Rocket Can Drills for Derby

Frank Fletcher’s Rocket Can (Into Mischief) turned in his final work ahead of Saturday’s GI Kentucky Derby going five furlongs in :59.80 (4/35) at Churchill Downs Sunday. With regular exercise rider Guelser Cardona aboard and working inside of stablemate Mr. McGregor (Into Mischief), the colt  worked in splits of :12.80, :24.40, :36. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.

“I thought it went very well,” trainer Bill Mott said of the work. “That’s racehorse time for this track. He had a workmate out there, both riders did a good job, and it worked out like we had hoped it would. I thought Rocket Can finished well, and galloped out well. It was a very nice work.”

Rocket Can worked in blinkers Sunday and he’ll be wearing them again Saturday.

“Visually, for me, they appear to be helping,” Mott said. “We had worked him before in blinkers and we had thought that they didn’t make an extreme amount of difference. But if they help just a little bit, that’s what you need.”

Rocket Can, who is out of a Tapit mare, won the Feb. 4 GIII Holy Bull S. and was second behind champion Forte (Violence) in the Mar. 4 GII Fountain of Youth S. He was a closing fourth behind Angel of Empire (Classic Empire) after a wide trip in the nine-furlong GI Arkansas Derby last time out Apr. 1.

“The one thing we all have to prove is if we can get 10 furlongs,” Mott said. “That’s always the question in the Derby, there’s not that many prep races at that mile-and-a-quarter distance. When they turn for home in the Derby, that really sorts them out. We hope this horse has the stamina to get the 10 furlongs. We think he has it, he has a pedigree that indicates he should get the distance. You never know if they can do it, until they do it.”

The field for both the Kentucky Derby and Friday’s GI Kentucky Oaks will be held Monday from 2-3 p.m. in the Aristides Lounge at Churchill Downs.

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