Daily Derby Update: Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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2:59 pm

Edited by Dick Downey


BY MY STANDARDS -- Louisiana Derby winner By My Standards jogged one mile at 6 a.m. under the Twin Spires with regular exercise rider Simon Camacho aboard for trainer Bret Calhoun, two days after he put in a six-furlong workout at the track.

CODE OF HONOR -- Code of Honor, winner of the Fountain of Youth and most recently third in the Florida Derby, arrived at Churchill Downs early Wednesday afternoon from Keeneland where he had been training.

Trained by Shug McGaughey, who won the 2013 Derby with Orb, Code of Honor had two works at Keeneland, with the most recent coming over a sealed sloppy track last Saturday going five furlongs in 1:01.

COUNTRY HOUSE/TACITUS – Country House and Tacitus walked through the paddock and then galloped a mile and a half. Marianne Scherer was on Country House and Juan Quintero was aboard Tacitus.

Trainer Bill Mott said that no rider has been confirmed yet for Country House. Jose Ortiz has the mount on Tacitus.

IMPROBABLE – The Arkansas Derby and Rebel runner-up spent a quiet morning on the track under exercise rider Jose Contreras.

“We jogged to the gate, and galloped maybe three-quarters of a mile, it was a relatively light day today,” said Jimmy Barnes, assistant to trainer Bob Baffert.

 Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount on Improbable in the Derby.        

Barnes said Improbable’s Derby stablemates, Game Winner and Roadster, are scheduled to arrive from Southern California on Saturday.

LONG RANGE TODDY – Long Range Toddy jogged about one mile Wednesday morning for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Master Fencer (JPN) arrived in Chicago at approximately 1:45 p.m Monday and began his mandatory 42 hours of quarantine.

Trained by Koichi Tsunoda, Master Fencer finished fourth in the Hyacinth Stakes prior to a fast-closing runner-up finish in the Fukuryu Stakes at Nakayama.

“He’s typically in the mid-pack during his best performances,” said Japan-based Kentucky Derby representative Kate Hunter. “The Hyacinth starts on the turf, which can throw some off, and he was closing fast in that race and the Fukuryu Stakes, too. He’s run second on the turf in his debut, stalking the pace.”

Master Fencer is expected to train at Keeneland by Friday.

OMAHA BEACH – Omaha Beach galloped a mile and half under exercise rider Taylor Cambra and the supervisioin of trainer Richard Mandella.

Winner of the Arkansas Derby in his most recent start and perhaps the likely Kentucky Derby morning-line favorite, Omaha Beach is scheduled to work Friday morning with Mike Smith aboard.

Omaha Beach will mark the seventh Derby starter for Mandella, whose first Derby was in 1984 with Bedouin.

“That was pretty optimistic,” Mandella said looking back on the 15th-place finish behind Swale. “Bedouin loved the mud, but Churchill Downs doesn’t stay muddy for more than two hours. By the time he ran, there wasn’t much mud left.”

That Derby made quite the impression on Mandella.

“I remember what a big deal it was and all the excitement,” Mandella said. “They were not paying attention to us.”

Ironically, two other Hall of Famers in addition to Mandella had their Derby debuts in 1984 and both will be represented in this year’s Run for the Roses.

Bill Mott, who will saddle Country House and Tacitus next Saturday, finished 13th in the 1984 Derby with Taylor’s Special while Shug McGaughey’s initial Derby foray netted a sixth-place finish from Pine Circle and a 16th from Vanlandingham. McGaughey will saddle Code of Honor in this year’s Derby.

PLUS QUE PARFAIT – UAE Derby winner Plus Que Parfait galloped about 1 1/2 mile with exercise rider Tom Molloy aboard.

Owned by Imperial Racing, Plus Que Parfait broke his maiden on Oct. 7 at Keeneland and finished second in the Nov. 24 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs. The Point of Entry ridgling began his 3-year-old campaign with a fifth-place effort in the Lecomte Stakes and a poor 13th in the Risen Star at Fair Grounds.

“I don’t want to say he really surprised us when he got out to Dubai and did so well because he’s always been a good horse,” trainer Brendan Walsh said. “I think the Risen Star was the only race he really didn’t run well in. He definitely proved it to us on multiple occasions that he fits in this year’s Derby field.”

TAX – Wither Stakes winner and Wood Memorial (GII) runner-up Tax is scheduled to breeze at Belmont Park Thursday, according to the NYRA publicity department.

Trained by Louisville native Danny Gargan, Tax is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs Monday and will be based in Barn 39.

WAR OF WILL – Risen Star Stakes winner War of Will arrived at Churchill Downs at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday and galloped during the 7:30 a.m. Derby training session Wednesday.

Trained by Mark Casse, War of Will is tentatively scheduled to breeze on Saturday. Casse is expected to arrive to Louisville Thursday afternoon and be at the track Friday.


SIGNALMAN (No. 22) – Kentucky Jockey Club winner and Blue Grass third Signalman galloped about 1 1/2 mile Wednesday morning with exercise rider Danny Ramsey in the saddle.

Signalman is a massive son of General Quarters out of the Trippi mare Trip South.

“He’s a cool horse to look at,” trainer Kenny McPeek said. “He’s about 17 hands and has really filled out well.”

Ramsey, a veteran exercise rider, has noticed some vast similarities between Signalman and his grand-sire Sky Mesa.

“I first got on Signalman at Saratoga as a 2-year-old,” Ramsey said. “The first time I jumped off him I told Kenny, ‘this horse moves exactly like Sky Mesa.’ I was unsure of the pedigree but I knew Sky Mesa very well. I used to gallop him all of the time. We went into Kenny’s office and, sure enough, Signlaman had Sky Mesa in his pedigree. They move exactly the same way across the track. It will be great if we can get into the Derby, but sometimes the best 3-year-olds don’t always make the field.”

SUENO (NO. 23) – Sueno had a regularly scheduled walk day in Barn 23 for trainer Keith Desormeaux.


By My Standards (jockey Gabriel Saez), Code of Honor (John Velazquez), Country House (undecided), Cutting Humor (undecided), Game Winner (Joel Rosario), Gray Magician (undecided), Haikal (Rajiv Maragh), Improbable (Irad Ortiz Jr.), Long Range Toddy (Jon Court), Master Fencer (JPN) (Julien Leparoux), Maximum Security (Luis Saez), Omaha Beach (Mike Smith), Plus Que Parfait (Ricardo Santana Jr.), Roadster (Florent Geroux), Spinoff (Manny Franco), Tacitus (Jose Ortiz), Tax (Junior Alvarado), Vekoma (Javier Castellano), War of Will (Tyler Gaffalione), Win Win Win (Julian Pimentel).

Next up in order of preference:

Bodexpress (jockey undecided)
Signalman (Brian Hernandez Jr.)
Sueno (undecided)
Bourbon War (undecided)