Lemon Muffin, Regularoty Risk Put in Final Tune-Ups 

April 27, 2024

Lemon Muffin gets a breeze in for Wayne Lukas. (Jenny Doyle/Past The Wire)

Longines Kentucky Oaks Update

LOUISVILLE, Ky. Working toward the Longines Kentucky Oaks were Regulatory Risk (four furlongs in :49.60) and Lemon Muffin (five furlongs in :58.20).

Scheduled to work Sunday morning is Ashland (GI) runner-up Just F Y I

Post positions for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks will be drawn this evening at 7:15 ET following the third race on the Opening Night of the 44-day Spring Meet.

EVERLAND 

Everland in a work (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

Foster Family Racing, William Wargel, R.K. Eckrich Racing and Maxis Stable’s Everland, winner of the Bourbonette Oaks (Listed) in her most recent start for trainer Eric Foster, arrived at her barn at Churchill Downs at around 10:30 a.m. Saturday from Keeneland.

FIONA’S MAGIC 

Stonehedge LLC’s Fiona’s Magic, winner of the Davona Dale (GII), arrived at Churchill Downs at 3:50 Saturday morning after vanning from trainer BoYates’ base at Gulfstream Park.

Fiona’s Magic did not go to the track this morning.

GIN GIN/TARIFA 

Tarifa scores for a trip to the Kentucky Oaks. (Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges Jr.)
Tarifa scores in the Fair Grounds Oaks for a trip to the Kentucky Oaks. (Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges Jr.)

Trainer Brad Cox’s duo of Gin Gin and Tarifa both walked Barn 22 Saturday morning following their five-furlong moves in :59.60 and :59.20, respectively, Friday morning.

Both fillies are scheduled to go back to the track Sunday at 7:30 a.m.

INTO CHAMPAGNE 

Into Champagne worked outside her stablemate Kiss Me Again through an opening quarter-mile of :24.40. (Coady Photography)

Following a Friday work, Six Column Stables, Randy Bloch, Jim Gladden, Mike Davis and Michael Steele’s Into Champagne was back out shortly after the track opened Saturday morning for trainer Ian Wilkes. Exercise rider Adelso Orantes was aboard.

“She was out for a jog, just a mile,” Wilkes said. “She came out of her work fine. She’ll gallop tomorrow, then walk Monday.”

On Friday, the Gulfstream Parks Oaks (GIII) third-place finisher completed a five-furlong breeze Friday morning in 1:00, with jockey Julien Leparoux. 

JUST F Y I 

Just F Y I puts in a breeze Saturday. (Jenny Doyle/Past The Wire)
Just F Y I puts in a breeze Saturday. (Jenny Doyle/Past The Wire)

Reigning juvenile filly champion Just F Y I had another routine day on Saturday. George Krikorian’s homebred galloped about 1 1/2 miles after going through the Churchill Downs paddock with trainer Bill Mott saying he plans to give the daughter of Justify one more move on Sunday in advance of the Kentucky Oaks (GI).

LEMON MUFFIN 

Among the reasons Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas is emboldened about Lemon Muffin’s chances in the Kentucky Oaks (GI) is the clear preference she has for the Churchill Downs surface.

On Saturday, the Honeybee Stakes (GIII) winner flaunted how much she enjoys her time beneath the Twin Spires when she blazed five furlongs in :58.20 in her final major work in advance of the nation’s top race for 3-year-old fillies. Breaking off solo during the 7:30 a.m. training period, Lemon Muffin posted splits of :11.20, :22, and :33.80 with a gallop out in 1:14.

While the main track has been playing fast, Lukas wanted to get a stronger move into his Oaks contender to make sure her fitness is on point coming off a lackluster seventh-place finish in the Fantasy Stakes (GII) on March 30.

“She worked really strong. I wanted a strong work out of her because her performance the last time, I didn’t think she got a lot out of it,” Lukas said. “She went in 58 and 1 and that’s probably going to be a bullet work this morning. The track is playing very well.”

Owned by Aaron Sones and Julie Gilbert, Lemon Muffin came out of the Fantasy with what Lukas believes might have been a minor illness that impacted her run that day. 

“She was flat last time, a little under the weather,” Lukas said. “But she really has responded well. And I think she has a real affinity for this surface. She loves it out here. (That time today) was by herself, no prompt, no workmate. She loves it here.”

LESLIE’S ROSE/CANDIED 

Leslie's Rose out on a Saturday morning. (Jenny Doyle/Past The Wire)
Leslie’s Rose out on a Saturday morning. (Jenny Doyle/Past The Wire)

Trainer Todd Pletcher sent his two Kentucky Oaks hopes to the racetrack Saturday morning during the special 7:30-7:45 training period. Exercise riderJoel Osorio handled Leslie’s Rose, who is assured a spot in the $1.5 million Oaks starting gate. Exercise rider Carlos Quevedo was the man for Candied, who will need two defections from the fillies under consideration for the Oaks to make the main body of the race.

Both fillies covered approximately a mile and a quarter in a good gallop.

POWER SQUEEZE 

Power Squeeze looking fierce Saturday. (Jenny Doyle/Past The Wire)
Power Squeeze looking fierce Saturday. (Jenny Doyle/Past The Wire)

Lea Farms’ Kentucky-bred Power Squeeze galloped Saturday morning in her first appearance on the track since arriving late Thursday night from Gulfstream Park.

Trainer Jorge Delgado is arriving in Louisville on Sunday.

REGULATORY RISK/WAYS AND MEANS 

Regulatory Risk works in company. (Jenny Doyle/Past The Wire)
Regulatory Risk works in company. (Jenny Doyle/Past The Wire)

While her male counterparts were stealing focus during the 7:30 a.m. training session on Saturday, Klaravich Stables’ RegulatoryRisk put in a strong effort of her own when she breezed four furlongs in :49.60 in preparation for her expected start in the Kentucky Oaks (GI).

In a solo move, jockey Jose Ortiz guided Regulatory Risk through splits of :12.60, and :25 before galloping out in 1:01.60 and 1:14 flat. 

“She did a little lighter piece of work,” trainer Chad Brown said of the Gazelle Stakes (GIII) runner-up. “She’s been in steady work up in New York and up there in the winter really developing, and she’s come pretty far forward. She’s not one of the main contenders in here but we decided to come down because she has come forward so much, she could get a piece of this race, which would make her pretty valuable. So, we’re going to give her a shot in there.”

As Regulatory Risk was finishing her last major move, stablemate Ways and Means – also owned by Klaravich – had a walk day after blazing through a four-furlong move in :46 1/5 on Friday. 

“She came out of it well,” Brown said of Ways and Means. “Luckily the track cooled off. It was such a fast work, but I will say, once I got to seeing the work over a few times and some of the other fast works yesterday, it seemed the track was very, very fast. I don’t think it’s going to hurt her. She’s an extremely rare talent herself.”

TAPIT JENALLIE 

Willis Horton Racing’s Tapit Jenallie walked the shedrow on Saturday for trainer Eddie Milligan Jr in preparation for the Oaks. She worked a half-mile Thursday with jockey Manny Esquivel, in 49 2/5 seconds. She’s expected to be out on the track Sunday.

THORPEDO ANNA 

Thorpedo Anna blows into the Kentucky Oaks. (Coady Photography/Renee Torbit)
Thorpedo Anna blows into the Kentucky Oaks. (Coady Photography/Renee Torbit)

Brookdale Racing, Mark Edwards, Judy Hicks and Magdalena Racing’s Thorpedo Anna walked the shedrow on Saturday, a day after she completed her final major workout for the Longines Kentucky Oaks for trainer Kenny McPeek. 

“She’s doing fine,” McPeek said. “High energy, that’s her. Both Mystik Dan and she schooled twice in the paddock this week. She got a little nervous at Oaklawn, with its tight stalls. It was all new scenery to her, because she had been at Fair Grounds all winter. She had been at Oaklawn only for about 72 hours. But here, this is home track for both horses.”

On Friday, jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. guided her to a five-furlong work in 59.40 seconds. She has won three of her four starts with Hernandez, most recently the Fantasy (GII) at Oaklawn Park in her first start this year.

WHERE’S MY RING 

Where’s My Ring scoring in the Gazelle. (Adam Coglianese)

Trainer Val Brinkerhoff reported that all was quiet and well at Barn 30 with his 3-year-old filly Where’s My Ring, who is owned by Michael McMillan and has a date this coming Friday in the $1.5 million Kentucky Oaks. The daughter of Twirling Candy only had a walk day Saturday following her handy :46.60 drill Friday morning during the special Oaks/Derby training period.

The veteran horseman did have to deal with a touch of anxiety throughout the morning, however, concerning his scheduled rider for the 1 1/8-mile test. Veteran New York jockey Jose Lezcano had the call for the Oaks following his winning ride in the Gazelle (GIII) at Aqueduct in her most recent effort April 6. But Lezcano was involved in a spill in New York on Friday and Brinkerhoff was needing to hear positive news on the medical front from the rider’s agent.

After having to consider two other riding possibilities over the course of the morning, Brinkerhoff finally got good news from the Lezcano folks that he had been cleared to ride and was planning on being in Kentucky for his Friday engagement.

ALSO ELIGIBLES

Courtlandt Farm’s Our Pretty Woman, currently No. 15 on the Oaks preference list, galloped about 1 ½ miles at 5:30 a.m. Saturday with Wilson Fabian in the irons. She’d need one defection to make the Oaks field.

SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY OAKS Here are the horses (with trainers) that are qualified for the Longines Kentucky Oaks and those on the also-eligible list (in alphabetical order with AEs listed last in preference order):

Kentucky Oaks 150 Lily Glass in pink and gold and all gold. (Churchill Downs Photo)
One of these fillies will toast a win in the 150th Kentucky Oaks. 150 Lily Glass in pink and gold and all gold. (Churchill Downs Photo)

Everland Abel Cedillo, Eric Foster 

Fiona’s Magic TBA, Bo Yates 

Gin Gin Florent Geroux, Brad Cox 

Into Champagne Julien Leparoux, Ian Wilkes 

Just F Y I Junior Alvarado, Bill Mott 

Lemon Muffin Keith Asmussen, Wayne Lukas 

Leslie’s Rose Irad Ortiz Jr., Todd Pletcher 

Power Squeeze Daniel Centeno, Jorge Delgado 

Regulatory Risk Jose Ortiz, Chad Brown 

Tapit Jenallie Manny Esquivel, Eddie Milligan 

Tarifa Flavien Prat, Brad Cox 

Thorpedo Anna Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek 

Ways and Means Tyler Gaffalione, Chad Brown) 

Where’s My Ring Jose Lezcano, Val Brinkerhoff

Also-Eligible: 

Our Pretty Woman Joel Rosario, Steve Asmussen Candied Luis Saez, Todd Fletcher

Kentucky Derby Morning Works Program Airs Daily The Kentucky Derby Morning Works Show will air daily through Thurby and feature Churchill Downs’ expert handicappers Joe KristufekKaitlin FreeTony Calo and Kevin Kilroy along with an array of popular industry figures such as former leading rider Rosie Napravnik and Churchill Downs Track Announcer Travis Stone.

The 20-minute program will be streamed live on @KentuckyDerby on YouTube, Facebook and X.

Kentucky Derby, Oaks Morning Workouts Open To The Public Continuing through Wednesday, Churchill Downs will be open free-of-charge daily from 7-10 a.m. so guests can watch the nation’s top 3-year-old Thoroughbreds train toward their engagements in this year’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks.

Horses train on Churchill Downs’ main track daily from 5:15-10 a.m. There will be an exclusive training window only for Derby and Oaks participants from 7:30-7:45 a.m. following the 7-7:30 a.m. renovation break. Those horses will be identified by special saddle towels which include their names: yellow saddle towels for Derby horses and pink saddle towels for Oaks contenders.

Guests can enter Churchill Downs through the Clubhouse Gate and should park for free in the nearby Yellow Lot for convenient entry. Guests will be directed to Sections 115-117 to watch the morning workouts. 

On Sunday and Monday, fans can enjoy a premium breakfast in Millionaires Row or the Stakes Room for Dawn at the Downs. Tickets and more information can be found on www.KentuckyDerby.com/DerbyWeek.  

The 150th runnings of the $1.5 Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) and $5 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) will be held Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4, respectively. Opening Night of Derby Week and the 44-day Spring Meet is Saturday. 

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