Rain Puts Damper on Day 1 of Derby, Oaks Exclusive Training

Rain Puts Damper on Day 1 of Derby, Oaks Exclusive Training

J Boys Echo gallops at Churchill Downs on April 23rd – Coady Photography

Churchill Downs Press Release: Thanks to inclement weather, Janis Whitham’s McCraken and the Albaugh Family Stable’s J Boys Echo were the only two 3-year-olds on the “sloppy” main track Saturday during the first of Churchill Downs’ exclusive Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks training periods from 8:30-8:45 a.m. (all times EDT).

Both colts galloped in the mud in preparation for scheduled starts in the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) on Saturday, May 6.

Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) and Sam F. Davis (GIII) winner McCraken, who is undefeated in three starts beneath the Twin Spires, galloped 1 ¾ miles with regular exercise rider Yoni Orantes aboard. The 3-year-old son of Ghostzapper – stabled with trainer Ian Wilkes’ string in Barn 26 – is scheduled to breeze Monday at 8:30 a.m. with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. in the irons.

Gotham (GIII) hero J Boy’s Echo, who finished fourth in the Blue Grass (GII) one position behind McCraken, galloped 1 ½ miles with exercise rider Tammy Fox up. The Mineshaft colt is on target to breeze five furlongs Sunday at 8:30 a.m. J Boys Echo is stabled in trainer Dale Romans’ Barn 4.

Several trainers tried to beat the weather and sent their Derby and Oaks contenders to train between 6-7 a.m.:

  • Arkansas Derby (GI) winner Classic Empire jogged one mile Saturday with regular exercise rider Martin Rivera up for trainer Mark Casse. The 2-year-old champion is expected to breeze next weekend.
  • Following Friday workouts, Casse’s other Derby contender State of Honor and Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) contender Salty jogged one mile at 6 a.m. Both horses will have the day off Sunday, according to assistant trainer Norm Casse.
  • Sunland Derby winner Hence made an appearance during trainer Steve Asmussen’s first set at 6 a.m. Saturday. The 3- year-old son of Street Boss is expected to breeze in the first set Monday morning when training begins.
  • Spiral (GIII) winner Fast and Accurate was scheduled to breeze at 6 a.m. Saturday morning at Trackside Louisville but trainer Mike Maker called an audible and decided to wait until Sunday or Monday when the weather dries out.
  • Jordan’s Henny, currently No. 16 on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard after a third-place finish in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII), breezed an easy half-mile in :50.20 Saturday. The 3-year-old daughter of Henny Hughes splashed through fractions of :12.40 and :37.80 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:03.40.
  • Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) winner Farrell visited the track for training Saturday at 6 a.m. The 3-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon is expected to breeze Wednesday or Thursday at Churchill Downs, according to trainer Wayne Catalano.

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