- Doug O'Neill now says that Cobalt Blue may be out of the Derby (a "slight chance") pending his evaluation of a gallop the horse will have on Tuesday. Speaking of the Merv Griffin-owned colt's most recent workout: “He did not work that well,” O’Neill said of the six furlong work in 1:11 4/5 over Keeneland’s Polytrack. That was actually his second lackluster work in a row, which followed his disappointing seventh place finish in the Illinois Derby. Clocker-1 said of the latest work: "His gallop-out wasn't even fast enough to put a watch on. Anybody but Merv and I doubt this horse would be starting."
Here's what O'Neill said directly after the work, so we have an idea of what a trainer says when he thinks the work sucks, but doesn't want to say anything to offend the owner:
Although O'Neill thought the son of Golden Missile "lost interest" late in the work, he was clocked in a snappy 1:11.3. The robust Cobalt Blue, who carries a wide girth, clearly got something out of the work, as he was blowing hard coming off the track. "He needed a stiff work," said O'Neill. "The rider got into him a little bit." [Bloodhorse]The next day, O'Neill said: "Legwise, they're all cold and tight and look beautiful.....Churchill, here we come." [Lexington Herald Reader] But apparently he's since summoned the courage to tell Merv what he doesn't want to hear.