Confidence Game (#7 outside) fiercely goes for victory in the Rebel at Oaklawn (Coady Photography)
Churchill Downs Press Release
LOUISVILLE, Ky.— Three weeks remain until the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) and trainer Keith Desormeaux has ramped up his work pattern for Don’t Tell My Wife Stables and Ocean Reef Racing’s Rebel Stakes (GII) winner Confidence Game who had a unique one-mile breeze in 1:38.20 from the starting gate on Friday morning at Churchill Downs.
Confidence Game, with jockey James Graham aboard, began his training session by breaking inside of his unraced 3-year-old stablemate. Around the far-turn, after Confidence Game completed five furlongs in 1:00.20, fellow stablemate Giant Awakening was waiting for him around the 5 ½-furlong pole. The duo then stayed together around the track with Confidence Game finishing his work around the sixteenth pole and galloped out about 1 ¼ miles to the wire.
Confidence Game’s April 8 work:
“At first when I looked at the final time, I was a little disappointed,” Desormeaux said. “Then I got back to the barn and went through the splits, and I had a renewed sense of confidence – for a lack of a better term. He really started to pick it up late in the work even when he went fast early during the work. … The gate works at Churchill are timed when the doors open so if you take into account that during a race there is a little bit of a run-up before the timer starts, he worked really well. I was definitely looking to get a lot of out of the work and I think we accomplished that. He needed it.”
Confidence Game completed splits of :24.60, :36, :47.80, 1:00.20, 1:13 and 1:25.60. He galloped out 1 ¼ miles in 2:05.80.
Confidence Game will enter the Derby off a 10-week layoff from the Rebel. Desormeaux originally thought about running in Saturday’s Lexington (GIII) at Keeneland but opted to train up to the Derby.
Desormeaux said Confidence Game would likely work back next Saturday.