LOUISVILLE, KY (Sunday, April 25, 2021)Shortleaf Stable’s homebred Caddo River was taken out of Kentucky Derby consideration Sunday morning by trainer Brad Cox because of an elevated temperature.

   The defection of Caddo River moves Mark Schwartz’s Brooklyn Strong into No. 20 on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard. Trained by Daniel Velazquez, Brooklyn Strong is scheduled to work Monday morning at 6 o’clock (all times Eastern) at Parx. If all goes well, Brooklyn Strong would leave at 6 p.m. with an early Tuesday morning arrival at Churchill Downs anticipated.

   Trainer Todd Pletcher announced that Corey Lanerie would have the Derby mount on WinStar Farm and CHC Inc.’s Sainthood. Lanerie has ridden in the Derby four times previously with his best finish being a second on Lookin At Lee in the 2017 running.

   Two prominent Kentucky Derby hopefuls from California, Hronis Racing and David Talla’s Rock Your World and Roadrunner Racing, Boat Racing and Strauss Bros Racing’s Hot Rod Charlie arrived at Churchill Downs shortly after noon following a flight from Southern California.

BURBONIC, DYNAMIC ONE, KNOWN AGENDA, SAINTHOOD – With just one little wrinkle in the mix, trainer Todd Pletcher’s quartet of Kentucky Derby 147 horses went back to the racetrack Sunday morning following a walk day Saturday at Churchill Downs.

   Leading the crew was the dark colt Sainthood who had Amelia Green attached for a one-mile jog at 6:50 a.m. on a “good” track following a rainy Saturday.

   The chestnut 3-year-old Bourbonic was scheduled to join Sainthood for his exercise, but that plan was put on hold when it was determined the Wood Memorial winner needed a new left rear shoe. A farrier handled the procedure in good order and Bourbonic instead went out an hour later at 7:50 with Hector Ramos in the boot for his one-mile jog.

   The two other Pletcher colts – Florida Derby (GI) winner Known Agenda and Wood Memorial runner-up Dynamic One – took advantage of the 7:30 to 7:45 Derby/Oaks training period on the big oval with the smooth chestnut “Agenda” going through an easy mile and one-quarter gallop with Ramos doing the steering and white-faced “Dynamic” merely jogging a mile for exercise rider Carlos Perez Quevedo.

   Pletcher gave a thumbs up to the whole business, then filled in a blank concerning Sainthood when he announced that Corey Lanerie, a 10-time riding champion at Churchill Downs, would have the call on Sainthood for Saturday’s Run for the Roses.

   “We know how well Corey rides Churchill,” the seven-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer said. “That was the key element in giving him the mount. We’re thinking along the lines that we did with Super Saver (in the 2010 Kentucky Derby) and Calvin Borel. He rode this track so well and that earned him the mount then.”

   Pletcher and the Sainthood connections will surely be hoping for a similar outcome for their son of the Medaglia d’Oro stallion Mshawish. In 2010 – on May 1, just as this year’s race will be – Borel rode the rail (as he was famous for doing) on a sloppy track and got Super Saver home by 2 ½ lengths to give the trainer his first victory in America’s most famous race.

BROOKLYN STRONG – Mark Schwartz’s Brooklyn Strong is scheduled to work Monday morning at 6 o’clock at Parx for trainer Daniel Velazquez. If all goes well, Brooklyn Strong would leave at 6 p.m. with an early Tuesday morning arrival at Churchill Downs anticipated.

   Winner of the Remsen (GII) to close his 2020 campaign, Brooklyn Strong finished fifth in the Wood Memorial (GII) on April 3 in his 2021 debut.

CADDO RIVER, ESSENTIAL QUALITY, MANDALOUN – Trainer Brad Cox reported Sunday morning that Shortleaf Stable’s Caddo River would be removed from Kentucky Derby contention.

   “We noticed he was off his feed and took his temperature yesterday afternoon. It was slightly elevated,” Cox said. “It’s just really bad timing being this close to the Derby. We drew blood on him (Sunday) morning and his white cell counts were a little high. We just can’t run him on Saturday with being a little off his game.”

   Cox’s remaining two Kentucky Derby starters, Juddmonte Farm’s Mandaloun and Godolphin’s Essential Quality, walked the shedrow following their Saturday breezes.

   Both horses are scheduled to train early Monday.

HELIUM, SOUP AND SANDWICHD J Stable’s Helium and Live Oak Plantation’s homebred Soup and Sandwich both returned to the track Sunday morning for the first time since competing their final Derby works Friday. The pair jogged two miles over a “good” main track then went to the paddock to school, according to trainer Mark Casse’s assistant David Carroll.

   “They’ll school in the paddock in the morning every day and on Tuesday in the afternoon,” Carroll said. “Obviously Derby Day horses can get a bit more pumped up with the big crowd, and in this year, a lot of these horses haven’t seen that many people. It’s practice to get them used to their surroundings and you don’t want to go into this race not checking off all the boxes.”

HIDDEN STASH – BBN Racing’s Hidden Stash had a scheduled walk day at trainer Vicki Oliver’s barn at Keeneland.

   Hidden Stash, who will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, is scheduled to gallop early Monday and Tuesday morning at Keeneland and then van to Churchill Downs following training on Tuesday.

HIGHLY MOTIVATEDKlaravich Stables’ Highly Motivated exited Saturday’s final Derby breeze in good order, according to trainer Chad Brown. The son of Into Mischief went five furlongs in 1:00.40 under exercise rider Peter Roman and simply walked the shedrow Sunday morning.

   “Normally I do a walk day and then a jog day, so I’ll probably jog him tomorrow,” Brown said. “There’s so many things to get through to run in this race and one of them is the final work. Are they OK the next day? And then coming up on the post position draw. We’re getting through each hurdle successfully.”

HOT ROD CHARLIE – The Louisiana Derby winner Hot Rod Charlie arrived shortly after noon at Churchill Downs Sunday following a flight from Southern California that he shared with several other Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks runners.

   The colt’s conditioner, Doug O’Neill, will be boarding another plane Sunday in L.A. and heading to Louisville also.

   O’Neill has already won two Kentucky Derbys. He was first with I’ll Have Another in 2012, then he clicked again with Nyquist in 2016.

KEEPMEINMINDKeepmeinmind, winner of last fall’s Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) at Churchill Downs, returned to the main track Sunday morning to jog two miles shortly after 6 o’clock under exercise rider Walter Davila.

   Trained by Robertino Diodoro, Keepmeinmind had worked a bullet half-mile in :46.20 Friday morning followed by a walk day.

   Keepmeinmind is owned by the partnership of Spendthrift Farm, Cypress Creek and Arnold Bennewith.

KING FURY – After a Saturday morning work, Fern Circle Stables and Three Chimneys Farm’s King Fury was scheduled by trainer Kenny McPeek to only walk the shedrow Sunday. According to assistant trainer Greg Geier, the colt exited the work in fine shape in his final preparations for the Kentucky Derby.

  On Saturday, King Fury worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard. The splits were :12.80, :25.20, :36.80, and :48.40. He was ridden out to six furlongs in 1:12.80 and seven furlongs in 1:26.60.

LIKE THE KING – M Racing Group’s Like the King “jogged great on the main track” at Keeneland for trainer Wesley Ward a day after working five furlongs in 1:01 at the Lexington, Kentucky, track.

   Winner of the Jeff Ruby Steaks (GIII) at Turfway Park on March 27 in his most recent start, Like the King is scheduled to gallop the next two mornings at Keeneland before vanning to Churchill Downs after training Tuesday.

MEDINA SPIRIT – Zedan Racing Stables’ Medina Spirit galloped 1 3/8 miles under Humberto Gomez for trainer Bob Baffert.

   Gomez, who arrived in Louisville Saturday night, is back on familiar ground beneath the Twin Spires. He served as the exercise rider last year for Derby winner Authentic as well as for Triple Crown winner Justify in 2018.

   Baffert is scheduled to arrive in Louisville tonight.

MIDNIGHT BOURBON, SUPER STOCK Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Midnight Bourbon galloped about 1 ¾ miles over the track, which was listed as “good,” Sunday morning and will have his final Derby breeze Monday morning, though trainer Steve Asmussen has yet to commit to a time.

   “I’m going to look at the race track this afternoon,” Asmussen said. “I thought it was a little heavy (this morning) after the first drag, so if it’s still that moist I’ll probably go first thing.”

   Asmussen reported that Erv Woolsey’s and his father Keith Asmussen’s Super Stock came out of his final Derby breeze Saturday morning in fine form. The son of Dialed In went 5 furlongs in 1:01.20 and had some down time walking the shedrow Sunday.

   “We’re extremely happy,” Asmussen said. “He cleaned up all his feed last night and walked really good this morning with a high energy level.”

O BESOSBernard Racing, Tagg Team Racing, West Point Thoroughbreds and Terry L. Stephens’ O Besos jogged one mile and galloped about one mile under exercise rider Margarito Fierro.

   “Less than one week out we’re doing pretty well,” trainer Greg Foley said. “He’s a horse that will be ready to make his most serious run at the top of the lane.”

ROCK YOUR WORLD – Santa Anita Derby winner Rock Your World arrived at Churchill Downs early Sunday afternoon, completing his journey from Los Angeles aboard a flight that held several Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks horses.

   Trainer John Sadler, who has steered the Candy Ride colt to a perfect three-for-three record so far, was grabbing another flight Sunday that would also get him into Louisville and allow him to train his horse Monday morning.

   Sadler sent Rock Your World through his final major prep for Kentucky Derby 147 Saturday morning at Santa Anita when he worked in company in :59.20 for five furlongs, which was the third best of 68 at the distance. Joel Rosario is slated to handle the speedy colt in the Run for the Roses.

   Rock Your World has a racing Hall of Fame connection in his background via his breeder. He is out of the Empire Maker mare Charm the Maker, who is owned by Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally and his wife Deborah. McAnally, who trained many a stakes winner in his 60-plus years of conditioning, but most famously multiple Horse of the Year John Henry, still trains in California at age 88 and most assuredly will be rooting for “Rock” this Saturday.  

SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY DERBY – Likely starters in the 147th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/4 miles on Saturday, May 1 in order of preference (with possible jockey and trainer): Essential Quality (Luis Saez, Brad Cox); Hot Rod Charlie (Flavien Prat, Doug O’Neill); Super Stock (Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen); Like the King (Drayden Van Dyke, Wesley Ward); Known Agenda (Irad Ortiz Jr., Todd Pletcher); Rock Your World (Joel Rosario, John Sadler); Bourbonic (Kendrick Carmouche, Todd Pletcher); Medina Spirit (John Velazquez, Bob Baffert); Midnight Bourbon (Mike Smith, Steve Asmussen); Mandaloun (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox); Highly Motivated (Javier Castellano, Chad Brown); Helium (Julien Leparoux, Mark Casse); Soup and Sandwich (Tyler Gaffalione, Mark Casse); Dynamic One (Jose Ortiz, Todd Pletcher); Sainthood (Corey Lanerie, Todd Pletcher); Hidden Stash (Rafael Bejarano, Vicki Oliver); O Besos (Marcelino Pedroza, Greg Foley); King Fury (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek); Keepmeinmind (David Cohen, Robertino Diodoro).

Possible starters within the Top 20: Brooklyn Strong (TBA, Danny Velazquez).

LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS UPDATE Stonestreet Stables’ homebreds Clairiere and Pauline’s Pearl turned in half-mile works to complete their major preparation for Friday’s 147th running of the Kentucky Oaks (GI).

   Pauline’s Pearl was the first to work over a main track labeled as good during the 7:30-7:45 training window for Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses. She was clocked in :50.60.

   Clairiere followed shortly thereafter, covering the distance in :49.60. Both fillies are trained by two-time Oaks-winning conditioner Steve Asmussen.

   The draw for the Longines Kentucky Oaks will take place at 11 a.m. on Monday in the Aristides Lounge.

AVA’S GRACECypress Creek Equine’s Ava’s Grace jogged two miles under exercise rider Walter Davila at 5:30 Sunday morning over a track labeled as good.

   Sunday’s activity marked the first day back on the track for Ava’s Grace since working a half-mile in :49.20 on Friday with jockey David Cohen aboard.

   Trainer Robertino Diodoro is scheduled to be on hand at the barn Monday morning.

CLAIRIERE, PAULINE’S PEARLStonestreet Stables’ homebreds Pauline’s Pearl and Clairiere completed their final Oaks preparations Sunday morning, working four furlongs over a “good” main track in a pair of maintenance solo drills.

   Pauline’s Pearl, a daughter of Tapit, was up first immediately after the track opened at 7:30 for Derby and Oaks horses, and went in 50.60, with splits of :13 and :25.40 under exercise rider Wilson Fabian. Clairiere, a Curlin filly, followed about a minute behind under Angel Garcia and went in :49.60, with splits of :11.80, :23.80, while galloping out in 1:03.40. Pauline’s Pearl was credited with the 22nd fastest time of 27 at the distance, while Clairiere was 10th-fastest. Some 80 minutes later, Asmussen was beaming back Barn 38.

   “We’re ecstatic,” Asmussen said. “Pauline’s Pearl went first and my first words to Wilson were ‘How did she go?’ and he said ‘Beautiful.’ Both are regular riders of the horses so they are good measures and extremely familiar with them.”

COACH, TRAVEL COLUMN – Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) winner Travel Column and Fantasy (GIII) third-place finisher Coach jogged at 7:30 a.m. with trainer Brad Cox watching from the five-eighths pole clocker stand.

   “Both fillies bounced out of their work in good shape and we’re ready for Friday,” Cox said. “Hopefully we get a favorable draw and we’ll take our tactics from there.”


COMPETITIVE SPEEDJohn Minchello’s Competitive Speed had a leisurely 1 ½-mile gallop under exercise rider Anthony Gallo Sunday morning for trainer Javier Gonzalez.

   Competitive Speed was returning to the track for the first time since working five furlongs in 1:02.40 on Friday.

CRAZY BEAUTIFUL – Phoenix Thoroughbred LTD’s Crazy Beautiful had a quiet Sunday morning at trainer Kenny McPeek’s barn, walking the shedrow following her workout on Saturday. Assistant trainer Greg Geier said the filly showed no problems following the workout, and is on track for Friday’s Kentucky Oaks.

  On Saturday, Crazy Beautiful was clocked at :49.20 for four furlongs, with splits of :12 and :23.60, then finishing up in 1:02.60 for five furlongs.

MALATHAAT – Shadwell Stable’s Malathaat, one the likely favorites for Friday’s $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks, returned to the racetrack Sunday morning following a walk day Saturday and jogged an easy mile under exercise rider Amelia Green for trainer Todd Pletcher.

   The bay Curlin filly has raced four times so far in her career and gone to the winner’s circle following each one. She closed out 2020 with a tally in the Grade II Demoiselle at Aqueduct in New York, then returned this year on April 3 at Keeneland in Lexington to get up for a head score in the Grade I Ashland.

   Pletcher has named Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez to handle the bay miss in the nine-furlong test that will be the 147th edition of the “Run for the Lillies.”

MARACUJA – Beach Haven Thoroughbreds’ Maracuja came out of her final Oaks work in good shape and will ship to Churchill Sunday afternoon, according to trainer Rob Atras.

   The daughter of Honor Code put in her final Oaks work Saturday morning at Belmont Park, going four furlongs in 48.20 in company with New York-bred stablemate Horn of Plenty. Atras plans on arriving Thursday.

MILLEFEUILLEJuddmonte Farms’ Millefeuille walked the shedrow at trainer Bill Mott’s barn a day after working a best-of-29 at the distance five furlongs in :59.60.

MORAZDon Alberto Stable’s homebred Moraz arrived at Churchill Downs shortly after noon Sunday following a flight from her Southern California base. Assistant trainer Justin Curran had a stall ready for her at Barn 37 following her flight of just more 2,000 miles.

   The daughter of Empire Maker had put in her final Oaks prep with a :48.20 move Saturday morning at Santa Anita for trainer Michael McCarthy. The conditioner also scheduled a flight from L.A. Sunday and was expected to land in Louisville at some point this evening.

PASS THE CHAMPAGNE – R. A. Hill Stable, Black Type Thoroughbreds, Rock Ridge Racing, BlueRidge Stables and James Brown’s Pass the Champagne galloped Sunday morning at Palm Beach Downs.

   Trained by George Weaver, Pass the Champagne will begin the van trip to Churchill Downs later Sunday with an early Monday morning arrival.

SEARCH RESULTSKlaravich Stables’ Search Results returned to the track for the first time since completing her final Oaks work Friday for trainer Chad Brown. The undefeated daughter of Flatter walked the shedrow Saturday morning and jogged once around the main track, which was listed as “good.” Sunday morning. Brown indicated Search Results will resume galloping Monday morning.

WILL’S SECRETWillis Horton’s Honeybee (GIII) winner Will’s Secret jogged at 7:30 a.m. for trainer Dallas Stewart.

   She’s scheduled to gallop at the same time Monday.

SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY OAKS – Likely starters in the 147th running of the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on Friday, April 30 in order of preference (with possible jockey and trainer): Search Results (Irad Ortiz Jr., Chad Brown); Travel Column (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox); Crazy Beautiful (Jose Ortiz, Kenny McPeek); Pauline’s Pearl (Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen); Malathaat (John Velazquez, Todd Pletcher); Clairiere (Tyler Gaffalione, Steve Asmussen); Will’s Secret (Jon Court, Dallas Stewart); Millefeuille (Joel Rosario, Bill Mott); Moraz (Umberto Rispoli, Michael McCarthy); Ava’s Grace (David Cohen, Robertino Diodoro); Pass the Champagne (Javier Castellano, George Weaver); Maracuja (Kendrick Carmouche, Rob Atras); Competitive Speed (Chris Landeros, Javier Gonzalez); Coach (Luis Saez, Brad Cox).

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