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Kentucky Derbys contenders Desert Party (outside) and West Side Bernie round the turn during a morning gallop on Saturday


Weekend Kentucky Derby Workout Photos

Date: 04/27/2009

Most of the Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses are already at Churchill Downs now and most are out on the track every day for at least a gallop. Here are a few photos from Saturday April 25 and Sunday April 26. I will arrive in Louisville Tuesday evening, so look for more starting Wednesday. Click the small photo to see a larger verson.

Desert Party came out without a pony after the renovation break and worked five furlongs on Saturday, posting the second-fastest clocking of the day in :59 3/5. He galloped out in 1:12 2/5 and 1:25 4/5 under exercise rider Bob Chapman, and didn't look tired exiting the track.

Chocolate Candy galloped of a mile and a half Sunday morning under exercise rider Lindsey Molina. Molina nodded when he walked off into the six-furlong gap. "He's doing good," she said.

Right: Chocolate Candy gets a bath afterwards.

Friesan Fire galloped a mile and a half under trainer Larry Jones after the renovation break on Sunday. He had his final work on Monday going five furlongs in a bullet :57 4/5, the fastest of 26 works at the distance, with jockey Gabriel Saez up. Trainer Larry Jones said, "I was very happy with it. Gabe said he thought he went in about a minute. If I could have written the perfect script, I would have had him gallop out in 1:12, but he has been watching those tents every day (on the backside) and I wanted to put the blinkers on to keep him more focused."

Right: Trainer Larry Jones was giving pony rides to friends and family at his barn.

General Quarters showed much more spark than in recent days, but relaxed nicely as headed out for his 1 1/2 mile gallop. Trainer Tom McCarthy said as his colt cruised by, "He's full of himself today. Easy Julie!"

"We only gave him a lackadaisical five-eighths work to keep some fire in the tank," McCarthy said trackside, referring to last week's workout, which was intended to be the horse's last before the Derby. "Apparently, there's plenty of gas still in there."

Hold Me Back closed out his serious training for Kentucky Derby 135 by working five furlongs in company in 1:01.60 under three-time Kentucky Derby-winning rider Kent Desormeaux. "I thought the work was very good," trainer Bill Mott said. "He was under a hold the whole way and finished well on his own. He appeared to handle the track very well and that is a good sign. Kent said he still wanted to gallop out after a mile."

I Want Revenge goes out before dawn, so you won't see many pictures from his workouts, but here he is in his stall. He had a two-mile open gallop around the fast main track Sunday morning under regular exercise rider Joe Deegan.

Mine That Bird turned in an easy 1 3/4 miles Sunday, jogging a quarter-mile and "loping about a mile and a half," trainer Chip Woolley said.

Musket Man had his final Kentucky Derby breeze Saturday morning, and the move was a little more exciting than trainer Derek Ryan would have liked. "A horse crossed in front of him when he broke off," Ryan said, "and that got him a little excited. Then, near the eighth-pole, some guy going the wrong way of the track ducked over toward the rail. A little excitement, but no big deal. Nothing happened. It was a good work, just what we wanted. I didn't want him to do too much a week before the race."

Papa Clem traveled seven furlongs in 1:29 1/5 just after the renovation break in what could be his final major preparation for Derby 135. Trainer Gary Stute said that he could blow out a quarter-mile in the final day or two before the Derby "if he's biting and kicking."

Right: Papa Clem also schooled in the paddock on Saturday afternoon. He will walk the shedrow for the next two days and is expected to return to the track Tuesday morning.

Pioneerof the Nile was out early on the racetrack Sunday for a mile and a half gallop under exercise rider George Alvarez. "He went good," Alvarez said enthusiastically afterward. "He's doing really well. He couldn't be doing any better. I gallop him in California, too, and this is the best he's felt."

Square Eddie galloped 1 1/2 miles on Sunday shortly after the renovation break, then drilled four furlongs in :50 1/5 under exercise rider Tony Romero. His trainer Doug O'Neill said, "I thought it was an awesome work. We're very pleased with it. We know we're asking a lot of this horse, but we think he's up to it."
Photo courtesy of

Summer Bird jogged two miles around the Churchill strip Sunday morning with jockey Chris Rosier aboard. He had his final breeze, six furlongs in 1:15 4/5 on Friday, which was dismissed by some observers as too slow, but his trainer Tim Ice was satisfied. Ice said, "He got what he needed out of the work. He's looking and acting really well. I look for him to run good Saturday. He won't disappoint me no matter what he does."

West Side Bernie had his final Kentucky Derby breeze Saturday morning, drilling a half-mile in :48 1/5 with jockey Stewart Elliott aboard. Trainer Kelly Breen said, "I told 'Stew' to go in :48, so it was just what I wanted. Better a fifth slower than a second too fast. The track has been kind of dull, so I think that was a very good work. And 'Stew' told me that he had a lot of horse left when he passed the wire. So I was happy he stayed well within himself today, instead of leaving his race on the track. He got something out of the work without knocking himself out. The time was as close to the plan as you can get, so I'm happy."

Win Willy On Sunday morning he schooled at the gate and then galloping a mile and a half around the Churchill Downs oval.

Rachel Alexandra is the likely favorite for the Kentucky Oaks on Friday. She galloped 1 1/2 miles under exercise rider Rudy Gallegos before the renovation break at Churchill Downs on Sunday. She had her final timed work before the Oaks on Monday, but had to wait while the track was closed due to a loose horse that caused an accident before she could go. When the track reopened, Rachel Alexandra and jockey Calvin Borel sizzled a half-mile in :46 2/5, the fastest move of 26 at the distance over a track rated as fast on Monday morning.
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