Buzz builds after Daddy Nose Best workout// 5 other contenders breeze//Dominguez chooses Hansen over Alpha

The process trainers and jockeys go through in figuring out riding assignments for Kentucky Derby contenders is always intriguing.  Even when explanations are given, oftentimes experts and fans have their own opinions on what really went down. On Monday it was announced Ramon Dominguez chose Hansen over Alpha. The reason given by Dominguez’s agent was that Hansen is proven at Churchill Downs based on his victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), a race in which Alpha finished 7th.  Seems logical enough, however earlier Monday it was reported Alpha took a somewhat surprising day off from the track.  His “strong gallop” from Sunday is now called a “work day” by assistant trainer Art Magnusun meaning Alpha will probably not breeze for the rest of the week and only have one official move before the Derby.  Ever since it was reported Alpha took a few days off to recover from an infection following the Wood Memorial you get the growing feeling he might not make it to Kentucky at all. Even if he does enter the Derby gate, you can’t blame Dominguez for doubting the colt’s fitness.  Alpha’s trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said they tried to secure Rafael Bejarano for the mount Monday but Bejarano already committed to ride El Padrino for Todd Pletcher//

There are always a few standout workers at Churchill Downs just before the Derby that turn a one-time sleeper into a backside darling.  This year it could be Daddy Nose Best, who went an extended 6 furlongs under Garret Gomez beneath the Twin Spires.  According to DRF’s Mike Welsch, Daddy Nose Best was asked for a stiff move and appears to be  “peaking at the right time”// Steve Asmussen sent two other contenders for official works, including recently acquired Isn’t He Clever who worked a slow 4 furlongs.  Isn’t He Clever, along with another Monday worker Optimizer, current sit at #21 and #22 on the graded earnings list and need a few more defections to make the Derby.  Asmussen mentioned the Preakness or Woody Stephens is more likely for Isn’t He Clever, but no final decision has been made.   Asmussen’s other contender Sabercat was not asked for a lot Monday morning as the trainer thinks the recent Arkansas Derby (G1) did a lot for the colt’s fitness// Mark Valeski breezed a quick 5 furlongs with Rosie Napravnik aboard. Welsch said it appeared Mark Valeski liked the track, but his gallop out was a little discouraging.  While most of Monday’s key workouts occurred at Churchill Downs, Trinniberg did go 6 furlongs at Calder in 1.15:40. Official times, videos and workout reports for Monday can be viewed below//

Coolmore’s Daddy Long Legs was confirmed for the Kentucky Derby Monday as expected. He will ship into Louisville early next week.  Colm O’Donoghue retains the mount on the son of Scat Daddy. Anyone looking for an angle to back Daddy Long Legs in the Derby, aside from his recent UAE Derby (G2) victory in Dubai, can point to the fact O’Donoghue did not ride the colt in his dismal 12th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill// more…

Daddy Nose Best- CD- 6F- 1.14:00- B- 1/2
Isn't He Clever- CD- 4F- 51:60- B- 36/45
Optimizer- CD- 4F- 48:60- B- 6/45
Mark Valeski- CD- 5F- 59:60- B- 2/31
Sabercat- CD- 5F- 1.02:80- B- 19/31
Trinniberg- CRC- 6F- 1.15:40- B- 1/1

Workout Videos
Optimizer video (Churchill Downs)
Mark Valeski video (Churchill Downs)
Sabercat video (Churchill Downs)

Workout Reports

Kentucky Derby News and Opinion
Kentucky Derby: U.K/U.S. odds comparisons (And Down The Stretch They Come)
Lexington winner could be sold (Miami Herald)


News and Quotes from Twitter
After a strong gallop Sun a.m. at Belmont, Alpha just walks shed Monday. "We're treating yesterday like a work day," said asst Art Magnuson.- David Grening DRF

As of today, 3 of top 20 Derby horses need a rider: Alpha or Hansen (depending on Dominguez pick), El Padrino, Rousing Sermon- Jay Privman DRF

Agent Steve Rushing confirms that Ramon Dominguez will ride Hansen in Kentucky Derby. David Grening DRF

Rafael Bejarano will ride El Padrino in the Kentucky Derby, according to trainer Todd Pletcher.- Jay Privman

Names on bottom of I'll Have Another's pedigree: Pleasant Colony, Nijinsky, Stage Door Johnny, Sea-Bird. That's 1 1/4 mile firepower.- Marcus Hersch DRF