Kentucky Derby Workouts and Notes for 4/22/22

Kentucky Derby contender Zozos works at Churchill Downs for trainer Brad Cox. (Coady Photography)

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Pletcher Contingent Among Slate of Workers at Churchill Downs

(Edited Press Release)

Churchill Downs was bustling with excitement the morning of April 22 as 10 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1) contenders logged their penultimate work prior to the first weekend in May.

Half of those workers were from Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher’s barn – Oaks contenders Goddess of Fire (five furlongs, 1:00.80); Nest (four furlongs, :49.80); and Shahama (five furlongs, 1:00.80) and Derby contenders Charge It (five furlongs, 1:00.40) and Mo Donegal (four furlongs, :50.20).

Other Derby and Oaks contenders that worked Friday were Barber Road (six furlongs, 1:16.40); Beguine (five furlongs, 1:01); Cocktail Moments (five furlongs, 1:01.20); Turnerloose (five furlongs, 1:01.20) and Zozos (six furlongs, 1:12.40).

The Pletcher squad began their works at 6 a.m. ET with the trio of Oaks breezes. Red Oak Stable’s Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) runner-up Goddess of Fire worked on the inside of KHK Racing’s UAE Oaks (GIII) winner Shahama through fractions of :13.20, :25.60 and :37.40. The duo galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.20 and completed seven furlongs in 1:26.

Their stablemate, Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House’s recent Ashland Stakes (G1) heroine Nest, worked an easy half-mile outside of Inventing through eighth-mile clockings of :13.20, :25.40 and :37.80. They galloped out five furlongs in 1:02.60.

“Nest went a nice half in about :50 and galloped out nicely,” Pletcher said. “We were looking for a little bit more from Goddess of Fire and Shahama. Goddess of Fire hasn’t run since the Fair Grounds Oaks and Shahama hasn’t run since the UAE Oaks. So, we were looking for a little bit of a stronger work from them. They galloped out well and I was pleased with how they went.”

About 90 minutes later, Pletcher’s Derby duo of Whisper Hill Farm’s Florida Derby (G1) runner-up Charge It and Donegal Racing’s Wood Memorial (G2) winner Mo Donegal worked in separate sets. Charge It was the first of the two to work and went in company outside Cezanne through fractions of :12, :25.40, :37.60. They galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.80 and seven furlongs in 1:25. Charge It completed his move with a one-mile time of 1:38.60. Mo Donegal breezed outside of My Prankster through composed early fractions of :13 and :26.20. They galloped out five furlongs in 1:02.20.

“With Charge It, we were looking for a good, solid breeze,” Pletcher said. “He went a minute and four-fifths with a super big gallop out. We were really happy with that. With Mo Donegal, with the Wood just 13 days ago, we were just looking for an easy half in :50. He had a nice gallop out as well. All the horses got over the track well. The track still had a little moisture in it from yesterday but they all handled it well.”

Jockey Irad Oritz Jr. was at Churchill Downs to work both Nest and Mo Donegal on Friday for Pletcher.

“Nest is improving race by race,” Ortiz said. “We really loved her since Day 1. Hopefully, we can get lucky that day. Mo Donegal is a really good horse. He is nice and quiet. He does everything we ask him to do. It looks like he should like the distance. It shouldn’t be a problem with him. With a mile-and-a-quarter for 3-year-olds, he’s the type of style you want for that day.”

Pletcher’s third Derby contender, Pioneer of Medina, galloped at 8:15 a.m.

At 7:30 a.m., WSS Racing’s Arkansas Derby (G1) runner-up Barber Road worked solo with jockey Reylu Gutierrez in the saddle. The son of Race Day easily galloped through opening splits of :13.60, :26.60, :39.60 and :51.80. He completed his seven-furlong gallop out in 1:29.

Shortly before Barber Road worked, Barry and Joni Butzow’s Louisiana Derby (G2) runner-up Zozos breezed with jockey Florent Geroux in the saddle outside of stablemate Fulsome through swift quarter-mile times of :24 and :48.40. The duo galloped out around the clubhouse through seven furlongs in 1:25.20.

“It was another really strong move,” trainer Brad Cox said. “He galloped out really well around the turn and is really doing well over this track. He’s a quick horse as he showed in the Louisiana Derby but he settles into his works nicely.”

Twenty minutes following Zozo’s move, Cox also worked Ike and Dawn Thrash’s Rachel Alexandra (G2) winner Turnerloose five furlongs in 1:01.20 inside of Grade 1-winner Juju’s Map.

Saturday is expected to be another busy morning at Churchill Downs. Arkansas Derby winner Cyberknife is slated to work at 5:15 a.m. Other known Derby and Oaks workers include Smile Happy, Tiz the Bomb and Un Ojo.

Simplification Shines in Five-Furlong Move at Gulfstream

Tami Bobo’s Simplification prepared for a scheduled start in the May 7 Kentucky Derby Friday morning with an ‘impressive’ five-furlong workout at Gulfstream Park.

Video of Work:

The Antonio Sano-trained colt completed the second of three scheduled five-furlong pre-Derby breezes at Gulfstream in :59.42 seconds before galloping out a mile in 1:37.52 under a near-motionless Junior Alvarado.

“I’m so happy. The work was impressive. He did it very handily, very easy,” Sano said. “Junior worked the horse. He told me, ‘Your horse wins the Derby.”

Simplification is coming off a third-place finish in the April 2 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream after pressing the early pace between horses. The son of Not This Time returned to the Gulfstream Park worktab April 15 with a five-furlong breeze in 1:01.83 under Alvarado.

Jose Ortiz has the Kentucky Derby mount aboard the Sano trainee.

Simplification ranks ninth on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 74 qualifying points, guaranteeing the Florida-bred colt a place in the 20-horse field. Prior to finishing third in the Florida Derby, Simplification won the mile Mucho Macho Man in front-running fashion and captured the Fountain of Youth (G2) by 3 ½ lengths after closing from last to win going away.

“I’m so proud of my horse. I know the race is a strong race, but my horse is working very good,” Sano said. “I want to win the race for Gulfstream.”

Simplification is scheduled to breeze five-furlongs again next Friday before shipping to Churchill Downs.

“One more work next Friday and then he’ll go to Kentucky. When he’s in Kentucky he won’t work. He’ll only gallop,” Sano said.

C2 Racing Stable LLC and La Milagrosa Stable LLC’s White Abarrio, who captured the Florida Derby and ranks third with 112 qualifying points on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard, is scheduled to breeze three furlongs at Gulfstream Sunday morning. The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained son of Race Day is slated to have his final pre-Derby workout at Gulfstream May 1 before shipping to Kentucky.