Baffert withdraws last two hopes from Derby; Golden Soul,
Fear the Kitten get in
Also withdrawn from Derby consideration Monday were the Todd Pletcher-trained
Golden Soul thereby moved up to 19th on the leaderboard, assuring him of a
Although it appeared as if there would be 19 in the Derby field for much of
Baffert, a three-time winner of
Mike Pegram’s Govenor Charlie had his training interrupted for a short time in
“I’m going to wait. I sat down with Mike and we said let’s not push it
and get him right,” Baffert said. “There are other races. It’s tough to miss it,
but if you don’t think you can run 1-2-3, I just don’t want to run.
“I know there
have been some longshots (that have been winners), but I didn’t feel it. You
have to feel it. I didn’t feel that we were going to be competitive. That’s why
we passed on it.”
Gary and Mary West’s Code West breezed in company Sunday and Baffert
recommended to the Wests that the Lemon Drop Kid colt pass on the Derby. Sunday,
Baffert said that the Wests’ Power Broker would be skipping the Derby, too.
Both had been outworked by Baffert’s unbeaten Kentucky Oaks contender Midnight
“Gary West is a realistic kind of
guy,” Baffert said. “He wants to be in the right spots. His horses are nice
horses, but they are slowly coming around. They’re going to get better for the
summer and he didn’t want to waste a run.”
Pletcher’s Derby line-up shrank by one when his
Lexington Stakes winner Winning Cause was withdrawn, but the five-time Eclipse
Award winner still has five left in the Run for the Roses.
Winning Cause had worked
earlier in the morning — and worked well — but at a news briefing with the media
in Churchill Downs’ new Media Center at 10:30 a.m. (EDT), Pletcher said it was a
no go for his chestnut Giant’s Causeway colt.
“I spoke with the owners and we
decided the best way to go for him would be to sit back and give other races
consideration,” the trainer said. “If we ran him Saturday, that would be his
third race in a month, and we felt that that would be too much.
“We don’t know
yet where he’ll run next but there are several races under consideration,
including the Preakness, the Peter Pan and even the Marine at Woodbine, because
that’s on the Polytrack.”
All three of Winning Cause’s
victories thus far came on Keeneland’s Polytrack surface.
Working at 8:30 following the track
renovation break in company with the undefeated three-year-old Red Rifle, Winning
Cause under exercise rider Humberto Zamora was timed in :48 1/5 for the
half-mile, a tick faster than his partner on the fast main track.
Trainer Paul Aguirre confirmed via text to Churchill Downs
officials that Tiz a Minister will not run in the Kentucky Derby.
“Owner has decided not to go,” Aguirre texted.
Tiz a Minister, owned by S.A.Y. Racing (Stephen Young), just ran third in Saturday’s
Snow Chief at Hollywood Park.
“I’m very happy,” Stewart said. “I’m so happy for the horse to get the
Fipke bred and owns Golden Soul and Java’s War, who is trained by Ken McPeek.
Golden Soul, the Lecomte runner-up and fourth-place finisher in the Louisiana Derby, galloped
“You want to maintain,” Stewart said of what he’s doing with Golden Soul this
“You’ve got a day or two here — Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday — back off Thursday and Friday, something like that.
“You just have to see. You like to see them pick it up earlier in the week,
then kind of take it down a notch Thursday and Friday.”
Stewart said he hasn’t decided on a jockey but has “a couple in mind.”
Fear the Kitten, who placed in the Southwest and Lecomte earlier this season,
comes off a pair of fifths in the Spiral and Blue Grass on Polytrack. Owned by
Frank D. Irvin, the son of Kitten’s Joy breezed four furlongs in :49 4/5 over
Trackside Louisville’s fast track on Saturday.
Maker said that Alan Garcia has the Derby mount.