Kentucky Derby Update: Pletcher quartet tuneup; Tampa Bay Derby winner, Helium works from the gate

April 16, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – On a busy Friday morning at Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby contenders Bourbonic (five furlongs, 1:01.60), Dynamic One(five furlongs, 1:01), Helium (five furlongs, 1:01.80), Known Agenda (five furlongs, 1:00.40) and Sainthood (five furlongs, 1:00.40) all recorded published workouts in preparation for the 147th running of the “Run for the Roses” on Saturday, May 1.

All five horses worked at 7:30 a.m. and D J Stable’s $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (GII) winner Helium was the first of the quintet to work. He breezed on the inside of stablemate Peace Achieved through fractions of :25.60, :37.60 and :49.80. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.60. Peace Achieved completed his five-furlong move in 1:02.

“The most important thing about the work is (jockey) Julien (Leparoux) was happy,” said trainer Mark Casse, who slated to arrive next week in Kentucky.

Helium, an undefeated son of Ironicus, will be ridden by Leparoux in the Derby.

Trainer Todd Pletcher arrived two weeks early in Kentucky and was on-site to watch his Derby contenders work Friday morning. Pletcher’s first duo of St. Elias Stable’s $750,000 Florida Derby (GI) winner Known Agenda and WinStar Farm and CHC INC’s $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (GII) runner-up Sainthood worked through fractions of :12.60, :24.40 and :36.40. They galloped out together through six furlongs in 1:13.40. Jockey IradOrtiz Jr. was aboard Known Agenda while exercise rider Amelia Green rode Sainthood.

“Because of the spacing of their last two races, I wanted a more serious work out of them,” Pletcher said. “I thought both horses got over the surface well and that’s what was most important about getting them up here early to work over it. All four of these horses have probably been workmates at one point and I paired these two together because of that spacing of their last race.”

The next Pletcher duo to work was Calumet Farm’s Bourbonic and Repole Stable,Phipps Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Dynamic One. The one-two finishers of the $750,000 Wood Memorial (GII), respectively, began their work together through an opening quarter-mile fraction of :24.40 and half-mile time of :48.60. Dyanmic One finished in front of Bourbonic at the wire and continued to gallop out ahead through a six-furlong time of 1:13.20. Bourbonic completed a six-furlong gallop out in 1:14.60.

“I thought it would be good to work both of these horses together after coming out of the same race,” Pletcher said. “I’d say we were definitely surprised at winning the Wood. (Bourbonic) has always trained a little bit light but we always thought that the further the distance, the better it would be for him. He likes to drop back and make one run.”

Pletcher will be the special guest on “Inside Churchill Downs” Friday at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN 680/105.7. The one-hour radio show, hosted by Churchill Downs Racetrack’sDarren Rogers and Kevin Kerstein, along with handicapper ScottShapiro, begins at 6 p.m. and those outside the Louisville area can listen live on

Saturday will start the exclusive 7:30-7:45 a.m. training period for Kentucky Derby and Longines Kentucky Oaks contenders. Training hours will move back to a start time of 5:15 a.m. and the track will close at 10 a.m. Saturday’s Kentucky Derby workers areEssential Quality and Mandaloun at 5:15 a.m. and Soup and Sandwich at 7:30 a.m. Fans are invited to watch the workouts for free at Churchill Downs. For more information, visit

SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY DERBY – Likely starters in the 147th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/4 miles on Saturday, May 1 in order of preference (with possible jockey and trainer):Essential Quality (Luis Saez, Brad Cox); Hot Rod Charlie (Flavien Prat, Doug O’Neill);Super Stock (Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen); Like the King (Drayden Van Dyke, Wesley Ward); Known Agenda (Irad Ortiz, Todd Pletcher); Rock Your World (Umberto Rispoli, John Sadler); Bourbonic (Kendrick Carmouche, Todd Pletcher); Medina Spirit(John Velazquez, Bob Baffert); Midnight Bourbon (Mike Smith, Steve Asmussen); Mandaloun (TBA, Brad Cox); Helium (Julien Leparoux, Mark Casse); Soup and Sandwich (Tyler Gaffalione, Mark Casse); Dynamic One (Jose Ortiz, Todd Pletcher); Sainthood (TBA, Todd Pletcher); Hidden Stash (Rafael Bejarano, Vicki Oliver); andDream Shake (TBA, Peter Eurton). 

Possible starters within the Top 20 on the preference list: Concert Tour (Joel Rosario, Bob Baffert); Caddo River (TBA, Brad Cox); Highly Motivated (Javier Castellano, Chad Brown); and Crowded Trade (TBA, Chad Brown). 

Next up in order of preference: O Besos (Marcelino Pedroza, Greg Foley); Get Her Number (TBA, Peter Miller); King Fury (Brian Hernandez Jr.); Hockey Dad (TBA, Doug O’Neill); Keepmeinmind (David Cohen, Robertino Diodoro). 

Out of race: Rebel’s Romance (IRE) (June 5 Belmont Stakes); Greatest Honour (rest); Life Is Good (ankle chip); Weyburn (May 8 Peter Pan); PanadolProxyRombauer(May 15 Preakness); Drain the Clock (shorter distances); New Treasure (IRE); Hozier; Spielberg (rest); and Jackie’s Warrior (May 1 Pat Day Mile).

SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY OAKS – Likely starters in the 147th running of the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on Friday, April 30 in order of preference (with possible jockey and trainer): Search Results (Irad Ortiz Jr., Chad Brown); Travel Column (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox); Crazy Beautiful (Jose Ortiz, Kenny McPeek); Pauline’s Pearl (Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen); Malathaat (Joel Rosario, Todd Pletcher); Soothsay (Flavien Prat, RichardMandella); Clairiere (Tyler Gaffalione, Steve Asmussen); Will’s Secret (Jon Court, Dallas Stewart); Millefeuille (Tyler Gaffalione, Bill Mott); Moraz (Umberto Rispoli, Michael McCarthy); Ava’s Grace (TBA, Robertino Diodoro); Pass the Champagne (Javier Castellano, George Weaver); and Maracuja (Kendrick Carmouche, Rob Atras).

Possible starters within the Top 14 on the preference list: Beautiful Gift (John Velazquez, Bob Baffert).

Next up in order of preference: The Grass Is Blue (TBA, Chad Brown); Competitive Speed (TBA, Javier Gonzalez); Coach (Luis Saez, Brad Cox); Souper Sensational (TBA, Mark Casse); Moon Swag (TBA, Brendan Walsh); Army Wife (TBA, Mike Maker); andSpritz (Chris Landeros, Rodolphe Brissett).

Out of race: WholebodemeisterMnasekAdventuringKalypsoVequistMiss Brazil; and Nayefah.

STAKES PROBABLES – The following are the early probable stakes race entrants for Kentucky Derby Week, according to assistant racing secretary and stakes coordinator Dan Bork:

The sixth running of the $125,000 William Walker (Listed), run on Saturday, April 24 at 5 ½ furlongs on turf, entries close Wednesday, April 21: Bodenheimer (trainer ValorieLund); Cees Get Degrees (Michelle Lovell); Charles Chrome (Reeve McGaughey); Field Day (Brad Cox); Gagetown (Brad Cox); and The Wolfman (Phil Schoenthal). Possible: Unitedandresolute (Tom Amoss)

The third running of the $120,000 Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight Stakes presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, run Tuesday, April 27 at 1 ½ miles, entries close Thursday, April 22: Dack Janiel’s (Jack Sisterson); Plus Que Parfait (Brendan Walsh);Strong Tide (Mike Lauer); and You’re To Blame (Ron Moquett). 

The 27th running of the $125,000 Kentucky Juvenile, run Wednesday, April 28 at five furlongs, entries close Friday, April 23: Bohemian Frost (John Ennis); Saucy Lady T(James Chapman); and Shesgotattitude (Ennis).

The 16th running of the $120,000 Opening Verse Overnight Stakes, run Wednesday, April 28 at one-mile on turf, entries close Friday, April 23: Captivating Moon (Chris Block); Epic Dreamer (Mark Casse); Sayyaaf (Mike Maker); Set Piece (Brad Cox); and Spectacular Gem (Jimmy Baker).

The 11th running of the $150,000 Unbridled Sidney, run on Thursday, April 29 at 5 ½ furlongs on turf, entries close Saturday, April 24: A Bit of Both (Mike Maker); Ambassador Luna (James Gulick); Change of Control (Michelle Lovell);Dixieincandyland (Eddie Kenneally); Foxxy Belle (Michael Ann Ewing); Into Mystic(Brendan Walsh); Lady Grace (Mark Casse); She’sonthewarpath (Steve Margolis);Winning Envelope (Chris Block); and Yes It’s Ginger (Greg Foley).

The 27th running of the $250,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint presented by Sysco (Grade II), run Friday, April 30 at 5 ½ furlongs on turf, entries close Monday, April 26: American Butterfly (D. Wayne Lukas); Carotari (Brian Lynch); Classy John (Dallas Stewart): Diamond Oops (Patrick Biancone); Firecrow (Ron Moquett); Just Might (Michelle Lovell); and Sombeyay (Peter Miller). 

The 37th Running of the $300,000 Edgewood presented by Newport Racing & Gaming (Grade II), run on Friday, April 30 at 1 1/16 miles on turf, entries close Monday, April 26:Aunt Pearl (Brad Cox); I Get It (Mark Casse); Oliviaofthedesert (Kenny McPeek); Postnup (Cherie Devaux); and Queen of the Green (Jason Barkley). Possible Jouster(Todd Pletcher) and Zaajel (Pletcher).

The 66th running of the $300,000 Eight Belles presented by Smithfield (Grade II), run on Friday April 30 at seven furlongs, entries close Monday, April 26: Abrogate (Steve Asmussen); Dayoutoftheoffice (Tim Hamm); Euphoric (Bernie Flint); Slumber Party(Kelly Breen); Sun Path (Brad Cox); and Windmill (Larry Jones). Possible: Joyful Cadence (John Ortiz).

The 18th running of the $400,000 Alysheba presented by Sentient Jet (Grade II), run on Friday, April 30 at 1 1/16 miles, entries close Monday, April 26: Attachment Rate (Dale Romans); Chess Chief (Dallas Stewart); Maxfield (Brendan Walsh); Roadster (Bob Baffert); Sonneman (Steve Asmussen); and Visitant (Bill Morey).

The 36th running of the $500,000 La Troienne presented by (Grade I), run on Friday, April 30 at 1 1/16 miles, entries close Monday, April 26: As Time Goes By(Bob Baffert); Dunbar Road (Chad Brown); Envoutante (Kenny McPeek); Paris Lights(Bill Mott); Sanenus (Michael McCarthy); and Shedaresthedevil (Brad Cox). Possible:Finite (Steve Asmussen). 

The 30th running of the $500,000 American Turf presented by Derby City Gaming (Grade II), run on Saturday, May 1 at 1 1/16 miles on turf, entries close Tuesday, April 27: Fire At Will (Mike Maker); Holy Vow (John Ortiz); Lucky Law (Patrick Biancone); Palazzi(Mark Casse); and Winfromwithin (Todd Pletcher). 

The 97th running of the $500,000 Pat Day Mile presented by LG&E and KU (Grade II), run on Saturday, May 1 at one mile, entries close Tuesday, April 27: Dream Shake (Peter Eurton); Excellent Timing (Chad Brown); Gretzky the Great (Mark Casse); Jackie’s Warrior (Steve Asmussen); Prevalence (Brendan Walsh); and Whiskey Double (SteveAsmussen). 

The 36th running of the $500,000 Longines Distaff Turf Mile (Grade II), run on Saturday, May 1 at one mile on turf, entries close Tuesday, April 27: Abscond (Eddie Kenneally); Blowout (Chad Brown); Got Stormy (Mark Casse); and Princess Grace (Mike Stidham). 

The 35th running of the $500,000 Derby City Distaff presented by Kendall-Jackson Winery (Grade I), run on Saturday, May 1 at seven furlongs, entries close Tuesday, April 27:Gamine (Bob Baffert) and Sconsin (Greg Foley). Possible: Bell’s the One (Neil Pessin); Finite (Steve Asmussen); Hibiscus Punch (Justin Nixon); and Unique Factor (Peter Miller).

The 86th running of the $500,000 Churchill Downs presented by Ford (Grade I), run on Saturday, May 1 at seven furlongs, entries close Tuesday, April 27: Charlatan (Bob Baffert); Hog Creek Hustle (Vickie Foley); Lexitonian (Jack Sisterson); and Tap It To Win (Mark Casse). Possible: Bango (Greg Foley); and Shashashakemeup (Peter Miller). 

The 35th running of the $1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (Grade I), run on Saturday, May 1 at 1 1/8 miles on turf, entries close Tuesday, April 27: Arklow (Brad Cox); Colonel Liam (Todd Pletcher); Digital Age (Chad Brown); Ivar (Paolo Lobo); Masteroffoxhounds (Richard Baltas); Ride a Comet (Mark Casse); and Smooth Like Strait (Michael McCarthy). Possible: Flavius (Chad Brown); and Spooky Channel (Brian Lynch).

DOWN THE STRETCH – Trainer Chad Brown stated he will work Klaravich Stable’sHighly Motivated and Crowded Trade on Saturday before making a decision which one of the two he would run in the Kentucky Derby. Highly Motivated is based at Keeneland while Crowded Trade is at Belmont Park. The Churchill Downs Spring Meet is set to kick off for Opening Night on Saturday, April 24. Entries will be taken on Wednesday. Sunday starts turf training at Churchill Downs from 9:30-10 a.m. Turf training will continue on Sundays and Tuesdays for the remainder of the Spring Meet. Limited tickets remain for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Derby Week. To purchase tickets, visit

Churchill Downs Press Release

Churchill Downs photo by Eric Kalet

Great article by @Pastthewire

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