.

“At home in Japan, I walk my horses before and after they go to the track because there is plenty of room to walk,” Matsunaga said.

Lani will represent the first Japanese-based runner in the Kentucky Derby in 21 years since Ski Captain finished 14th behind Thunder Gulch in 1995. Yutaka Take, who rode Ski Captain, has the assignment on Lani.

Matsunaga started thinking about the Kentucky Derby early on with Lani. The victory in Dubai punched Lani’s ticket to Louisville and a chance to become the first runner from that race to win the Kentucky Derby.

“We saw his potential on dirt as a 2-year-old and he showed a big capacity for dirt,” Matsunaga said. “The UAE Derby was a priority. I know it is extremely difficult to have a horse in this race,” Matsunaga said. “Not only do I have a runner, but one with a good chance. I want to change history.”

Matsunaga is not concerned about Lani’s ability to handle a Derby Day scene with more than 150,000 fans expected to be on hand.

“The crowds are not a big concern because we have huge crowds at our races in Japan,” Matsunaga said.

Asked if getting Lani ready for the Kentucky Derby was his biggest training challenge, Matsunaga smiled and said, “Definitely.”

MAJESTO – Trainer Gustavo Delgado sent Majesto to the Churchill Downs racetrack Tuesday morning for an open gallop.

“He looked very good open galloping. He was very relaxed,” Delgado said. “I think in the Kentucky Derby, the last five furlongs is important. I think the open galloping today will be very good for the last five furlongs. It will help him. For me it’s very important for him to finish.”

The late-developing son of Tiznow broke his maiden at Gulfstream Feb. 27 in his fourth lifetime start and came right back to finish second behind Nyquist in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on April 2.

Delgado, who is scheduled to saddle his first Kentucky Derby starter, trained four Triple Crown champions in his native Venezuela before venturing to the U.S. two years ago to train in South Florida.

“In Venezuela there are seven, and I have four,” he said.

Emisael Jaramillo, the all-time win leader in Venezuela who is currently atop the jockey standings at Gulfstream Park, rode two of Delgado’s Venezuela Triple Crown champions. Jaramillo is slated to ride Majesto in the Derby, as well as the Delgado-trained Paola Queen in the Kentucky Oaks and Grand Tito in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic.

MOHAYMEN – Mohaymen galloped a spirited 1 1/2 mile.

“He was a little more relaxed yesterday. I hoped he’d be relaxed again today. But he’s a good mover doing well. Going to the half he kind of hopped again. He’s high energy and doing well,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “We added a little piece of equipment and no one has said anything about it. We put a little black rubber figure eight on hoping it would settle him a little, so he didn’t get his mouth open. He won’t run in it. We’re just trying to slow him down a little bit because he’s pretty happy. But he’s doing great.”

Mohaymen, who captured his first five career races, is coming off a fourth-place finish at the 4-5 favorite in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park April 2, when he finished 8 ¼ lengths behind undefeated Kentucky Derby contender Nyquist. McLaughlin acknowledged the media attention centered on Nyquist at Barn 41 Tuesday morning would have been swarming Barn 42 had Mohaymen remained undefeated in Florida.

“That’s the game – what have you done for me lately. I understand, but we haven’t lost any confidence,” McLaughlin said. “We’re happy to be here. We’re happy to be one of the 20 out of 23,000 foals. We’re here and we feel like we have a big chance.”

MOR SPIRIT – Michael Petersen's Santa Anita Derby runner-up walked the shedrow of trainer Bob Baffert's barn Tuesday, one day after completing a five-furlong workout in :59.80.

“He looks great today,” Baffert said. “It's good to be back with a horse that has a chance. I know we're flying under the radar, but I'm confident in him.”

The Hall of Fame trainer is one year removed from winning his fourth Kentucky Derby with American Pharoah, who went on to become the first horse in 37 years to capture the Triple Crown. Since arriving in Louisville Saturday night, Baffert has had the chance to visit the new American Pharoah exhibit at the Kentucky Derby museum.

“It's always great to go there and get your Derby fix,” Baffert said. “This horse has such a following. There's a lot of things people are going to see (about American Pharoah) that they didn't even know about.”

Baffert said that there was only one tense moment with American Pharoah that he thought could have cost them the race. “There's so much that can happen in these Derbies,” Baffert said. “Your horse has to show up. A lot of horses will just lay an egg for whatever reason. The walkover got to American Pharoah last year. The way these things are getting, they're almost like Trump rallies. They're crazy. It definitely cost Pharoah some of his fastball last year. He finally settled down and we dodged a bullet. He still ran great, but it wasn't the Pharoah that we knew.”

MO TOM – Mo Tom, with exercise rider Mario Garcia aboard, galloped two miles Tuesday for trainer Tom Amoss after the renovation break.

Mo Tom, who won the Lecomte at Fair Grounds, encountered rough trips in his next two races, finishing third in the Risen Star and fourth in Louisiana Derby.

"The story on Mo Tom is well documented and clear,'' owner representative Seth Bensel said. "He is a horse that is, you look at his first race ever, six furlongs, Ellis Park, he gets in trouble. He comes flying up. He's on the backstretch; he comes flying up. He just runs into the crowd and checks, stops, goes off the picture. Then, at six furlongs, he comes barreling and catches them all. Is he a troubled horse? Who knows? But when he's free and clear, he's like Street Sense. He was running. ... He's got the turn of foot, the ability to close. The question for him is, a clean trip, and is he lucky?”

Mo Tom is the stable's first graded-stakes winner. The stable was formed to win major races, Bensel said. The Saints, of course, won professional football's most important game, the Super Bowl, after the 2009 season. Bensel said he sees a similarity between the Derby and the Super Bowl.

"At the end of the day, this is a team effort, this G M B Racing. We’re in this to run graded-stakes races, the classics the Breeders' Cup. Let's play on the big stage if we can. So this was no surprise that we’re running in these graded stakes races. It's a surprise to have a horse in the Derby. It's a massive surprise to have two horses in the Derby.

"In the Super Bowl, it was one of those things. We went 13-0. We lost our last three. We got in (the playoffs). We had momentum. We lost our momentum. We came back. The same with these horses. Mo Tom, he had momentum. He lost his momentum. He got in. So we'll see. That's what I'm comparing it too.''

MY MAN SAM/SHAGAF – My Man Sam and Shagaf, both trained by Chad Brown, galloped under the Twin Spires during the 8:30 a.m. training session. Per usual, Daniel Bernardini was aboard My Man Sam, while Shagaf was ridden by Gian Cueva.

NYQUIST – Nyquist took advantage of the special Derby/Oaks training period between 8:30 and 8:45 Tuesday morning at Churchill. He had his regular pilot Jonny Garcia up and they navigated a mile and three-eighths in a good gallop.

Trainer Doug O’Neill’s charge appears likely to be the betting favorite for Derby 142, earned by virtue of his perfect 7-for-7 record, which was most recently enhanced by a cross-country ship and a score in the Florida Derby on April 2.

The bay Uncle Mo colt has nary a visual marking on him, no stars, no stripes or snips, no white stockings, but his current bankroll reads $3,322,600, the most a 3-year-old has sported coming into the Run for the Roses. It includes a million-dollar bonus for winning the Florida Derby.

OSCAR NOMINATED – Oscar Nominated, winner of the Spiral Stakes, galloped 1 1/4 miles at the Trackside Training Center, according to trainer Mike Maker.

The Kitten’s Joy colt will be ridden in the Derby by Julien Leparoux, who never has been on the horse for a race but has a long relationship with the owners, Ken and Sarah Ramsey. In the winter of 2005-06, his first as a jockey, Leparoux won the Turfway Park title thanks in large part to riding first-call for them.

“When he won his Eclipse Award, the first thing he said in his acceptance speech was he thanked the Ramseys for getting him started,” Ramsey remembered with no small amount of pride.

While Ramsey always has thought highly of Leparoux for his obvious natural ability, there is also a trust that has been built over hundreds of mounts. That trust is important to Ramsey, who feels strongly that offspring of Kitten’s Joy should be ridden with patience. A few years ago Ramsey “suspended” Leparoux from riding his horses for one month as punishment for putting a Kitten’s Joy on the lead.

“When he came back he told me she broke really sharp and it seemed like the right thing to do but that next time he’d remember,” Ramsey said. “Well, next time she broke sharp again and it was the exact same scenario and he let her go to the lead and, sure enough, she got caught in the stretch, like they almost always do if you ride them like that. I told him, ‘Julien, you’re suspended from riding my horses for one month and I’m telling Steve Bass don’t even call me until I say you can.’

“Julien hasn’t put a Kitten’s Joy on the lead since and I wouldn’t predict that there’s any chance of us being on the lead Saturday.”

In other longshot chances, Ramsey pointed out that with the Kitten’s Joy colt Hawkbill, owned by Godolphin, pointing to the Epsom Derby following a win in the Newmarket Stakes on Saturday, there is the possibility of Kitten’s Joy siring the winners of the Kentucky Derby and the Epsom Derby in the same year.

“I’m guessing that’s a 1,000-1 shot,” Ramsey said, “but there’s a chance.”

SUDDENBREAKINGNEWS – Trainer Donnie Von Hemel, aboard his new stable pony Rudy, led Suddenbreakingnews to the track to train during the special 8:30 a.m. training time. As has been the usual routine, the Mineshaft gelding stood quietly for several minutes and then proceeded to gallop 1 1/2 mile under regular exercise rider Ramiro Gorostieta.

“He's handled things really well,” Von Hemel said. “He schooled well yesterday (in the paddock). If you're been here for a while, you have the advantage of being able to get used to the craziness little by little.”

TOM’S READY – Tom's Ready, with exercise rider Emerson Chavez aboard, galloped a mile and a half Tuesday after the renovation break for trainer Dallas Stewart.

TROJAN NATION – The big Street Cry colt Trojan Nation jetted in from California on Monday then Tuesday morning he was on the track.

Trojan Nation still is a non-winner, but his bang-up second-place finish in New York’s Wood Memorial April 9 earned him the right to run for the Roses, thus his appearance in Louisville. He was sent here by an Irish expatriate (trainer Paddy Gallagher) and accompanied by another Irish expat, Andy Durnin, the stable’s right-hand man and chief exercise rider.

“We’ll just let him jog a mile and then investigate the track a bit,” Durnin said. “We did that in New York; let him look around some, get a feel for it. He likes to check it all out.”

Durnin will hold down the fort until Gallagher makes it to town Tuesday evening. And Durnin knows how to navigate the Derby. This is his fourth go-round with the race for a fourth trainer.

“Fusiachi Pegasus for Neil Drysdale in 2000,” Durnin said, “then Borrego (10th) for Beau Greeley in 2004 and Make Music For Me (fourth) for Alexis Barba in 2010. Now here I am again; how lucky a guy am I?”

WHITMORE – Whitmore went to the track during the special 8:30 a.m. training time and proceeded to have an easy 1 1/2-mile gallop under Laura Moquett, wife of trainer Ron Moquett. Unlike the past few days, he went to the track to gallop by himself and without a stablemate.

“I remain very confident,” said Ron Moquett, who is also co-owner. “I know just how much extra ground he covered in his last two races and how inefficiently he ran. All he needs in the Derby is a clean trip.”

Whitmore suffered wide trips in both the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby when finishing second and third, respectively. Whitmore will school in the paddock tomorrow afternoon during the races.

Edited Churchill Downs release