Favorite gallops prior to Kentucky Derby
Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - Orb, the 7-2 Kentucky Derby favorite, had another gallop around Churchill Downs the day before the 139th Run for the Roses.
Owned by Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable, Orb galloped 1 1/2 miles with exercise rider Jennifer Patterson on Friday morning. The colt, trained by Shug McGaughey, will break from post 16 with jockey Joel Rosario.
The field for the Derby was reduced to 19 with the scratch of Spiral Stakes champ Black Onyx. The colt suffered a non-displaced fracture that should not end his career
"I hope the track is fast and safe for everybody and nobody has any excuses and let the best horse win," McGaughey said. "We can't control the weather. They say it might rain, so if it does, it does."
The Kentucky Derby will probably be run over a sloppy or muddy track. Rain, possibly heavy at times, is likely Saturday with a post-time temperature of around 60.
Verrazano, the 4-1 second pick, along with trainer Todd Pletcher's other four entrants were among the first ones on the track Friday morning. The five 3-year-olds galloped 1 1/4 miles over the historic track.
Verrazano will be ridden by John Velazquez from post 14, the last post in the main starting gate. Stablemate Charming Kitten drew post 15, the first hole in the auxiliary gate.
"We're 100 percent done. We'll leave well enough alone from here," Pletcher noted.
Also taking a 1 1/4 mile gallop was 5-1 third choice Goldencents. Trained by Doug O'Neill, the colt will be ridden by Kevin Krigger from post 8.
"We won't put him on the racetrack tomorrow morning," said O'Neill, who won last year's Derby with I'll Have Another. "We didn't put I'll Have Another out there race day last year and that worked fine."
Goldencents won the Santa Anita Derby and is partly owned by Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino.
"I think it has all worked out for the best," O'Neill said. "Even the debacle in the San Felipe, I think that may prove to be a godsend. If he'd have won that race handily, I think we probably wouldn't have run him again; we probably would have just trained him up to this race. Then maybe he's going to be too fresh and you don't know what's going to happen.
"But when he ran like he did that day (fourth in the San Felipe), we made some adjustments. We trained him differently and he responded. He's really doing well and we're feeling good about his chances. We think it is our time. We think it is us."
Getting his first look at Churchill Downs was late entrant Giant Finish who is trained by Tony Dutrow. The colt shipped from Maryland on Wednesday night and arrived in Louisville Thursday. The trainer's brother Rick won the 2008 Derby and Preakness with Big Brown.
Giant Finish, owned by Sunrise Stable and partners, took a couple of trips around the track with assistant trainer Ray Handal riding.
"He was a pro like we thought he would be," Handal said. "We jogged him a mile and galloped him a mile and a quarter, just nice and easy and let him take everything in. He was good about it. No complaints."
The colt is 50-1 in the program and will be ridden by Jose Espinoza from post 7. He registered a third in the Spiral Stakes after taking second in the John Battaglia Memorial, both at Turfway Park.
05/03 14:24:57 ET