The first horse on the outside looking in, Isn’t He Clever, has opted out of a run in the Kentucky Derby. His new trainer, Steve Asmussen, has decided to point the son of Smarty Jones to the Preakness Stakes instead, or possibly the G2 Woody Steven Stakes. Without him sitting at the number 21 spot in graded stakes earnings, Optimizer now claims that place and will wait for defections in the upcoming 10 days.
Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Bodemeister has a new part-owner. Although Zayat Stable maintains the majority interest in the son of Empire Maker, one third of him is now owned by Southern Equine Stable. The purchase price has not been released, but Ahmed Zayat did say it was a “very healthy, lucrative arrangement for us.” This year, Zayat hopes to win his first Derby. He has come close several times in recent years, including runner-up performances by Nehro in 2011 and Pioneerof the Nile in 2009. In 2010, his colt Eskendereya, who would have been one of the favorites, was injured prior to the race and was not able to compete.
The connections of Grade 1 Blue Grass winner Dullahan have graciously decided to make a donation after the Kentucky Derby. 5% of Dullahan’s earnings from his start in the Run For The Roses will go to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Prairie Meadows has agreed to match the amount.
The only major Derby contender on the worktab today was Liaison. The Bob Baffert trainee breezed a nice 6 furlongs at Churchill in 1:12.80, which was the only work at that distance. Although Liaison was a stellar juvenile, he is winless as a 3-year-old. However, Baffert thought Liaison handled the Churchill track much better than the one at Santa Anita, where he had been based for his entire 2012 campaign. Martin Garcia will ride the son of Indian Charlie on the first Saturday in May.
Although none of the entrants of the Grade 3 Derby Trial will be Derby bound this year, it is still an important race to watch this Saturday. Several notable 3-year-olds are entered, and it is very likely that more than one runner will end up in the Preakness or Belmont. Paynter, last seen finishing 4th in the loaded Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, headlines the field. Motor City, who won the Grade 2 Iroquois Stakes as a juvenile at Churchill, is looking to get back in the winner’s circle. Another horses fond of Churchill, Hierro, will break from post 5 under Julien Leparoux. The undefeated Bourbon Courage will break from the far outside in the field of eleven. Post time for the Derby Trial, which will be run under the lights at Churchill Downs, is 9:39. The full field with jockeys can be found below:
1. Tarpy’s Goal, L. Goncalves
2. The Black, C. Borel
3. Saint of Saints, K. Desormeaux
4. Nonios, G. Gomez
5. Hierro, J. Leparoux
6. Quick Wit, C. Lanerie
7. Paynter, M. Garcia
8. Seve , J. Castanon
9. Stealcase, S. Bridgmohan
10. Motor City, B. Hernandez Jr.
11. Bourbon Courage, M. Mena
Tomorrow, Union Rags and Went The Day Well are both planning to arrive at Churchill by van. The two colts are currently at Keeneland. Weather permitting, they will be under the Twin Spires by the end of the day tomorrow.
That’s all for today. Make sure you check back tomorrow and everyday as we get closer to the 138th Kentucky Derby!