ESSENTIAL QUALITY HEADLINES FIELD OF 20 ENTERED FOR DERBY 147; BROOKLYN STRONG, HIDDEN STASH, LIKE THE KING ARRIVE AT CHURCHILL DOWNS
LOUISVILLE, KY (Tuesday, April 27, 2021) – Godolphin’s undefeated Essential Quality was made the 2-1 morning line favorite in a field of 20 horses entered Tuesday morning for Saturday’s 147th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve.
Earlier Tuesday morning, the cast for Derby 147 became fully assembled with the 6 o’clock arrival from Parx of Brooklyn Strong, and a later arrival from Keeneland by Hidden Stash and Like the King, both of whom galloped early Tuesday morning at the Lexington, Kentucky, track.
BOURBONIC, DYNAMIC ONE, KNOWN AGENDA, SAINTHOOD – The Kentucky Derby quartet that calls the barn of trainer Todd Pletcher their headquarters moved another step closer to the 147th edition of America’s Greatest Race Tuesday morning with solid gallops around the Churchill Downs oval.
Three of the colts were prominent for the 7:30-7:45 special Derby/Oaks training period that clears the track of all morning horses with the exception of those pointing to the two big races. Dynamic One was partnered by Carlos Perez Quevedo, Known Agenda had Hector Ramos at the controls and Sainthood was handled by Amelia Green.
At approximately 7:50, the last Pletcher horse – Bourbonic with Ramos up – went through his exercises.
The seven-time Eclipse Award winning trainer Pletcher noted their progress.
“They all galloped a mile and one quarter and they all visited the gate,” he said. It was exactly what the doctor – or an ultra-steady conditioner like Pletcher – ordered.
On Saturday, Bourbonic will team up with rider Kendrick Carmouche; Dynamic One will have the saddle services of Jose Ortiz; Known Agenda gets Irad Ortiz, Jr, and Sainthood will be handled by Corey Lanerie.
BROOKLYN STRONG – Trainer Danny Velazquez reported that Mark Schwartz’s Brooklyn Strong, who arrived at Churchill Downs at 6 a.m. Tuesday, shipped in well and looks good. The 37-year-old trainer is expected to arrive in Louisville for his first Kentucky Derby starter on Wednesday afternoon.
Brooklyn Strong, a late edition to the filed, drew post 3 and was installed at odds of 50-1 on the morning line.
“It’s deep inside, but it’s O.K.,” Velazquez said. “(Owner) Mark (Schwartz) says three is his lucky number and he’s won from there before. Hopefully, he gets a good break and can settle into third or fourth early.”
ESSENTIAL QUALITY, MANDALOUN – Godolphin’s Essential Quality and Juddmonte Farm’s Mandaloun were two of the first horses on the track early Tuesday morning for trainer Brad Cox.
Essential Quality, with Edvin Vargas up, galloped 1 ½ miles while stablemate Mandaloun followed with Fernando Espinoza aboard.
Essential Quality drew post 14 in the Derby while Mandaloun will break from post
HELIUM, SOUP AND SANDWICH – D J Stable’s Helium and Live Oak Plantation’s homebred Soup and Sandwich both galloped 1 ¼ miles Tuesday morning, according to trainer Mark Casse’s assistant David Carroll and schooled in the paddock prior to today’s first race. While Helium has been on the muscle every morning, Carroll was particularly impressed with Soup and Sandwich, who has much more of a laid-back demeanor than his stablemate.
“I thought it was his best day of training so far,” Carroll said. “Helium is always wanting to do more but Soup and Sandwich doesn’t want to give too much, that’s just who is he is. But we’re really happy with him and how he’s progressing along, especially after this morning.”
HIDDEN STASH – BBN Racing’s Hidden Stash galloped at 5:30 over a fast track at Keeneland before vanning to Churchill Downs where he arrived mid-morning for trainer Vicki Oliver.
HIGHLY MOTIVATED – Klaravich Stables’ Highly Motivated galloped 1 3/8 miles Tuesday morning during the 7:30-7:45 allotted training time for Derby and Oaks horses. Trainer Chad Brown indicated the son of Into Mischief will likely school during the races on Wednesday.
“I’m going to get with my assistants and watch the weather and figure that out, but I’m leaning towards Wednesday,” Brown said. “I prefer to school during the races, so we’ll sign up for some sort of spot where we can take him up during the races and get that done.”
HOT ROD CHARLIE – As he had the day before in his first morning at Churchill Downs, the Oxbow colt Hot Rod Charlie only jogged a mile around the Churchill Downs strip Tuesday morning under exercise rider Jonny Garcia. The well-built sophomore continued to show a sparkle in his coat and a pop in his step even though he wasn’t really allowed to show all his stuff on a sunny morning in Louisville.
“We’ll go to gallop with him tomorrow,” said trainer Doug O’Neill, the two-time Derby winner who is back with a very live chance to go for the hat trick in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby 147.
“Charlie,” a “bargain” $110,000 yearling buy, now has won $1,005,700 by way of two victories, a second and two thirds, notably in the last year’s Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (second at 94-1) and most recently as the winner of the Grade II Louisiana Derby.
He’ll be handled for the first time Saturday by California’s leading rider, Flavien Prat, who has been aboard the dark youngster in several of his most recent works at his Santa Anita base
KEEPMEINMIND – Trainer Robertino Diodoro is hoping to put a line through Keepmeinmind’s first two starts of the year and that his horse makes amends for those poor starts with a strong run in the Kentucky Derby.
Keepmeinmind, who was sixth in the Rebel Stakes and fifth in the Blue Grass Stakes (GII), made the Derby field by virtue of his third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) and win in Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (GII) last year as a 2-year-old.
“I don’t like to make excuses for horses, but I think he has some excuses,” Diodoro said. “I think his last race in the Blue Grass was our fault. We took him out of his element, trying to stay closer to the front, and when they started to run, he had nothing left for the finish. We need to get him back to his old way of relaxing early and making one run.
“On paper it may not look like he belongs, but talent wise, he definitely belongs, I think.”
Keepmeinmind drew post position four and was installed at odds of 50-1.
“I’m very happy with it,” said Diodoro, who before the draw said anywhere between post three and 10 would be perfect.
Keepmeinmind will train at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.
KING FURY – Fern Circle Stables, Three Chimneys Farm and Magdalena Racing’s King Fury spent a little time on the track minutes after a brilliant sunrise Tuesday morning. During the period reserved for Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses, the colt put in a maintenance 1 ½-mile gallop with exercise rider Lalo Jose Quiroz aboard. King Fury had his final work for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
“No problems,” said Greg Geier, assistant to trainer Kenny McPeek.
LIKE THE KING – M Racing Group’s Like the King galloped early Tuesday morning at Keeneland under exercise rider Jose Hernandez for trainer Wesley Ward.
Winner of the Jeff Ruby Steaks (GIII) in his most recent start, arrived at 9:43 a.m. at Churchill Downs.
MEDINA SPIRIT – Zedan Racing Stables’ Medina Spirit continued to make a favorable impression as he galloped 1 1/2 miles with exercise rider Humberto Gomez on board during the special 7:30 a.m. training time.
“He looks great,” said Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who is looking for his record seventh Kentucky Derby victory. “He’s happy. A lot of our horses come off the deep surface at Santa Anita and do really well here. He’s doing really well, but to me it’s Essential Quality’s race.”
MIDNIGHT BOURBON, SUPER STOCK –. Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Midnight Bourbon walked the shedrow Tuesday morning, a day after he put in his final Derby breeze. The Tiznow colt went five furlongs in 1:02.40 for trainer Steve Asmussen, who indicated he’ll school during the Tuesday card.
Erv Woolsey’s and Asmussen’s father Keith’s Super Stock schooled in the gate Tuesday morning and galloped 1 1/8 miles and will school in the paddock during Tuesday’s races.
O BESOS – Bernard Racing, Tagg Team Racing, West Point Thoroughbreds and Terry L. Stephens’ O Besos jogged one mile and galloped about one mile Tuesday morning around 6 a.m.
ROCK YOUR WORLD – Hronis Racing and David Talla’s Rock Your World was one of the stars of the special 7:30-7:45 Derby/Oaks training session Tuesday morning, cutting a dashing figure as he took exercise rider Javier Meza on a nifty spin around the big Churchill Downs oval.
His conditioner, the California veteran John Sadler, looked on approvingly.
“He galloped a mile and a quarter today,” the trainer noted after having his charge merely jog a mile Monday on his first day trackside in Kentucky for his date in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby 147. “We’ll have a progression with him as the week goes along. A bit farther each day as we go.”
Back at his Barn 43 location, Sadler was asked by a horse admirer how his charge was doing. “He looks pretty good,” was his low-key reply.
In fact, not only does the son of Candy Ride “look pretty good” on the racetrack, he looks darn good just standing. When he held still outside his barn after his exercise and took his bath, there appeared to be about 50 photographers clicking away.
If the Derby was a beauty contest, they might not have to take a vote. The tall, near-black 3-year-old out of the Empire Maker mare Charm the Maker – bred by Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally and his wife Debby – fetched $650,000 as a yearling at Keeneland’s September Sale in 2019 and has simply grown better and better along the way. He’s got an athlete’s body and a smooth way of going over the track, as well as a rapid turn of foot that just might see him on the lead early in the $3 million Run for the Roses.
Joel Rosario, currently the second-leading rider in the country and a long-time favorite of Sadler’s was a late addition to the Rock Your World team and all involved believe things are better for that.
THE FIELD FOR THE $3 MILLION KENTUCKY DERBY PRESENTED BY WOODFORD RESERVE (GI) – Known Agenda (Irad Ortiz Jr., 6-1), Like the King (Drayden Van Dyke, 50-1), Brooklyn Strong (Umberto Rispoli, 50-1), Keepmeinmind (David Cohen, 50-1), Sainthood (Corey Lanerie, 50-1), O Besos (Marcelino Pedroza, 20-1), Mandaloun (Florent Geroux, 15-1), Medina Spirit (John Velazquez, 15-1), Hot Rod Charlie (Flavien Prat, 8-1), Midnight Bourbon (Mike Smith, 20-1), Dynamic One (Jose Ortiz, 20-1), Helium (Julien Leparoux, 50-1), Hidden Stash (Rafael Bejarano, 50-1), Essential Quality (Luis Saez, 2-1), Rock Your World (Joel Rosario, 5-1), King Fury (Brian Hernandez Jr., 20-1), Highly Motivated (Javier Castellano, 10-1), Super Stock (Ricardo Santana Jr., 30-1), Soup and Sandwich (Tyler Gaffalione, 30-1), Bourbonic (Kendrick Carmouche, 30-1). All starters will carry 126 pounds
LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS UPDATE – Beach Haven Thoroughbreds’ Maracuja made her initial appearance on the track at Churchill Downs galloping during the 7:30-7:45 training window for Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses.
Trained by Rob Atras, Maracuja had arrived from Belmont Park Monday morning.
AVA’S GRACE – Cypress Creek Equine’s Ava’s Grace continues to give her trainer Robertino Diodoro confidence as she trains toward Friday’s Kentucky Oaks. Tuesday she went out at her normal 5:15 a.m. time and galloped 1 1/2 miles.
The Kentucky Oaks will be the third start of the year for Ava’s Grace and her second career start around two turns.
“She’s doing really good,” Diodoro said. “She worked very well over the track. I don’t think she was tight enough in the Fantasy Stakes (GII) (when second), which was her first start around two turns, but she still ran great. She should be good and right for this race.”
Ava’s Grace drew post seven of 14 for the Oaks.
“Speed is all to the inside, so that’s good,” Diodoro said. “I’m really happy with the post. With our plan, we don’t have to be on the lead, but she’ll be close.”
CLAIRIERE, PAULINE’S PEARL – Stonestreet Stables’ homebreds Pauline’s Pearl and Clairiere both galloped 1 1/8 miles and schooled in the paddock during Tuesday’s races, according to trainer Steve Asmussen. Pauline’s Pearl and Clairiere both drew inside for the Oaks during the Monday draw, with the former getting the potentially tricky rail, while the latter in post three. Asmussen took a diplomatic approach to something that was out of his hands.
“All draws are the same; you never know to complain until after the races are run.”
COACH, TRAVEL COLUMN – Trainer Brad Cox’s duo of Oaks fillies Coach and Travel Column were scheduled to school in Race 4 Tuesday at Churchill Downs.
Both fillies galloped 1 ½ miles about seven hours prior to the paddock schooling.
COMPETITIVE SPEED – John Minchello’s Competitive Speed galloped two miles under exercise rider Anthony Gallo during the 7:30-7:45 training period for Derby and Oaks horses.
Trained by Javier Gonzalez, Competitive Speed is the only entrant in this year’s Oaks to have raced for a claiming tag … a $25,000 maiden claimer at Gulfstream Park West in November that she won.
“She has passed my expectations,” Gonzalez said Tuesday morning. “After her second win (by 4 ½ lengths) in an allowance race, I was really impressed with her.”
Third-place finishes in the Davona Dale (GII) and Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) gave Competitive Speed 30 points on the Road to the Oaks, a total that initially was not in the top point earners that would make up the field.
But Gonzalez went ahead and vanned Competitive Speed to Louisville from South Florida on April 18.
“We had a lot of faith that she would be entered (for the Oaks),” Gonzalez said. “She also was nominated to the Eight Belles (GII), so if she was not in the Oaks, we would run there.”
CRAZY BEAUTIFUL – Phoenix Thoroughbred LTD’s Crazy Beautiful went out to the track with other Derby and Oaks contenders, including stablemate King Fury, at the 7:30 a.m. training period. Just like her stablemate, she galloped 1 ½ miles, with exercise rider Danny Ramsey aboard, said Greg Geier, assistant to trainer Kenny McPeek.
MALATHAAT – The good-looking bay filly Malathaat was out early Tuesday morning for trainer Todd Pletcher as she went trackside at 6 a.m. at Churchill Downs. The daughter of Curlin had her regular morning partner aboard for the trip around the big oval, galloping smartly toward the middle of the track.
“She went well,” reported rider Amelia Green after the exercise. “We probably got about a mile and a quarter.”
Malathaat has been to the post four times in her short career, coming away a winner on each occasion. Most recently she captured the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on April 3.
Her stellar record, her fine breeding (she’s out of an A.P. Indy mare), her first-rate connections (Pletcher, rider John Velazquez and Shadwell Stable) all combined to make her the 5-2 morning line favorite for Friday’s Kentucky Oaks. She’ll break from post 10 in the 14-horse lineup.
MARACUJA – Beach Haven Thoroughbreds’ Maracuja made her first appearance under the famed Twin Spires Tuesday morning, as she stretched her legs with a light jog for trainer Rob Atras. The daughter of Honor Code arrived from Belmont Park Monday and figures to ramp up her activity and gallop Wednesday morning.
MILLEFEUILLE – Juddmonte Farms’ Millefeuille visited the paddock and then galloped 1 3/8 miles under Ailsa Morrison. The filly is scheduled to school with horses in Tuesday afternoon’s first race.
Trained by Bill Mott, Millefeuille drew post 14 for Friday’s Oaks.
“In the Derby, I don’t mind the outside post,” Mott said, quickly adding, “We won one from the 20 … actually the 18 after two scratches, with Country House. You have another eighth of a mile to the first turn (in the Derby as opposed to the Oaks) and that makes a big difference.”
MORAZ – Trainer Michael McCarthy sent his Empire Maker filly Moraz through a lung-filling mile and one-half gallop Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs with regular exercise rider Olha Krushevska on board. The Don Alberto Stable 3-year-old continues to train well for her date Friday in the 147th edition of the Kentucky Oaks, a nine-furlong test that carries a purse of $1.25 million.
“She’s doing good; I’m very pleased,” the conditioner offered.
Moraz drew post eight Monday and was posted at 30-1 on the morning line in the 14-horse field. She’ll have the saddle services of California’s top rider, Flavien Prat, for the Oaks.
This will be McCarthy’s second Oaks runner. He finished third with Speech last year behind winner Shedaresthedevil.
PASS THE CHAMPAGNE – R.A. Hill Stable et. al’s Pass the Champagne got acquainted with the Churchill Downs track for the first time and was accompanied by her trainer George Weaver on the pony during the special 7:30 a.m. training time. The filly, who arrived early Monday a.m. after a van ride from her South Florida base, galloped once around with exercise rider Cindy Hutter, wife of the trainer.
The Flatter filly is coming off a narrow loss to 5-2 Kentucky Oaks favorite Malathaat in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland. She was installed at odds of 15-1 after drawing post 5.
SEARCH RESULTS – Klaravich Stables’ Search Results again galloped 1 3/8 miles Tuesday morning for trainer Chad Brown, who has noted all week that she seems to get over the Churchill main track extremely well. Like his Derby starter Highly Motivated, Search Results will school in the paddock during the races, most likely during the Wednesday card. As for drawing post 12 for the Oaks late Monday morning, Brown wasn’t that concerned.
“She’s out a couple spots further than I would have picked but we’re tactical, with not a crazy amount of speed in the race,” Brown said. “I’m hoping she breaks cleanly and can glide up there in the first flight and get a good position (into the first turn).”
WILL’S SECRET – Willis Horton’s Honeybee (GIII) winner Will’s Secret galloped with exercise rider Lee Guidry in the saddle for trainer Dallas Stewart.
THE FIELD FOR THE $1.25 MILLION LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS – Pauline’s Pearl (Ricardo Santana Jr., 20-1), Maracuja (Kendrick Carmouche, 20-1), Clairiere (Tyler Gaffalione, 5-1), Crazy Beautiful (Jose Ortiz, 15-1), Pass the Champagne (Javier Castellano, 15-1), Travel Column (Florent Geroux, 3-1), Ava’s Grace (David Cohen, 50-1), Moraz (Flavien Prat (30-1), Coach (Luis Saez, 50-1), Malathaat (John Velazquez, 5-2), Will’s Secret (Jon Court, 30-1), Search Results (Irad Ortiz Jr., 3-1), Competitive Speed (Chris Landeros, 50-1), Millefeuille (Joel Rosario, 20-1). All starters will carry 121 pounds.