04/28/2012 1:53PM

2012 Kentucky Derby: Rain keeps Gemologist, El Padrino in their Florida barn

Barbara D. Livingston
Todd Pletcher says he is leaning towards sending Broadway's Alibi to the Kentucky Oaks.

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. – The electronic sign on the Florida Turnpike read "Severe Weather Ahead. Reduce Speed." It was both ominous and accurate.

Thunderstorms with heavy rain and lightning hit the south Florida area earlier than anticipated Saturday, slowing down most of the equine traffic at the saturated Palm Meadows training center, where a few horses pointing to next week’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks still reside.

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who purposely kept horses here this year in an attempt to avoid the wet weather that plagued his training schedule last year in Kentucky, postponed workouts for Derby horses Gemologist and El Padrino.

Sort of.

Originally scheduled to work Sunday, Gemologist and El Padrino had their works moved up to Saturday because of the forecast of rain during midday. When the rain hit early, Pletcher moved the works back to Sunday, with the slim possibility of waiting to Monday if he felt the track would be better by then.

Pletcher said Sunday was "the day we originally planned to work so maybe it’ll work out that we end up breezing on a track that we like … But in these kind of scenarios, when you’re preparing for big races, you’d love to have absolute perfect conditions."

Take Charge Indy, the Florida Derby winner, walked trainer Pat Byrne’s shed for a second straight day following a fast Thursday workout.

Grace Hall, the potential favorite for the Kentucky Oaks, simply jogged Saturday morning alongside a stable pony as assistant trainer Carol Fisher advised trainer Tony Dutrow, back in the Northeast, that she felt the sealed, sloppy track was too hard.

Pletcher, however, did go ahead with workouts for Oaks candidates Broadway’s Alibi and In Lingerie. The duo went a half-mile together in 48.30 seconds, with a final quarter in 23.71. In the gallop out, Broadway’s Alibi, under Humberto Zamora, pulled away from In Lingerie going six furlongs in 1:15.63 and seven furlongs in 1:31.42.

Ever since her 3 1/2-length victory in the Grade 3 Comely at Aqueduct on April 7 – Broadway’s Alibi’s fourth consecutive victory – Pletcher had been noncommittal on whether Broadway’s Alibi would run in the Oaks. But following Saturday’s move, he gave every indication that’s where she’s headed.

"She’s done everything you’d want to see one do coming up to a race," said Pletcher, who trains Broadway’s Alibi for owner Joyce Robsham. "If she comes out of it well, I’d anticipate everybody being in favor of running. But we’ll wait and talk to everyone first."

Like Broadway’s Alibi, In Lingerie has yet to run beyond a mile. Further, she is 2 for 2 on synthetic surfaces and finished second to Zo Impressive in a first-level allowance race on dirt.

"I think she’ll handle the mile and an eighth," Pletcher said of In Lingerie getting the Oaks distance. "The question remains, is she as good on the dirt as she is on the synthetic?"

Pletcher said he has jockey John Velazquez on hold for the race but would need to get a second rider for whichever horse Velazquez doesn’t choose.