Favorite arrives for 140th Kentucky Derby

The Sports NetworkApril 28, 2014 

Louisville, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - Kentucky Derby favorite California Chrome arrived Monday afternoon at Churchill Downs ahead of Saturday's 140th Run for the Roses.

Trained by Art Sherman, California Chrome flew into Louisville from California and will be stabled in Barn 20 on the Churchill backside in trainer Tom Proctor's barn. The colt, winner of the Santa Anita Derby, will jog over the track Tuesday morning.

Trainer Mike Maker had his two contenders, General a Rod and harry's Holiday, jog on the sloppy Churchill track Monday morning. Louisiana Derby winner Vicar's in Trouble also jogged Monday morning for Maker.

"If the situation called for it, they've trained well over it, but as a whole, I don't work my horses over an off track," Maker said. "They haven't run on it. There's only one way to find out."

Arriving at Churchill along with California Chrome was Blue Grass Stakes winner Dance With Fate. The colt is trained by Peter Eurton and will be ridden in the Derby by Corey Nakatani.

Wood Memorial winner Wicked Strong, trained by Jimmy Jerkens, galloped about 1 1/4 miles over the sloppy track under exercise rider Kelvin Pahal.

"He galloped pretty much like he always does, starts out real slow looking around and once he gets warmed up he starts stretching out," Jerkens said. "He didn't pull like he does back home, only because of the combination of the mud and he's never seen the place before. I thought he looked good and comfortable and switched his leads nice."

Wood Memorial runner-up Samraat left for Louisville Monday afternoon from New York. The colt is trained by Rick Violette.

"I'm obviously excited," Violette said, "my whole family is going to be there. I've got a brother flying in from L.A. and another brother flying in from London. My sister and my parents are coming up from Florida. It's pretty cool and they are very excited. This is something you really should enjoy, whether you go once or 100 times. There is no question that you need to slow down sometimes and smell the roses and this is certainly one of those times. No pun intended."

Trainer Todd Pletcher had his four contenders, Intense Holiday; We Miss Artie; Danza and Vinceremos, each jog a mile under the Twins Spires.

Trainer Bob Baffert had Santa Anita Derby runner-up Hoppertunity go four furlongs at Churchill in 48 seconds with jockey Martin Garcia Monday during an early morning rain storm. The colt will ridden on Saturday by Hall of Famer Mike Smith and Garcia will be aboard Sunland Derby winner Chitu.

"It was a good work. I'm glad I got the work in," Baffert noted. "He (Hoppertunity) looked great. He was reaching out well. Got it in and got it out of the way. I can relax now, sit around and go buy my tickets."

Florida Derby runner-up Wildcat Red came out of his Sunday workout in good shape.

"He's perfect. He had a very easy workout and is saving everything for Saturday," trainer Jose Garoffalo said. "There are people who are skeptical about the workout, but he did it so easily and (jockey Luis) Saez felt the horse did well."

Arkansas Derby runner-up Ride On Curlin also took it easy Monday after a Sunday seven-furlong workout.

"He was feeling his oats, because he ate every one of them last night," trainer Billy Gowan said. "And his legs were cold and tight. I love the way he looks this morning, because you always hold your breath after a work. We came in this morning, and it was perfect."

Tapiture, fourth in the Arkansas Derby, put in a Monday workout for trainer Steve Asmussen. The chestnut colt went four furlongs in 50 seconds over the sloppy Churchill track and galloped out in five furlongs 1:04.80.

"I'm very happy to get it in," Asmussen said. "I loved how he moved over it."

Blue Grass Stakes runner-up Medal Count, trained by Dale Romans, had a two- mile jog Monday morning.

"He's fine," Romans said. "Energy level's high."

Trainer John Sadler had Candy Boy, third in the Santa Anita Derby, jog around Churchill once.

"If it were to come up wet on Saturday, I wouldn't mind it," Sadler noted. "He liked it here last Friday when he galloped and the track was wet. If it does work out that way, I'd think some others wouldn't care for it and we'd be OK."

Uncle Sigh, fifth in the Wood Memorial, galloped 1 1/2 miles under exercise rider Benito Alvarado Monday morning.

Commanding Curve, third in the Louisiana Derby, galloped Monday morning under exercise rider Emerson Chavez.

"He ran bad in the mud at Saratoga, but that was like soup," trainer Dallas Stewart said. "But he's galloped - I've never worked him in the mud - but he gallops terrific in it. It's always a great unknown."

Trainer Wesley Ward had Pablo Del Monte, third in the Blue Grass Stakes, gallop 1 1/2 miles Monday morning at Keeneland.

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