Today was the first day for the exclusive 7:30-7:45am training session for Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses, which will continue until Derby Day. Video for this morning's works can be viewed here on YouTube. Videos of individual horses in timed works can be found here.
Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders kicked it into high gear Saturday morning with several horses around the country logging their most serious workouts prior to the first weekend in May. At Churchill Downs, Derby contenders Cyberknife (six furlongs, 1:12.20), Smile Happy (five furlongs, 1:00.40), Tiz the Bomb (five furlongs 1:00.20) and Un Ojo (:59.40) all breezed for the "Run for the Roses.” At Keeneland, Blue Grass (G1) winner Zandon worked a half-mile in :48.60 before he ships to Churchill Downs on Sunday.
Cyberknife on Saturday morning
Gold Square's Arkansas Derby winner Cyberknife breezed at 5:15 a.m. (all times Eastern) with jockey Florent Geroux in the saddle. The son of Gun Runner worked on the outside of stablemate Koolhous. Cyberknife started two lengths back at the five-furlong marker and finished two lengths in front at the wire. Cyberknife continued his strong move around the far turn and completed seven furlongs in 1:24.60, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols.
"It was a really strong move and he's a really good work horse,” Geroux said. "He continues to improve as time goes on and he showed that winning the Arkansas Derby. Even going back to his allowance win before the Arkansas Derby he showed a new level of class.”
During the 7:30-7:45 a.m. training period reserved for Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders, Lucky Seven Stable's Blue Grass Stakes (G1) runner-up Smile Happy and Magdalena Racing Lessee's Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) winner Tiz the Bomb breezed in company. Smile Happy and jockey Corey Lanerie began the work about one length in front of Brian Hernandez Jr. and Tiz the Bomb. Hernandez and Tiz the Bomb moved to the outside of Smile Happy and finished in tandem at the wire.
"We were just looking for an easy move today and we got that,” trainer Kenny McPeek said. "We'll probably do the same thing again next week.”
Un Ojo at the Withers (G3)
Cypress Creek Equine's Un Ojo arrived at Churchill Downs on Tuesday with trainer Ricky Courville's son, Clay, in tow. Clay breezed Un Ojo through opening eighth-mile splits of :11.60, :23, :35 and :47.60. Un Ojo galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.20.
"It's amazing being here at Churchill Downs,” Clay said. "I've been here before but nothing like this. (Un Ojo) is getting over the track really well.”
At Keeneland, Jeff Drown's Zandon completed eighth-mile fractions of :12.80, :25.20 and :37. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.80, six furlongs in 1:13.80 and seven-eighths of a mile in 1:27.60. Trainer Chad Brown reported Zandon will ship to Churchill Downs on Sunday and be stabled in Barn 25.
Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) contenders Hidden Connection (five furlongs, 1:00.60), Nostalgic (four furlongs, :48.80) and Venti Valentine (four furlongs, :47.20) all worked Saturday morning at Churchill Downs.
Sunday morning, likely Kentucky Derby and Oaks favorites Epicenter and Echo Zulu are both scheduled to work for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.
Saturday was 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.
2023 Triple Crown quick links:
Top Kentucky Derby Contenders - Check out all the top horses on the road to the Kentucky Derby. Each has a profile with a photo and lots of other info.
Kentucky Derby Winners and Auction Prices - Bigger may seem better, but in the case of Kentucky Derby horses who sold at auction, less is more. Here is a look at how (badly) high priced auction purchases have done in the Kentucky Derby and the auction prices for this year's top Derby horses.
2023 Road to the Kentucky Derby - All the point earning races on the Triple Crown Trail leading up to the Kentucky Derby with results and winners updated as they are run.
2023 Triple Crown Late Nominations - Sunland Derby (G3) winner Wild on Ice headlines the list of seven late Triple Crown nominations made eligible by a $6000 fee by the March 27 deadline.
Early Triple Crown Nominations - 312 horses where nominated by the early deadline of January 29 for the 2023 Triple Crown. Trainer Todd Pletcher nominated the most with 42 followed by Brad Cox with 26. Check out all the horses and free past performances from Equibase.
2023 Kentucky Derby And Oaks Security - New enhanced stricter rules with no onsite parking were enforced in 2018, and are in effect again this year. Be sure to read the rules if you are attending. There will still be magnetic wand searches of all patrons and many things are no longer allowed. Check here to make sure you don't bring anything they will confiscate.
Kentucky Derby Prep Races - What races should a horse prep in to win the Kentucky Derby? Some races may seem obvious, but have not produced a Derby winner in many years. Find out which races are the best preps here.
Kentucky Derby Winners and Auction Prices - Bigger may seem better, but in the case of Kentucky Derby horses who sold at auction, less is more. Here is a look at how (badly) high priced auction purchases have done in the Kentucky Derby and the auction prices for this year's top Derby contenders.
Kentucky Derby Traditions - Find out all about the big Derby Traditions: the rose garland, the trophy, the Twin Spires, mint juleps, singing "My Old Kentucy Home", fancy hats, celebrities and the annual Derby glasses.
Fillies in the Kentucky Derby - a look at the 39 fillies who have contested the Run for the Roses and how they did. So far there have been 3 wins, 2 seconds, and 5 thirds.
Review: Kentucky Derby Greatest Moments - Commemorative DVD from Churchill Downs with video from 27 different runnings along with interviews, photos, and historical info. Definitely recommended for any racing fan!
Review: Churchill Downs - America's Most Historic Racetrack by Kimberly Gatto. An entertaining and informative account of the history of the track and it's most famous race, the Kentucky Derby, with lots of photos. Definitely recommended.