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Derby favorite Big Brown in front of the Twin Spires on Thursday morning.

Thursday Kentucky Derby Photos

Date: 05/01/2008

As expected it was a busy Thursday at Churchill Downs as most Kentucky Derby entrants were out on the track in the morning, and several schooled in the paddock during the afternoon card of racing. This morning was much warmer and by the afternoon the temperature doubled from the 40 degree chill experienced Wednesday morning to a very windy 80 degrees on Thursday.

Here are 15 of the Kentucky Derby horses plus 7 Oaks fillies with comments on what they did.


Big Truck galloped 1 1/2 miles under exercise rider Kristen Troxell on Thursday morning and later schooled in the paddock during the first race that afternoon where he was a bit spooked by the gusty wind.
Big Brown worked 3 furlongs in 35.40 with furlong fractions of 12.00 and 23.80 under exercise rider Michelle Nevin. Trainer Richard Dutrow said, "It just went as good as it could have possibly went. It didn't look like he did too much. It looked like he was well within himself. He cooled out well at the barn. It look like he's as happy as he can be. I think maybe the track was a little bit fast and so is our horse. You can't get everything perfect all the time. It looked like a very good move to me. I'm not going to blame this work if he gets beat. It looked very good to me. I was very happy with it. I'm sitting on go here. We're ready." He also schooled in the paddock during the third race, and looked very calm and fit.

Adriano galloped 2 miles under exercise rider Alice Clapham. Trainer Graham Motion said, "We kept him in a routine. Everything went well. It's odd the way the race sets up. What worries me a little bit is that everybody's going to be cutting over pretty quick. Hopefully, we'll have plenty of room inside of us. That's one of the things about the 15 hole is that you've got that gap. I'm not too worried about it. I could find a hundred things to worry about. Once I solve one thing, I think of something else." He also schooled in the paddock during the third race.

Bob Black Jack galloped 1 1/2 miles under exercise rider Joe Deegan. Trainer James Kasparoff said, "Just a nice, easy gallop for him. We're not breaking any records out there. That track was a little on the rough side this morning, so you didn't want to push it. His ears were pricked and he was having fun. It's going to be interesting."

Colonel John schooled in the starting gate and then galloped 1 1/2 miles. Trainer Eoin Harty said, "I've liked what I've seen since I got here and I have no reason to change my opinion. He just stood in there and relaxed (in the gate). It's just something I like to do with my horses before I run them. And everything went well. I'm going to be a hero or a zero. It's my name on the program and the results are going to hang on my head, one way or the other. This is something I always wanted to do and I'm very glad and feel very fortunate to be in this position. I have a very good rider and he can call an audible if he needs to. I've got great faith in him and he's got great confidence in the horse. There's not much more that I can hope for." Later in the day, he schooled in the paddock during the sixth race.

Denis of Cork schooled in the starting gate and then galloped 1 1/2 miles under trainer David Carroll. Carroll said, "He wanted to do a little more than I wanted him to. He is feeling very well; he's a happy horse. He has never had a problem at the gate. I school all my horses at the gate and if you don't see me there with one, you know something is wrong. I am happy with the 16 post. We have speed to the outside of us and Calvin should be able to drop back and stay in the clear." He also schooled in the paddock during the first race.

Cowboy Cal galloped 10 furlongs under exercise rider Patti Krotenko, and later schooled in the paddock. Trainer Todd Pletcher said, "I'm not sure if (Polytrack) legs them up more or not, but we've had some luck training on synthetics and then running on conventional dirt tracks. Last year out in California we did well with horses who trained on Hollywood Park's (Cushion) track, then ran over on the dirt at Santa Anita." Later that afternoon, he schooled in the paddock during the 6th race with stablemate Monba.

Eight Belles schooled in the paddock, followed by a 1/2 mile jog and a 1/2 mile gallop with trainer Larry Jones aboard. Jones said, "What's happened with her in the races where she was last or next to last to load, she's jumped up at the start. It takes her a little while to get settled and being where she's at, she'll be settled long before the horses get in (post positions) 10 or 20. I've gained a reputation for having a lot more good fillies than colts, so it would be very special to win the Derby with a filly."

Monba galloped 1 1/4 miles under exercise rider Patti Kroteko at 6AM Thursday under cover of darkness. The Starlight Stable runner will break from post 14 for trainer Todd Pletcher, who has been fighting a cold but said he's "starting to win that battle now." He also schooled in the paddock during the 6th race along with stablemate Cowboy Cal.

Pyro schooled in the starting gate and then galloped 1 mile on Thursday. Trainer Steve Asmussen said, "It's as much for us to practice the walkover. We need to be in shape so we're not winded walking the horses over on Saturday. I don't want friends texting me and telling me I'm fat and winded." In the afternoon, he schooled in the paddock during the 7th race.

Recapturetheglory galloped 2 miles. Jockey E.T. Baird said, "It's a fantastic experience and time for me, especially since I've never been here before. I've ridden races at Churchill Downs, but the Derby is a different game. But you have to remember as a rider that it's just another horse race and ride your horse accordingly. I can only ride my horse and feel the way he's running. With those other horses outside of me (Gayego and Big Brown), we'll just have to see how things fall out of the gate. Louie and I just ran through different scenarios and you have to ready for anything."

Tale of Ekati was scheduled to gallop 1 1/2 miles but had to pull up 1/4 mile short because of a loose horse on the track. Owner Charles Fipke said, "All my horses are schooled with J.B. McKathan in Ocala, and (Tale of Ekati) was my best horse and he was a dirt horse. A lot of my horses go to Roger Attfield, who trains on Polytrack or turf. This particular horse was a dirt horse, so I went looking for a trainer. I got all the statistics on all the trainers, and Barclay came up pretty high." In the afternoon, he schooled in the paddock during the first race.

Visionaire jogged 1 mile and then schooled in the starting gate. Trainer Michael Matz said, At the beginning of the year, when he had only broken his maiden, I never thought he'd be at the Derby. But I think that's the nice thing about this horse. He has a big heart and I think he'll try the best he can. Whether he's good enough, who knows? But stranger things have happened. This horse is going to have to come through some traffic," he said. "I think right now, the way it is, I'm just hoping we get around the first turn fine and get in a spot where he can be put in a position to use the stretch. That's all you can ask for." Later, he schooled in the paddock during the second race.

Z Fortune went out for an easy mile gallop and schooled in the starting gate for trainer Steve Asmussen. He will start from post position 6 in the Derby and will have Robby Albarado in the irons seeking his first Derby victory and second career score in a Triple Crown race. He schooled in the paddock during the 7th race with stablemate Pyro.

Z Humor galloped 1 1/2 miles on Thursday morning and then schooled in the paddock the fourth race in the afternoon. Trainer Bill Mott said, "He's always been a little bit of a strong galloper; that's nothing new, he's always been that way. He's doing very well here."

Country Star, one of the favorites for the Kentucky Oaks, galloped 1 3/8 miles on Thursday morning. Trainer Bobby Frankel said, "She's doing good. Ill paddock her this afternoon, then walk her in the morning. She's ready to go." She schooled in the paddock that afternoon during the fifth race. To the right, Stonerside Stable racing manager John Adger gives her a pat in the paddock.

Proud Spell, another of the Oaks favorites, jogged and galloped under trainer Larry Jones. He certainly looks huge on her! Owner-breeder Brereton Jones said, "As we analyzed the situation, it just made more sense to run in the Oaks and to see Larry and Cindy (Jones) have the chance to do well in both races. They deserve to have everybody rooting for them. That had something to do with it. Weve run against most of the other fillies that are in the race and so we have a line on them. We have not run against colts. Her Beyer and Ragozin numbers in Louisiana were superior to Pyro, who at the time was one of the early favorites for the Derby, but Im a more conservative-type guy and running my filly against fillies was more reasonable."

Absolutely Cindy stood on the track watching the action for a long time then galloped 1 1/8 miles under exercise rider Jeremy Roetting. Trainer Keith Kinmon said, "About four reporters brushed right up behind my filly. I told them that I knew Big Brown was running for $2 million, but I am running for $500,000 and I probably need it more than he does. She was a handful this morning. Jeremy earned his money today. If she is very relaxed early and can cut to the outside to get some room, she will come with a methodical run to the far turn where she has a real big kick. The pace should be in our favor and I think she will run a real good race. I look for her to make a good showing." She is a very calm and well behaved filly.

Golden Doc A galloped under new jockey Kent Desormeaux. Trainer Barry Abrams said, "Kent called me when he knew we were going to run in this race and our regular rider (Rafael Bejarano) was committed to Country Star. He said hed never won the Oaks and he dearly wanted to win it and he thought our horse could do it." Later that afternoon, she schooled in the paddock during the fourth race. She is a very sweet and friendly filly who played around with Abrams in the paddock while watching the horses for the race walk by.

Elusive Lady galloped a mile under exercise rider Jose Bello. Todd Quast, general manager of Gold Mark Farm said, "She likes to be on the front end. She runs her best races that way. I think where she drew in the Oaks, in the four hole, shell be able to bounce and kind of be close to the front. Thats the plan: to let her get out and get into the race and see what happens."

Rasierra ggalloped 1 1/2 miles under exercise rider Claudio Solis. Trainer Ray Tracy Jr. said, "She had colitis and I didnt get her back in my barn until early January. After the Lassie, she was training better than ever. Now, she is showing a steady gain forward again. I hope she relaxes early in the race," Tracy said. "She was a little rank in her last race at Oaklawn Park, so we are taking the blinkers off hoping to get her to settle early. I know this is a big step up, but she has showed steady improvement and I think she can keep moving forward."
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