Kentucky Derby Kernels: A Busy Derby Worktab

Fierceness put in another “super” workout on Friday (April 19) at Palm Beach Downs, covering 5 furlongs in 1:00.35 in company with stablemate Agate Road, and with regular rider John Velazquez.

The Florida Derby (G1) winner and expected favorite for the $5 million Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 4 has one more workout before the race, but trainer Todd Pletcher isn’t sure where or when it will take place.


Fierceness, Catalytic, West Saratoga post Friday workouts

The two-time Derby-winning trainer said he would watch the weather in Kentucky and decide if his 2-year-old champion will work in Florida or at Churchill Downs. New this year, all Derby contenders are required to be at the track by April 27, a few days earlier than in the past.

“I thought he worked super – a solid five-eighths with a good gallop-out, exactly what we were targeting,” Pletcher said. “I think he is doing every bit as good, if not better, than he was going into the Florida Derby.”

Catalytic works 5 furlongs at Gulfstream Park

Derby longshot Catalytic, a distant second to Fierceness in the Florida Derby (13 ½ lengths back), worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.72 on Friday (April 19) at Gulfstream Park.

Catalytic won in his debut in October and ran second in an optional claimer at Tampa Bay Downs on March 8 before his surprise second at 29-1 in the Florida Derby. The win gave him 50 Derby qualifying points, more than enough to make the field limited to 20 starters.

Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. plans to ship the son of Catalina Cruiser to Churchill Downs on Sunday (April 21), weather permitting.

“The key is to get there, and once you get there, anything can happen in the Derby,” Joseph said.

West Saratoga works at Keeneland

West Saratoga, Iroquois winner as a 2-year-old and a Derby-berth clinching second in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) on March 23, continued his training for the Run for the Roses on Friday, working 6 furlongs in 1:16.20 over a wet-fast Keeneland track.

Regular rider Jesus Castanon was aboard for the aboard for trainer Larry Demeritte, who is looking forward to saddling his first Derby starter.

Plans call for West Saratoga’s return to his base at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington, have planned 3-furlong breeze on April 26 before being vanned to Churchill Downs the next day.

“I am happy with the work, and right now everything is in place going forward,” Demeritte said.

Castanon rode Shackleford to victory in the 2011 Preakness two weeks after a fourth-place finish in the Derby.

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