Kentucky Derby Contender News & Notes: April 12, 2017

  • Brian Hernandez, Jr.

    Brian Hernandez, Jr.

    Jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr. was confirmed to ride McCraken in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 6.

  • With Hernandez committed to McCraken, Hall of Famer Mike Smith accepted the mount on multiple graded stakes champ Girvin for the Kentucky Derby.
  • Girvin is slated to breeze on April 15 at Churchill Downs’ Trackside Training Facility.
  • Keeneland’s Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes fourth-place finisher J Boys Echo returned to trainer Dale Romans’ Barn 4 at Churchill Downs following the April 8 race and is expected to breeze two or three more times prior to running for the roses.
  • Grade 1 Florida Derby runner-up State of Honor is settled in at Mark Casse’s Churchill Downs barn 36 and scheduled to breeze on April 16.
  • Conditioner Doug O’Neill plans to take blinkers off — a strategy that was successful for Irap in the Blue Grass Stakes — Rockin Rudy when his charge runs in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby on April 15 at Oaklawn Park.
  • O’Neill plans to point Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby beaten favorite Iliad to Pimlico’s Grade 1 Preakness Stakes on May 20.
  • Triple Crown nominee Arklow, an impressive maiden winner on the Keeneland turf, is targeting the Grade 2 American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs on Derby Day.
  • One Liner, the undefeated winner of the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park, was taken off the Kentucky Derby trail and will be freshened at WinStar Farm.