Derby Shake-Up After Defection of Ring Weekend


Intense Holiday after his final work before the Kentucky Derby (Photos by Eclipse Sportswire).

Sunday was a busy day for Kentucky Derby preparations with some horses working, others recovering from yesterday’s works, and one withdrawal from the Kentucky Derby field.

Ring Weekend spiked a fever on Sunday morning and was withdrawn for the Kentucky Derby. If he recovers quickly, he will point to the Preakness Stakes. His defection means that Commanding Curve, another West Point horse, will be entered in the Kentucky Derby.

Todd Pletcher sent out all four of his Kentucky Derby contenders on Sunday with the trainer happy with three of the four works. Intense Holiday worked the fastest of the four with a time of 48.60 (seventh fastest of all to work at the distance) and Pletcher was happy to see that the work they have done on getting the colt to change leads has worked.

“This was a good work for him,” Pletcher said. “There might have been just a little bit of an issue still there, but overall it was everything we were hoping to see from him. He worked very well.”

While Pletcher was also happy with Danza and Vinceremos’ works, he was not happy with how We Miss Artie worked, questioning the decision to run him. However, later in the day Ken Ramsey told the Lexington Herald-Leader that as long as We Miss Artie is healthy, he will run in the Kentucky Derby.

Bob Baffert had Chitu breeze six furlongs from the gate on Sunday with the colt covering the distance in a time of 1:13.20. His other Kentucky Derby contender Hoppertunity galloped today in preparation for a work tomorrow. Baffert also confirmed that Bayern, who was No. 21 on the Derby points list, will not run in the Kentucky Derby after finishing second in yesterday’s Derby Trial.


Wildcat Red waited until after the renovation break to breeze over a fast track and went five furlongs in 1:04.40 with jockey Luis Saez aboard.

“Luis told my assistant that he was happy with the work and the horse did what I expected,” trainer Jose Garoffalo said. “He used to be very anxious but now he can relax as he goes longer. He is more mature and steadier. I am not worried about the time.”

Ride On Curlin followed the same pattern he had before the Arkansas Derby, working seven furlongs six days before the Kentucky Derby. The order from trainer Billy Gowan was to work the 3-year-old slowly and Gowan was happy with the work, just making sure Ride On Curlin is ready for the race.


General a Rod and Tapiture galloped today while Uncle Sigh jogged over the Churchill Downs surface and Pablo Del Monte, who is now No. 21 on the points list, jogged at Keeneland.

Hoppertunity and Tapiture are both scheduled to work on Monday.

Likely race favorite California Chrome was doing fine the morning after his final breeze before the Kentucky Derby and will ship to Churchill Downs from California tomorrow with fellow California-based runner Dance With Fate also shipping to Kentucky on Monday.

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