ALWAYS DREAMING was all the rage Friday morning – Photo courtesy of HANA






KENTUCKY DERBY NEWS – Friday morning featured a bunch of workouts


CLASSIC EMPIRE (Pioneerof the Nile), the Derby favourite for John Oxley and Mark Casse, worked 4 furlongs early Friday morning at Churchill Downs in 49.21 out 5 furlongs in 1:03, just breezing.

More times (courtesy Daily Racing Form)  with comments below:

ALWAYS DREAMING (Derby): 5 f. in 59.47, solo, with JVelazquez up, out in 1:12.54

BATTALION RUNNER (Derby): 4 f. in 48.59 (company, inside of Made You Look), out in 1:01.87

GUNNEVERA (Derby): 49.96 solo, out in 1:04.65

PATCH (Derby): 5 f. in 1:00.19 inside when in company with Tapwrit, out in 1:13.38

PRACTICAL JOKE (Derby): 5 f. in 1:01.58 outside in company (blinkers), out in 1:14.62

STATE OF HONOR (Derby): 4 f. in 48.50, out in 1:01.53, solo

TAPWRIT (Derby): (see Patch)

JORDAN’S HENNY (Oaks): final quarter in 24.76, solo

SALTY (Oaks): 4 f. in 48.75 in company, out in 1:02.26

TEQUILITA (Oaks): 4 f. in 48.57, out in 1:02.39, solo

WICKED LICK (Oaks): 4 f. in 50.16, in company, clearly best

VEXATIOUS (Oaks): 6 f. in 1:14.60, solo (from CD clockers)


Canadian-bred STATE OF HONOR had his ears pricked as he zipped along in his workout and this giant son of To Honor and serve carries his head high and looks happy and eager. He still has to prove he can pass horses in the stretch run.

ALWAYS DREAMING (Bodemeister) has been a handful all week, tossing his head and being quite hard to hold in his gallops. He got to zoom along this morning (not before he tossed his head and fought his way to full speed). He really moves this colt and I am not sure he gets tired. Of course 10 furlongs, Derby day, other speed – not a place to be rank early.

He’s one of 5 possible starters for trainer Todd Pletcher.

GUNNEVERA (Dialed In) , who I was thinking looked like a solid play a while back, had an average workout this morning, as one would say, workmanlike. His style and power are ideal for the Derby.

PRACTICAL JOKE (Into Mischief)  – Chad Brown has put BLINKERS on this bay colt, a fellow who has had some super races but his hanging tendencies either mean he is not comfortable with longer distances or his is racing beside his buddies. He had a strong workout in company this morning.

TAPWRIT was very strong in company with his one-eyed stablemate and Derby hopeful PATCH. Loping along outside of a determined Patch, Tapwrit (by Tapit) comes off a clunker in the Blue Grass but if you toss that effort out…

BATTALION RUNNER worked inside of a mate and was beaten to the wire and then urged on into the clubhouse turn. Not the greatest work I have ever seen.

More observations from watching works and gallops all week:



Horse             Trainer    Points      Earnings Comment

1. Practical Joke        Chad Brown 74 $966,000 – by Into Mischief,  blinkers could curb this guy’s hanging tendency is a concern, he is improving fast for Chad Brown
2. Always Dreaming Todd Pletcher 100 $589,000 – Fast improving colt won Florida Derby with ease..could be any kind, by Bodemiester
3. Gunnevera             Antonio Sano 84 $1,137,800 – Dull in the Florida Derby off huge run in the Fntn of Youth – by Dialed In

4. Classic Empire Mark Casse 132 $2,093,820 – He’s brilliant, quirky, been washy this week but Champion 2-year-old of 2016 rebounded in Ark Derby, by same sire as American Pharoah (POTN)

5. McCraken Ian Wilkes 40 $385,048 – Has looked great this week;  Was unbeaten, then had minor ailment, then lost Blue Grass behind slow pace, son of Ghostzapper
Others expected to start:

6 Girvin Joe Sharp      150 $849,800 –  Battling a Quarter crack, swimming; Unbeaten on the dirt in 3 races, by Tale of Ekati, won Louisiana Derby
7. Gormley John Shirreffs 125 $884,000 – High, choppy stride on Santa Anita Derby winner
8. Irap Doug O’Neill 113 $744,000 – Won his maiden in the Blue Grass, by Tiznow
9. Irish War Cry Graham Motion 110 $672,660 Huge move forward to win Wood Memroial impressively, but 21 length drubbing B4 by Gunnevera?
10. $ Thunder Snow (IRE) Saeed bin Suroor 100 $1,621,063 – Godolphin colt – won UAE Derby…by Helmet (AUs), a sprinter/miler

11. J Boys Echo Dale Romans 63 $305,000 – Huge outing in the Gotham,followed by flat outing in the Blue Grass (behind slow pace), son of Mineshaft
12. State of Honor Mark Casse 62 $309,564 Ontario-bred won his maiden at Woodbine at 7 furlongs, has been 2nd or 3rd in5 straight stakes races since then, by To Honor and Serve
+ Conquest Mo Money Miguel Hernandez 60 $496,000- NOT LIKELY TO RUN – GOING TO PREAKNESS
13. Tapwrit Todd Pletcher 54 $295,570 – Nice run to win Tampa Bay Derby – very slow in Blue Grass behind modest pace
14. Malagacy Todd Pletcher 50 $570,000 – by Shackleford, speedster not certain to run
15. Hence Steve Asmussen 50 $481,129 – He is a big, handsome colt who has looked great; by Street Boss, won Sunland Derby, Steve Asmussen trains..improving colt
16. $$ Fast and Accurate Mike Maker 50 $320,712 – Longshot winner of Spiral in slow time, son of Hansen
17. Battle of Midway Jerry Hollendorfer 40 $224,000 – Broiled in mad pace battle in the Santa Anita Derby, son of Smart Strike
18. Patch Todd Pletcher 40 $200,000 – by Union Rags but a winner of a maiden race in 3 starts, 2nd in La. Derby
19. Battalion Runner Todd Pletcher 40 $140,000 – speedy colt is light on racing but big on ‘numbers’ and he’s by Unbridled’s Song from a Tapit mare
20. Cloud Computing Chad Brown 40 $115,000 – not likely to run

20. Untrapped Steve Asmussen 34 $210,000 – by sprinter Trappe Shot, distance is not for hi,
21. Lookin At Lee Steve Asmussen 32 $428,600 – by Lookin at Lucky and he is always closing. Luis Contreras rode him when 3rd in Ark Derby
22. Sonneteer Keith Desormeaux 30 $236,000
23. Royal Mo John Shirreffs 30 $213,000
24. Local Hero Steve Asmussen 30 $140,000


The KENTUCKY OAKS is on Friday, the day before the Derby and horses making a good impression this week include LOCKDOWN and FARRELL.(Malibu Moon). The latter has won 4 straight races and is the likely favourite.

The exciting Union Rags filly PARADISE WOODS is expected at Churchill Downs today.

14 fillies can start.

Friday morning I liked the look of WICKED LICK (McLean’s Music) who had a solid workout in company.


Rank Horse Points   Owner(s) Trainer          Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Farrell                     170 Coffeepot Stables (Bob Cummings & Annette Bacola) Wayne Catalano $573,407
2. Miss Sky Warrior 160 Arlene’s Sun Star Stable (Arlene London) Kelly Breen $592,840
3. Ever So Clever      106 Clearview Stable (Bernard Cleary) Steve Asmussen $312,750
4. Sailor’s Valentine 100 Semaphore Racing LLC (Dana E. Haugli) & Homewrecker Racing LLC (Ricki & Ron Rashinski) Eddie Kenneally $307,014
5. Paradise Woods 100 Steven Sarkowsky & Martin J. & Pam Wygod Richard Mandella $240,000
6. $$-Salty 100 Gary Barber, Baccari Racing Stable LLC (Chris Baccari) & Chester Prince Mark Casse $150,350
7. Abel Tasman 70 Clearsky Farms (Bernard & Eamonn Cleary) Bob Baffert $280,000
8. Daddys Lil Darling 60 Normandy Farm (Nancy K. Polk) Kenny McPeek $439,240
9. Tequilita 50 Dorothy Alexander Matz Michael Matz $227,540
10. Lockdown 50 Juddmonte Farms Inc. (Prince Khalid Abdullah) Bill Mott $120,000 (Career: $168,000)

11. Wicked Lick 49 Lee Mauberret Brendan Walsh $118,428
12. Vexatious 40 Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley) Neil Drysdale $80,000
13. Jordan’s Henny 40 E. Ervine Woolsey & Ralph Kinder Mike Tomlinson $66,410 Gulliver Racing (Phil Bongiovanni), Robin Christensen, Dan Legan
& Sharon Alesia Peter Eurton $1,298,000
14. Someday Soon 20 Tommy G. Ligon Will VanMeter $52,667
15. Mopotism 16 Reddam Racing LLC (J. Paul Reddam) Doug O’Neill $145,000
Shane’s Girlfriend 12 ERJ Racing LLC (Erik Johnson), W. C. Racing (Josh Kaplan
& Glenn Sorgenstein) & Dennis O’Neill
Doug O’Neill $268,000
16. Torrent 12 Westrock Stables LLC (Scott & Joe Ford) Ron Moquett $52,500
— Tapped 11 LNJ Foxwoods (Larry, Nanci & Jaime Roth) Jerry Hollendorfer $68,000
17. Summer Luck 11 Gary Barber Mark Casse $52,700





Three million-dollar+ 2-year-olds highlighted the 3rd session of the April Ocala Breeders’ Sale this week, more than twice as many than have ever been sold at the sale.
At one time this large auction was considered the lesser of the juvenile sales and a place to go to uncover some gems at bargain prices.
This week, however, a colt by Tiznow out of the Distorted Humor mare sold for a stunning $2.45 million to JOhn Moynihan.
Bred by WinStar and bought for $125,000 as a yearling at Keeneland last fall by Texas businessman Brad Grady, the colt worked in 9 4/5 for the sale.

Grady owns Kentucky Derby hopeful GIRVIN, who is nursing a quarter crack and currently swimming as he prepares for the big race.

There were some Canadian-bred youngsters in the sale through the first few seassions including a Medaglia d’Oro filly from Loving Vindication by Vindication that sold for $325,000 to TM Investments. Originally an $80,000 yearling purchase from Anderson Farms (Ontario) by Eisaman Equine, the filly is a full sister to stakes winner Solemn Tribute.

There were a few Canadian buyers as well:

14 21.2 F Prospective Valid Silk Ocala Stud Michael Lay 30,000
22.2 C Overdriven Greeleylikealady Ocala Stud Ricky Griffith 20,000
10.1 C Prospective Her Entourage SBM Training and Sales, Agent XI Hidden Brook Farm, Agent for Derek Chin 75,000
Ontario breds in sale:

Price Breeding…

OUT 232 out Updates Y C Violence Cat Fighter Ontario Off the Hook LLC, Agent IV not sold 20,000 376 10.1 F Bellamy Road D’wild Lady Ontario Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), nt 5
$225,000 Bradley Thoroughbreds 405 21.1 Updates Y Y C Violence Ever Elusive Ontario Tom McCrocklin, Agent IV 15
Out 520 out Updates C Giant Gizmo Green Jewel Ontario RiceHorse (Brandon & Ali Rice), Agent
$100,000 Calumet 548 21.4 Updates Y F Oxbow Hold the Sugar Ontario Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne)
$25,ooo Balltbrit 653 10.1 Updates Y C Not Bourbon Krismas Prospect Ontario Grassroots Training & Sales LLC J
$325,000 717 10.2 Updates Y F Medaglia d’Oro Loving Vindication Ontario Eisaman Equine, Agent
$130,000 764 21.1 Updates Y F Overanalyze Minstrel Show Ontario Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent XVII 5

Sells Friday – 998 10.1 Updates F Blame Sans Sousi Ontario RiceHorse (Brandon & Ali Rice), Agent for Areion Thoroughbreds





Woodbine Oaks fillies get Fury-ious

Today’s 7th race at Woodbine is a maiden allowance at 7 furlongs and there are a few runners who could be making a journey to the Queen’s Plate.

Sam-Son Farms’ highly regarded MALIBU SECRET is in post 4 and this is his 2nd career race and first start since August. He will be heavily bet.

Others who are interesting in the race include EXPEDITION, transferred from Todd Pletcher to Mark Casse, gelded  and fitted with blinkers since his 3rd disappoitning run in Florida.

On Sunday, the Fury Stakes at 7 furlongs brings together Woodbine Oaks contenders ELLAN VANNIN, GHOSTLY PRESENCE, CINDERVELLA and MYTHICAL MISSION is a blockbuster event. This is the 62nd Fury Stakes.