Daily Derby Update: April 25

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3:33 pm EDT

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

THE WEATHER IN LOUISVILLE - Storms are forecast to move into the Louisville area overnight Wednesday into Thursday, with a 50 percent chance of scattered storms Friday, then a 90 percent chance of thunderstorms Saturday and 80 percent Sunday.

ALWAYS DREAMING / BATTALION RUNNER / MALAGACY / MASTER PLAN / PATCH / TAPWRIT – Trainer Todd Pletcher was on hand Tuesday morning as four of his colts on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard galloped.

Going out before the renovation break were Malagacy (13th on the leaderboard) with Isabelle Bourez aboard and Master Plan (26th) with Silvio Pioli up.

After the break, Pletcher sent out Battalion Runner (19th) with Bourez up and Tapwrit (12th) with Pioli up.

Arriving later Tuesday morning after training hours from Pletcher’s winter base at Palm Beach Downs were Always Dreaming (7th) and Patch (18th).

Pletcher said he was pleased with the morning activity and that he would be watching the weather to determine final work dates for his Derby contingent.

CLASSIC EMPIRE/STATE OF HONOR – Classic Empire and State of Honor galloped Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs for trainer Mark Casse.

The 2-year-old champion Classic Empire trained in the first set at 6 o’clock and galloped 1 1/2 mile with regular exercise rider Martin Rivera aboard.

Florida Derby runner-up State of Honor, known at the barn as The Giraffe because he's so tall, galloped 1 1/2 mile at 8:30 with Orlando Cross up.

State of Honor is on schedule to breeze Friday at Churchill Downs.

FAST AND ACCURATE – Fast and Accurate galloped 1 1/8 mile at Trackside Louisville Tuesday morning at 6 o’clock for trainer Mike Maker.

The Spiral winner is scheduled to van from Trackside to Churchill Downs Sunday and breeze at 8:30 a.m. under regular exercise rider Joel Cano.

HENCE / LOCAL HERO / LOOKIN AT LEE / UNTRAPPED – Trainer Steve Asmussen’s contingent of horses walked the shedrow Tuesday following their series of works on Monday.

GIRVIN -- During today’s NTRA Communications National Media Teleconference, trainer Joe Sharp said Girvin galloped over Keeneland’s all-weather training track today and would do so again tomorrow. Sharp said he decided a maintenance work on Monday wasn't necessary for Girvin and that he would go longer on Girvin's final pre-Derby workout now set for Friday. He was non-commital about whether Mike Smith would be at Keeneland for the workout.

GUNNEVERA - The three-time graded stakes winner and millionaire took his first step on the main track at Churchill Downs on Tuesday morning with exercise rider Victor Farrel aboard.

On hand to supervise the morning activity over a fast track was trainer Antonio Sano and Solomon Del-Valle, part of the ownership group. This is the first visit to Churchill Downs for Sano and Del-Valle, and they both plan to remain in Louisville through the Kentucky Derby.

“This is the first day of 52,” said Del-Valle, who lives in Venezuela. “I am not going back home. I am here for the Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont.”

Third in the Florida Derby in his most recent start, Gunnevera galloped an easy mile over a fast track after the morning renovation break during the 8:30-8:45 window reserved for Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses.

“I liked what I saw this morning,” Sano said of Gunnevera, who arrived at Churchill Downs late Saturday night. “Tomorrow he will go a mile and a half, and I plan to work Saturday morning.”

Gunnevera has won graded stakes in three states, but in his previous trip to Kentucky delivered the poorest performance of his nine-race career with a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland.

“He didn’t handle the track that day,” Sano said. “It was too deep, and he was outside.”

IRAP - Irap, who has remained at Keeneland since winning theToyota Blue Grass, galloped about 1 1/2  times around the main track around 9 a.m. with exercise rider Antonio Romero aboard for trainer Doug O’Neill. Irap, who worked a mile in 1:44 on Friday with O'Neill present, is to work again this Friday at Keeneland with Mario Gutierrez aboard. O’Neill plans to return to Keeneland from California for the move. Irap is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs April 29 or 30.

J BOYS ECHO – Gotham winner J Boys Echo jogged Tuesday morning at 8:30 with regular exercise rider Tammy Fox aboard for trainer Dale Romans. The colt is on target to breeze at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

McCRAKEN – McCraken jogged a mile under exercise rider Yoni Orantes after the renovation break. A three-time winner at Churchill Downs last fall, including the Kentucky Jockey Club, McCraken worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 on Monday under jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. for trainer Ian Wilkes.

PRACTICAL JOKE – Practical Joke made his first appearance on track at Churchill Downs, galloping after the renovation break under exercise rider Fernando Rivera. Trainer Chad Brown will be keeping an eye on the weather but said he would prefer to work the two-time Grade I winner Friday.


THUNDER SNOW -- His account on Twitter says he's arriving Sunday and will be taken to barn 17 at Churchill Downs.

Sources: Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Twitter, NTRA conference call