Churchill Downs Kentucky Derby Workout Report #3

Holy mother of work clusters!

April 29 was described as having a “flurry” of Kentucky Derby workers, but I’d say it was more of a blizzard. Among the many, many workers, were Suddenbreakingnews, Outwork and Mohaymen. All of them worked impressively, but I would have to give work of the day to Outwork.

What I love about this work is the professionalism he showed. During his previous two gallops he was unfocused. His attention seemed to be on the spectators, not on working. That habit of gawking also nearly got him beaten in the Wood Memorial, last out.

This time, there was no gawking around. You can clearly see he is more focused than a laser. He relaxes well behind the workmate (something he didn’t do in the Wood Memorial), then he moves up alongside while well within himself.

When they move into the stretch, as soon as he was given the green light by rider Johnny Velasquez, Outwork kicks clear with the utmost of ease. He even kept his focus past the wire through the gallop out.

The time was 1:01 flat, with a final quarter in a strong :23.6.

Unfortunately, his stablemate Destin did not impress me.

He seemed to handle the track well enough, but appeared very unfocused throughout the work.

His ears never appeared to go back, indicating that he was listening to the rider, but instead were pricked or moved sideways, indicating that his attention was on other things.

In the stretch, he was clearly starting to receive pressure from the rider, then switched back to his left lead (the wrong one) well before the wire.

If I were to grade works, this one would have been given a C.

If Destin were to receive a C, then Suddenbreakingnews would be given an A.

As you can see, he is not the prettiest mover, but he couldn’t have put in a better, more professional, solo drill.

Despite lacking a workmate, he remained very focused through the work.

The final time was a very sharp :59.60, especially considering his last five-furlong drill went in 1:02 flat. It was also encouraging to see him finish strongly, after such a quick beginning. By my watch, based on the webcam, he came home in about :24.2.

Oscar Nominated was another I had been looking forward to watching. With his lack of experience over dirt I really wanted to see a “wow” work.

I didn’t.

The time for the five furlongs was a good 1:00.8, but his stride seemed short — and he never seemed to be reaching out well with his front legs. He did beat the workmate, who was under a great deal of pressure, but he didn’t look completely comfortable.

Shagaf put in another strong performance.

This work was a carbon copy of his work last weekend. The time was a slightly faster :47.80 for the half-mile and he came home his final furlong in 12 seconds flat.

It wasn’t something that will blow one’s mind, but it was a solid work from a horse who has been nothing but solid all winter and spring long.

Mohaymen was the last major worker on April 29, and he looked the same as he has all week… ready to explode.

I can’t say I’m thrilled with the leaping in the air, but once into stride, he settled beautifully and proceeded to blitz through the four-furlong work.

He scorched his first three furlongs in :35.40, before finishing up in :47.40.

I like that the final furlong, which was run in 12 seconds flat, was done with no urging. I just hope that come Derby Day, we see a similar energy level, minus the leaping antics.

The next day, April 30, there was considerably less action, as only two Derby hopefuls would put their name on the work tab.

First up was Brody’s Cause. 

Honestly, I don’t think this work could have gone any smoother.

His stride is fluid and he is reaching out eagerly and with authority. The final furlong in 12.80 seconds won’t blow anyone away, but take it with a grain of salt. He started off very strong, and then was under very little urging down the lane. This was strictly a maintenance move, not meant to be flashy.

Exaggerator came up next and I saw nothing that would dissuade me from liking him.

This colt is not the prettiest of movers in the least. He holds his head high, and seems to run with a stiffer motion, but it sure doesn’t seem to hinder him.

In this work, I was comforted by the fact that he seemed to go smoother the faster he went, and by the end of the work he was motoring.

The slow final time was due to the slow and relaxed nature in which the work began. He went his opening three eighths of a mile in a leisurely 37.80, but then picked the pace up considerably, getting his final furlong in 12.20 seconds under absolutely no pressure.

Laura Pugh
Laura Pugh has been in love with horses since age five, when she took her first ride as a birthday gift. When she was nine years old she began to take riding lessons as a hunter/jumper. Her first introduction to racing was watching War Emblem’s Triple Crown attempt and, from there, she was hooked. Her knowledge of the sport was self-learned, as she took to reading every book on the topic that she could lay hands on.

In 2009 she began her own blog named Horsin’ Around, where she earned a reputation for her passionate and fiery articles. It was that recognition that soon landed her a position as author of Dead Heat Debates, one of Horse Racing Nation’s many blogs. Since then she has written for other publications such as and Lady and the Track, always demonstrating the same fiery passion that her followers have come to expect.

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