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Tomorrow is the first day for the exclusive 7:30-7:45am training session for Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses, but several Derby and Oaks contenders worked on Friday morning. Videos of individual horses in timed works can be found here.
From a Churchill Downs press release:
Derby season is here and Churchill Downs was bustling with excitement Friday morning as 10 Derby and Oaks contenders logged their penultimate work prior to the first weekend in May. Half of those workers were from Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher's barn - Oaks contenders Goddess of Fire (five furlongs, 1:00.80); Nest (four furlongs, :49.80); and Shahama (five furlongs, 1:00.80) and Derby contenders Charge It (five furlongs, 1:00.40) and Mo Donegal (four furlongs, :50.20). Other Derby and Oaks contenders that worked Friday were Barber Road (six furlongs, 1:16.40); Beguine (five furlongs, 1:01); Cocktail Moments (five furlongs, 1:01.20); Turnerloose (five furlongs, 1:01.20) and Zozos (six furlongs, 1:12.40).
The Pletcher squad began their works at 6 a.m. (all times Eastern) with the trio of Oaks breezes. Red Oak Stable's Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) runner-up Goddess of Fire worked on the inside of KHK Racing's UAE Oaks (G3) winner Shahama through fractions of :13.20, :25.60 and :37.40. The duo galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.20 and completed seven furlongs in 1:26. Their stablemate, Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House's recent Ashland (G1) heroine Nest, worked an easy half-mile outside of Inventing through eighth-mile clockings of :13.20, :25.40 and :37.80. They galloped out five furlongs in 1:02.60.
"Nest went a nice half in about :50 and galloped out nicely," Pletcher said. "We were looking for a little bit more from Goddess of Fire and Shahama. Goddess of Fire hasn't run since the Fair Grounds Oaks and Shahama hasn't run since the UAE Oaks. So, we were looking for a little bit of a stronger work from them. They galloped out well and I was pleased with how they went."
Charge It at Gulfstream Park
"With Charge It, we were looking for a good, solid breeze," Pletcher said. "He went a minute and four-fifths with a super big gallop out. We were really happy with that. With Mo Donegal, with the Wood just 13 days ago, we were just looking for an easy half in :50. He had a nice gallop out as well. All the horses got over the track well. The track still had a little moisture in it from yesterday but they all handled it well."
Jockey Irad Oritz Jr. was at Churchill Downs to work both Nest and Mo Donegal on Friday for Pletcher.
"Nest is improving race by race," Ortiz said. "We really loved her since Day 1. Hopefully, we can get lucky that day. Mo Donegal is a really good horse. He is nice and quiet. He does everything we ask him to do. It looks like he should like the distance. It shouldn't be a problem with him. With a mile-and-a-quarter for 3-year-olds, he's the type of style you want for that day."
Pletcher's third Derby contender, Pioneer of Medina, galloped at 8:15 a.m.
At 7:30 a.m., WSS Racing's Arkansas Derby (G1) runner-up Barber Road worked solo with jockey Reylu Gutierrez in the saddle. The son of Race Day easily galloped through opening splits of :13.60, :26.60, :39.60 and :51.80. He completed his seven-furlong gallop out in 1:29.
Zozos on Friday morning
"It was another really strong move," trainer Brad Cox said. "He galloped out really well around the turn and is really doing well over this track. He's a quick horse as he showed in the Louisiana Derby but he settles into his works nicely."
Twenty minutes following Zozo's move, Cox also worked Ike and Dawn Thrash's Rachel Alexandra (G2) winner Turnerloose five furlongs in 1:01.20 inside of Grade I-winner Juju's Map.
Saturday is expected to be another busy morning at Churchill Downs. Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Cyberknife is slated to work at 5:15 a.m. Other known Derby and Oaks workers include Smile Happy, Tiz the Bomb and Un Ojo. Saturday is the first morning for the exclusive Oaks/Derby training window from 7:30-7:45 a.m. Fans can watch the livestream on the Kentucky Derby's social media channels.
Between Saturday, April 23 and Wednesday, May 4, Churchill Downs will be open free-of-charge daily from 7-10 a.m. so guests can watch the nation's top 3-year-old Thoroughbreds train toward their engagements in this year's Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks.
Horses train on Churchill Downs' main track daily from 5:15-10 a.m. Beginning Saturday, there will be an exclusive training window only for Derby and Oaks participants from 7:30-7:45 a.m. following the 7-7:30 a.m. renovation break. Those horses will be identified by special saddle towels which include their names: yellow saddle towels for Derby horses and pink saddle towels for Oaks contenders.
Kentucky Derby Morning Works presented by TwinSpires.com will begin Monday and air on www.kentuckyderby.com/works, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Fans in attendance will be able to watch the show on the track's Big Board and infield televisions. The first two days of Kentucky Derby and Oaks training (Saturday and Sunday) also will be livestreamed on the Kentucky Derby's social media channels, but without commentary.
Guests can enter Churchill Downs through the Paddock Gate and should park for free in the nearby White Lot for convenient entry. Guests will be directed to Sections 115-117 to watch the morning workouts.
No outside food and beverage is allowed. Churchill Downs' Paddock Grill will be open each morning with breakfast food and beverage options.
On Sunday, May 1 and Monday, May 2, fans can enjoy a premium breakfast in Millionaires Row or the Stakes Room for Dawn at the Downs. Tickets start at $41 and can be purchased on www.KentuckyDerby.com/tickets.
The 148th runnings of the $1.25 Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) and $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) will be held Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7, respectively. Opening Night of Derby Week and the 44-day Spring Meet is Saturday, April 30.