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Classic Empire passes in front of the twin spires on Tuesday morning

Tuesday Kentucky Derby Workouts

Date: 05/02/2017

Tuesday morning was sunny and a bit chilly at Churchill Downs but the track was fast after the renovation break. Many of the Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses came out for their special private workout session at 8:30 after the break, although a few had come out earlier in the day. Below are photos for 14 Derby horses and 10 Oaks fillies from this morning on the track with comments for each, plus a bonus horse: American Cleopatra. You can watch video of today's training session here.

Kentucky Derby

horse racingBattle of Midway - WinStar Farm and Don Alberto Stable's Santa Anita Derby (G1) runner-up Battle of Midway galloped 1 1/2 miles under regular exercise rider Edgar Rodriguez and stood in the starting gate on Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer's first morning overseeing his preparations at Churchill Downs. "He's doing just fine," Hollendorfer said.

horse racinghorse racingClassic Empire - Classic Empire came out during the 8:30am Derby/Oaks training session along with State of Honor and Salty for a gallop. During the first race of the afternoon, he also came out to school in the paddock. Following his half-length victory in the April 15 Arkansas Derby (GI), Classic Empire could be the favorite for this year's Kentucky Derby. "I love being the favorite," Casse said. "That doesn't bother me at all. We're happy to be where we are today given the last couple of months. Let's just enjoy the ride."

"This is home," Casse continued. "This is where I started. I remember when by dad brought me here at 18 years old and we had three horses in the Receiving Barn. To be in this position is incredible."

horse racingGormley - Trainer John Shirreffs' pair of Gormely and Royal Mo got their first feel for the Churchill Downs strip Tuesday morning after being flown in from Southern California Monday. Shirreffs, aboard a borrowed pony named "Bucky," led Royal Mo to the racetrack at approximately 7:40. They stood near the outer rail inside the six-furlong gap for several minutes before exercise rider Cisco Alvarado slowly jogged off on his own and then circumnavigated the big oval twice in an easy gallop. "He handled it fine; no problems," Alvarado reported afterward back at Barn 42.

horse racingGunnevera - Peacock Racing Stables' Gunnevera galloped 1 1/2 miles under exercise rider Victor O'Farrel at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning. Trainer Antonio Sano admits to getting excited about the Fountain of Youth (GII) winner and Florida Derby (GI) third-place finisher's chances in Saturday's Kentucky Derby.

"Every day, I get more excited. I get nervous. It's my first time at Churchill Downs. I am proud my horse is in the Kentucky Derby. All of the horses in the Kentucky Derby can win," Sano said. "I hope he can win the Kentucky Derby. It would be a big gift for the people of Venezuela at this moment. In Venezuela, people are killing people. People have no food. Very sad."

horse racingIrap - The Blue Grass Stakes (GII) winner went trackside during the special Derby/Oaks training period Tuesday morning under regular exercise rider Tony Romero. The pair put in a mile and one-eighth gallop around the big oval and Romero gave it a thumbs up afterward. Assistant trainer Leandro Mora oversaw the exercise and reported that both trainer Doug O'Neill and owner Paul Reddam were inbound for Louisville and would be at Barn 41 later in the day.

horse racingIrish War Cry - Isabelle de Tomaso's Irish War Cry was introduced to the Churchill Downs racetrack Tuesday morning while galloping approximately a mile under exercise rider David Nava. Trained by Graham Motion, the son of Curlin arrived at Churchill Downs late Monday afternoon following a van ride from Fair Hills Training Center in northeast Maryland. "He was a little bit on the muscle today, being his first time out here," Motion said. "He didn't train (Monday morning) obviously, with traveling. He was a little sharp, but I think he'll settle down as the week goes on."

horse racingJ Boys Echo - Albaugh Family Stable's J Boys Echo galloped 1 1/2 miles Tuesday morning at 8:30 with regular exercise rider Tammy Fox aboard for trainer Dale Romans. "It's the best he's ever looked," Romans said. "We're ready to go."

horse racinghorse racingMcCraken - Whitham Thoroughbreds' McCraken had a regularly scheduled walk day Tuesday at trainer Ian Wilkes' barn. The two-time graded stakes winner schooled in the paddock Tuesday afternoon with horses in the fifth race. He walked in the paddock, stood in a stall the entire time, then walked back out. He did look nice though.

horse racinghorse racingPatch - Went out for trainer Todd Pletcher along with Tapwrit in near ho-hum fashion, covering a mile and a half in good gallops during the 8:30-8:45 a.m. special training period for Derby and Oaks contenders. Patch had his usual exerciser rider Isabelle Bourez in the saddle, while Tapwrit had his regular guy, Silvio Pioli, on board.

horse racingPractical Joke - Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence's Practical Joke galloped about 1 1/2 times around the Churchill Downs oval under exercise rider Fernando Rivera during the Kentucky Oaks and Derby training session. "He galloped well and he stood in the gate," trainer Chad Brown said.

After working in small-cup blinkers since finishing second in the Blue Grass Stakes (GII) last time out, Brown has decided not to use them in the Derby. "I'm not going to put him in blinkers for the race," Brown said. "He breezed fine in them and accepted them well. I got him used to them in case I wanted to do it and I gave myself the option by training him in them, if I wanted to make that change on entry day tomorrow. But the more I thought about it I'm just going to leave it alone. I think the horse is doing well as is and he won't race in them."

horse racingSonneteer - Calumet Farm's Sonneteer returned to the track to jog Tuesday, one day after firing a bullet half-mile in :47.20 over a "good" track Monday under jockey Corey Lanerie. Assistant trainer Julie Clark reported he was doing "great." Trainer Keith Desormeaux is scheduled to arrive Wednesday.

horse racingState of Honor - Trainer Mark Casse's duo of Classic Empire, ridden by Martin Rivera, and State of Honor, with Orlando Cross up, galloped 1 1/2 miles Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs. "Both horses are doing very well," Casse said. Classic Empire and State of Honor schooled in the paddock Tuesday during Churchill Downs' first race.

horse racingTapwrit - Went out for trainer Todd Pletcher along with Tapwrit in near ho-hum fashion, covering a mile and a half in good gallops during the 8:30-8:45 a.m. special training period for Derby and Oaks contenders. Patch had his usual exerciser rider Isabelle Bourez in the saddle, while Tapwrit had his regular guy, Silvio Pioli, on board.

horse racinghorse racingThunder Snow - GodolphinRacing's homebred UAE Derby (Group II) winner Thunder Snow made his first appearance on the Churchill Downs main track Tuesday morning since clearing quarantine, jogging once around before cantering a mile under Godolphin exercise rider Daragh O'Donohoe. "We wanted to make sure he had a nice jog before we cantered him off and it was a good idea because he's never had people so close around him," O'Donohoe said. "That was the first time he'd been with a pony, as well; it was a good lesson. It was really nice to get him out because he was getting pretty fresh in that barn. He's got a very high recovery rate so there's not a lot that fazes him. He was pretty professional out there on the track and I was actually pretty surprised because we're used to our own private gallops at Al Quoz in Dubai. We don't see a lot of traffic so his behavior this morning was exceptional. He floated over the track and I had no problems on him. He moved well, he's breathing well. He changed leads a couple times on the bend. I was really happy. It was just a normal, steady canter. I was just so happy he was changing his leads at the most important parts."

He was quite jumpy early on, rearing and bucking, but he settled down by the time he got to his gallop.

Kentucky Oaks

horse racingAbel Tasman - China Horse Club and Clearsky Farms' Santa Anita Oaks (GI) runner-up Abel Tasman galloped under regular exercise rider Dana Barnes while outfitted with blinkers as Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert looked on. "She was a little bit lost out there yesterday," Baffert said. "She likes to look around a lot. I think the blinkers are going to make a big difference. When I first got her Simon (Callaghan, her previous trainer) told me she'd been sick so I went real easy with her for a week. And then she got away bad in that race, but she wasn't going to beat Paradise Woods. Then I put the blinkers on her and she came back and worked really well. She looks great here and she's healthy but there are some really tough fillies in there. She's going to need some racing luck and she needs to break; she can't walk away from there like she did last time."

She also schooled in the paddock during the first race.

horse racingDaddys Lil Darling - Normandy Farm's Ashland (GI) runner-up Daddys Lil Darling will break from post position 12 in Friday's Kentucky Oaks. "She's had way too much bad luck with post positions," trainer Kenny McPeek said. "At least we aren't breaking from the 14 hole."

Daddys Lil Darling jogged Tuesday morning at 5:45 and schooled in the paddock in the afternoon.

horse racingFarrell - Coffeepot Stables' Wayne Catalano-trained Farrell left Barn 30 at 8:25 a.m. and was the first horse on the track for the special training session. Escorted by Sara Tittle on a pony and with exercise rider Antonio Ramos up, the three-time GII winner walked the paddock and schooled in the gate before galloping a "long mile and a half," according to assistant conditioner Fernando Canteria. She was expected to school in the paddock during Tuesday's second race.

horse racingJordan's Henny - Erv Woolsey and Ralph Kinder's Jordan's Henny galloped a little more than a mile and a half under exercise rider Edgar Cano after the morning renovation break. Trained by Mike Tomlinson, Jordan's Henny drew post position five and is listed at 30-1 on the morning line. "Post position doesn't matter," Tomlinson said. "She has tactical speed and you can put her were you want. Plus, in my opinion, I have the most underrated jockey in the country in Joe Rocco."

horse racingLockdown - The Juddmonte Farms homebred Lockdown posted the only official work during the Oaks and Kentucky Derby training session, a three-furlong "blowout" from the three-eighths marker to the finish line in :35 under exercise rider Jo Lawson. The move came in company with Naples Princess, a 3-year-old filly who broke her maiden here last fall and is coming up on her 2017 debut. Churchill clockers recorded splits of :11.40 and :23 for Lockdown, as well as a half-mile gallop out into the clubhouse turn in :48.60. "The hope was that she would go well and come back good so everything's good so far," Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said. "She went along nicely."

horse racingMiss Sky Warrior - Arlene's Sun Star Stable's Kelly Breen-trained Miss Sky Warrior left Barn 43 at 8:30 a.m., escorted by her conditioner on a pony and proceeded to gallop one mile on the main track at Churchill Downs with exercise rider Aurelio Gomez in the saddle. "Everything was perfect," Breen said. "She deserves to be in the race and I feel really good about her."

horse racingSailor's Valentine - Semaphore Racing LLC and Homewrecker Racing LLC's Sailor's Valentine left Barn 31 at 8:35 a.m. with exercise rider Kelly Wheeler aboard and trainer Eddie Kenneally on pony. The Ashland (GI) winner galloped a mile on the Churchill Downs main track and promptly returned to her barn. "Everything went well today," Kenneally said. "I was extremely happy with her gallop."

horse racingSalty - Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) winner Salty will break from post position 14 in this Friday's Kentucky Oaks for trainer Mark Casse. "If we got that post in the Derby we'd be really happy," Casse joked. "It could've been worse. I don't think our filly has a lot of speed so the post could've been a little harder on some of the others." Salty galloped 1 1/2 miles Tuesday morning under exercise rider Janelle Castonguay.

horse racingTequilita - Dorothy Alexander Matz's Tequilita was a bundle of energy Tuesday morning while galloping 1 3/8 miles under exercise rider Jo Robinson at Churchill Downs. "She's doing good. She was a little strong today, but she's fresh. She's fit. It's cooler weather," trainer Michael Matz said. "I guess it's better than if she goes out there, going the other way."

horse racingWicked Lick - Lee Mauberret's Wicked Lick galloped a mile and a quarter and stood in the starting gate after the renovation break under exercise rider Leo Garcia. Trained by Brendan Walsh, Wicked Lick drew post position nine for Friday's Oaks and is 30-1 on the morning line. BrianHernandez Jr. will have the mount. "I'm happy enough with the draw," Walsh said. "For once we are not too inside or too outside, so we are happy."


horse racingAmerican Cleopatra - Triple Crown winner American Pharoah's full sister American Cleopatra schooled in the paddock during the first races this afternoon. She is entered in an allowance race on Kentucky Oaks day, race 12 immediately after the Oaks.

horse racingThe painting for this year's Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby bottle was done by artist Tom Pauly again this year and it was on display this morning on the backside along with the $1000 mint julep cups for this year.

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