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2024 Kentucky Derby Photos

horse racing kentucky derby
The Derby and Oaks horses wait at the Lukas gap or the track to open on Wednesday morning. From left to right: Epic Ride, Fiona's Magic, Grand Mo the First, and Mugatu.

horse racing
Kentucky artist Wylie Caudill works on a mural version of his painting "Adorned in Roses" which is on this year's Woodford Reserve commemorative Derby bottle which is in the plaza to the left of the new paddock.

Date: 5/01/2024

Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs was busy again during the exclusive Oaks/Derby session, but with just 2 days to Oaks day and 3 to Derby day, there were no further timed workouts for Kentucky Derby horses, just the daily gallops. Conditions were typical for Derby week, sunny with mostly clear skies and temperatures in the high 50's during training hours. Video for this morning's work can be viewed here on YouTube. Videos of individual horses in timed works can be found here.

Below are photos and comments for 15 Derby horses and 14 Oaks fillies.

Kentucky Derby

horse racinghorse racing CATALYTIC - was back on the track Wednesday at 7:30 a.m., with regular exercise rider Olaf Hernandez aboard. Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. had the Florida Derby (GI) runner-up gallop a mile-and-a-half. Later Wednesday, "He's going to school in the paddock during race two this afternoon," Joseph said. "Tomorrow, he'll gallop again, and maybe school in the paddock, depending on how today goes. All is well with him, he's been handling everything very well so far."

horse racing CATCHING FREEDOM - galloped twice around, and will school in the paddock Thursday.

horse racing DOMESTIC PRODUCT - put in his training just after 8 a.m., galloping twice around with good energy and even giving Brown an anxious moment when he reared coming off the track. Trainer Chad Brown said. "(Domestic Product) actually came off on his hind legs and had me a little scared. He seems to conserve his energy so much. He's really coming into the race the right way."

horse racing ENDLESSLY – galloped 1 3/8 miles under exercise rider Walter Davila. Trainer Mike McCarthy said, "If he didn't look good, I'd be worried. But he's looking good."  West Coast rider Umberto Rispoli will get a leg up from McCarthy Saturday, then break from post 14 in the 20-horse Derby lineup.  

horse racing EPIC RIDE – visited the starting gate and then jogged in the mile chute under Sophie Doyle for trainer John Ennis, and later schooled in the paddock. "We will probably do all of our work down there the rest of the week," Ennis said. "He's sharp now and he stood in the gate quiet as a church mouse this morning. (Jockey Adam Beschizza) will get him to where he is comfortable."

horse racing FIERCENESS – got on the Churchill oval at 7:30 under Danny Wright for a 1 1/4 mile tour of the oval, followed by a jog down to the starting gate in the mile chute where the dark bay youngster practiced entering a version of the 20-hole gate he'll see Saturday. Pletcher was nearby to make sure all went well. It did and a return to Barn 39 followed shortly thereafter.     

horse racing GRAND MO THE FIRST – on the track, exercise rider Amel Macias took Grand Mo the First to the starting gate where he stood to the satisfaction of Barboza and then galloped a mile and a half. Emisael Jaramillo, who has ridden Grand Mo the First in four of his six starts including his two victories, has the Derby mount. Jaramillo is scheduled to arrive in Louisville Friday night after riding at Gulfstream Park.

horse racing HONOR MARIE – galloped 1 1/2 miles at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday under regular rider Maurilio Garcia. Jockey Ben Curtis was on hand to watch his Derby contender train. "It's a fun week being involved with the Kentucky Derby," Curtis said. "I'm excited to get to Saturday, though." This will be the first mount in the Derby for Curtis.

horse racing JUST A TOUCH – galloped twice around, and will school in the paddock Thursday.

horse racing MYSTIK DAN – was out for trainer Kenny McPeek for a typical gallop of about a mile and three-eighths with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. on Wednesday, along with a little gate schooling. "We stood him in the gate for like a minute, 45 seconds, to kind of simulate what's going to happen Saturday," Hernandez said. "Then we popped him out and let him go for about a sixteenth of a mile. Then he came back to us and trained well. It seems like he's ready to go."

"We just did a little gate schooling, since we drew inside," said McPeek, whose colt will start from the post 3 with Hernandez. "We wanted to make sure we leave there clean. We don't want to leave there flat-footed."  The scratching of Encino could make a difference in the Derby. "I do think he was a little speed in there," McPeek said. "I'm not sure how that will unfold."

horse racing RESILIENCE – visited the paddock and then took to the Churchill Downs track. The son of Into Mischief galloped twice around the oval with Bill Mott keeping watch from his pony. 

horse racing SIERRA LEONE – came out at his customary time during the 7:30 a.m. training period, galloping twice around over the Churchill Downs track. Co-owner Brook Smith said, "I'm just kind of soaking it in still. I know waking up on Derby Day and heading to the track will be a lot different than it's ever been before. I'm excited. I'm anxious but at the same time I'm more excited because if he runs his race, it's going to be exciting. I guess if (Sierra Leone) gets there, the high will continue. And even if it doesn't, if he runs a big race and doesn't win it's still going to be one of the most memorable things of my life."

horse racing SOCIETY MAN – hit the track for a gallop and gate schooling during the 7:30-7:45 training window for Derby and Oaks horses. Trainer Danny Gargan said, "Society Man did the gate today and I don't know if I'll take him again tomorrow. He trained really well today at that time. I'm pleased with how my horses are doing. I think I have two super sound horses and they're both training good. Just have to take it day by day."

horse racing WEST SARATOGA – visited the starting gate under exercise rider Donte Lowery and then galloped a mile and a half for trainer Larry Demeritte. For owner Harry Veruchi, the Derby experience is one to relish. "I bought my first horse in 1982, and two weeks later he won at Centennial Racetrack in Littleton, Colorado," Veruchi said. "I thought, this is easy. And now, to be here, who would have thought it. I don't know anybody who has been in the Kentucky Derby or even anybody who has won a graded stake."


horse racing MUGATU - galloped a mile and a half at 7:30 under jockey Joe Talamo for trainer Jeff Engler.

Kentucky Oaks

horse racingEverland went out for a gallop of about 1 1/16 miles Wednesday with her Oaks rider, Abel Cedillo. "I know she's going to run her race, if she transitions to the dirt," said trainer Eric Foster, who has been in the horse business his entire life, other than about 10 years when he worked as a boilermaker. "We're gonna find out Friday if she belongs. Going from the artificial to the dirt was my biggest concern. I always said that I'd never run in the Oaks or Derby just to run. Saying that, I think she has a legitimate shot."

horse racingFiona's Magic had her morning routine switched up a bit Wednesday morning by trainer Michael Yates. "Instead of breaking off when she came on the track, I took her over to the front side to let her get a look at all the people (for Dawn at the Downs)," Yates said. "Then she galloped about a mile and three-eighths."

horse racingGin Gin galloped about 1 1/2 miles Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. for trainer Brad Cox.

horse racingInto Champagne went to the track Wednesday at the 7:30 a.m. training time for trainer Ian Wilkes. "She galloped about a mile-and-three-eighths with her exercise rider, Adelso Orantes," Wilkes said. Later in the morning, he said, she was going to be schooling in the paddock. Jockey Julian Leparoux likes his chances in the Oaks with Into Champagne. The filly drew the post 10 and was bet down to 34-1 in advance wagering Tuesday. "She doesn't have any bad races, she's always run good, so hopefully we get the trip, and we'll see what happens," he said.

horse racingJust F Y I had another standard morning for trainer Bill Mott, visiting the paddock before putting in her gallop over the main track. Just F Y I capped off her 3-for-3 2-year-old season with a victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI). The daughter of Justify ran second to fellow Oaks contender Leslie's Rose in the Ashland Stakes (GI) on April 5.

horse racingLeslie's Rose galloped during the special training session between 7:30-7:45 at Churchill Downs on a lovely Kentucky morning under exercise rider Joel Osorio.

horse racingPower Squeeze went to a Churchill Downs track Wednesday for trainer Jorge Delgado, with exercise rider Edwin Castro. "She just did her routine, and galloped a mile-and-a-half," Delgado said. "She looked really good. She's having some fun out there. I can't wait until Friday. I just wish the race was this afternoon, and not two days away. People are noticing her now."

horse racingRegulatory Risk galloped twice around during the 7:30 a.m. training session Wednesday with trainer Chad Brown looking on. 

horse racingTarifa galloped about 1 1/2 miles Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. for trainer Brad Cox.

horse racingThorpedo Anna went out Wednesday morning for a gallop with another jockey that trainer Kenny McPeek regularly calls on, Robby Albarado. "The filly galloped a mile-and-a-half, and stood in the gate, too," McPeek said. The filly, who will have jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard, was bet down to the 5-2 favorite after Tuesday's advance wagering.

horse racingWays and Means galloped twice around during the 7:30 a.m. training session Wednesday with trainer Chad Brown looking on. 

horse racingWhere's My Ring was scheduled to stretch her legs under exercise rider David Rodriguez; just something simple was the plan.   "She's feelin' good though, real good," Brinkerhoff said. "I was just going to jog her around there one time, but now I might have to gallop her one, too."  The well-made daughter of Twirling Candy did just that during the special 7:30-7:45 training session for Oaks and Derby horses, proving to be part of the show put on for a large crowd on a sunny morning.   Michael McMillan, the filly's owner, was on hand for the activities. "She's the first horse I ever bought," the Las Vegas resident said. "It's exciting being with her and coming up to a big race like the Oaks." 


horse racingOur Pretty Woman galloped once around on Wednesday and then schooled in the paddock in the afternoon.

horse racingCandied galloped during the special training session between 7:30-7:45 at Churchill Downs on a lovely Kentucky morning under exercise rider Carlos Quevedo.

horse racinghorse racing
The $200,000 Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight Stakes on Wednesday afternoon featured 8 older horses going 1 1/2 miles on the main track. 7-2 second choice Classic Causeway set the pace of 24,64, 48.71, 1:13.45, and 1:38.22 while pressed by 9-10 favorite Next and stalked by 8-1 fourth choice Donegal Forever. Into the stretch jockey Luan Machado sent next to the lead through 10f in 2:03.03. Kept to task by Machado, Next drew off to win by 11 1/4 lengths over late-running 11-1 Dai Vernon in a new track record 2:27.93. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to 10-1 Masqueparade third.

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