Kentucky Derby Notes: Friday, April 29, 2022


LOUISVILLE, KY (Friday, April 29, 2022) – There were three works on the Kentucky Derby front Friday morning with the one at Churchill Downs featuring Jeff Drown’s Blue Grass Stakes (GI) winner Zandon.

   Working on his own at 7:30 (all times Eastern) over a fast track with regular morning partner Kriss Bon aboard, Zandon completed the five furlongs in 1:00.40 for trainer Chad Brown.

Churchill Downs clockers caught Zandon in fractions of :12.80, :25, :36.80, 1:00.40 and out in 1:12.80 and 1:26.40.

   Working about the same time at Gulfstream Park was Tami Bobo’s Fountain of Youth (GII) winner Simplification who worked five furlongs in 1:00.44 for trainer Antonio Sano over a muddy track. Junior Alvarado was aboard for the work that was the fastest of 10 at the distance for the morning.

   A few hours later at Santa Anita, Messier, the runner-up in the Santa Anita Derby (GI) worked six furlongs in 1:11.60 for trainer Tim Yakteen.

   It will be a different story Saturday beneath the Twin Spires with more than half of the projected Derby field scheduled to have their final works.

   Slated to work are the Todd Pletcher trio of Charge It, Mo Donegal and Pioneer of Medina; the Brad Cox trio of Cyberknife, Tawny Port and Zozos; the Kenny McPeek duo of Smile Happy and Tiz the Bomb; Un Ojo for Ricky Courville, Classic Causeway for Brian Lynch and Barber Road for John Ortiz.

   Meanwhile at Gulfstream Park, C2 Racing Stable and La Milagrosa Stable’s Florida Derby (GI) winner White Abarrio is scheduled to work for Saffie Joseph Jr. and at Keeneland, Calumet Farm’s Happy Jack is scheduled to work at 7:30 for two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O’Neill. Jockey Rafael Bejarano is slated to be aboard for the breeze.


BARBER ROAD – WSS Racing’s Barber Road galloped about 1 � miles at 7:30 a.m. Friday under exercise rider Daniel Ortiz.

   Trained by John Ortiz, Barber Road is scheduled to work Saturday.

CLASSIC CAUSEWAY – Kentucky West Racing and Clarke Cooper’s Classic Causeway had an easy morning at the track for trainer Brian Lynch. The Giant’s Causeway colt jogged about one mile and continued to have a light canter in the chute.

   Classic Causeway is scheduled to work Saturday morning with jockey Julien Leparoux in the saddle.

CHARGE IT, MO DONEGAL, PIONEER OF MEDINA – The Todd Pletcher-trained trio had routine gallops of 1 3/8 miles Friday morning, the day before their final works for Kentucky Derby 148.

   Whisper Hill Farm’s Charge It was partnered by Hector Ramos and will have Derby rider Luis Saez aboard for Saturday’s work at 7:30.

   Sumaya U. S. Stables’ Pioneer of Medina had Carlos Perez aboard for Friday’s exercise and Perez is expected to handle Saturday’s work.

   Donegal Racing’s Mo Donegal came out at 8 o’clock with Amelia Green aboard. Irad Ortiz Jr. is scheduled to be aboard for Saturday’s work.

CROWN PRIDE (JPN) – Teruya Yoshida’s Crown Pride (JPN) galloped a mile under exercise rider Masa Matsuda.

   Winner of the UAE Derby (GII), Crown Pride is trained by Koichi Shintani who is scheduled to arrive in Louisville Sunday night. Yoshida is expected to be here Derby Day.

CYBERKNIFE, TAWNY PORT, ZOZOS – Trainer Brad Cox’s Derby trio of Cyberknife, Tawny Port and Zozos all had a more energetic 1 �-mile gallop leading into the final Derby works Saturday.

   Cyberknife, with Katie Tolbert aboard, and Tawny Port, with Edvin Vargas, both trained at 7:30 a.m. About 40 minutes earlier, Zozos galloped with Kelvin Perez up.

EPICENTER – Led by assistant trainer Scott Blasi, Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Epicenter came out at 5:50 a.m. Under exercise rider Roberto Howell, the Not This Time colt went through his routine gallop. Winner of four out of past last five, including the Risen Star (GII) and Louisiana Derby (GI), Sunday will be Epicenter’s third workout since arriving at Churchill Downs from Fair Grounds

MESSIER – Santa Anita Derby (GI) runner-up Messier worked six furlongs in 1:11.60 on his own with Drayden Van Dyke up at Santa Anita for trainer Tim Yakteen.

   Messier is scheduled to fly with Santa Anita Derby winner Taiba on Sunday to Indianapolis and then van to Churchill Downs. Tabia worked six furlongs in 1:12.80 on Thursday at Santa Anita.

SIMPLIFICATION – Despite a muddy track at Gulfstream Park, Tami Bobo’s Simplification worked five furlongs in 1:00.44 for the best of 10 works at the distance.

   Junior Alvarado was aboard Simplification for trainer Antonio Sano. Jose Ortiz has the Derby mount.

   “Everything was great,” Sano said of the work that produced fractions of :37 and 1:00.44 with out times of 1:12.80, 1:25.20 and the mile in 1:38.60. “I couldn’t be happier. He leaves here at 5 this afternoon by van.”

   Sano, who will arrive in Louisville Sunday afternoon, had his first Kentucky Derby starter in 2017 with Gunnevera who finished seventh behind Always Dreaming. Gunnevera came back to Churchill Downs the following year and finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI).

SMILE HAPPY, TIZ THE BOMB – Trainer Kenny McPeek’s Derby hopefuls —Magdalena Racing’s Tiz the Bomb and Lucky Seven Stable’s Smile Happy — again galloped a mile and a half Friday morning. Edwardo Ruvalcaba was aboard Tiz the Bomb and Danny Ramsey was on Smile Happy.

   “They’re doing super,” said McPeek, who plans to give them their final works Saturday during the period reserved for Derby and Oaks horses.

SUMMER IS TOMORROW – Michael Hilary Burke and Negar Burke’s Summer Is Tomorrow made a visit to the starting gate and then galloped a mile under Heinz Runge for trainer Bhupat Seemar.

   Runner-up in the UAE Derby (GII), Summer Is Tomorrow is scheduled to work Sunday.

   The Burkes are scheduled to arrive in Louisville next week for the Derby.

UN OJO – Cypress Creek Equine and Whispering Oaks Farm’s Un Ojo walked through the paddock and then galloped a mile and a half under Clay Courville, son of trainer Ricky Courville.

   The elder Courville was on hand Friday morning after arriving Thursday from his home base in Lafayette, Louisiana.

   “He looks pretty good to me,” said Courville, who last saw his Rebel (GII) winner more than a week ago when he departed for Churchill Downs.

   Un Ojo, who is missing his left eye, was equipped with a new blinker Friday morning.

   “I tried a new blinker to cover his eye,” Courville said. “He may work in it in the morning. I’ll talk it over with the owners.”

   Un Ojo is scheduled to work at 7:30 Saturday with Clay Courville up.

ZANDON – Jeff Drown’s Blue Grass Stakes (GI) winner Zandon has his scheduled Saturday moved up one day by trainer Chad Brown. The Blue Grass (GI) winner worked a swift five furlongs in 1:00.40 under exercise rider Kriss Bon.

   Zandon, one of the top contenders in this year’s Derby, began his work at the half-mile pole and completed the breeze at the seven-eighths pole. He completed early eighth-mile fractions of :12.80, :25, and :36.80. Zandon completed his work with a seven-furlong gallop out of 1:26.40.

   “I just didn’t want to take any chances with the weather forecast, even though it looks better for tomorrow,” Brown said. “The track is in fabulous shape. You’re not going to get a better track to train over than we got this morning.

   “With horses at this level heading into the Derby, very few of them work poorly,” Brown said. “It’s the best of the crop running in the Derby. You just hope that you can be in that group of good workers and not in that small one that may not work well.”

   Zandon will be ridden in the Derby by Flavien Prat.

SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY DERBY – Here’s the current Top 20 horses in this year’s Kentucky Derby (with jockey and trainer): Epicenter (Joel Rosario, Steve Asmussen); Zandon (Flavien Prat, Chad Brown); White Abarrio (Tyler Gaffalione, Saffie Joseph Jr.); Mo Donegal (Irad Ortiz Jr., Todd Pletcher); Tiz the Bomb (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek); Cyberknife (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox); Crown Pride (JPN) (Christophe Lemiere, Koichi Shintani); Taiba (Mike Smith, Tim Yakteen); Simplification (Jose Ortiz, Antonio Sano); Smile Happy (Corey Lanerie, Kenny McPeek); Classic Causeway (Julien Leparoux, Brian Lynch); Tawny Port (TBA, Brad Cox); Barber Road (Rey Gutierrez, John Ortiz); Un Ojo (Ramon Vazquez, Ricky Courville); Early Voting (TBA, Chad Brown); Messier (John Velazquez, Tim Yakteen); Zozos (Manny Franco, Brad Cox); Summer Is Tomorrow (Mickael Barzalona, Bhupat Seemar); Charge It (Luis Saez, Todd Pletcher); Happy Jack (Rafael Bejarano, Doug O’Neill).

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