KyD149: Breezes, Weekend, Undercard

April 19, 2023

Derma Sotogake. (Coady Photography)

  • Japan’s Derma Sotogake Breezes Half-Mile In :49.60 At Churchill Downs
  • Trainers Watching Weather For Weekend Works 
  • Special Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks Training Begins Saturday 
  • Kentucky Derby Week Stakes Nominations Finalized 

Churchill Downs Derby Update

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Hiroyuki Asanuma’s UAE Derby (Grade II) winner Derma Sotogake (JPN) recorded his first published workout at Churchill Downs on Wednesday morning with a :49.60 half-mile move in preparation for the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) on Saturday, May 6.

With exercise rider Masatoshi Segawa in the saddle, Derma Sotogake went through his routine 25-minute warm up in the one-mile chute prior to beginning his work. The son of Mind Your Biscuits exited the chute and began galloping around the six-furlong pole. Derma Sotogake started to easily pick up his momentum around the three-furlong pole and worked through fractions of :13 and :37.20, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols. 

“I am really happy with how he moved today,” Segawa said. “He felt great. We didn’t want to go too fast today so I had to keep a strong hold on him throughout and even then, he performed brilliantly. Now I can start to get really excited about Derby Day.”

Derma Sotogake is stabled in Quarantine Barn 1 next to fellow Kentucky Derby contender Continuar (JPN). Trained by Yoshito Yahagi and owned by Lion Race Horse Co. Ltd., Continuar had his most serious training to date Tuesday at Churchill Downs when he picked up his gallop around the seven-eighths pole to about the three-eighths pole. The training was slower than a published workout but noticeably faster than a routine gallop.

Derma Sotogake and Continuar have been stabled at Churchill Downs for two weeks and several of their connections plan to travel to the U.S. during Kentucky Derby Week.

Hit Show winning the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct. (Joe Labozzetta)

Trainers Watching Weather For Weekend Works 

There are 13 Kentucky Derby contenders on-site at Churchill Downs and several trainers are keeping an eye on the local forecast before they plan their penultimate works.

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher’s trio of ForteKingsbarns and Tapit Trice could work either Thursday or Friday morning. Pletcher was at Churchill Downs on Tuesday and plans to stay through the Derby.

Trainer Brad Cox reported his trio of Angel of EmpireHit Show and Verifying would all work this weekend. Like Pletcher, Cox is also monitoring the forecast and, as of Wednesday, stated they could work Friday or Saturday.

Keith Desormeaux stated Confidence Game would work back Saturday. 

Other Kentucky Derby contenders due to work at Churchill Downs this weekend include Rocket Can and Sun Thunder

Special Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks Training Begins Saturday 

The special 15-minute training window for only Kentucky Derby and Longines Kentucky Oaks contenders begins Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET.

Kentucky Derby contenders will wear a yellow saddle towel while Oaks contenders will sport a pink saddle towel.

The first morning of the Kentucky Derby Morning Works show is Monday.

Kentucky Derby Week Stakes Nominations Finalized 

Nominations for all 22 Kentucky Derby week stakes are finalized and available on

Along with the $3 million Kentucky Derby (GI) and $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), the spectacular week of racing features the $1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (GI), the $750,000 Churchill Downs presented by Ford (GI), the $750,000 Derby City Distaff presented by Kendall-Jackson Winery (GI) and the $750,000 La Troienne (GI).

The nominations for all Kentucky Derby week stakes races were due Saturday along with late nominations to the Longines Kentucky Oaks. There were three late nominees – Ami PleasePromiseher America and Sacred Wish.

Jonathan Stettin is a New York Legend. He's been a Horseplayer, earning his living at the track, since he was 19 years old. @jonathanstettin

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