Kentucky Derby drama starts before dawn; Tuesday brings defections, major workouts, jockey decisions

The Derby drama started early Tuesday-- 5:45 AM early.  Trainer Todd Pletcher decided to beat the rain and send out Uncle Mo nearly three hours prior to the scheduled Derby/Oaks training session. From that moment on, major developments affecting the Kentucky Derby field, pace scenario, and jockey assignments seemed to be announced by the minute. The Factor and J P’s Gusto were confirmed out of the Derby field (along with the expected defection of Astrology). That allows Shackleford and Twinspired to slide into the top 20.  It also helps Shackleford deal with two less potential front-runners.  Spots 21 and 22 are now Silver Medallion and Anthony’s Cross, with the latter booked for a flight to Churchill next Tuesday// Some believed Calvin Borel would be named to ride Stay Thirsty, but Ramon Dominguez was confirmed instead.  The rumor of Borel landing on Master Of Hounds continues to grow.  Derby winning jockey Mike Smith was named to ride new entrant Twinspired// As for the workouts, Pletcher was clearly thrilled with Uncle Mo’s five furlong drill.  Jockey Johnny Velazquez and DRF analyst Mike Welsch claimed the old Mo is back.  Welsch did comment he could have galloped out stronger, but admitted that was “nitpicking”.  Midnight Interlude worked a bullet six furlongs, but according to Welsch had some trouble catching up to his workmate.  Santiva, who worked four panels, pleased his trainer Eddie Kenneally but did not impress Welsch// Uncle Mo’s owner Mike Repole held a press conference today and offered strong words to the press on questions related to Uncle Mo and full disclosure// Tom Durkin, the voice of the Kentucky Derby the past 10 years decided to bow out of contract negatiations for this year’s call on NBC.  Rumors are that Larry Collmus, track announcer at Gulfstream Park and Monmouth Park will assume the duty// Although not Derby related, it is worth noting that during all of the excitement this morning at Churchill Downs there was also tragedy.  Gilded Gem, a workmate of Kentucky Oaks contender Plum Pretty, was fatally injured during the Derby/Oaks training session.  Trainer Bob Baffert, who recently withdrew two horses from the Derby field, had to deal with the biggest blow of them all// more…


·       Tuesday 4/26 Kentucky Derby update (Churchill Downs)
·       Uncle Mo gets his work done early [includes analysis on Midnight Interlude and Santiva with video] (DRF)
·       Video: Unce Mo workout 4/26/11 (YouTube)
·       The Factor will not run in Derby (Bloodhorse)
·       J P’s Gusto ruled out (DRF)
·       Romans thrilled Shackleford is definitely in Derby field (Courier Journal Blog)
·       Mike Smith will ride Twinspired in Kentucky Derby (Courier Journal)
·       Dominguez to ride Stay Thirsty in Derby (Bloodhorse)
·       Repole talks disclosure; says Mo is sound (Bloodhorse)
·       Derby Talk: Best Beyers, HG PP’s (DRF Blog)
·       The irrational exuberance of Derby fever (Kentucky Confidential)
·       California dreamless (DRF Blog)
·       Archarcharch is a triple threat (Zipse At The Derby)
·       Comprehensive workout summary for all contenders (Downey Profile)
·       Kentucky Derby honors are anyone’s guess (Desert Valley Times)
·       Close enough (Left At The Gate Blog)
·       Waiting for Mo [video] (Kentucky Confidential)
·       Profile: Dialed In (Kentucky Confidential)
·       Profile: Uncle Mo (Kentucky Confidential)

·       Uncle Mo: CD- 5F- 1.01:80- B- 7/11 (Track Sloppy)
·       Midnight Interlude: CD- 6F- 1.13:60- 1/9 (Track Good)
·       Santiva: CD- 4F- 49:20- B- 16/40 (Track Good)

·       Steve Haskin’s Derby Dozen (Bloodhorse Blog)
·       Tim Wilkin Top 10 (Albany Times Union)