SLIDESHOW: Active Sunday Under Twin Spires for Derby, Oaks Hopefuls

The morning activity at Churchill Downs is beginning to pick up as preparations intensify for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. (Coady Photography)

The activity level in beginning to intensify at Churchill Downs as the contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Longines Kentucky Oaks begin final preparations for the most important starts of their careers.

Gotham Stakes winner J Boys Echo breezed a half-mile on the Churchill main track in :49.20 in preparation for the May 6 Kentucky Derby.

“It was a really solid work,” trainer Dale Romans said of the Albaugh Family Stable’s Mineshaft colt. “We’ll come back next Saturday and go a little faster. Only one hurdle left until the first Saturday in May.

Several other Derby and Oaks hopefuls galloped on Sunday (images in slideshow below courtesy of Coady Photography), and Kentucky Oaks contender Ever So Clever breezed five-eighths of a mile in 1:02 for trainer Steve Asmussen. Ever So Clever enters the Oaks off a win in the Grade 3 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park on April 14.

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