Pletcher Tunes 5 Horses For Derby

Plenty of horses worked out Sunday for the Kentucky Derby, though few did so at Churchill Downs.

Four of trainer Todd Pletcher's five Derby horses were in action - one on the dirt track where Saturday's race will be run and three on the artificial surface at Keeneland, 75 miles away. The fifth, Cowtown Cat, went out for a mile jog at Keeneland a day after having turned in his final major workout.

Pletcher is in Lexington until Tuesday, when he'll bring Cowtown Cat, Circular Quay, Scat Daddy and Any Given Saturday to Churchill. That's where Sam P. covered five furlongs in 1:00.20, third-fastest of 32 workouts at that distance.

At Keeneland, Any Given Saturday covered five furlongs in 1:01.20; Circular Quay was timed in 1:00.20 for the same distance; and Florida Derby winner Scat Daddy was clocked in 59.40 seconds - second quickest among 28 workouts at five furlongs.

Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr. was aboard Any Given Saturday, Circular Quay and Scat Daddy. He retired in 1992, but is Pletcher's main exercise rider.

"He can still do it after all these years," the trainer said. "That clock in his head is still working."

Pletcher said the only thing left for the "Todd Squad" is the details.

"Getting them shipped. Getting them settled in. Some paddock schooling," he said. "The little things that make it all right."

Also at Keeneland, trainer Doug O'Neill's trio of Cobalt Blue, Great Hunter and Liquidity took a final jog before leaving for Churchill.

In Louisville, projected Derby favorite Curlin joined stablemates Zanjero and Reporting for Duty for 2-mile gallops under the eye of trainer Steve Asmussen. Their final workouts are scheduled for Monday.

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Jamie Sanders is more than just the trainer of Teuflesberg.

She exercises the colt and co-owns him with fiance Donnie Kelly and Gary Logsdon. But she may not get the thrill of seeing Teuflesberg run in the Derby. He is on the bubble for making the 20-horse field because the $122,942 he's won in major stakes races puts him 21st on the earnings list.

"All we can do now is wait, watch and pray," Sanders said. "Maybe somebody will have pity on us and let us in."

Sanders could get help from Xchanger's connections. That colt is 14th on the earnings list, but co-owner Dominic Zannino hasn't made a final decision on the Derby.

"I'm more interested in seeing how the horses above me (on the list) are doing than the ones below me," he said. "I've been wanting to wait and see how the field is coming together."

Xchanger would have to be vanned nine hours from Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, but Zannino said the last-minute travel wouldn't be a problem.

In case Teuflesberg doesn't make the Derby, Sanders is considering paying extra to get him in Friday's Crown Royal American Turf or entering him in Saturday's Woodford Reserve on the Derby undercard.

Stewart Elliott, who won the 2004 Derby aboard Smarty Jones, would ride Teuflesberg in the Derby.

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From New York to California, other Derby horses worked out Sunday.

At Belmont Park in New York, Wood Memorial winner Nobiz Like Showbiz ran five furlongs in 59.98 seconds, second-fastest of 28 workouts at that distance. He's scheduled to arrive at Churchill on Wednesday, along with trainer Barclay Tagg, who won the 2003 Derby with Funny Cide.

At California's Hollywood Park, Stormello turned in his final Derby prep under jockey Kent Desormeaux, going five furlongs in 1:00.80 over the synthetic track for trainer Bill Currin, who co-owns the colt.

"Kent got off the horse all bubbling over, really pumped up," Currin said. "There were some media people watching the work and Kent told them, 'He will win the Kentucky Derby.' They asked me how I felt, and I said, 'My jockey said it all for me."'

Santa Anita Derby winner Tiago ran six furlongs in 1:11.40 - fastest of 27 workouts at that distance at Hollywood Park.

Tiago, a half brother to 2005 Derby winner Giacomo, and John Shirreffs, who trained Giacomo, will arrive Monday.

Xchanger galloped in Maryland, although co-owner Dominic Zannino is hedging on whether the horse will run in the Derby. He said Xchanger could be pointed toward the Preakness on May 19 or even sold before Saturday. He and the other owners are entertaining offers.


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