June 29, 2022

Lone Sailor, Chocolate Martini breeze for Derby, Oaks

Lone Sailor is bedded down at Churchill Downs ahead of the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 5 (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

A pair of runners from trainer Tom Amoss’ shedrow – Lone Sailor and Chocolate Martini – took to the fast main track at Churchill Downs on Wednesday morning to ready for respective starts in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Oaks (G1).

Lone Sailor breezed a half-mile in :47.80 with jockey James Graham aboard, posting splits of :12 and :24 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:00.60. It was the first move for the Majestic Warrior colt since he just missed by a neck in the March 24 Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds.

“He’s just doing things nice and easy,” Amoss said as Lone Sailor hit the top of the stretch. “The track is pretty fast this morning but he’s doing things in hand.”

Lone Sailor is campaigned by Gayle Benson’s G M B Racing. Benson and her late husband, Tom, are the longtime owners of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans. Tom Benson passed away nine days before the Louisiana Derby.

“Mr. Benson is a New Orleanian,” Amoss said. “He speaks like us, he thinks like us, and has given New Orleans so much with the Saints. Everyone feels a connection to him in town. By us giving him a second-place finish in the Louisiana Derby, I really feel that there is an opportunity, in a very small way, to give something back to Gayle and the Saints’ family.”

Lone Sailor is the first registered foal out of the Mr. Greeley mare Ambitious, who is herself a daughter of Grade 1 heroine Aldiza, and counts as his fourth dam Broodmare of the Year Courtly Dee.

Amoss has tabbed Graham to pilot Lone Sailor in the Kentucky Derby on May 5 at Churchill Downs. The jockey has been aboard for the bay sophomore’s past two starts, both runner-up efforts.

“I’m really looking forward to the Derby,” Graham said. “Tom is a great trainer to ride for. I’m really excited. (Lone Sailor) worked really well this morning by himself and galloped out strong. He’s doing really well.”

Chocolate Martini took to the fast Churchill Downs track to record a bullet half-mile breeze in :47.40 with Graham in the irons. The bay daughter of Broken Vow was making her first appearance on the worktab since upsetting the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) by a head at 13-1 on March 24.

Chocolate Martini clocked fractions of :11.80 and :23.40 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:01.40.

“It was designed to be an easy half-mile but the track was very fast this morning,” Amoss said. “So, the work times were quick but she was in hand throughout. She hit the ground well and is enjoying what she is doing.”

Chocolate Martini began her career with trainer Bret Calhoun but joined Amoss’ barn after being claimed out of a grassy claiming contest at Fair Grounds on February 2 for Double Doors Racing LLC. She returned 16 days later over that track’s dirt to take an allowance/optional claimer by a neck at 27-1 and then showed up March 24 to secure a head victory in the Fair Grounds Oaks, also at double-digit odds.

“Everyone has asked me what we have done differently since claiming her,” Amoss said. “I hate to disappoint but the answer is not much, if anything at all. She came to us in great shape. She was developing in her racing and we picked up where the other stable has left off.”

Amoss has yet to announce who will ride Chocolate Martini in the Oaks. The bay lass is out of the dual stakes-placed Successful Appeal mare Nicksappealinglady and comes from the same female family as multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Ladies Din.

Lone Sailor and Chocolate Martini are not the only Kentucky Derby and Oaks hopefuls currently stabled under the Twin Spires.

D. Wayne Lukas’ Risen Star Stakes (G2) hero Bravazo, Mark Casse’s Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) victor Flameaway, and Dale Romans’ Grade 1-scoring Free Drop Billy and Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) winner Promises Fulfilled are all on the grounds ahead of the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Brad Cox’s recent Ashland Stakes (G1) romper Monomoy Girl, Romans’ Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) queen Coach Rocks, and Calhoun’s Grade 2 vixen Patrona Margarita and Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) runner-up Classy Act are readying at Churchill ahead of the 144th edition of the Run for the Lilies on May 4.

In other Kentucky Derby news, the 14-karat gold Kentucky Derby trophy is scheduled to arrive at Churchill on Thursday at approximately 10:30 a.m. (ET).

The trophy is 22 inches tall and weighs approximately 67 ounces, excluding its jade base; was hand-crafted from 14-karat gold and green gold over a period of nearly five months; and is topped by a 14-karat gold horse and rider and features a pair of horseshoe-shaped wreath handles.

The trophy, which was first commissioned by Colonel Matt Winn in 1924, also features an 18-karat gold horseshoe on the front that is pointed upward.

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