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Bob Baffert leads out Game Winner

Thursday Kentucky Derby Workouts

Date: 05/02/2019

Thursday morning was in the upper 60s and 100% humidity after rain overnight, but the track was still fast during training at Churchill Downs. The big news of the day was of course the scratch of Omaha Beach due to an entrapped epiglottis, but another scratch is possible due to Haikal having a foot abcess. Most came out at some time during in the day, but we only caught 18 Derby horses and 12 Oaks fillies.

Below are photos for 18 Derby horses and 12 Oaks fillies from this morning on the track with comments for each. You can watch video of today's training session here.

Click the small photo to see a larger version.

Kentucky Derby

horse racingBy My Standards has been looking very good in the mornings. He galloped 1 1/2 miles Thursday morning for locally based trainer Bret Calhoun.   "We all have to cross our fingers until we make it to the Derby," Calhoun said. "I feel awful for Richard (Mandella) and his connections. This is a crazy game and anything can happen. We just have to hold our breaths until we get there." By My Standards is scheduled to have a "normal" day of training Friday, according to Calhoun.

horse racinghorse racingCode of Honor galloped 1 1/4 miles Thursday at his usual time of 6:30 a.m. and once again took a leisurely stroll back to the barn. "We're not doing anything different than what we've been doing with him," trainer Shug McGaughey said. "We're just going out and doing our thing. Orb had a work over the track and that was on a Monday. Code of Honor had a work over the track Sunday. He schooled in the paddock. It's probably easier on me this time. I'm just taking it all in and taking an easy.    "I feel like the pressure is off this year. A friend told me ‘Shug, you know the first one is just the bait.' I'm excited about this one, too. I'd love the chance to win a second Derby."

horse racingCountry House galloped about 1˝ miles on the main track and walked through the paddock under exercise rider Marianne Scherer.

horse racingCutting Humor galloped under exercise rider Fernando Rivera for trainer Todd Pletcher. Trainer Todd Pletcher, as he often does with his big-race horses, grabbed his trusty binoculars and drove to the frontside to watch his 3-year-olds go through their paces. Back at the barn, he said he liked what he saw. "They both galloped well and behaved at the gate," the conditioner reported.

horse racingGame Winner moved into the favorite role after Omaha Beach was scratched. His new morning line odds are 9-2 as a lukewarm favorite. He galloped 2 miles under exercise rider Humberto Gomez.

Hall of Fame jockey Smith had been the regular rider of Roadster but opted to stay on Omaha Beach for the Kentucky Derby, opening up the opportunity for Florent Geroux to get on the former. When asked if there was any talk of trying to get Smith back on Roadster for Saturday, Baffert quickly shot down that notion.

"No, Flo is on," Baffert said. "I never thought of that. I actually called Flo up last night and it was so funny he was like 'Are you taking me off boss?' I was like 'No, I'm all in.' I could never do that."

Gray Magician "just walked today," said Ashlie Campbell, assistant to trainer Peter Miller. "He's doing well. He schooled yesterday in the paddock during the races." Miller added, "I would think that running any after Dubai on just 35 days is a little quick, but sometimes they surprise you. I thought initially he would need 60 days because I've had some that even needed 90 days off, but with him I think it felt like a trip up the 405 (freeway in Los Angeles) From a physical standpoint, he's held his weight and his coat is shiny. He's doing what you want to see. He's eating well, his attitude is good and he is training forwardly. That's what I'm looking at and as long as he keeps doing that, we're happy."

Haikal is being treated for a foot abscess and may wind up scratched. He did not train Thursday morning. The shoe is off and the foot is being soaked and iced. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said if Haikal can train Friday morning, he remains in the race. If not, he's out.

"We didn't take him out training today because he has an abscess in his left front foot," McLaughlin said. "The shoe is off and we are soaking and icing it. We will shoe him first thing in the (Friday) morning and train him if able. The horse will tell us. We will either be in or out (of the Kentucky Derby) by tomorrow morning at scratch time. It's just terrible timing," he continued. "It's a situation that will correct itself and is similar to Omaha Beach. You feel bad for the connections. Just bad timing -- that's all. We'll keep our fingers crossed."

horse racinghorse racingImprobable galloped twice around during the special Derby/Oaks session. Elliott Walden of co-owner WinStar Farm said,  "We were looking to try and have another shot at (Omaha Beach). But he's a great horse, he'll come back and have a big year. He was probably one of the horses who was going to be close to the lead so it will be interesting to see what takes shape there (pace wise)."

horse racingLong Range Toddy galloped 1 1/2 miles Thursday under regular exercise rider Brooke Stillion and schooled in the gate.  "I'm more concerned with the impending weather than the post position," Steve Asmussen said. "He breaks really well. He can get where he needs to be. He's handy and can get out of the gate quickly. We just don't want a track like we had in the Arkansas Derby (when sloppy). When he came off the bridle, he just struggled with the track. I've watched the race several times and he was just swimming."

Master Fencer went out early today, schooled in the paddock and walked the track after working yesterday. "We hope to bring back the trophy to Japan, but right now we are just happy to be in the race," said owner Katsumi Yoshizawa through a translator. "Right now, I am not thinking about it too much. I am enjoying the race and being a part of such a great event. I have dreamt of coming here and have actually gone to the Keeneland September Sale for the last 15 years with that dream in my mind."

horse racinghorse racingMaximum Security galloped 1 1/4 miles at Churchill Downs Thursday morning.   The morning-line odds for Maximum Security in Saturday's Kentucky Derby (G1) were adjusted from 10-1 to 8-1 because of Wednesday's scratch of Omaha Beach, who had been installed as the 4-1 morning-line favorite. "I was glad to get [Omaha Beach's jockey] Mike Smith out of there," trainer Jason Servis quipped. "I was more worried about Mike than the horse. Having him outside of me, I wasn't thrilled about that."

horse racingOmaha Beach with trainer Richard Mandella on Thursday morning. He was scratched due to an entrapped epiglottis, according to Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. While he is sad to miss the Derby he said he would have felt worse had the horse run in badly in the Derby with the problem undiagnosed. "The good part is that the horse is going to be OK," Mandella said. "It really isn't that serious. It's just the timing. We're going to do a simple procedure (at the Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington) today and he'll be out of training for two or three weeks. Then we'll plan another campaign."

horse racinghorse racingPlus Que Parfait UAE Derby (G2) winner left Barn 9 at 7:30 a.m. and proceeded to gallop one mile on the main dirt track before stopping at the starting gate to school and then galloping another mile under assistant trainer Tom Molloy. He schooled in the paddock during Thursday's second race. "We wanted to have him stand in there nice and quietly," Brendan Walsh said. "That's the whole point; keeping his mind ready. He's doing great and it seems like he's got good energy and using it all the right ways. He's been very good like that."

horse racingRoadster galloped 2 miles for trainer Bob Baffert.

Roadster, ironically, had to undergo throat surgery himself following his third-place finish in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) but has returned better than ever - as he demonstrated when he defeated Game Winner in the Santa Anita Derby (G1).

horse racinghorse racingSpinoff galloped once around under exercise rider Josue Garcia for trainer Todd Pletcher. Trainer Todd Pletcher, as he often does with his big-race horses, grabbed his trusty binoculars and drove to the frontside to watch his 3-year-olds go through their paces. Back at the barn, he said he liked what he saw. "They both galloped well and behaved at the gate," the conditioner reported.

horse racingTacitus galloped about 1 1/2 miles on the main track and walked through the paddock under exercise rider Juan Quintero. Trainer Bill Mott said, "I think in the past they did make a bigger deal out of (being lightly raced), but I felt after the two races he had as a 2-year-old had been enough for him at the time. He was a big, growthy colt and I didn't think he needed more than those races. It looked like he benefited more from stopping on him at that time. He put on weight, filled out and matured. Having the races as a 2-year-old is most important mentally, when you can expose them to different situations.

horse racingTax galloped 1 3/4 miles at Churchill Downs Thursday morning.   "I put a bigger gallop in him today. Tomorrow, as is our routine, we'll have a short gallop. He'll only gallop three-quarters of a mile," trainer Danny Gargan said. "I just wanted to take a little edge off him. It's not going to change what I'm doing. I'm going to do what I do. As I've said, we're going to break running, try to get to the rail. If the one horse [War of Will] goes we'll sit in behind him. If he doesn't go, we'll put ourselves out there and then take back. Hopefully, we'll sit in there fourth, fifth, or sixth."

horse racingVekoma galloped a mile and a quarter under exercise rider Cindy Hutter for trainer George Weaver.     Weaver said Vekoma probably would use the 5:15-5:30 training window Friday morning for Derby and Oaks horses.   Vekoma passed a paddock schooling test Wednesday afternoon and that part of his Derby preparation is complete, "He doesn't need to go back," Weaver said.

horse racingWar of Will put in another strong gallop under exercise rider Jose Vasquez. "We're ready," Mark Casse declared. "What was nice today was I thought earlier on in the week he was sharp, and you want sharp but you also want relaxed. And he's right where he does his best running. I thought he went really good today."

horse racingWin Win Win galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Melanie Williams for trainer Mike Trombetta, and then schooled in the paddock this afternoon with horses in the second race.
horse racingBodexpress draws into the field after the scratch and will break from post position 20. All horses outside of Omaha Beach (post positions 13-20) will move over one position in the starting gate.

He is very wild in the mornings and my have trouble (and cause trouble for others) with the Derby day crowd noise. He schooled in the paddock and starting gate and galloped 1 1/2 miles. "He did very good. It looked to me that he moved really good over the track," trainer Gustavo Delgado said. New jockey Chris Landeros, riding his first Derby said, "I'm ready. I'm excited and blessed to have the opportunity. I feel bad for the connections of Omaha Beach, but everything happens for a reason. I'm blessed with the opportunity to get in. I'll make the most of it, have some fun and enjoy the moment. Hopefully, it will be the first of many."

Kentucky Oaks

horse racingBellafina was out on the track during the special 15-minute Oaks-Derby training period starting at 7:30. She galloped steadily for a mile and a half.    Simon Callaghan said he liked what he saw.    "She's doing really well," the trainer said. "She got over (the track) well today. I'm very pleased with where she is coming into this race."

horse racingChampagne Anyone completed her training for Friday's Oaks by jogging to the front side of the track and then galloping a mile and a half under exercise rider Kara Lee.    Trainer Ian Wilkes said the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) winner would not go to the track Friday morning.

horse racingFlor De La Mar came out at 9 a.m. along with stablemate Game Winner and galloped about a mile and a half under Jose Conteras.     Showcasing the same striking looks as her sire, Tiznow, Flor de La Mar is also expected to channel her father in being at her best as she gets older, trainer Bob Baffert said.

horse racingJaywalk jogged 1 1/8 miles and stood in the starting gate Thursday morning. "I told the owners going into the first race we'd probably lose that race, but the way it came up, I thought we might win it anyway. It didn't come up that tough. But our main goal since coming back from the farm has been the Oaks," John Servis said. "That's what we've been pointing for. We brought her along hoping she peaks this week."

horse racingJeltrin jogged twice around the track Thursday morning. "It's the same that she did before her last race," said trainer Alexis Delgado. "She's never run on a sloppy track, but when she gallops on a sloppy track at Gulfstream she's happy. In the beginning I knew she was a nice filly, but I didn't know she would be this good. Every race she was improving and improving," Delgado said. "Right now, she is in 100-percent condition."

horse racingLady Apple galloped 1 1/4 miles Thursday.    "Everything's good," trainer Steve Asmussem said. "I'm just happy to be here, especially after yesterday (referring to the scratch of Kentucky Derby favorite Omaha Beach)."

horse racingMotion Emotion galloped 1 1/4 miles Thursday and schooled in the gate on her final day of training before the Oaks.    "The filly has given us nothing but confidence," trainer Tom Van Berg said. "She's doing exceptionally well. We just need some luck Friday."

horse racingPositive Spirit went out Thursday under trainer Rodolphe Brisset.   "We just went a mile-and-an-eighth gallop, then stood in the gate, just to make sure she is all ready," said Brisset, who gallops many of his own horses. "She did great. It was an easy day. She has breezed on the slop. Until you try it, you just never know. I don't think any kickback will be a problem for her. You can train in the slop, but until you have a race, you just never know"

horse racingRestless Rider galloped under regular exercise rider Danny Ramsey, said trainer Kenny McPeek, who was on hand to supervise her final preparations for the Oaks on Thursday.    "She's had a good last couple of days on the track, and today we're just putting some finishing touches," McPeek said. "All uncomplicated."

horse racingSerengeti Empress had a light mile gallop with regular exercise rider Francisco Herrera.

The possibility of less-than-perfect track conditions for Serengeti Empress, who is the 8-1 co-fourth choice along with Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) champion Jaywalk, because of rain isn't on Amoss' radar. "Look, I've got enough worries, I'm not going to worry about that," he said.

horse racingStreet Band galloped three-quarters of a mile under Jorge Nava Thursday in advance of Friday's race. "She's just very unique," jockey Sophie Doyle said. "All horses, especially fillies have distinct personalities. We get a long pretty well. From the moment you get on her, she's pretty electric underneath you. You just have to stay calm and keep her happy. As soon as I get on her, I start whistling to her and that's her cue to relax." Doyle, the sister of top European jockey James Doyle, is seeking to join Rosie Napravnik, who holds two victories in the Kentucky Oaks, as the only other female jockey to win the race.

horse racingDunbar Road (also-eligible) would be the 5-1 morning line second choice for trainer Chad Brown, with Jose Ortiz the named rider, should she draw into the field. She was out for her regular gallop with her exercise rider Kriss Bon during Thursday's training session for Oaks and Derby horses.    "We're on the outside looking in, and we're looking for a scratch," trainer Chad Brown said. "She looks great and she's ready."

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