- Brother Derek, the presumptive Derby favorite, had his workout today on a Churchill Downs strip labeled “muddy.” With Alex Solis in on the red-eye from Hollywood Park, he got the half mile in 49.20 seconds and galloped out in 1:03. There was apparently some uncertainty on Dan Hendricks' part whether to go forward on the wet track; and as to where exactly Solis was on his route from Cincinnati. He decided to wait, both for the track to dry a bit, and for his jockey.
Then, Hendricks tried to get Churchill management to harrow the track and let them work at 10:15. Publicist J.J. Graci contacted track superintendent Butch Lehr, who refused them permission, as did Churchill president Steve Sexton, neither wanting to allow special privileges for one horse.
After an opening quarter in :25 1/5, Brother Derek was clocked his next eighth in :11 2/5 before coming home in :12 3/5 to complete the four furlongs in :49 1/5 (5/24), which was just what Hendricks was looking for. More important than the time, Brother Derek cornered beautifully, sticking close to the rail, and changed leads smoothly. [Bloodhorse]But Hendricks sent what seems to me to be mixed signals afterwards. One on hand, he claimed that the horse didn’t really need much more than the maintenance work it seems to have been. “He's fit from his races; I didn't need a lot. It was just a little something as much for us as for him." But on the other hand, he said that he would have worked him five furlongs had the track been dry, and that his plans for the rest of the week include "strong, long gallops because he didn't do a whole lot there (in his work).” That seems to indicate to me that Hendricks is unsure as to whether he's done enough with the horse.
Indeed, the colt has not worked for this race the same way he did for his last two. He worked a bullet six furlongs in 1:12 1/5 before the Santa Catalina; and he drilled the same distance in 1:11, best of five that day, before the SA Derby. I think that was the work that prompted Solis to call him a “monster.” Dan Illman did some research on Derby works for his FormBlog entry today, and revealed that 7 out of the last 10 winners had a bullet work prior to the Derby. While I don’t really know how significant that is without also knowing how many horses that didn’t win the Derby also had bullet works, Brother Derek didn’t come close to one in his three works since the SA Derby. He breezed five in 1:01 2/5 (12/42) on 4/17; then he had that seven furlong work in 1:28 2/5 (5/6) behind a stablemate on 4/24; and then this one today. Interested to hear what the boys on The Works have to say about this workout when I watch it later tonight.
- Showing Up worked a half in 49.63 seconds at Belmont this morning. Trainer Barclay Tagg said he thought the work was a little slower than he was looking for, but still plans to send the unbeaten colt to Louisville. [DRF] Inexperience, puncture wound, slower workout than he wanted.....but yeah, send him to Churchill anyway. It sounds like Tagg would persist with this horse even if he showed up tomorrow morning missing a leg.