Edited Press Release
Jacks or Better Farm Inc.’s Fellowship, who currently sits at No. 22 on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 32 points, breezed a half-mile in :48.80 over Churchill Downs’ fast main track Sunday morning.
It was the Florida-bred colt’s first serious workout since finishing third in the Florida Derby (G1) and switching barns from former conditioner Stanley Gold to Mark Casse.
Churchill Downs clockers caught Fellowship in splits of :12.40 and :25 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:01.40 and three-quarters of a mile in 1:14.60.
“I didn’t really know what to expect, I just kind of went in with no real expectations,” assistant trainer Norman Casse explained. “He was real full of energy. I was real excited about the way he worked. He moved well, so I was really happy with him.”
Casse stated that Fellowship is still under consideration for a start in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
“Obviously there will have to be some defections for us to run,” Casse said. “But it’s still too early to tell for sure, next week will be his big work and we’ll have a better indicator on where he is and what type of horse we think he is. If he gets in he deserves a shot, but he’ll have to work his way in.”
In other Kentucky Derby news, Winchell Farm LLC’s Louisiana Derby (G2) hero Gun Runner galloped two miles on the main track Sunday and will breeze Monday, according to assistant trainer Scott Blasi.
Also galloping on the main track were the G M B Racing-owned Grade 3 winner Mo Tom and Grade 2 runner-up Tom’s Ready; Koji Maeda’s U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2)-scoring Japanese invader Lani; and the Dale Romans-trained duo of Brody’s Cause and Cherry Wine, the respective first and third in the Blue Grass (G1).
Shadwell Stable’s once-beaten multiple Grade 2 hero Mohaymen arrived at Churchill Downs Barn 42 at 10:50 a.m. (ET) following a van ride from Florida.
At Keeneland, Reddam Racing’s undefeated champion Nyquist backtracked one circuit of the main track before the Sunday morning renovation break under exercise rider Jonny Garcia. Alongside a pony with assistant trainer Jack Sisterson up, the Uncle Mo colt walked to the eighth-pole and then jogged the remainder of his one lap around.
“It was a good day,” Sisterson said of Nyquist’s return to the track for the first time since working five furlongs in 1:02.60 on Friday. “Normal routine tomorrow: jog one and gallop one.”
Trainer Doug O’Neill is scheduled to return to Lexington, Kentucky, Wednesday with Nyquist slated to have the second of three scheduled Keeneland works Friday.
While the focus is currently centered on the Kentucky Derby, McCormick Racing and Southern Equine Stable’s Laoban earned his shot at the Preakness S. (G1) on May 21 thanks to his fourth-place run in the Blue Grass on April 9.
Following Saturday’s Arkansas Derby (G1), the final race to award points to qualify to the Kentucky Derby, Laoban currently sits in 24th on the leaderboard with only 32 points, not enough to earn a spot in the starting gate.
“Preakness (G1), here we come,” trainer Eric Guillot said Sunday morning, adding that Laoban would remain at Keeneland to train for the Preakness.
Trainer A.C. Avila said Saturday’s Lexington (G3) runner-up One More Round left Keeneland early Sunday morning to return to his Southern California base.
“He is going back home and we are going to break his maiden and then pick some spots,” Avila said.
Fellowship photo courtesy of Lauren King/Adam Coglianese Photography
Nyquist photo courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography