BOZICH | Five Kentucky Derby Updates: Best stallion prospect; One trainer complaint
Coolmore Stud took a serious look at Blue Grass Stakes winner Brody's Cause. Eleven Derby contenders worked Friday. One trainer unhappy with Churchill track condition.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Five things I learned while walking 4,177 steps on the backside of Churchill Downs Friday:
1. I'm not ready to predict that Brody's Cause will win the Kentucky Derby, but he is my pick as the best stallion prospect in this group of precocious 3-year-olds.
The latest evidence was filed Friday morning outside Dale Romans' barn. Five representatives of Coolmore Stud took an extended look as the colt walked near Barn 4. The group included Aisling Duignan, Coolmore's director of bloodstock, and Charlie O'Connor, director of sales.
"When Coolmore wants to see a horse, that's like (Duke coach) Mike Krzyzewski or John Calipari (of Kentucky) looking at a McDonald's all-American," one trainer said. "It doesn't get any bigger."
Coolmore's is considered the world's top breeding operation. It's American base is Ashford Stud in Versailles,Ky., home to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah as well as Fusiachi Pegasus and Uncle Mo.
Purchased for $350,000 as a yearling in 2014, Brody's Cause is owned by Albaugh Family Stable. He has delivered a pair of Grade I victories, including the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland April 16.
Multiple farms are reported to be interested in the colt, with discussion that he could fetch more than $10 million. Brody's Cause is by Giant's Causeway out of the Sahm mare Sweet Breanna. Giant's Causeway is a son of the legendary Storm Cat and once commanded a stud fee of $300,000.
2. Eleven Derby contenders worked at Churchill Friday morning. The most impressive performances were delivered by Mohaymen and Tom's Ready.
Mohaymen covered a half-mile in 47 2/5, galloping out fifth-eighths in 1:00 4/5, leaving a jumbo smile on the face of his trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin.
"He's very happy and doing everything right," McLaughlin said. "We're ready now. Just seven more days. We've watched this every day since July of last year."
Tom's Ready went five furlongs in 59 2/5 in company with Forever D'Oro. Trained by Dallas Stewart, Tom's Ready galloped six furlongs in 1:13 1/5.
3. Not every trainer was as thrilled as McLaughlin. Tom Amoss trains Mo Tom. His colt worked a half-mile in 48 3/5.
"It went fine," Amoss said. "I'll say this: He made good time as many of the others did as well.
"But the track to me was a disappointment. We have a special time (8:30 a.m.) that we're allowed to go out there. The track to me was deep and not taken care of as well as it should have been.
"My horse didn't struggle over the surface, but at the same time, it wasn’t what this track typically is and it's not going to be what this track is on a race day. That puzzles me."
4. One trainer who passed on working his colt Friday was Romans. He said he changed his mind Thursday night at 11:30.
Brody's Cause galloped several miles. Romans said he will work the horse either Sunday or Monday.
"I've learned to go with my gut and not train my horse the way other people might think I need to train him," Romans said. "And my gut told me to wait a couple days."
5. You can't have a Derby Week without a "Hot Horse," also known as the "Now Horse," or the "Sucker Horse."
The early nomination goes to Mor Spirit, trained by Bob Baffert, who is chasing his fifth Derby victory.
"He looks the part," one observer said. "He looks good on the track and really seems to be blossoming. And it’s hard to knock his record."
Mor Spirit has raced seven times -- and never finished worse than second, with three victories. Mor Spirit finished second, beaten by 6 ¼ lengths by Exaggerator in the Santa Anita Derby April. 16.
Copyright 2016 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.