Derby Contenders arrive and start works at Churchill

April 10, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – With three weeks remaining until the first Saturday in May, the preparation for the 147th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) continued to heat up at Churchill Downs where Juddmonte Farm’s Mandaloun cruised five furlongs in :58.80 and D J Stable’s Helium clipped five-eighths of a mile in :59.20 over a fast track Saturday morning.

Mandaloun, the winner of the $400,000 risen Star at Fair Grounds, worked alongside Grade II winner Bonny South through opening fractions of :23.40 and :46.60 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:11.40 and seven furlongs in 1:25.60, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols.

“I thought they both worked great,” trainer Brad Cox said. “They both worked fast but looked like they were doing it really easy.”

Following Mandaloun’s work at 5:30 a.m. (all times Eastern), Cox darted to the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport to catch his flight to Hot Springs, Ark. where he will saddle Caddo River in Saturday’s $1 million Arkansas Derby (GI).

Two hours later at 7:30 a.m., $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (GII) winner Helium worked alongside of stablemate Ghost of the Mambo through fractions of :11.80, :23.20 and :35.40 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:12. Jockey Julien Leparoux was aboard Helium while Declan Carroll rode the workmate.

“Everything went as smoothly as we could’ve drew it up,” trainer Mark Casse’s local assistant David Carroll said. “He came in from Florida on Wednesday and has been doing very well since.”

Helium arrived with stablemate and fellow Kentucky Derby runner Soup and Sandwich, who is scheduled to breeze Sunday morning, according to Carroll. Owned by Live Oak Plantation, Soup and Sandwich galloped about 1 ½ miles at 5:30 a.m. Saturday.

Godolphin’s early Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality galloped at 6:30 a.m. Saturday. He’s scheduled to work two times prior to the Derby.

Other Derby contenders that trained Saturday morning at Churchill Downs were Winchell ThoroughbredsMidnight Bourbon, who galloped at 5:50 a.m. and Bernard Racing, Tagg Team Racing and West Point ThoroughbredsO Besos, who galloped at 5:30 a.m.

UPCOMING ARRIVALS – Several contenders from trainer Todd Pletcher’s squad are scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Sunday including Derby contenders Known Agenda and Sainthood along with Oaks runner Malathaat, according to senior director of the stable area Steve Hargrave.

Sainthood and Malathaat are both scheduled to van approximately 75 miles from Keeneland to Churchill Downs at 11 a.m. Sunday. Known Agenda is slated to arrive later in the afternoon from South Florida. Pletcher’s New York-based runners Bourbonic and Dynamic One are tentatively scheduled to arrive Monday.

Pletcher will be stabled in Barn 42 at Churchill Downs.

DOWN THE STRETCH – All Kentucky Derby week stakes races, including the second closing of the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) and $1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic, close Saturday. To nominate, contact Churchill Downs assistant racing secretary and stakes coordinator Dan Bork at or call (502) 638-3806.

Churchill Downs Press Release

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