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Pioneerof the Nile at Churchill Downs

Bob Baffert and Pioneerof the Nile

Date: 04/24/2009

Trainer Bob Baffert and his Kentucky Derby hopeful Pioneerof the Nile were at his barn on the backside at Churchill Downs on Friday afternoon. Pioneerof the Nile was walking the shedrow but they kindly took a few minutes to pose for a few photos for us.

Bob Baffert and Pioneerof the Nile walk the shedrow at Churchill Downs

Earlier in the day, Pioneerof the Nile galloped a mile and a half at 8am after the renovation break with exercise rider George Alvarez up. Trained by three-time Kentucky Derby winner and recent Hall of Fame inductee Bob Baffert, Pioneerof the Nile will be ridden by Garrett Gomez next Saturday. Baffert has his final pre-Derby workout scheduled for Monday.

Pioneerof the Nile, who has only raced on synthetic surfaces until now, had his first work over the dirt at Churchill Downs on April 21, breezing five furlongs in a sharp 1:00 4/5 under exercise rider Joe Steiner. He went out just after the break for track maintenance and posted the fourth-fastest of 19 workers for the day over the "fast" surface.

The Kentucky-bred colt covered the distance in fractional times of :12 1/5, :24 1/5, and :36 2/5. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:13 2/5. Baffert said the work was actually longer than the five furlongs credited to the colt by Churchill Downs clockers.

"He looked good -- he skipped right over it," Baffert explained. "I ended up working him seven-eighths and let him gallop out strong. I got him in :26 and three (1:26 3/5), and he galloped out all the way down the backside. So it was a good little work and it was not really hard on him."

Champion Female Sprinter of 2008 Indian Blessing was also out walking the shedrow on Friday afternoon.

Baffert was pleased with the way he has taken to the track at Churchill. He said, "It was nice and relaxed -- I didn't want to do too much. It looked like he skipped over it, because I know the track, with the rain, was a little bit deep. I had some other horses work and some horses struggled over it. But he has taken to it great, so far. I like what I see."

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