Kentucky Derby Notes and Workouts for 4/29/22

Zandon tuned up for the Kentucky Derby with a five-furlong work at Churchill Downs. (Coady Photography)

Zandon Impresses Brown in Five-Furlong Breeze

Among the many things that impresses trainer Chad Brown when it comes to his charge Zandon is the fact the son of Upstart looks and acts the same no matter which racetrack he visits.

In his lone workout over the Churchill Downs track in preparation for the May 7 Kentucky Derby (G1), the dark bay colt continued that trend with a visually stunning five-furlong breeze in 1:00.40 on April 29.

Under exercise rider Kriss Bon, Zandon began his work at the half-mile pole and completed the breeze at the seven-eighths pole. The Blue Grass Stakes (G1) winner completed early eighth-mile fractions of :12.80, :25, and :36.80, galloping out seven furlongs in 1:26.40.

“He worked fabulous,” said Brown, a four-time Eclipse Award winner. “It’s been smooth. You know the thing about this horse is he takes his racetrack with him so anywhere we've ever had him he's always trained well. So, it’s more of the same at Churchill.

“To begin with and he's such an efficient mover. He has tremendous reach and he’s a very unique horse being almost jet black, so it's easy to see him stand out there. He trains you know as good as the horse can possibly train so you know I'm proud of my team and everyone that's worked this horse to this point.”

Owned by Jeff Drown, Zandon rallied from off the pace to capture the Blue Grass Stakes by 2 ½ lengths, his first stakes win in four career starts. Though he is light on race experience, Zandon has gotten plenty of education in his young career, finishing second in the Remsen Stakes (G2) last December after a roughly run stretch drive and coming on to get third in the Risen Star Stakes (G2) after breaking in the air at the start.

“I feel like this is a horse who might not have a lot of races, but he has good experience,” Brown said. “He's got plenty of experience, he's had some challenging trips and he clearly looks like he wants to go 1 ¼-miles. I don't think anybody is question if this horse is getting the last quarter mile. He might not win but it's not going to be because he can't run a 1 ¼-miles. So that gives me a little extra confidence.”

Brown added that graded stakes winner Early Voting is likely going to train up to a start in the Preakness Stakes (G1) but he hasn’t ruled out entering the colt in the Derby should any major defections happen over the weekend.

“Right now, we're just planning on training him to the Preakness but I’m going to make a final decision by Sunday because that's when you have to ship here,” Brown said. “It looks almost certain that he’s going to the Preakness but I’m going to leave the door open just in case this race starts to have some defections especially on the front end. But I'd like to have the horse for the rest of his career and I think throwing him into a 1 ¼-miles race where but he hasn't had the most challenging trips may not be the best thing.

“You know when you swing hard at the Derby and you miss, you have to deal with the aftermath when you're the trainer. And sometimes, it's not pretty.”

Six Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) probable entrants had their final works for next Friday’s $1.25 million race over a fast track.

Topping the sextet was the Todd Pletcher-trained trio of Nest (half-mile in :48.60), Goddess of Fire (five furlongs in 1:01) and Shahama (five furlongs in 1:01.20). Also working were Hidden Connection (a half-mile in :50.20) for trainer Bret Calhoun, Turnerloose (five furlongs in 1:01 for trainer Brad Cox) and Venti Valentine (five furlongs in 1:00.80) for trainer Jorge Abreu.

Simplification Posts Final Pre-Derby Workout

Tami Bobo’s Simplification breezed five furlongs over a muddy track at Gulfstream Park on April 29 while completing his serious preparation for a scheduled start in the May 7 Kentucky Derby (G1).

The Antonio Sano-trained Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) winner is scheduled to leave Gulfstream for Churchill Downs at 6 p.m. Friday evening.

Simplification was timed in 1:00.44, the fastest of 10 workouts at the five-furlong distance. The son of Not This Time galloped out a mile in 1:38.60 under Junior Alvarado.


“I’m very happy with the work,” Sano said. “He went very easy and handled everything. The jockey said he was better than last week. It was a really, really good work for the horse.”

Simplification will be Sano’s second Kentucky Derby starter, following Gunnevera, the 2017 Fountain of Youth winner who went on to finish seventh of 20 in the Kentucky Derby. The son of Dialed In amassed a career bankroll of $5.5 million.

“I am 100-percent confident in my horse. I know the race is very strong, but I’m confident in the horse,” Sano said. “I think this is a better horse than Gunnevera.”

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 has breezed five furlongs three times at Gulfstream since the Florida Derby with Alvarado aboard.

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 by 3 ½ lengths after closing from last to win going away.

C2 Racing Stable LLC and La Milagrosa Stable LLC’s White Abarrio, the Holy Bull (G3) and Florida Derby winner who ranks third with 112 qualifying points on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, is scheduled to have his final pre-Derby workout Saturday morning at Gulfstream Park.

Bet Now at TVG | Bet Now at FanDuel