Lani Goes Slow in First Workout at Churchill Downs

Lani Goes Slow in First Workout at Churchill Downs

Coady Photography

Lani breezing at Churchill Downs on April 20th - Coady Photography
Lani breezing at Churchill Downs on April 20th – Coady Photography

The Japan-based UAE Derby (UAE-II) winner Lani, training for a start in the May 7th Kentucky Derby (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, went slowly in his first timed workout over the track on the morning of April 20th.

The son of Tapit galloped once around the track before working five furlongs in 1:06 flat, starting off with fractions of :13.80, :27.20, and :40.40 before picking up the pace slightly and getting four furlongs in :52.80, with an internal furlong time of :12.40. But he slowed down slightly at the finish, getting the final furlong in :13.20 before galloping-out six furlongs in 1:23.40.

“Everything has gone according to plan, so I’m happy with that,” Kieta Tanaka, agent for owner Koji Maeda, said in a Churchill Downs press release. “We don’t do superfast works around this time so everything is what I have planned. We’ll do something faster next week and three or four days before the
Derby.”

Trained by Mikio Matsunaga, Lani has run in six races and already has experience at the ten-furlong distance of the Kentucky Derby, having finished fourth in a turf race at that distance to start his career. He then switched to dirt and finished second in a nine-furlong race over a muddy track at Hanshin before breaking his maiden over a fast track going nine furlongs at Kyoto.


Video courtesy of Churchill Downs


Lani first caught the attention of U.S. racing fans when he unleashed a huge late rally to win a one-mile handicap race at Tokyo by two lengths, an eye-catching performance that stamped him as a potential Kentucky Derby contender. Although he finished fifth in his next start, a similar race at Tokyo, he got a poor trip that day racing wide and making an early move. He rebounded sharply when shipped to Dubai to contest in the UAE Derby going 9.5 furlongs, rallying strongly after a stumble at the start to prevail by three-quarters of a length. Shortly afterward, Lani was shipped to the U.S., where he has been galloping at Churchill Downs since early April.

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Follow J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman"):

J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, blogger, videographer, and all-around horse racing enthusiast who was drawn to the sport by Curlin’s quest to become North America’s richest racehorse. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite. He lives in Wisconsin and also writes for the Bloodhorse.com blog Unlocking Winners.

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