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2023 Kentucky Derby Photos

horse racing kentucky derby
Kingsbarn under the Twin Spires on Wednesday morning.
Date: 5/03/2023

Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs was less busy during the exclusive Oaks/Derby session, as several Kentucky Derby horses who had timed works recently stayed in the barn. Conditions were chilly for Derby week with a fast main track, a few clouds and temperatures in the high 40's during training hours, with 25 MPH wind gusts. Video for this morning's work can be viewed here on YouTube. Videos of individual horses in timed works can be found here.

Kentucky Derby

horse racingConfidence Game returned to the track Wednesday after walking on Tuesday and galloped 1 1/4 miles under exercise rider Alex Cano. Trainer Keith Desormeaux is known to give his horses two walk days a week, but called the audible to walk Tuesday based on what he thought was best for the horse. "His last two works were strong," Desormeaux said. "And, you know, the main reason is that some horses don't rest well in their stall if they don't train. He's the opposite. If you get him out early, he does his thing. He walks 30 minutes and he goes back in his stall and rests. He lays down, he munches on hay, even on a walk day. He takes full advantage of it. So, I'm like you know what? Let's leave the track alone and let him sleep Tuesday. He's going to train again Wednesday. He's going to train again Friday and I'll probably train him Saturday morning early. Since the race isn't until 6:30 or something, I'll get him out and blow some steam off because by that time he'll know what's going on. He did go to the paddock, so it's not like he was sleeping all day. he did get out there and get pumped up. That's also another reason I walked. Why get him fired up twice. Onto the paddock isn't enough."

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

horse racingContinuar spent an hour training in the mile chute. Trainer Yoshida Yahagi said Continuar would gallop in the morning.

horse racingForte galloped 1 3/8 miles under Hector Ramos in company with stablemates Major Dude and Tapit Trice. "Everything is right on schedule," Hall of Famer Pletcher confirmed when his charges had returned to his Barn 39 headquarters. "They'll all paddock today with the horses for Race 6."

horse racingHit Show schooled in the starting gate and then galloped 1 1/2 miles. "Everything went really well today," trainer Brad Cox said. "We stood all four Derby horses in the gate. They stood extremely well. They are going to school tomorrow in the paddock. They are doing great, they really are. They stood in the gate and had really, really good gallops after that. Hopefully everything goes good in the paddock and we'll do as much as we can in the mornings. Hopefully that will translate to them being settled and handling everything well on Saturday. I wanted to stand Verifying and Hit Show next to each other because that's where they'll be on Saturday, in the 1 and 2 (posts)."

horse racingJace's Road schooled in the starting gate and then galloped 1 1/2 miles. "Everything went really well today," trainer Brad Cox said. "We stood all four Derby horses in the gate. They stood extremely well. They are going to school tomorrow in the paddock. They are doing great, they really are. They stood in the gate and had really, really good gallops after that. Hopefully everything goes good in the paddock and we'll do as much as we can in the mornings. Hopefully that will translate to them being settled and handling everything well on Saturday."

horse racingKingsbarns galloped 1 3/8 miles under Elder Flores in company with stablemates Major Dude and Tapit Trice. "Everything is right on schedule," Hall of Famer Pletcher confirmed when his charges had returned to his Barn 39 headquarters. "They'll all paddock today with the horses for Race 6."

horse racingLord Miles had a light gallop Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs. Lord Miles drew post 19 in Saturday's Kentucky Derby.

horse racingMage was out for a gallop Wednesday with regular exercise rider J.J. Delgado. "He's looking really well," said Gustavo Delgado Jr., assistant to trainer Gustavo Delgado Sr. "He galloped about 1 1/2 again, and he finished the last three or four furlongs increasing his speed. Most importantly, when he came back, his breathing was nearly normal, and he wasn't breathing hard. I think he's going to run well."

horse racingRaise Cain visited the starting gate and galloped a mile and a half under Rene Morales for trainer Ben Colebrook. Winner of the Gotham (G3) in the mud, Raise Cain schooled in the paddock Tuesday and will have another paddock session Thursday. There is rain the forecast three days out from Derby 149 and that doesn't bother Colebrook. "Nick Zito (Hall of Famer and two-time Derby winner including Go for Gin in the slop in 1994) said it was going to rain Saturday," Colebrook said. "I'll take that. The forecast said 60 percent (chance of rain) Friday and 40 on Saturday oh, now it's 54.He has handled an off track and that is nothing that we have to worry about. Some handle it better than others, but what we need is pace."

horse racingRocket Can galloped 1 3/8 miles with regular exercise rider Guelser Cardona. "All's good," said trainer Bill Mott of Wednesday's preparations for Rocket Can. "His gallop went well, and he practiced at the starting gate, standing in and backing out."

horse racingTapit Trice galloped 1 3/8 miles under Amelia Green in company with stablemates Forte and Tapit Trice. "Everything is right on schedule," Hall of Famer Pletcher confirmed when his charges had returned to his Barn 39 headquarters. "They'll all paddock today with the horses for Race 6."

horse racingTwo Phil's spent an extended period on the track on Wednesday under exercise rider Gonzalo Gonzales. Heading out at 7:30 a.m. with the other Derby and Oaks horses, Larry Rivelli's first Derby horse spent around 30 minutes on the track. He stood in his usual spot along the fence outside his Barn 1 watching all the activity, then he took time to school in the gates before galloping his usual 1 1/4 miles. Rivelli, jockey Jareth Loveberry, and owner Anthony Sagan looked on, reflecting on how well he has traveled to each track. Including Hawthorne, where Two Phil's trained but has yet to race, Churchill Downs is his seventh stop. "If he runs his last race he's going to have a huge chance," Rivelli said. "A lot of people think it's the Tapeta that moved him up (winning the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park), and it could be. If it wasn't, he's got a serious shot. It's a deep and even year this year. There's no Justify, no American Pharoah, which gives us a shot."

horse racingVerifying schooled in the starting gate and then galloped 1 1/2 miles. "Everything went really well today," trainer Brad Cox said. "We stood all four Derby horses in the gate. They stood extremely well. They are going to school tomorrow in the paddock. They are doing great, they really are. They stood in the gate and had really, really good gallops after that. Hopefully everything goes good in the paddock and we'll do as much as we can in the mornings. Hopefully that will translate to them being settled and handling everything well on Saturday. I wanted to stand Verifying and Hit Show next to each other because that's where they'll be on Saturday, in the 1 and 2 (posts)"

horse racingCyclone Mischief is the first also-eligible. He galloped 1 3/8 miles under exercise rider Faustino Herrarte.

horse racingKing Russell is the third also-eligible. He galloped 1 3/4 miles Wednesday.


Kentucky Oaks

horse racinghorse racingAffirmative Lady had a strong 1 1/2 mile gallop under Kevin Lundie and visited the starting gate. Trained by Graham Motion, the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) winner had a paddock schooling session after training hours. Winner of her past two starts, Affirmative Lady is one of four Oaks entrants to have raced at the Oaks distance of 1 1/8 miles, something she has done twice. "The farther she goes, the stronger she gets," Lundie said of Affirmative Lady, who will break from post 13 under John Velazquez. "I just hope she gets a clean trip."

horse racingBotanical galloped 1 1/2 miles in company with stablemates The Alys Look and Wet Paint at 5:15AM, and then later schooled in the paddock. "Overall, I'm super happy with them," trainer Brad Cox said. "They all schooled in the gate a couple of days ago and did well. Everything has been fantastic with them."

horse racingDefining Purpose stepped onto the track Wednesday with regular exercise rider Shelby Spalding aboard, for a gallop of about 1 3/8 miles. While some humans on the backstretch didn't appreciate the chilly weather with gusty winds, the equines appeared to tolerate it well. "It's crisp, but it feels good," trainer Kenny McPeek said. "Horses like it."

horse racingDorth Vader had a routine 1 1/2 mile gallop at 7:30AM Wednesday. Dorth Vader would be the first start in the Oaks for Florida-based trainer Michael Yates. Yates appears to be enjoying his trip to Louisville which included a visit to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association's Trainer's Dinner Tuesday night.

horse racingGambling Girl galloped 1 3/8 miles under Carlos Quevado and then schooled in the paddock.

horse racingMimi Kakushi followed her regular routine of jogging a mile with the pony and then galloping a mile under Xavier Ziani. Mimi Kakushi has not raced since the Feb. 17 UAE Oaks (G3) and enters Friday's Run for the Lilies off a 12-week layoff, the longest of any Oaks starter. "She had had a busy campaign and she got a short break (after the UAE Oaks)," said trainer Salem bin Ghadayer, who currently oversees 72 horses in training in Dubai. "She got back on our program and she has been breezing every week (prior to coming to Churchill Downs)."

horse racingPretty Mischievous galloped one mile and a half on Wednesday during the designated Derby/Oaks training time at 7:30AM. Exercise rider Albino Martinez reported she is feeling good.

horse racingPromiseher America galloped 1 1/4 miles under exercise rider Fernando Tapara. "Fernando said she felt awesome and was looking around a lot today," trainer Ray Handal said. "We did all the heavy lifting back home so I wanted to ship her in, jog, change her shoes, and get her comfortable with her surroundings. She galloped today and looked around a bit. She'll gallop tomorrow and look around less, so she'll be relaxed on race day."

horse racingSouthlawn had a 1 1/2 mile gallop Wednesday morning for trainer Norm Casse. Jockey Rey Gutierrez will pilot the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) winner in the Longines Kentucky Oaks. "I love a rider that's confident walking into the paddock and I know Reylu will be," Casse said. "I've never had another trainer tell me before that they heard from my rider that they will win a race and that's what happened in the Fair Grounds Oaks. I came into the paddock in the second or third race and (trainer) Bret Calhoun came up to me and said 'Rey told me you're going to win the Fair Grounds Oaks today.' So, I'm confident that Rey will be confident coming into the race."

horse racingThe Alys Look galloped 1 1/2 miles in company with stablemates Wet Paint and Botanical at 5:15AM, and then later schooled in the paddock. "Overall, I'm super happy with them," trainer Brad Cox said. "They all schooled in the gate a couple of days ago and did well. Everything has been fantastic with them."

horse racingWet Paint galloped 1 1/2 miles in company with stablemates The Alys Look and Botanical at 5:15AM, and then later schooled in the paddock. "Overall, I'm super happy with them," trainer Brad Cox said. "They all schooled in the gate a couple of days ago and did well. Everything has been fantastic with them."

horse racingWonder Wheel jogged 1 mile and galloped 2 miles under exercise rider David Carroll. "She went nicely and did everything right," trainer Mark Casse said. "We're going to conserve her energy a couple days before the race. She's carrying more flesh than she probably ever has. Numbers-wise, I don't think her race in the Ashland was as bad as some have said. I think she got confused out there. One problem was, and I knew I was going to run into it, but there was two months between races (before the Ashland). I'm thinking that maybe I didn't do enough to get her in a competitive mindset. The timing is much better for this."

horse racingHoosier Philly is the first also-eligible.

horse racingJulia Shining is the second also-eligible. She galloped 1 3/8 miles under Humberto Zamora and then schooled in the paddock.


horse racingLast year's Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike schooled in the paddock. He is entered in the Alysheba Stakes (G2) on the Oaks undercard as the 7-2 second choice from post 3. Regular rider Sonny Leon will be in the irons for trainer Eric Reed.

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