How The Other KyDerby150 Contenders Faired

May 6, 2024

The 150th Kentucky Derby. (Jenny Doyle/Past the Wire)

Kentucky Derby Update

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Susumu Fujita’s Forever Young (JPN) (3rd) was scheduled to return to Japan on Tuesday starting with a van trip to Chicago and then a flight to Narita.

Fujita left Louisville after the race Saturday night but told Hiroshi Ando, racing manager for trainer Yoshito Yahagi, that he “enjoyed the massive atmosphere and proud of his horse’s performance.”

Ando said that Yahagi was disappointed that Forever Young lost, but “how he ran his race made us so proud.”

Yahagi, who left Louisville early Sunday morning, noted that Forever Young’s third-place finish was the best result for a UAE Derby (GII) winner in the Derby and even after traveling first to Saudi Arabia where he won the Saudi Derby (GIII) and then to Dubai and on to Kentucky, “it shows that you can do it.”

While winner Mystik Dan was getting the golden run along the rail, Forever Young and Sierra Leone were exchanging bumps. Jockey Ryusei Sakai did not claim foul.

“Claims of foul do not happen much in Japan,” Ando said. “It is the stewards’ call, not us.”

Forever Young gets a bit of a bump. (Jenny Doyle/Past the Wire)
Forever Young (red cap) gets a bit of a bump. (Jenny Doyle/Past the Wire)

Tomoya Ozasa’s T O Password (JPN) (5th) was scheduled to return to Japan on Tuesday starting with a van trip to Chicago and then a flight to Narita.

Ozaza left Louisville after the race Saturday night and trainer Daisuke Takayanagi was on an early flight Sunday morning back to Japan.

After the race, Takayanagi told his racing manager Hiroshi Ando that T O Password “got a lot of experience for just his third race and was proud of his horse’s performance. It was a great experience for adapting to racing in North America.”

Stopping by the Quarantine Barn this morning was jockey Kazushi Kimura.

“He’s good this morning, no problems but he is tired,” said Kimura of T O Password, who was cut off at the start when Track Phantom came inward after the break. “It is what it is. He missed the first step and from there I followed Sierra Leone. He tried hard all the way.”

It was a much quieter scene at Barn 22 Sunday morning than the rest of Kentucky Derby Week with both Catching Freedom (4th) and Just a Touch (20th) enjoying an easy day in the shedrow.

Both horses came out of the Derby fine and next plans are still to be determined, according to trainer Brad Cox. 

Wood Memorial Stakes (GII) winner Resilience (6th) was none the worse for wear after his sixth-place run in the Kentucky Derby, but will not go on to the Preakness Stakes (GI) trainer Bill Mott said.

“He had absolutely a great trip,” Mott said. “I think he tried. By the looks of it, he might not have handled the 10 furlongs. He actually ran a very good race. Leaving the quarter pole, he looked like he could win as well as anybody, but he just couldn’t finish it off. I’d say at this point, we wouldn’t go (to the Belmont) either.”

Stronghold all focus on Saturday. (Jenny Doyle/Past The Wire)
Ghostzapper colt Stronghold all focus in his work. (Jenny Doyle/Past The Wire)

The California-based colt Stronghold (7th), who had checked in seventh in Saturday’s Derby 150, was looking fine and feeling a little frisky at Barn 48 on the Churchill backstretch Sunday morning.  

Trainer Phil D’Amato and his wife and chief exercise rider Sherri Alexander had caught an early flight west to their Santa Anita headquarters but stable assistant Julie Witt was overseeing activity and noted that all was well.  

“He (Stronghold) got a little hot after running yesterday, but he’s fine and feeling good this morning,” she noted. “He’ll go back to California at some point in the next week I’d guess.  

“We had five horses run here this week and Stronghold and Elm Drive will go back west. The others are going to stay, and they’ll be joined by a few other runners currently over at Keeneland. Phil keeps a string here.” 

Trainer Whit Beckman lamented the trip his Derby runner Honor Marie (8th) had Saturday in Kentucky Derby 150.

“He had the worst of the worst trips,” Beckman said. “He passed a lot of horses; he was making his run. You ask Kenny McPeek, you look at how many Derbys he’s been in and I’m sure he’s had a lot of bad trips. He got a beautiful trip, and that’s what it takes. Hopefully we keep showing and doing this again because it was a fun week.” 

The Kentucky Derby ninth-place finisher, Amerman Racing’s Endlessly (9th), was doing fine at Barn 35 on the Churchill Downs backstretch Sunday morning as trainer Michael McCarthy and assistant Justin Curran went about the business of dealing with their string of Kentucky horses. 

McCarthy was booked on a flight to California for around 9 a.m. He had horses to run Sunday afternoon at Santa Anita from his California stable. 

Both men indicated that they were pleased with the effort their son of Oscar Performance had given in his first attempt on a dirt surface.  

“He certainly gave it a good try,” McCarthy said. “We beat more than half the field and that’s not bad. 

“But it’s in the cards now for all concerned that the horse will go back to the grass. That’s where he wants to be.” 

The horse is headed back to California, too, probably on a plane with other California runners in the next few days.  

Society Man works with Dornoch on Saturday. (Jenny Doyle/Past The Wire)
Society Man in a work with Dornoch on Saturday before the Derby start. (Jenny Doyle/Past The Wire)

Pricilla Schaefer, exercise rider for Danny Gargan, reported that all was good with Dornoch (10th) and Society Man (16th) following their 10th– and 16th-place finishes, respectively in the Kentucky Derby. 

Schaefer gave both colts tons of affection Sunday morning, stressing that the fact they both came back well was the best takeaway from their efforts.

“That’s the most important thing,” Schaefer said. “You should have seen us walking back yesterday, we were laughing, smiling. We were just happy to be there and happy that they came back safe and sound. That always comes first.”

Harry Veruchi’s West Saratoga (12th) was scheduled to return to trainer Larry Demeritte’s base at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington, Kentucky, later today.

Sitting in his tack room at Barn 42 after the race last night, Demeritte said that West Saratoga came out of the race good.

Demeritte was not at the barn today because he attends a 9:45 a.m. weekly church service in Lexington.

Epic Ride (14th) returned to The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Saturday night after the race.

Trainer John Ennis reported via text that all was good with Epic Ride this morning.

“My plan was always to try and run in the Derby and give him some time off and bring him back at a mile in the summer,” Ennis said. “Maybe even Kentucky Downs.”

Fierceness after his Florida Derby victory. (Juliana Colombo/Coglianese)
Fierceness after his Florida Derby victory. (Juliana Colombo/Past The Wire)

The Kentucky Derby favorite – at odds of just over 3-1 – Fierceness (15th) was resting in Barn 39 at Churchill Downs Sunday morning after a disappointing effort that saw him among the leaders for the first mile of the mile and a quarter, but then lacking in punch for the run through the lane.  

The City of Light colt wound up 15th in the 20-horse field. 

“The colt seems fine this morning,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “He cooled out fine and scoped clean and he’s doing OK.

“I haven’t; had a chance to discuss what’s next with Mike (Repole), but I think we will take a couple of weeks and let the dust settle before we make any decision.

“I believe he’ll ship up to Saratoga in the next week.”

Sebastian “Bas” Nicholl, assistant to trainer D. Wayne Lukas, said Just Steel (17th) emerged in good order from his 17th-place finish. 

Granpollo Stables’ Grand Mo the First (18th) is scheduled to return to his base at Gulfstream Park on Monday.

“I don’t have a clear plan now (for what’s next),” trainer Victor Barboza Jr. said via text. “We will check the horse out the next few days and decide on a new race.”

Tami Bobo, Julie Davies and George Isaacs’ Catalytic (19th) came out of the Derby in good shape after finishing 19th with Jose Ortiz, trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. reported. “All is well. He will go back to Florida,” Joseph said.

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