HORSE RACING

Kentucky Derby Workouts and Notes for 4/23/22

Zandon Turns in First Breeze Since Blue Grass Victory

(Edited Press Release)

Jeff Drown’s Zandon, winner of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) on April 9, turned in his first breeze since that victory when he worked four furlongs in :48.60 the morning of April 23 over a fast track at Keeneland for trainer Chad Brown.

In his penultimate tune-up for the Kentucky Derby (G1), the son of Upstart clocked splits of :12.80, :25.20, and :37 as Brown and jockey Flavien Prat watched from the Grandstand. The colt galloped out in 1:00.80, 1:13.80 and 1:27.60.

“He was moving super; just what we wanted to see,” Brown said. “We just wanted to maintain where he is. He does not have to get any fitter. I was impressed with how he galloped out.”

(Click here for a video of the work.)

Zandon is scheduled to ship to Churchill Sunday morning and have his final workout there in preparation for the May 7 Kentucky Derby (G1). The dark bay colt is second on the Derby leaderboard with 114 points.

Last October at Belmont Park, Zandon opened his career with a 1½-length triumph after lagging behind in the early part of a 6-furlong maiden special weight race. Two months later at Aqueduct, he battled through the stretch with Kentucky Derby contender Mo Donegal and was beaten a nose in the Remsen (G2). In his next start before the Blue Grass, Zandon was third behind Kentucky Derby hopefuls Epicenter and Smile Happy in the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds on Feb. 19.

The 2-1 second choice in the Toyota Blue Grass, Zandon came from behind to catch favored Smile Happy in the closing yards to win by 2½ lengths.

“He has had a small number of races but those races were very meaningful,” Brown said. “We quite liked him by the time he debuted (but) I was surprised he won sprinting. When he won, he really picked my head up. (That is when) I thought he had way above average potential. Then he showed a lot in the Remsen going 1 1/8 miles. He has a lot of good experience in a small number of races.”

Cyberknife Leads Slate of Workers at Churchill Downs

Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders kicked it into high gear Saturday morning with several horses around the country logging their most serious workouts prior to the first weekend in May. At Churchill Downs, Derby contendersCyberknife (six furlongs, 1:12.20), Smile Happy (five furlongs, 1:00.40), Tiz the Bomb(five furlongs 1:00.20) andUn Ojo (:59.40) all breezed for the “Run for the Roses.

Gold Square’s Arkansas Derby winner Cyberknife breezed at 5:15 a.m. (all times Eastern) with jockey Florent Geroux in the saddle. The son of Gun Runner worked on the outside of stablemate Koolhous. Cyberknifestarted two lengths back at the five-furlong marker and finished two lengths in front at the wire. Cyberknife continued his strong move around the far turn and completed seven furlongs in 1:24.60, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols.

“It was a really strong move and he’s a really good work horse,” Geroux said. “He continues to improve as time goes on and he showed that winning the Arkansas Derby. Even going back to his allowance win before the Arkansas Derby he showed a new level of class.”

During the 7:30-7:45 a.m. training period reserved for Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders,Lucky Seven Stable’s Blue Grass Stakes runner-up Smile Happy and Magdalena Racing Lessee’s Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) winner Tiz the Bomb breezed in company. Smile Happy and jockey Corey Lanerie began the work about one length in front of Brian Hernandez Jr. and Tiz the Bomb. Hernandez and Tiz the Bomb moved to the outside of Smile Happy and finished in tandem at the wire.

“We were just looking for an easy move today and we got that,” trainer Kenny McPeek said. “We’ll probably do the same thing again next week.”

Cypress Creek Equine’s Un Ojo arrived at Churchill Downs on Tuesday with trainer Ricky Courville’s son, Clay, in tow. Clay breezed Un Ojo through opening eighth-mile splits of :11.60, :23, :35 and :47.60. Un Ojo galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.20.

“It’s amazing being here at Churchill Downs,” Clay said. “I’ve been here before but nothing like this. (Un Ojo) is getting over the track really well.”

Sunday morning, likely Kentucky Derby and Oaks favorites Epicenter and Echo Zulu are both scheduled to work for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.

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