Asmussen, Winchell, Fiske interviews after Epicenter, Echo Zulu work and more, much more

April 24, 2022

You name it we have it, Steve Asmussen, Brad Cox, Ken McPeek, Chad Brown, Corey Lanerie, Todd Pletcher, Irad Ortiz and more all weighing in before the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby here at Past the Wire.

Steve Asmussen on a variety of subjects after Echo Zulu worked inside King Ottoman, six furlongs in 1:11.80. Complete splits: 12.20, 23.80, 35.60, 47.40, 1:11.80 out in 1:25.20, 1:39.80. Epicenter worked outside Gun It: 13, 24.40, 35.80, 47.20 for six furlongs in 1:12.20 and galloping out in 1:26.20, 1:41.

Ron Winchell, owner of Epicenter and Echo Zulu (in partnership with L and N Racing), was on hand for the works. Here’s what he said afterward (including good background on his dad, Verne Winchell, who started the racing operation and told his son that while he probably couldn’t win the Derby that Ron would.

David Fiske, longtime racing and bloodstock manager for Winchell Thoroughbreds dating back more than 40 years, talks about purchasing Epicenter – the first Warren County-bred he recalls the operation having. Fiske talks about the late Verne Winchell and how the racing and breeding operation have not just carried on but expanded under his son.

B-roll video of Echo Zulu and Epicenters works.


Zandon and Chad Brown

Kenny McPeek on Tiz the Bomb, Smile Happy

Jockey Florent Geroux on Arkansas Derby winner Cyberknife after 6F work in 1:12.20 in company

Trainer Brad Cox on Cyberknife‘s work and more

Corey Lanerie on Smile Happy‘s work and trying to win the Derby at his adopted hometown track.

Mike Mackin, who with his four siblings campaigns Smile Happy under their Lucky7 Stables. Smile Happy in his second start won Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Jockey Club last fall then was second this year in the Risen Star won by Derby favorite Epicenter and Keeneland’s Toyota Blue Grass won by Zandon. This is a long video but includes a lot of background for media wanting to do a story on the Mackin family of Louisville.

Clay Courville – groom, exercise rider and assistant trainer to his dad Ricky – is a one-man band at Churchill Downs, here from Louisiana with Oaklawn Park’s 75-1 Rebel Stakes winner Un Ojo, who is missing his left eye after a mishap as a baby. Un Ojo worked five-eighths of a mile in 59.40 seconds (second-fastest of the morning) with jockey Colby Hernandez filling in for race jockey Ramon Vazquez. (Another long video, but lots of good background for a really fun story.)

Brad Cox on Louisiana Derby runner-up Zozos’ work (6F in 1:12.40), with comments on Arkansas Derby winner Cyberknife (who is to work Saturday morning) and Keeneland’s Stonestreet Lexington winner Tawny Port.

Todd Pletcher: The media catches up with Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher after he worked several of his Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders at Churchill Downs on April 22. Florida Derby runner-up Charge it worked 5F in 1:00.40 in company of Cezanne at 7:30, while Wood Memorial winner Mo Donegal (with jockey Irad Ortiz up) worked an easy half-mile in 50.20 with My Prankster, also at 7:30 a.m. Keeneland’s G1 Ashland winner Nest (Ortiz up) worked a half-mile in 49.80 seconds outside of Inventing at 6 a.m. Pletcher’s other two Oaks contenders, UAE Derby winner Shahama worked with Goddess of Fire (inside horse) five-eighths in 1:00.80. B-roll of these horses under a separate video.

Jockey Irad Ortiz after working Ashland winner Nest and Wood winner Mo Donegal for trainer Todd Pletcher. Begins with b-roll of Mo Donegal’s work, as well as stablemate Charge It. (No Nest video, at least I don’t think. She didn’t have on an Oaks saddle towel).

Jerry Crawford, president of Donegal Racing, the syndicate that owns Mo Donegal, was on hand for the Wood Memorial winner’s work.

Trainer John Ortiz on Arkansas Derby runner-up Barber Road, who worked six furlongs in 1:16.40 under Reylu Gutierrez. Barber Road, the late-running Arkansas Derby runner-up, has put Ortiz into the Kentucky Derby in his sixth year as a trainer. We catch up with Ortiz at his Churchill Downs barn, just outside the playful Barber Road’s stall. Barber Road, a $15,000 weanling purchase, is owned by Bill Simon, former CEO of WalMart – who knows a barga

B-roll from morning training 

For the very best and we do mean very best Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby seminar in the game check out the annual Past the Wire Oaks Derby seminar. Yes, we will cover other stakes both days, yes a replay is available if you miss the live version. You won’t want to miss it. Grab a reservation while they are still available. Get the Oaks Derby seminar info RIGHT HERE

Jennie Rees/Kentucky HBPA Press Release

@PastTheWire Did it again Jon! Stay hot!

Jason Heidl @JasonHeidl View testimonials