Raise Cain, Affirmative Lady Turn In Final Works for Derby, Oaks

April 27, 2023

Raise Cain victorious in an eventful renewal of the Gotham (Susie Raisher)

Keeneland Press Release/Edited

LEXINGTON, Ky.— Trainer Ben Colebrook was pleased with this morning’s work by Andrew N. Warren and Rania Warren’s Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve hopeful Raise Cain, who covered a half-mile in company with the unraced 3-year-old filly Merrily Rush in :49 on a fast track.

Clockers caught him galloping out 5 furlongs in 1:02.80.

“I just wanted him to have something to run at: a horse 5 lengths in front of him because that’s something he’ll be doing in the Derby,” Colebrook said. “It went great. Just what we were looking for.”

Raise Cain was ridden by jockey Gerardo Corrales, who Colebrook said is “in the mix” to ride the colt in the Derby. Colebrook said a decision about the jockey had not been made.

Merrily Rush was ridden by Luan Machado.

Winner of the Gotham (G3) on a muddy track at Aqueduct on March 4, Raise Cain was fifth in the Toyota Blue Grass on April 8. The move this morning was the second since the Toyota Blue Grass for Raise Cain, who on April 20 breezed 5 furlongs on his own in 1:03.40.

“Neither work was real strenuous for him,” Colebrook said. “He’s run enough races that these works are just maintenance, keep the fitness that we have.”

Colebrook, who is based at Keeneland, has kept Raise Cain here for his final Derby preparations.

“He’s such a level-headed horse that I felt it was better to keep him here,” Colebrook said. “We can graze him a couple of hours a day, and he can be in his own stall. If he was nervous or he needed to get acclimated more to Churchill – he’ll have plenty of time over there. We’ll go over there Monday, last minute. He’ll have time to school in the paddock, stand in the gate (there next week). We just wanted to keep him home; he does great here.”

The colt, a graduate of the 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, is set to be Colebrook’s first Kentucky Derby starter.

“He ran a decent race (in the Toyota Blue Grass), but I think it’s a race he can improve on in the Derby,” Colebrook said. “Pace and a wet track wouldn’t bother me a bit.”

Affirmative Lady Has Final Tuneup for Kentucky Oaks

Affirmative Lady asserts her authority in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (Coglianese)

AMO Racing USA’s Affirmative Lady had her final timed workout for next Friday’s $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs when she went 5 furlongs in 1:01.40 here on a fast track Thursday under exercise rider Kevin Lundie.

“That’s about what she does,” said trainer Graham Motion, who originally targeted Friday for the work but changed plans to avoid the possibility of forecasted rain. “I think it’s about what she did last week. Went off in :13 and finished up nicely. She’s pretty fit.”

Affirmative Lady, who clocked the same distance in 1:01 on April 21 here, is exiting a 2-length victory in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) Presented by FanDuel TV on April 1. Prior to earning her initial career triumph on Feb. 26 at Gulfstream, she placed in the Demoiselle (G2) and Busanda at Aqueduct.

“I feel like she belongs in the Oaks, and I think for her the (1 1/8-mile) distance is really going to help her,” Motion said. “Honestly, I wish it were a mile and a quarter because I think the further she goes the better. I think we belong to be in there. The timing’s really good. She’s had five weeks (between races), which is perfect.”

After the Gulfstream Park Oaks, Motion chose to send Affirmative Lady to his Keeneland division.

“Keeneland is where we’re stabled right now, and I find it’s a nice atmosphere to train here,” he said. “Churchill’s pretty busy, so I’m very comfortable with her being here. She’ll have to be over there (early) next week, so she’ll get to gallop on the track every day. She’s had a breeze here already. I didn’t really want to move her to another track to have her next breeze. Normally I would have done it tomorrow, but with this weather coming in it looks like we’ve got to do it today. It’s not ideal, but it’s what we got.”

John Velazquez is named to ride Affirmative Lady, a graduate of Keeneland’s 2021 September Yearling Sale, in the Kentucky Oaks.

The post position draw for the Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve and the Kentucky Oaks is Monday, May 1 from 2-3 p.m.

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