Several Kentucky Derby hopefuls get workouts in before rain
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) One week ahead of the Kentucky Derby, several horses completed their workouts at Churchill Downs before the rain came down.
The threat of severe weather across the state hastened things Saturday morning for Derby hopefuls such as International Star, Keen Ice and Tencendur, whose workouts at Churchill Downs came before daybreak and just ahead of the rain.
Carpe Diem worked out at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, and trainer Todd Pletcher said ''We got fortunate with the weather.''
Santa Anita offered better California weather for Dortmund and Firing Line. They completed final works before heading to Churchill Downs for the 141st Run for the Roses next Saturday.
Tencendur breezed through five furlongs in a minute flat.
''I thought he worked well,'' trainer George Weaver said. ''I asked the boys to go out there and go a minute, and he went a minute. It was pretty much what I wanted it to be.
''Going into the Derby, I didn't want to go in there off an easy work. I wanted to get something out of it.''
The main goal was just getting in a workout because of the impending bad weather. The trainers caught a break when showers didn't arrive until around 8 a.m., long after many had completed their runs under cloudy skies.
Pletcher moved up Carpe Diem's workout a day at Keeneland. He came away pleased with the half-mile time of 48.60 seconds at the track where the horse won the Blue Grass Stakes earlier this month and established himself as a Derby contender.
''He's continued to develop,'' Pletcher said of Carpe Diem, who has four wins and a second in five starts. ''He's really in a good place now. He's just very happy with himself, content, galloping well; his appetite's good. Just all the indications you'd like to see leading up to a big race. He's giving us all the right signs.''
Pletcher felt the same about some of his four other horses during Friday's workout at Churchill Downs before deciding later to drop Madefromlucky from his contingent after consulting the owners.
That move opened the door for Dale Romans-trained Keen Ice to make the 20-horse field with Kent Desormeaux aboard. Keen Ice is still seeking his first graded stakes win, but his fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby behind Derby entrants International Star, Stanford and War Story was good for 10 additional points and 22 overall, which earned a place in the Derby.
Keen Ice covered five furlongs Saturday in 1:01.60, just a week after running six in 1:13.20.
''We let him do his own thing,'' Romans said. ''He had two really fast drills, got some long miles in him here. The heavy lifting is over.''
At Santa Anita, unbeaten Dortmund gave trainer Bob Baffert something to feel good about as he mulls whether to work possible Derby favorite American Pharoah on Sunday at Churchill Downs despite rain in the forecast. Dortmund ran six furlongs in 1:13.60 before departing for an expected arrival on Sunday.
''He cruised today,'' Baffert said.
Firing Line is also due in Sunday after going five furlongs in 1:02.20 at Santa Anita.
At Belmont, El Kabeir breezed four furlongs in 46.81 seconds. Frosted and Upstart each covered five furlongs at Palm Meadows Training Center on Saturday, clocking 1:01.10 and 59.95, respectively.