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2023 Kentucky Derby Track Notes

horse racing kentucky derby

Kentucky Derby Poll
Who will win the 2023 Kentucky Derby?

Angel Of Empire
Confidence Game
Disarm
Derma Sotogake
Forte
Hit Show
Jace's Road
Kingsbarns
Mage
Mandarin Hero
Raise Cain
Reincarnate
Rocket Can
Skinner
Sun Thunder
Tapit Trice
Two Phils
Verifying
King Russell

Date: 4/24/2023

All days: 4/24, 4/25, 4/26, 4/27, 4/28, 4/29, 4/30

Monday saw one timed work plus nine gallops during the exclusive 7:30-7:45am training session for Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses. Video for this morning's work can be viewed here on YouTube. Videos of individual horses in timed works can be found here.

From a Churchill Downs press release:

It was a crisp 35-degree morning at Churchill Downs where Winchell Thoroughbreds' TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) runner-up Disarm worked five furlongs in 1:00 with jockey Joel Rosario aboard for Steve Asmussen.

Disarm, a son of the former Asmussen-trained Champion Gun Runner, began about one length behind his stablemate Gigante and completed fractions of :13.20, :25.40, :36.60 and :48.40. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.20, according to Churchill Downs Clocker John Nichols.

This was Disarm's first work since finishing third in the Lexington Stakes {G3}, which awarded him six points and boosted his total to 46 points, just enough to qualify for the Kentucky Derby.

ANGEL OF EMPIRE/HIT SHOW/JACE'S ROAD/VERIFYING It was a routine morning at trainer Brad Cox's Barn 22 with all four of his Kentucky Derby contenders having routine gallops.

Albaugh Family Stable's Angel of Empire was the first of Cox's quartet of Kentucky Derby contenders to train at 5:30 a.m. Cox is forced to train all four of his Derby contenders at separate times because groom Darwin Aguilar is in charge of Angel of Empire, Hit Show and Longines Kentucky Oaks runner Wet Paint. Gary and Mary West's Hit Show, West Point Thoroughbreds and Albaugh Family Stable's Jace's Road and Westerberg, Mrs. John Magnier, Jonathan Poulin, Derrick Smith and Michael B. Tabor's Verifying all trained at 7:30 a.m.

Cox routinely oversees his Keeneland operation Mondays and is expected to be back at Churchill Downs Tuesday.

CONFIDENCE GAME Don't Tell My Wife Stables and Ocean Reef Racing's Confidence Game galloped a mile and a quarter under exercise rider Alex Cano before 7 o'clock. Winner of the Rebel {G2} in his most recent start and a two-time winner at Churchill Downs, Confidence Game worked a mile here out of the gate in 1:38.20 on April 14 and is scheduled for his final pre-Derby work this weekend. Trained by Keith Desormeaux, Confidence Game will be ridden in the Derby by James Graham.

CONTINUAR Lion Race Horse Co. Ltd.'s Continuar (JPN) warmed up in the mile chute during the first morning harrow break and then galloped 1 1/2 miles under Kazunari Yoshida before completing his morning activity with a paddock schooling session. Third in the UAE Derby {G2} in his most recent start, Continuar is trained by Yoshito Yahagi and will be ridden in the Derby by Ryusei Sakai. Yahagi is scheduled to arrive in Louisville next Monday.

DERMA SOTOGAKE Hiroyuki Asanuma's Derma Sotogake (JPN), runaway winner of the UAE Derby {G2} in his most recent start, warmed up in the mile chute during the first harrow break of the morning and then galloped 2 miles under Masatoshi Segawa before cooling down in the mile chute and returning to the Quarantine Barn. Trainer Hidetaka Otonashi is scheduled to arrive in Louisville on May 2 to saddle his first Derby starter. Christophe Lemaire, who was aboard for the UAE Derby victory, has the mount in the Run for the Roses.

horse racing
Forte works out on 4/21
FORTE/KINGSBARNS/MAJOR DUDE/TAPIT TRICE Trainer Todd Pletcher's quartet of Derby hopefuls all galloped 1 3/8 miles during the special Derby/Oaks training window this morning from 7:30-7:45. Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable's Forte, who will be ridden in the Derby by Irad Ortiz Jr., was partnered by Hector Ramos. Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable's Tapit Trice, who will be ridden in the Derby by Luis Saez, was partnered by Amelia Green.

Elder Flores was aboard Spendthrift Farm's Kingsbarns, whose Derby rider remains to be determined. Spendthrift's Major Dude, who is No. 23 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard and in need of three defections by entry time next Monday to get in the starting gate, was ridden this morning by Joel Osorio.

horse racing
Disarm on Monday morning
DISARM Winchell Thoroughbreds' Disarm continued his major preparation for this year's $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) with a swift five-furlong move in 1:00 with jockey Joel Rosario in the irons. "I thought he worked really well this morning coming out of the Lexington," Rosario said. "He was well within himself the entire work. He looks a lot like his sire (Gun Runner). He's built bigger than he is but looking at him they have a lot of the same traits."

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen was on the scene and watched the work from the grandstand. "He's a very durable horse and I think the best is yet to come from him," Asmussen said. "He's a horse we missed a little time with over the winter and we're behind schedule. The one opportunity for a points race was the Louisiana Derby. He ran solid but needed more points to get in it. He's a horse we definitely didn't want to miss this opportunity with. We were looking for a little sense of direction in his work this morning. I think he's not given us everything to this point and there's more in the tank. I like how he accelerated to the wire and got over the racetrack nicely."

Disarm broke his maiden at second asking Aug. 6 at Saratoga but did not resurface until Feb. 19 when he finished second to Two Eagles River in a one-mile allowance contest at Oaklawn. Asmussen and Winchell finished second in last year's Kentucky Derby with Epicenter.

MAGE OGMA Investments, Ramiro Restrepo, Sterling Racing and CMNWLTH's Florida Derby (G1) runner-up Mage arrived at Churchill Downs Monday morning after an overnight van ride from Gulfstream Park. Trained by Gustavo Delgado, Made worked six furlongs at Gulfstream on Saturday in 1:14.78.

horse racing
Rocket Can gets a bath
on Sunday morning
ROCKET CAN Frank Fletcher Racing Operations' Rocket Can came out of his Sunday morning workout in good order, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said Monday. The colt went 5 furlongs in 1:01 with regular exercise rider Guelser Cardona aboard. "He looked great," Mott said. "He just walked the shedrow this morning. He'll be back on the track on Tuesday, and probably won't work until next week."

The colt started his 3-year-old season by winning the Holy Bull Stakes {G3} at Gulfstream Park, then finished second in the Fountain of Youth {G2} at Gulfstream, before finishing fourth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park this month.

SUN THUNDER Trainer Kenny McPeek sent Sun Thunder, the fourth-place finisher in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland, to the Churchill Downs track on Monday with exercise rider Martin Vargas. "He galloped a mile-and-a-quarter, pretty routine, basic stuff," McPeek said. "He'll work on Wednesday."

Owned by R.T. Racing Stable and Cypress Creek Equine, the Into Mischief colt, out of the Medaglia D'Oro mare Greenfield D'Oro, has a 1-1-1 record from six career starts, while earning $247,000.

WILD ON ICE Frank Sumpter's Wild On Ice jogged in the mile chute for about 10 minutes before galloping two miles under exercise rider Oscar Rojero. Wild On Ice worked five furlongs in 1:00 here on April 17 and trainer Joel Marr has the Texas-bred's final Derby work scheduled for Thursday with jockey Ken Tohill slated to be aboard.

SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY DERBY Here are the horses (with jockeys and trainers) that are qualified for the Kentucky Derby and those on the also-eligible list (in alphabetical order with AEs listed last in preference order):
Angel of Empire (jockey Flavien Prat, trainer Brad Cox); Confidence Game (James Graham, Keith Desormeaux); Continuar (JPN) (Ryusei Sakai, Yoshito Yahagi); Derma Sotogake (JPN) (Christophe Lemaire, Hidetaka Otonashi); Disarm (Joel Rosario, Steve Asmussen); Forte (Irad Ortiz Jr., Todd Pletcher); Hit Show (Manny Franco, Brad Cox); Jace's Road (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox); Kingsbarns (TBA, Todd Pletcher); Lord Miles (Paco Lopez, Saffie Joseph Jr.); Mage (TBA, Gustavo Delgado); Practical Move (Ramon Vazquez, Tim Yakteen); Raise Cain (Javier Castellano, Ben Colebrook); Reincarnate (John Velazquez, Tim Yakteen); Rocket Can (Junior Alvarado, Bill Mott); Sun Thunder (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek); Tapit Trice (Luis Saez, Todd Pletcher); Two Phil's (Jareth Loveberry, Larry Rivelli); Verifying (Tyler Gaffalione, Brad Cox); and Wild On Ice (Ken Tohill, Joel Marr).
Also-Eligible: Skinner (Victor Espinioza, John Shirreffs); Cyclone Mischief (TBA, Dale Romans); Major Dude (TBA, Todd Pletcher); and Mandarin Hero (JPN) (TBA, Terunobu Fujita).

LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS UPDATE

BOTANICAL, THE ALYS LOOK, WET PAINT Trainer Brad Cox's trio of Longines Kentucky Oaks contenders Botanical, The Alys Look and Wet Paint all continued their regular training patterns for the first Friday in May. Dawn and Ike Thrash's The Alys Look and Godolphin's Wet Paint galloped about 1 1/2 miles at 7:30 a.m. while LNJ Foxwoods and Clearsky Farms' Botanical galloped the same distance around 8:30 a.m.

DEFINING PURPOSE Defining Purpose came out of an easy half-mile work with regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr. on Sunday in fine shape, trainer Kenny McPeek said Monday. She was clocked in :48.40 in her first workout since she won the Ashland Stakes (G1) at Keeneland on April 7, which helped put her at third in the Kentucky Oaks points standings. "She's real easy to handle," McPeek said of the filly, who races in the silks of Magdalena Racing, Collette Marie Vanmatre and James Ball. "She'll be out for a gallop tomorrow, pretty routine stuff." The Cross Traffic filly, out of the Strong Hope mare Defining Hope, won two of her four starts as a 2-year-old, including a maiden special weight race at Churchill Downs in November. Already she has bankrolled $543,688 from her seven career starts.

DORTH VADER John Ropes homebred Dorth Vader, the winner of the Davona Dale Stakes {G2}, is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs Thursday, according to trainer Michael Yates. Dorth Vader will fly from South Florida to Indianapolis then van to Churchill Downs.

FLYING CONNECTION Brad King, Randy Andrews, G. Chris Coleman, Jim Cone, Suzanne Kirby and Lee Lewis' Flying Connection visited the starting gate and then galloped 1 1/2 miles under exercise rider Oscar Rojero. Trainer Todd Fincher said Florent Geroux would have the Oaks mount on Flying Connection, who is scheduled to work Thursday. Winner of the Sunland Park Oaks (Listed) in her most recent start, Flying Connection worked five furlongs in 1:01 here last Monday.

GAMBLING GIRL/JULIA SHINING Repole Stable's Gambling Girl galloped 1 3/8 miles Monday morning under Carlos Quededo for trainer Todd Pletcher. Pletcher said that Irad Ortiz Jr. would have the mount in the Oaks. Stonestreet Stables' Julia Shining, who is No. 16 on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks and would need two defections come entry time next Monday to secure a spot in the starting gate, galloped 1 3/8 miles under Humberto Zamora.

MIMI KAKUSHI Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum's Mimi Kakushi, who arrived at Churchill Downs on Saturday, had her first day on track Monday as she trotted a mile and jogged a mile under Xavier Ziani. Mimi Kakushi walked under tack in Quarentine Barn 2 Sunday. Trainer Salem bin Ghadayer said the winner of the UAE Oaks {G3} would work Saturday and that Mickael Barzalona would have the mount in the Kentucky Oaks.

PRETTY MISCHIEVOUS Godolphin's Pretty Mischievous, trained by Brendan Walsh, was out very early Monday morning, for a gallop with exercise rider Albino Martinez. While Walsh was out of town, assistant Charlie Lynch supervised her trip to the track. "She'll likely have a workout later in the week, when Brendan gets back," Lynch said. "She's doing well. He'll decide when she goes, but it'll probably be Friday or Saturday. A lot depends on the weather." The daughter of Into Mischief, out of the Tapit mare Pretty City Dancer, won the Rachel Alexandra Stakes {G2} at the Fair Grounds on Feb. 18, then finished second to Southlawn in the Fair Grounds Oaks {G2} on March 25, both with Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard. Jockey Tyler Gaffalione has the mount in the Oaks.

SOUTHLAWN Fair Grounds Oaks {G2} winner Southlawn galloped about 1 1/2 miles at 7:30 a.m. for trainer Norm Casse. Casse's exercise rider Joel Garcia was in the saddle for Southlawn's Monday training session. Southlawn is scheduled to work Thursday, according to Casse.

WONDER WHEEL D.J. Stable LLC's Wonder Wheel, the 2-year-old champion filly of 2023, is off the bubble and now a Kentucky Oaks contender, after trainer Chad Brown decided to give Shidabhuti additional time off, and pulled her from consideration Sunday. "She'll go out to the track Tuesday morning, with our second set, which will be around 5:45," said David Carroll, assistant to trainer Mark Casse. "While we were hoping to get in, we were glad that it wasn't because of an injury to the other horse. Chad just decided to give his filly more time, so you feel better about getting this opportunity to run. We're excited. She's doing really well. She'll have one more breeze, quite possibly this Thursday. She breezed last Thursday," Carroll said. "We're looking at the weather, but it looks like it's unsettled weather this week. Around here, you never know."

Her regular exercise rider, Kim Carroll, is expected to be aboard Wonder Wheel on Tuesday. The daughter of Into Mischief, out of the Tiz Wonderful mare Wonder Gal, broke her maiden at Churchill Downs last June, then won the Debutante Stakes on the Fourth of July. After finishing her 2-year-old season as the champion of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), she finished second in the Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in February, but then was sixth in the Ashland Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.

SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY OAKS Here are the horses (with trainers) that are qualified for the Longines Kentucky Oaks and those on the also-eligible list (in alphabetical order with AEs listed last in preference order):
Affirmative Lady (John Velazquez, Graham Motion); And Tell Me Nolies (Ramon Vazquez, Peter Miller); Botanical (Chris Landeros, Brad Cox); Defining Purpose (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek); Dorth Vader (TBA, Mike Yates); Flying Connection (Florent Geroux, Todd Fincher); Gambling Girl (Irad Ortiz Jr., Todd Pletcher); Mimi Kakushi (Mickael Barzelona, Salem bin Ghadayer); Pretty Mischievous (Tyler Gaffalione, Brendan Walsh); Promiseher America (TBA, Ray Handal); Southlawn (Rey Gutierrez, Norm Casse); The Alys Look (Luis Saez, Brad Cox); and Wet Paint (Flavien Prat, Brad Cox); Wonder Wheel (Mark Casse).
Also-Eligible: Taxed (Randy Morse); Julia Shining (Todd Pletcher); Hoosier Philly (Tom Amoss).

STAKES PROBABLES The following are the early probable stakes race entrants for Kentucky Derby Week, according to assistant racing secretary and stakes coordinator Dan Bork:

The 37th running of the $1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1) on Saturday, May 6 for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on turf (entries close Monday, May 1): Santin (Brendan Walsh); Spooky Channel (Jason Barkley); Up to the Mark (Todd Pletcher); and Wolfie's Dynaghost (Jonathan Thomas).

The 88th running of the $750,000 Churchill Downs presented by Ford (G1) on Saturday, May 6 for 4-year-olds and up at seven furlongs (entries close Monday, May 1): Cody's Wish (Bill Mott), Endorsed (Mike Maker); Get Her Number (Peter Miller); Here Mi Song (Billy Stinson); Hoist the Gold (Dallas Stewart); Sir Alfred James (Lynn Cash); and Steal Sunshine (George Papaprodromou).

The 37th running of the $750,000 Derby City Distaff presented by Kendall-Jackson Winery (G1) on Saturday, May 6 for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up at seven furlongs (entries close Monday, May 1): Frank's Rockette (Bill Mott); Hot and Sultry (Norm Casse); and Matareya (Brad Cox).

The 32nd running of the $500,000 American Turf {G2} on Saturday, May 6 for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on turf (entries close Monday, May 1): Far Bridge (Todd Pletcher); Johannes (Tim Yakteen); Major Dude (Todd Pletcher); Mendelssohns March (Kenny McPeek); Mo Stash (Vicki Oliver); Scoobie Quando (Ben Colebrook); Talk of the Nation (Shug McGaughey); and Wadsworth (Brad Cox).

The 38th running of the $500,000 Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile {G2} on Saturday, May 6 for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up at one mile on turf (entries close Monday, May 1): Haughty (Chad Brown); Sharp Hero (Bradley Ross); Spenderella (Graham Motion); Sweet Dani Girl (Carlo Vaccarezza); and Wakanaka (IRE) (Bill Mott).

The 99th running of the $500,000 Pat Day Mile {G2} on Saturday, May 6 for 3-year-olds at one mile (entries close Monday, May 1): Bourbon Bash (D. Wayne Lukas); Dreaming of Kona (Aldana Spieth); Frosted Departure (Kenny McPeek); General Jim (Shug McGaughey); Gilmore (Brendan Walsh); Kangaroo Court (Tim Yakteen); and Tall Boy (Doug O'Neill).

The 29th running of the $500,000 TwinSpires Turf Sprint {G2} on Saturday, May 6 for 3-year-olds and up at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf (entries close Monday, May 1): Artemus Citylimits (Mike Maker); Bad Beat Brian (Brittany Vanden Berg); Big Invasion (Christophe Clement); Carotari (Brian Lynch); Evan Sing (Al Stall Jr.); Go Bears Go (Wesley Ward); and Oceanic (Jordan Blair).

The second running of the $175,000 Knicks Go Overnight Stakes on Saturday, May 6 for 4-year-olds and up at one mile (entries close Monday, May 1): Caddo River (D. Wayne Lukas); Gulfstream Way (Rachel Sells); Masqueparade (Al Stall Jr.); Noble Drama (David Fawkes); Petulante (Victor Barboza Jr.); Promise Keeper (Dallas Stewart); Surly Furious (Glenn Wismer); Three Technique (Jason Cook); and Zozos (Brad Cox).

The 38th running of the $750,000 La Troienne (G1) on Friday, May 5 for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up at 1 1/16 miles (entries close Monday, May 1): A Mo Reay (Brad Cox); Classy Edition (Todd Pletcher); Kathleen O. (Shug McGaughey); Played Hard (Phil Bauer); and Secret Oath (Wayne Lukas).

The 20th running of the $600,000 Alysheba presented by Sentient Jet {G2} on Friday, May 5 for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles (entries close Monday, May 1): Milliken (Ian Wilkes); Rich Strike (Eric Reed); Smile Happy (Kenny McPeek); and West Will Power (Brad Cox).

The 39th running of the $500,000 Edgewood presented by Forcht Bank {G2} on Friday, May 5 for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on turf (entries close Monday, May 1): Cairo Consort (Todd Pletcher); Girl Named Charlie (Tom Amoss); Heavenly Sunday (Brad Cox); Mission of Joy (Graham Motion); and Sabalenka (Whit Beckman).

The 68th running of the $500,000 Eight Belles {G2} on Friday, May 5 for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs (entries close Monday, May 1): Ami Please (Doug O'Neill); Grand Love (Rodolphe Brisset); Munnys Gold (Todd Pletcher); Olivia Twist (Todd Fincher); Positano Sunset (Ian Wilkes); Red Carpet Ready (Rusty Arnold); and Yvonne's Miss (Bill Morey).

The 13th running of the $300,000 Unbridled Sidney presented by Sysco (Listed) on Friday, May 5 for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf (entries close Monday, May 1): Bay Storm (Jonathan Thomas); Caravel (Brad Cox); Mamba Wamba (IRE) (Brendan Walsh); and New Boss (Bret Calhoun).

The 66th running of the $300,000 Modesty {G3} on Friday, May 5 for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up at 1 1/8 miles on turf (entries close Monday, May 1): Australia Mia (Michael McCarthy); New Year's Eve (Chad Brown); and Transient (GB) (Chad Brown).

The second running of the $175,000 St. Matthews Overnight Stakes on Thursday, May 4 for 4-year-olds and up at six furlongs (entries close Sunday, April 30): Bagboss (Brendan Walsh); Bango (Greg Foley); Heart Rhythm (John Oritz); Miles Ahead (Paul McGee); and Pirate Rick (Lynn Cash).

The 18th running of the $300,000 Opening Verse (Listed) on Thursday, May 4 for 4-year-olds and up at one mile on turf (entries close Sunday, April 30): Camp Hope (Kenny McPeek); Churchtown (Roger Attfield); Gray's Fable (Brian Lynch); and Stitched (Greg Foley).

The 29th running of the $200,000 Kentucky Juvenile on Thursday, May 4 for 2-year-olds at five furlongs (entries close Sunday, April 30): Nullify (Wayne Lukas).

The fifth running of the $175,000 Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight Stakes on Wednesday, May 3 for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/2 miles (entries close Friday): Good Skate (Mike Maker); Lone Rock (Robertino Diodoro), Next (Doug Cowans); Scarlet Fusion (Joe Sharp); and Warrant (Brad Cox).

The fourth running of the $225,000 Mamzelle (Listed) on Wednesday, May 3 for 3-year-old fillies at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf (entries close Friday): Margoinabubblebath (Donnie Habeeb); and Sassy Nature (Luis Mendez).

The 13th running of the $175,000 Roxelana Overnight Stakes on Saturday, April 29 for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up at six furlongs (entries close Wednesday): Coppelia (Phil Bauer); Last Leaf (Eddie Kenneally); My Destiney (Herman Wilensky); and Pretty Birdie (Norm Casse).

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