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Friday Shaping Up As Major Work Day for Derby and Oaks Hopefuls

Mother Nature may hold the key to what could be a major work day Friday at Churchill Downs.

Rain is forecast to begin overnight Thursday and continue into training hours Friday morning with more rain predicted to begin Friday afternoon and continuing through Saturday morning.

    Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) candidates scheduled to work are Lloyd Madison Farms ’ Major Fed and Raymond Daniels and Wayne Scherr’s Necker IslandJim and Donna Daniell’s Rushie may work.

    The Brad Cox-trained duo of Juddmonte Farms’ Bonny South and Qatar Racing LimitedFlurry Racing Stables and Big Aut Farms’ Shedaresthedevil are scheduled for final works before next Friday’s Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) along with Peter Callahan’s Swiss SkydiverEclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Madaket Stables’ Speech may work.

    Other Derby and Oaks hopefuls are slated  for  final works on five fronts Friday: Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Andie Biancone’s Sole Volante is scheduled to work at Palm Meadows, Charles Fipke’s Shirl’s Speight is scheduled to work at Woodbine and John FanelliCash is King and Paul Braverman’s Ny Traffic is scheduled to work at Saratoga. Also slated to work at Saratoga are Derby possibles Dr Post, owned by StElias Stable, and Robert LaPenta and Bortolazzo Stable’s Money Moves for trainer Todd Pletcher.

    Oaks probable scheduled to work Friday are Kaleem ShahMrs. John MagnierMichael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Donna Veloce at Del Mar and Miracle’s International Trading Inc. ’s Dream Marie at Gulfstream Park West.

ART COLLECTOR – Bruce Lunsford’s Art Collector made his first reappearance over the Churchill Downs surface Thursday morning and galloped 1 ½ miles with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. in the saddle. Trainer Tommy Drury reported Art Collector will have one more local work prior to the Kentucky Derby. Hernandez will have the call.

ATTACHMENT RATE – Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister’s $200,000 Ellis Park Derby runner-up Attachment Rate galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Faustino Herrarte at 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

    “I thought his race at Ellis makes him deserve a shot in the Derby,” trainer Dale Romans said via phone from New York. “He’ll have one more work on Sunday before the Derby. It’s 2020, anything can happen.”

AUTHENTIC – Spendthrift Farm LLCMyRaceHorse StableMadaket Stables LLC and Starlight Racing’s $1 million Haskell (GI) winner Authentic is scheduled to arrive Monday at Churchill Downs.

CARACARO – Global Thoroughbred and Top Racing ’s $1 million Travers Stakes (GI) runner-up Caracaro is slated to have his final breeze prior to the Kentucky Derby Saturday morning, according to assistant trainer Gustavo Delgado Jr.

    Caracaro is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs Sunday.

DR POST – St. Elias Stable’s Haskell third-place finisher Dr Post appears doubtful to run in the Derby, according to trainer Todd Pletcher. The colt could target the Jim Dandy (GI) or the $1 million Preakness (GI).

ENFORCEABLE – John Oxley’s Enforceable galloped a mile and a half shortly before 6 o’clock under exercise rider Paolo Perez for trainer Mark Casse.

    “He was a little fresh this morning as this was his first day back galloping after working over the weekend,” said Allen Hardy, assistant to Casse. Enforceable had worked six furlongs in 1:12.20 on Sunday and is scheduled to have his final Derby work this Sunday.

FINNICK THE FIERCE – Trainer and co-owner Rey Hernandez said Finnick the Fierce came out of his Wednesday work at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington in good shape and would ship to Churchill Downs on Monday.

    “He worked well (1:00.60 for five furlongs, the best of 11 at the distance,” said Hernandez, who owns the two-time graded stakes placed gelding in partnership with Arnaldo Monge. “He worked behind another horse.”

FIRST LINE – Noda Brothers’ Saratoga maiden special weight winner First Line added his name to the possible Kentucky Derby contenders should room be available in the starting gate on the first Saturday in September.

    “If they have a little room in that gate, it’s an idea we are kicking around,” trainer Orlando Noda said.   

HONOR A. P. – C R K Stable’s $100,000 Shared Belief runner-up Honor A. P. is scheduled to work Saturday at 12:45 p.m. PDT at Del Mar and slated to arrive at Churchill Downs Monday.

KING GUILLERMO – Victoria’s Ranch’s King Guillermo continued his training toward the Kentucky Derby Thursday at 7:30 a.m. with an easy gallop under exercise rider Edgar Medina.

    King Guillermo is slated to have his final breeze for the Derby on Saturday, according to Medina.

MAJOR FED – Lloyd Madison Farm’s $300,000 Indiana Derby (GIII) runner-up Major Fed will have his final breeze prior to the Kentucky Derby Friday morning at 5:15 with jockey James Graham in the saddle.

    Major Fed, a homebred son out of the former Foley-trained mare Bobby’s Babe, had an easy one-mile jog Thursday with exercise rider Margarito Fierro in the saddle.

    “He’s happy and enjoying life right now – and so are we,” trainer Greg Foley said. “It’s fun being on this ride with our owners who have stuck with us for so many years. I’m thrilled for them.”

MAX PLAYER – George Hall and SportBLX Thoroughbred’s $1 million Travers Stakes (GI) third-place finisher Max Player schooled at the starting gate and galloped about 1 3/8 miles at 7:30 a.m. with exercise rider Juan Vargas in the saddle.

    Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. will have the call in the Derby.

MONEY MOVES – Robert LaPenta and Bortolazzo Stable’s two-time winner Money Moves is scheduled to arrive Sunday at Churchill Downs for trainer Todd Pletcher. The colt still has minor Derby consideration but is nominated to the $500,000 Pat Day Mile presented by LG&E and KU (GII).

NECKER ISLAND – Raymond Daniels and Wayne Scherr’s Necker Island jogged twice around under Hillary Hartman at 6 o’clock.

    Trained by Chris Hartman , Necker Island is scheduled to work Friday morning at 7:30 with jockey Miguel Mena slated to be aboard. Hartman said the Hard Spun colt would go a half-mile or five-eighths and would work in company.  

NY TRAFFIC – John FanelliCash is King and Paul Braverman’s Ny Traffic is scheduled to work at Saratoga Friday and arrive at Churchill Downs Sunday, according to trainer Saffie Joseph Jr.

RUSHIE – Jim and Donna Daniell’s Rushie galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Osman Cedeno after the 9 o’clock renovation break.

    Trainer Michael McCarthy said Rushie may work Friday morning.

    “I am thinking about it,” said McCarthy, who arrived in Louisville Wednesday night from California. “It will be a game-time decision as is often the case.”

    Rushie, who would have to be supplemented to the Derby in order to run, also is under consideration for the $500,000 Pat Day Mile presented by LG&E and KU to be run Sept. 5.

    “We are still on the fence (about the Derby),” said McCarthy, who brought seven horses to Churchill Downs. “(The work) could impact the decision and I will speak with Mr. Daniell and get his thoughts.”

SHIRL’S SPEIGHT – Charles Fipke’s $100,000 Marine Stakes winner Shirl’s Speight’s travel plans remain fluid but the colt is tentatively scheduled to van from Woodbine to Churchill Downs Sunday or Monday.  

SOLE VOLANTE – Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Andie Biancone’s $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (GII) runner-up Sole Volante is scheduled to van from his South Florida base to Churchill Downs Sunday, according to senior director of the stable area Steve Hargrave.

STORM THE COURT – David A Bernsen LLCExlineBorder Racing LLCDan Hudock and Susanna Wilson’s 2-year-old champion Storm the Court is slated to arrive at Churchill Downs Sunday on a flight from San Diego to Louisville. He is scheduled to work Saturday at Del Mar.

    Julien Leparoux has the call in the Derby.

THOUSAND WORDS – Albaugh Family Stables and Spendthrift Farm’s Shared Belief Stakes hero Thousand Words is scheduled to arrive Monday with stablemate Authentic to trainer Bob Baffert’s Barn 33 at Churchill Downs.

    Florent Geroux has the call in the Derby.

    “Like so many of Bob Baffert’s horses, he showed good speed in his last start,” Geroux said. “I think he could be up in the race but we’ll discuss the plan with Bob when things get closer to the race.”

TIZ THE LAW – Sackatoga Stable’s Kentucky Derby favorite Tiz the Law is scheduled to breeze Saturday or Sunday at Saratoga before his Monday arrival at Churchill Downs.

WINNING IMPRESSION – West Point Thoroughbreds’ and Pearl Racing ’s graded stakes placed Winning Impression galloped 1 ½ miles Thursday at 6 a.m. under exercise rider Emerson Chavez.

    Trainer Dallas Stewart reported Winning Impression will have his final breeze prior to the Derby Monday morning at Churchill Downs. Joe Rocco Jr. will have the mount in the Derby.

    “It’s starting to get exciting,” Rocco said. “You’ve got to be in the gate to have a chance to win. We’ll see what happens.”

SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY DERBY – Likely starters in the 146th running of the $3 million, Grade I Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve to be run for 3-year-olds at 1 1/4 miles on Saturday, Sept. 5 (in order of preference): Tiz the Law (jockey Manny Franco); Authentic (John Velazquez); Art Collector (Brian Hernandez Jr.); HonorA. P. (Mike Smith); Ny Traffic (Paco Lopez); King Guillermo (Samy Camacho); Thousand Words (FlorentGeroux); Caracaro (Javier Castellano); Max Player (Ricardo Santana Jr.); Enforceable (Adam Beschizza); Major Fed (James Graham); Storm the Court (Julien Leparoux); Attachment Rate (Joe Talamo); Sole Volante (Luca Panici); Finnick the Fierce (Martin Garcia); Winning Impression (Joe Rocco Jr.); Necker Island (Miguel Mena); Shirl’s Speight (Corey Lanerie). Possible: Dr Post (Tyler Gaffalione); Rushie (TBA); Money Moves (TBA); First Line (TBA).


BAYERNESS – Belladonna Racing’s $200,000 Indiana Oaks (GIII) third-place finisher Bayerness added her name to the Kentucky Oaks contenders list Wednesday afternoon.

    Trained by Cherie DeVaux, Bayerness is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs from Trackside Louisville 24 hours prior to the Oaks.

BONNY SOUTH – Juddmonte Farm’s Alabama Stakes (GI) runner-up Bonny South had a routine 1 ½ mile gallop Thursday morning at 7:30 with exercise rider Gustavo Abrego up. She is scheduled to work Friday morning, according to trainer Brad Cox.

DONNA VELOCE – Kaleem ShahMrs. John MagnierMichael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Donna Veloce is scheduled to work Friday at Del Mar and ship to Churchill Downs Monday.

DREAM MARIE – Miracle’s International Trading’s $300,000 Delaware Oaks (GIII) runner-up Dream Marie is slated to arrive at Churchill Downs Sunday for trainer Matthew Williams.

GAMINE – Michael Lund Petersen’s likely Kentucky Oaks (GI) favorite Gamine is scheduled to arrive with her stablemates from the Bob Baffert Barn Monday on a flight from Southern California to Louisville. 

HOPEFUL GROWTH – St Elias Stable’s $200,000 Monmouth Oaks (GIII) hero Hopeful Growth is scheduled to arrive via van from New Jersey Wednesday.

PROJECT WHISKEY – Cash is King and LC Racing’s Monmouth Oaks runner-up Project Whiskey is scheduled to breeze Saturday at Parx and arrive at Churchill Downs Monday, according to trainer Butch Reid

SHEDARESTHEDEVIL – Flurry Racing StablesQatar Racing Limited and Big Aut Farms’ $200,000 Indiana Oaks (GIII) winner Shedaresthedevil galloped 1 ½ miles Thursday at 7:30 a.m. with Edvin Vargas in the saddle.

    Trained by Brad Cox, Shedaresthedevil is scheduled to breeze Friday at 7:30 a.m. She’ll be ridden in the Oaks by Florent Geroux

SPEECH – Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Madaket Stables’ Speech galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Osman Cedeno at 7:30 for trainer Michael McCarthy.

    McCarthy arrived in Louisville Wednesday night, the first time he has been back at Churchill Downs since 2018 when he came in a week early to give City of Light a work over the track before winning the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI).

    Winner of the Ashland (GI) at Keeneland in her most recent start, Speech may work Friday depending on the weather.

SWISS SKYDIVER – Peter Callahan’s $600,000 Alabama (GI) winner Swiss Skydiver turned several heads Thursday morning during the exclusive Derby/Oaks training session at 7:30 a.m. as she wore her bright yellow Kentucky Derby saddle towel for her 1 ½-mile gallop.

    “We were just trying to have some fun,” trainer Kenny McPeek said. “People keep taking things so seriously but we just did it to mess with people. She’s still aiming for the Oaks and will have one final work (Friday) at 7:30 a.m.”

    Swiss Skydiver will be ridden by Tyler Gaffalione in the Oaks.

SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY OAKS – Likely starters in the 146th running of the $1.25 million, Grade I Longines Kentucky Oaks to be run for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on Friday, Sept. 4 in order of preference (with jockey): SwissSkydiver (jockey Tyler Gaffalione); Speech (Javier Castellano); BonnySouth (TBA); Shedaresthedevil (FlorentGeroux); ProjectWhiskey (Paco Lopez); DonnaVeloce (TBA); Gamine (John Velazquez); HopefulGrowth (Manny Franco); DreamMarie (Joe Talamo); Bayerness (TBA).

DERBY WEEK STAKES NOMINATIONS – Seventeen stakes races cumulatively worth purses of $9.78 million are on tap for Kentucky Derby Week at Churchill Downs, which runs Tuesday,  through Saturday, Sept. 5. The spectacular week of racing, headlined by the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) on Sept. 5 and $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) on Sept. 4, will feature 14 graded stakes events. Here’s a look at some of the known early probable entrants, according to assistant racing secretary and stakes coordinator Dan Bork:

$115,000 Champion’s Day Marathon Overnight Stakes presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (Entries taken Friday, race Tuesday, ) – Probable: Eskenforit (trainer Steve Margolis); You’re to Blame (Todd Pletcher). 

$150,000 Unbridled Sidney (Entries taken Saturday, race Wednesday, Sept. 2) – Bye Bye J (Steve Asmussen); Change of Control (Michelle Lovell); Dixieincandyland (Eddie Kenneally); Stonewood (Carlo Vaccarezza); Tomlin (Mike Stidham); and Violent Times (Ralph Nicks).

$200,000 Pocahontas (GII) (Entries taken Sunday, race Thursday, Sept. 3) – Alexandria (Tim Hamm); Crazy Beautiful (Kenny McPeek); Dream Quist (McPeek); Girl Daddy (Dale Romans); Trip to Seoul (James Chapman); and Xtrema (Keith Desormeaux).

$115,000 Opening Verse Overnight Stakes (Entries taken Sunday, race Thursday, Sept. 3) – Crafty Daddy (Kenny McPeek); Cullum Road (Ignacio Correas IV); Hembree (Mike Maker); and Mr. Misunderstood (Brad Cox). Possible: Set Piece (Brad Cox).

$300,000 Eight Belles presented by (GII) (Entries taken Monday, Race Friday, Sept. 4) – Four Graces (Ian Wilkes); Mundaye Call (Brad Cox); and Sconsin (Greg Foley). Possible: Ocean Breeze (Wayne Catalano).

$300,000 Edgewood presented by Forcht Bank (GII) (Entries taken Monday, Race Friday, Sept. 4) – Beguiled (Phil D’Amato); Lucky Betty (Will VanMeter); Outburst (Eddie Kenneally); and Sharing (Graham Motion).

$250,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint presented by Sysco (GII) (Entries taken Monday, Race Friday, Sept. 4) – Archidust (Steve Asmussen); Carotari (Bryan Lynch); Chaps (Eddie Kenneally); Chief Cicatriz (Shawn Davis); Diamond Oops (Patrick Biancone); Extravagant Kid (Brendan Walsh); Tell Your Daddy (Neil Pessin); Tiger Blood (Mike Maker); and Well Labeled (Larry Rivelli).

$400,000 Alysheba presented by Sentient Jet (GII) (Entries taken Monday, Race Friday, Sept. 4) – By My Standards (Bret Calhoun); Hence (Jack Sisterson); McKinzie (Bob Baffert) Owendale (Brad Cox); Silver Dust (Bret Calhoun); and Title Ready (Dallas Stewart).

$500,000 La Troienne presented by Oak Grove Racing & Gaming (GI) (Entries taken Monday, Race Friday, Sept. 4) – Monomoy Girl (Brad Cox); and She’s a Julie (Steve Asmussen). Possible: Ce Ce (Michael McCarthy); Lady Kate (Eddie Kenneally); Vexatious (Jack Sisterson).

$1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (GI) (Entries taken Tuesday, , Race Saturday, Sept. 5) – Bowies Hero (Phil D’Amato); Digital Age (Chad Brown); Factor This (Brad Cox); Mr Dumas (Mike Maker); Parkland (Carlo Vaccarezza); Sacred Life (Chad Brown); Somelikeithotbrown (Maker); and Spectacular Gem (Jimmy Baker).

$500,000 Derby City Distaff presented by Derby City Gaming (GI) (Entries taken Tuesday, Race Saturday, Sept. 5) – Bell’s the One (Neil Pessin); Mia Mischief (Steve Asmussen); Sally’s Curlin (Dale Romans); Serengeti Empress (Tom Amoss); and Wildwood’s Beauty (Scott Becker). Possible: Ce Ce (Michael McCarthy); Lady Kate (Eddie Kenneally).

$500,000 Longines Distaff Turf Mile (GII) (Entries taken Tuesday, Race Saturday, Sept. 5) – Beau Recall (Brad Cox); Belle Laura (Juan Avila); Daddy is a Legend (Rusty Arnold); Juliet Foxtrot (Brad Cox); and Newspaperofrecord (Chad Brown). Possible: She’sonthewarpath (Steve Margolis).

$500,000 American Turf presented by Smithfield (GII) (Entries taken Tuesday, , Race Saturday, Sept. 5) – Fancy Liquor (Mike Maker); Field Pass (Maker); King Theo (Carlo Vaccarezza); Mr. Big News (Bret Calhoun); Smooth Like Strait (American Turf); Sugoi (Mike Tomlinson); and Vanzzy (Mike Pino). Possible: South Bend (Bill Mott).

$500,000 Pat Day Mile presented by LG&E and KU (GII) (Entries taken Tuesday, , Race Saturday, Sept. 5) – Echo Town (Steve Asmussen); Liam’s Pride (Doug O’Neill); Shashashakemeup (Keith Desormeaux); and Sonneman (Steve Asmussen). Possible: Attachment Rate (Dale Romans); Rushie (Michael McCarthy); South Bend (Bill Mott); and Taishan (Richard Baltas). 

$200,000 Iroquois presented by Ford (GIII) (Entries taken Tuesday, , Race Saturday, Sept. 5) – Belafonte (Tom Humphries); Drop Anchor (Kenny McPeek); Pico D’Oro (Bill Morey); Sittin On Go (Dale Romans); Super Stock (Steve Asmussen); Therideofalifetime (Ignacio Correas IV); and Ultimate Badger (Romans). 

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