Kentucky Derby Contender News & Notes: April 5, 2017

  • The connections of Always Dreaming, State of Honor and Gunnevera – the top three finishers in Gulfstream Park’s Grade 1 Xpressbet Florida Derby – have confirmed that their horses will run next in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 6 at Churchill Downs.
  • Always Dreaming will remain at Todd Pletcher’s Palm Beach Downs base until mid-April when the trainer plans to consolidate all of his sophomores at Churchill Downs to prepare for the Derby.
  • Girvin exited his Grade 2 Louisiana Derby victory at Fair Grounds in good order and will be based at conditioner Joe Sharp’s barn at Churchill Downs’ Trackside training facility as he prepares for the Run for the Roses.
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    Patch, the Pletcher-trained one-eyed colt who was second in the Louisiana Derby, is tentatively being pointed to the Kentucky Derby.

  • Louisiana Derby show finisher Local Hero will be trained to run for the roses if his current 30 qualifying points are sufficient to get the colt in the starting gate.
  • Jockey Rafael Bejarano will have the mount on Donegal Racing’s Irish Freedom in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on April 8 at the Arcadia, California, track.
  • Owner and conditioner Mick Ruis named Jamie Theriot to ride graded stakes-placed Midnight Pleasure in the Santa Anita Derby.
  • Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who has won the Santa Anita Derby a record nine times, will have the mount on Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes winner Royal Mo if John Sherriffs’ charge joins stablemate Gormley in the race.
  • Santa Anita Derby contender Kimbear, a Kentucky-bred bay owned by a partnership that includes conditioner Eric Kruljac and Rory Albert, is named for Albert’s daughter, Kim.
  • Javier Castellano, who rode Grade 2 Remsen Stakes champion Mo Town to a runner-up finish in his career debut, will be reunited with the son of Uncle Mo in Aqueduct’s Grade 1 Wood Memorial on April 8.
  • After scratching from the Florida Derby, two-time Gulfstream Park winner Battalion Runner will make his stakes debut in the Wood Memorial with John Velazquez in the irons.
  • Graded stakes-placed Bonus Points will represent the Pletcher barn along with Battalion Runner in the Wood Memorial.
  • Reddam Racing’s Irap will try to become the first maiden to capture Keeneland’s Grade 2 Toyota Blue Grass when he participates in the race’s 93rd running on April 8.
  • Todd Pletcher

    Trainer Todd Pletcher has numerous horses being pointed toward the Kentucky Derby.

    Pletcher confirmed that One Liner, undefeated winner of the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park, will be ridden by John Velazquez in that track’s Grade 1 Arkansas Derby on April 15.

  • Pletcher also expects to run unbeaten Grade 2 Rebel Stakes champ Malagacy in the Arkansas Derby.
  • Trainer Mark Casse plans to give Champion 2-year-old Male Classic Empire an easy work at Winding Oaks Training Center in Ocala, Florida, this weekend before shipping John Oxley’s colt to Oaklawn Park on Monday, so he can gallop over the track for several days prior to the Arkansas Derby.
  • Multiple graded stakes placed Untrapped will most likely be equipped with blinkers for the Arkansas Derby.
  • Owner Sol Kumin recently purchased a 25% interest in graded stakes placed Petrov, the Arkansas Derby hopeful who is trained and co-owned by Ron Moquett.
  • Egyptian Hero, who won an allowance optional claiming contest at Tampa Bay Downs last month, is being pointed to Keeneland’s Grade 3 Stonestreet Lexington Stakes on April 15.
  • Smarty Jones Stakes victor Uncontested is off the Kentucky Derby trail but under consideration for Churchill Downs’ Grade 3 Pat Day Mile on the undercard on the first Saturday in May.
  • Theory, winner of the Grade 3 Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park last fall, is slated to make his seasonal debut in the Grade 3 Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct on the Wood Memorial undercard.