Kentucky Derby Contender News & Notes: April 17, 2017

  • MarkCasse041717c

    Mark Casse

    Classic Empire arrived at Churchill Downs on the morning of April 17 following his score in Oaklawn Park’s Grade 1 Arkansas Derby and was bedded down in trainer Mark Casse’s Barn 36.

  • Classic Empire is expected to return to training on April 20 or 21 and Casse said the reigning Champion 2-year-old Male will likely have one work in advance of the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 6 at Churchill Downs.
  • Julien Leparoux, the regular rider of Classic Empire, will retain the mount in the Derby.
  • Casse said he is considering several jockeys for Grade 1 Florida Derby runner-up State of Honor, for whom Leparoux is also the regular pilot, in the Kentucky Derby and expects to name one soon.
  • Conquest Mo Money relocated to the Prairie Meadows barn of trainer Miguel Hernandez after his runner-up effort in the Arkansas Derby, and his connections are expected to decide by April 18 whether or not to pay the $200,000 supplemental fee to make the colt eligible to run in the Derby.
  • Conditioner Steve Asmussen’s Arkansas Derby runners, Lookin At Lee (third) and Untrapped (sixth) remain under consideration for the Kentucky Derby.
  • Trainer Keith Desormeaux said he hopes Sonneteer, who completed the Arkansas Derby superfecta, will be able to get into the Kentucky Derby with his 30 qualifying points, which place him at 23rd on the current leaderboard.
  • Malagacy, who was fifth in the Arkansas Derby, shipped to trainer Todd Pletcher’s Keeneland barn on April 17.
  • Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes champ Irap will be ridden by Mario Gutierrez in the Kentucky Derby.
  • Irap is scheduled to breeze at Keeneland on April 21 and 28 before shipping to Churchill Downs.
  • Blue Grass runner-up Practical Joke is slated to work at Keeneland this weekend and then move to Churchill Downs for his final pre-Derby exercise under the Twin Spires.
  • Joel Rosario has been confirmed to ride Practical Joke in the Derby.
  • Blue Grass show finisher McCraken has been training regularly on the Churchill Downs oval and is scheduled for a breeze in the first or second set of horses on April 18.
  • Jockey John Velazquez is confirmed to ride Florida Derby hero Always Dreaming in the Kentucky Derby.
  • Trainer Antonio Sano announced via the @ASanoRacing Twitter account that Javier Castellano will ride Florida Derby third-place finisher Gunnevera in the Kentucky Derby.
  • Trainer John Shirreffs said Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby victor Gormley will be on a Saturday workout schedule for the final two weekends in April as he works towards the Run for the Roses.
  • Gormley will ship from Santa Anita to Churchill Downs on May 1.
  • Shirreffs will prepare Santa Anita Derby show finisher Royal Mo as if he will run in the Kentucky Derby and await developments to see if his charge can move up from his current 24th position on the leaderboard and gain a spot in the gate.
  • Conditioner Chad Brown said he is “leaning towards passing” the Kentucky Derby with Grade 2 Wood Memorial Stakes third-place finisher Cloud Computing, who is currently 20th on the qualifying points leaderboard.
  • If Cloud Computing skips the Derby, Brown said he could be pointed to the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 20 or towards a summer campaign.
  • The winning Beyer Speed Figure of the Grade 3 Sunland Derby, won by Hence, has been adjusted to 97 from its original 93, according to Andrew Beyer.
  • Jockey Mike Smith is slated to work Grade 2 Louisiana Derby winner Girvin for his next breeze, which may come at Churchill Downs rather than trainer Joe Sharp’s base at the Trackside training facility.
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