Creative Cause, Mark Valeski go quick in final moves// 3 others breeze// Monday notes, sights, and sounds from the backside

Kentucky Derby contender Mark Valeski with trainer Larry Jones- Photo: CTD

Happy Derby week! With 5 days to go until the Run For The Roses the buzz and drama along the backstretch is amping up. A majority of the likely Derby field has now settled into the stable areas.  On Monday, five contenders put in their final works ahead of Saturday’s race, with the most drama occurring around the barn of Larry Jones.  The trainer is still undecided on whether to enter Mark Valeski and will not make the final decision until Wednesday morning when he gets the opportunity to take the colt for a spin around Churchill. Mark Valeski had the bullet move Monday going 5-furlongs, but apparently his gallop out was virtually non-existent.  According to Jones that’s par for the course// Creative Cause flew through a quick 4-furlongs. He was visibly sweating, but seemed eager to go on// Bob Baffert was extremely pleased with Liaison’s first breeze on the Churchill Downs surface and said it was his best work since just before the CashCall Futurity (G1) win in December. DRF’s Mike Welsch wasn’t over the moon with the work from his 6th floor view, and said it was merely average// Steve Asmussen’s pair Sabercat and Daddy Nose Best breezed earlier in the day, with the latter getting special mention from Welsch.  For videos and reports from today’s works see below// Daddy Long Legs apparently drilled Sunday at Ballydoyle in Ireland.  Trainer Aidan O’Brien called it “routine” which doesn’t give us much compared to the daily analysis we get on the Churchill workers// Jockey Willie Martinez joked that speed ball Trinniberg will sit last in the early stages of the Derby before making his big move.  In all seriousness, he did mention they don’t have to be on the lead due to the horse’s tactical speed// Doug O’Neill seemed excited to be back for the Derby. It doesn’t hurt that he trains Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner I’ll Have Another, who made a great appearance on the track. O’Neill had to answer quite a few questions about the shockwave therapy the colt recently underwent.  The trainer actually brought a chiropractor along for the trip to Kentucky, and he was getting as much attention from the press as the trainer// An always intriguing read is Kerry Thomas’ assessment of contenders emotional conformation profiles.  The emotional profile basically tells you how a horse responds among a herd. Last year he pegged Derby winner Animal Kingdom and favorite Dialed In as having nearly perfect profiles.  This year he claims there are 8 that fit the profile in 2012, with Union Rags, I’ll Have Another, and Went the Day Well on top// I can’t pinpoint it exactly, but it’s always amusing to see Mine That Bird’s trainer Chip Wooley hanging around on the backside on Derby week.  The trainer seems to not have a care in the world and clearly enjoys the attention. He sides with Take Charge Indy this year, but thinks Bodemeister is the one to beat// more…

Creative Cause- CD- 4F- 47:80- B- 3/58
Liaison- CD- 5F- 1.00:80- B- 7/28
Mark Valeski- CD- 5F- 1.00:20- B- 1/28
Sabercat- CD- 4F- 48:40- B- 10/58
Daddy Nose Best CD- 4F- 49:40- B- 29/58

Workout Reports
Mark Valeski: Courier Journal
Sabercat and Daddy Nose Best: Bloodhorse / DRF / TTimes
Liaison: Bloodhorse / TTimes
Creative Cause: Bloodhorse

Backstretch videos:

Kentucky Derby News and Opinion
Profile: I’ll Have Another (Courier Journal)
Thomas on horses (Kentucky Confidential)
The jockey factor (Kentucky Confidential)
Thundering home (Kentucky Confidential)