Turns out all Friesan Fire needed to get
his mojo back was a pair of blinkers.
The Louisiana Derby winner rolled through five furlongs in 57.80
in his final work before Saturday's Kentucky Derby, just off the
57.60 Hard Spun put together for Jones before finishing second to
Street Sense in the 2007 Derby.
Jones caught some flak from experts who thought Hard Spun's work
was almost a little too fast two years ago. Going two-tenths of a
second slower should quiet the critics. Or maybe not.
"A fifth of a second off," Jones said. "That's good. People
would have said I worked him too fast."
Jones opted to put blinkers on Friesan Fire after noticing his
star kept getting distracted by the sea of temporary construction
along the backside that pops up at Churchill Downs during Derby
"He has been watching those tents every day and I wanted to put
the blinkers on to keep him more focused," Jones said.
Friesan Fire will get a day off Tuesday, jog Wednesday then
gallop until Saturday's race. He could be one of the favorites
after Florida Derby winner Quality Road scratched with a quarter
crack injury Monday. Jones has finished second in each of the last
two Derbys, including a second with the filly Eight Belles last
NEAR MISS: A handful of Derby horses and their connections
received quite a scare when a collision between two non-Derby
thoroughbreds disrupted training on Monday morning.
Several Derby contenders - including Friesan Fire, Chocolate
Candy and Win Willy - were on the track when 3-year-old colt Doctor
Rap dumped his rider and ran into 2-year-old filly Raspberry Miss.
Chocolate Candy was working under jockey Mike Smith at the time
of the accident and Smith said Chocolate Candy caught a glimpse of
the two fallen horses while at a full gallop. Raspberry Miss died
from her injuries at an animal hospital in Lexington on Monday
"We saw both the horses down," Smith said. "Luckily it
happened over by the outer rail. He just looked that way for a
second, but he turned back and kept going. We both were able to
focus and complete what we had to do."
Chocolate Candy clocked five furlongs in 59.20, a work similar
to the one the bay colt put together at Santa Anita on April 12 a
week after finishing second to Pioneerof the Nile in the Santa
The Kentucky Derby will be Chocolate Candy's first race on dirt.
The workout calmed trainer Jerry Hollendorfer's fears about whether
his colt would have a problem adjusting off a synthetic surface.
"Handling the track is key and he's shown us he can,"