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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: 4/25/2023

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

Tuesday had no timed works but several 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:

Florida Derby (G1) runner-up Mage, who arrived at Churchill Downs early Monday, made his first appearance on the track Tuesday morning as he jogged a mile and galloped 1 1/4 miles. Trained by Gustavo Delgado, Mage will be ridden in Derby 149 by Javier Castellano. Castellano rode Mage to a fourth-place finish in the Fountain of Youth (G2) in the Good Magic colt's second start.

There were no timed workouts for any Derby or Kentucky Oaks hopefuls Tuesday morning but Wednesday morning is expected to have works from Japanese-based runners Derma Sotogake (JPN) and Continuar (JPN), the 1-3 finishers in the UAE Derby (G2).

ANGEL OF EMPIRE/HIT SHOW/JACE'S ROAD/VERIFYING It was another 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. At 7:30 a.m., 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 had 1 1/2-mile gallops. "We're pretty excited coming into this Derby," Cox said. "We have four really nice colts and we're looking forward to next weekend. They'll all work once more this weekend. We're keeping an eye on the weather and make a decision in the next 24-48 hours."

CONFIDENCE GAME Don't Tell My Wife Stables and Ocean Reef Racing's Confidence Game galloped 1 1/4 miles under Alex Cano during the 7:30-7:45 training window for Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses. A two-time winner from four starts at Churchill Downs, Confidence Game would represent the fourth Kentucky Derby starter for trainer Keith Desormeaux, whose best Derby finish came from his first starter in 2016 with Exaggerator's runner-up effort.

CONTINUAR Lion Race Horse Co. Ltd.'s Continuar (JPN) warmed up in the mile chute during the first track harrow break of the morning and then galloped 1 1/2 miles under Kazunari Yoshida for trainer Yoshito Yahagi. A winner of two of five career starts, Continuar is scheduled to work Wednesday morning.

DERMA SOTOGAKE Hiroyuki Asanuma's $1.1 million earner Derma Sotogake (JPN), warmed up in the mile chute during the first track maintenance break of the morning and then galloped 1 1/4 miles with Masatoshi Segawa aboard. Part of the morning activity also included a paddock schooling session for the winner of four of eight starts with the most recent victory coming in the UAE Derby (G2) by 5 1/2 lengths. Trained by Hidetaka Otonashi, Derma Sotogake is scheduled to work Wednesday morning.

DISARM Winchell Thoroughbreds' Disarm had a routine walk day at Barn 38 following his five-furlong move in 1:00 Monday morning at Churchill Downs.

FORTE/KINGSBARNS/MAJOR DUDE/TAPIT TRICE One of the rites of spring in Louisville is watching the weather, and for trainer Todd Pletcher, who has had an entrant in every Derby since 2000 except for 2003, this year is no different. "It wouldn't be Derby Week without watching the weather," Pletcher said. "It looks like there is some rain coming in Thursday and it could be a sketchy couple of days." Spendthrift Farm's Kingsbarns and Major Dude worked together last Thursday and both galloped 1 3/8 miles Tuesday morning with Elder Flores aboard Kingsbarns and Joel Osorio on Major Dude. Pletcher has not named a rider for Kingsbarns. Major Dude who is No. 23 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard and in need of three defections by entry time Monday to get in the starting gate, has the 32nd running of the $500,000 American Turf (G2) on May 6 as his backup race should he not make the Derby field. Pletcher's other Derby hopefuls also galloped 1 3/8 miles during the special Derby/Oaks training window from 7:30-7:45. Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable's Forte, the probable morning line favorite for Derby 149, was partnered by Hector Ramos while Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable's Tapit Trice was partnered by Amelia Green.

horse racing
Mage on Tuesday morning
MAGE The Florida Derby (G1) runner-up, who gave likely Kentucky Derby favorite Forte a strong challenge in just his third lifetime start, took to the track for the first time, after the long van trip up from the Sunshine State. For the Run for the Roses, he'll have Javier Castellano riding. Castellano rode him in the Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park. "Yesterday, we made the decision on the rider," said Gustavo Delgado Jr., son of the colt's same-named trainer. "He's ridden him before, and we didn't want to try anyone new." With exercise rider J.J. Delgado, the colt owned by OGMA Investments LLC, Ramiro Restrepo, Sterling Racing LLC and CMNWLTH galloped easily, going a mile-and-a-quarter. "He's a pretty laid-back horse," Delgado Jr. said. "He gave us the impression that he enjoys the track, so far, so good."

Raise Cain Andrew and Rania Warren's Raise Cain, fifth in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) in his most recent start, is in need of a rider for Derby 149. Javier Castellano initially was lined up to ride but he has opted to ride Florida Derby (G1) runner-up Mage. "No rider yet," trainer Ben Colebrook said. "We will wait it out. Never missed a race yet because of a rider." Stabled at Keeneland, Raise Cain is scheduled to work there Thursday morning.

ROCKET CAN Trainer Bill Mott sent the colt owned by Frank Fletcher Racing Operations out for a gallop with regular exercise rider Guelser Cardona aboard. "He looked good, after we worked him Sunday, he had an easy day yesterday, then had him back on the track this morning," said the Hall of Fame trainer. "We also walked him over to the temporary paddock that they'll use this year. It looked like he had good energy, and that he came out of the work in good shape."

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

WILD ON ICE Frank Sumpter's Wild On Ice had a double schooling day Tuesday when he got acquainted with the Kentucky Derby starting gate and the paddock. Trainer Joel Marr was alongside the Sunland Park Derby (G3) at 7:30 a.m. and walked him to the one-mile chute where he schooled in the starting gate with exercise rider Oscar Rojero on board. Then, Wild On Ice was led over to the frontside by outrider Greg Blasi and schooled in the paddock. Finally, the gelding galloped about 1 3/8 miles. Marr stated Wild On Ice's final Derby work is 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 (Javier Castellano, Gustavo Delgado); Practical Move (Ramon Vazquez, Tim Yakteen); Raise Cain (TBA, 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 on Tuesday. 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. All three fillies then schooled in the Churchill Downs paddock.

DEFINING PURPOSE Trainer Kenny McPeek watched the Ashland Stakes (G1) winner put in a mile-and-a-quarter gallop, without any issues. "She'll breeze on Saturday," he said of the Magdalena Racing, Collette Marie Vanmatre and James Ball filly.

FLYING CONNECTION Brad King, Randy Andrews, G. Chris Coleman, Jim Cone, Suzanne Kirby and Lee Lewis' Flying Connection had a walk day Tuesday. Trained by Todd Fincher, Flying Connection is scheduled to have her second Churchill Downs work Thursday.

GAMBLING GIRL/JULIA SHINING Repole Stable's Gambling Girl galloped 1 3/8 miles under exercise rider Carlos Quevedo for trainer Todd Pletcher. Stonestreet Stables' Julia Shining, No. 16 on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard and in need of two defections to make the 14-horse Oaks starting gate, galloped 1 3/8 miles under Humberto Zamora. "There is no Plan B as of yet," Pletcher said when asked if there was an immediate option for Julia Shining should she not run in the Oaks. Julia Shining is a full sister to 2021 Kentucky Oaks winner Malathaat.

MIMI KAKUSHI Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed AlMaktoum's Mimi Kakushi, jogged a mile and cantered a mile under exercise rider Xavier Ziani. Undefeated in two starts this year with victories in the UAE One Thousand Guineas and UAE Oaks (G3), Mimi Kakushi would represent the first runner in the United States for her owner as well as her trainer Salem bin Ghadayer. Bin Ghadayer plans to work Mimi Kakushi on Saturday. She will have paddock schooling on her agenda leading up to the Oaks and possibly gate schooling.

PRETTY MISCHIEVOUS The Godolphin filly, trained by Brendan Walsh, went out for a gallop with exercise rider Albino Martinez. While Walsh is out of town, assistant Charlie Lynch supervised her. "She went her usual mile-and-a-half," Lynch said, confirming that the filly will have a timed workout probably Friday or Saturday. "A lot depends on the weather," he said.

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 Tuesday training session. "She's doing well out of her work last week and has trained with a lot of energy," Casse said. "That's what you want to see out of a work." Southlawn is scheduled to work Thursday, according to Casse.

WONDER WHEEL The champion 2-year-old filly of 2022 stepped onto the Churchill Downs track at 6 a.m. With exercise rider Kim Carroll aboard, the D.J. Stable color bearer jogged in the chute for 10 minutes before an easy gallop. "She galloped her usual mile-and-a-quarter," said David Carroll, assistant to trainer Mark Casse. "She was up in the chute for a while, playing around, then she went down and did her mile-and-a-quarter." Wonder Wheel at times appears a bit headstrong, and Carroll said, "That's something we're working on. She wants to do too much." Plans still call for her to breeze Thursday morning, with her Oaks jockey, Joel Rosario. "Timing-wise, it'll be good, since she breezed last Thursday," Carroll said. "We want Joel to get a feel for her. He's very, very good at getting horses to relax. He's one of those riders who's very astute, and picks up on things."

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 (Joel Rosario, Mark Casse).
Also-Eligible: Taxed (Randy Morse); Julia Shining (Todd Pletcher); Hoosier Philly (Tom Amoss).

2022 KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER RICH STRIKE WORKS HALF-MILE FOR ALYSHEBA START RED TR-Racing's Rich Strike, winner of the 2022 Kentucky Derby, returned to Churchill Downs Monday night and then worked a half-mile in :47.80 Tuesday morning in preparation for an expected start in the 20th running of the $600,000 Alysheba (G2) to be run at 1 1/16 miles on May 5. "I wanted to sharp work and this is all we needed," trainer Eric Reed said of Rich Strike, who galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.40 with Gabriel Lagunes aboard. The work was the sixth fastest of 29 at the distance over a fast track. Rich Strike returned to Reed's Mercury Equine Center in Lexington later Tuesday morning and is scheduled to return to Churchill Downs on Sunday.

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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