Forte Tops Friday Derby Workers List

Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Forte (Violence) recorded his first published workout at Churchill Downs Friday morning when he breezed five furlongs in 1:02 outside stablemate Bright Future (Curlin).

Along with Forte’s five-furlong move, other Kentucky Derby contenders to record workouts were Angel of Empire (Classic Empire) (six furlongs, 1:13.40); Hit Show (Candy Ride {Arg}) (five furlongs, 1:01); Tapit Trice (Tapit) (four furlongs, :48.60) and Verifying (Justify) (five furlongs, 1:01).

Forte was ridden in his workout by jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. and started about a half-length behind Bright Future. The duo completed an opening quarter-mile fraction of :26.20 then began to pick up their momentum around the far turn through a three-furlong split of :38.60. Forte galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.40 and completed seven furlongs in 1:27.




“It was a normal work from him, which is exactly what you want to see,” Ortiz said. “I let him start going at the five-furlong pole and just get into stride. Going into the turn he stayed with the other horse. When I tipped him out in the stretch he responded well and galloped out nicely. His mind has changed a lot this year from last year. I’m happy with that. He’s growing physically but has a great mind.”

Just prior to Forte’s move, GI Blue Grass S. winner Tapit Trice recorded his half-mile move with regular exercise rider Amelia Green in the saddle. Tapit Trice completed an opening eighth-mile in :12.80 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.

“These workouts become super, super important,” Todd Pletcher said. “They keep you up at night. Tapit Trice started out with a nice, steady breeze. He was on the bridle throughout He seemed to get over the track very comfortably. If you look at Forte’s progression numbers wise, he’s made that progression forward in each start. Same thing with Tapit Trice. What I’m encouraged by with both of them is how they handled the mile-and-an-eighth and how they handled their final prep. It gives you confidence stretching out in the Derby. Forte is a very straightforward horse to train. He’s pushbutton. When Irad asked him to sit just off of his workmate this morning he did just that. When you press ‘go’, he quickly accelerated to put a head in front of his workmate.”

Trainer Brad Cox’s foursome of Angel of Empire, Hit Show, Jace’s Road and Verifying all worked at 7:30 a.m. ET. Angel of Empire was paired outside Jace’s Road and the duo completed eighth-mile fractions of :12.20, :23.80, :35.60 and 1:00.40. They galloped out seven furlongs in 1:26.40. Jockey Flavien Prat was aboard Albaugh Family Stable’s Angel of Empire while Florent Geroux was in the boot on Jace’s Road.

In Cox’s next set, Hit Show worked inside Verifying, who had jockey Tyler Gaffalione aboard. Hit Show and Verifying began their move at the 4 1/2-furlong marker through splits of :12.60, :24.40 and :48.60.

“Angel of Empire is the type of horse we’ve been confident all along that can handle the mile-and-a-quarter distance in the Derby,” Cox said. “He excelled going the longer distance in the Arkansas Derby and moves like the type of horse that will like a route of ground. Hit Show just missed in the Wood Memorial. It was a pretty tough beat that day but he showed us that as the distances get longer he can handle the route of ground as well.”

Blazing Sevens (Good Magic), third in the GI Toyota Blue Grass, worked a half-mile on his own in :48.60 over a fast track Friday morning with regular exercise rider Peter Roman aboard.

“He breezed very well and we’re very happy with it,” said assistant trainer Josh Flores said. “That’s what you want to see from the first breeze back (after a race).”


Lord Miles (Curlin) returned to the Gulfstream Park worktab Friday morning, breezing a half-mile in 47.05 seconds, the second-fastest clocking of 33 workouts recorded at the distance.

“It was a good easy work but probably a tad faster than ideal, but he did it well within himself and he was moving well–that’s the important thing,” said trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. “He came out of the Wood well. He shipped back and he’s held his weight. His weight and his energy seem to be in good order.”

Lord Miles is scheduled to complete his serious preparation for the Derby at Gulfstream.

“He’ll come back, all being well, and work next Friday. He’ll go five furlongs and we’ll ship Saturday or Sunday to Churchill Downs,” Joseph said.

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