Pletcher Derby Crew Works Before Heading To Louisville

Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Forte (Violence) returned to training Friday morning for his last local work before shipping to Louisville to begin final preparations for the GI Kentucky Derby.

Working in company with Bright Future, a 4-year-old son of Curlin, the Derby favorite went a half-mile in :50.28 at Palm Beach Downs for trainer Todd Pletcher, according to Mike Welsch of DRF.

“With Forte we were just looking for a nice, easy first work back. He ran in the Florida Derby 13 days ago and he’s getting ready to ship on Sunday to Churchill, so we just wanted to let him stretch his legs a little bit and not do too much,” Pletcher said. “It looked like he was just kind of in an open gallop out there, doing really well.”

Also breezing together for Pletcher Friday and bound for Louisville were Spendthrift Farm-owned pair Kingsbarns (Uncle Mo) and Major Dude (Bolt d’Oro) in :49.49 seconds for 4 furlongs, according to DRF. Kingsbarns is assured a place in the Derby starting gate with 100 qualifying points after his victory in the GII Louisiana Derby, good for eighth overall. Second in the GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks, Major Dude who is ranked 23rd is on the bubble with 40 points.

“We were looking for a little more from Major Dude and Kingsbarns. I thought they both went really well [with] good enthusiasm and energy in their gallop-outs and seemed to be moving well so, overall, very pleased,” Pletcher said. “I thought they all went according to plan.”

Friday’s works were a relief for Hall of Fame trainer after heavy rains swept through South Florida this week and threatened to disrupt their schedules.

“They’ve been doing well, they’ve been eating well, they’ve been galloping nicely. I was happy to get the works in on the day we scheduled,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of rain so I wasn’t positive that was going to happen, but the track dried out nicely and we had good conditions for it.”

Pletcher also reported that Whisper Hill Farm and Gainesway Stable’s Tapit Trice (Tapit) exited his Apr. 8 victory in the GI Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland in good order and will join his stablemates in Louisville over the weekend. The gray colt is ranked fourth in the Derby leaderboard with 150 points.

Tapit Trice came back super, really good energy. He’s been galloping the last few days at Keeneland,” Pletcher said. “He’ll ship over to Churchill after training on Sunday. Knock on wood, so far so good.”


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