05/27/2011 2:02PM

Calder: No firm plans for Kentucky Derby also-rans Decisive Moment, Watch Me Go

Email
Tom Cooley Photography
Watch Me Go, winning the Tampa Bay Derby, may try turf this summer at Colonial Downs.

MIAMI – The lives of Juan Arias and Kathleen O’Connell have returned to normal again after the pair experienced the rush that comes with participating in their first Kentucky Derby earlier this month. Now the two locally based trainers must decide on what will be next for their Derby participants, Decisive Moment and Watch Me Go.

The Arias-trained Decisive Moment finished 14th after pressing the pace for the opening mile of the Derby. Watch Me Go, trained by O’Connell, was bumped leaving the gate, raced very wide throughout and beat only Comma to the Top across the wire after breaking from the extreme outside in post 19.

“I wish my horse had been in the open instead of stuck behind the speed,” said Arias. “He doesn’t like to run that way. He’s a free runner and with the pace of the Derby I think he could have been right next to Shackleford if he was in the clear. I don’t know if he’s a mile and one quarter horse but he would have carried his speed a lot further that way. The main thing is that he came back out of the race good and sound.”

Arias said Decisive Moment rested for a week after he returned to Calder, galloped for 10 days, and was scheduled to have his first work, an easy maintenance half-mile, here Saturday morning.

“I have no definite plans at the moment,” said Arias. “I could send him to Charles Town for the Red Legend at seven furlongs but I’m not sure I want to run him around that track. There are also races like the Iowa Derby, the Pegasus and Long Branch at Monmouth Park, or the West Virginia Derby down the road to consider.”

O’Connell was frustrated by the fact that Tampa Bay Derby winner Watch Me Go, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, never really had an opportunity to show his stuff in the Derby.

“He got bounced around by Nehro at the break and instead of dropping him in and trying to make a rally my rider kept him outside the whole trip,” said O’Connell. “He was about 15 wide and getting knocked around the whole time. I don’t know why my rider didn’t just try to save ground and hope for the best along the rail. If you make it through you make it through but at least he’d have had a chance.”

O’Connell said she dropped Watch Me Go off at owner Gil Campbell’s farm in Ocala, Fla., after leaving Kentucky. He will remain there until later this weekend when he will ship to Colonial Downs with the rest of the 40-horse string O’Connell will have on hand when the meet opens on June 8.

“There’s no reason to bring him back to Calder because there’s nothing here for him this summer,” said O’Connell. “I’ll shoot for something on the grass with him when we get to Virginia. He’s bred like crazy for the turf, being by West Acre out of a Deputy Minister mare.”

O’Connell will also maintain her regular 40-horse stable at Calder this summer as well as having a similar presence at Colonial.

“I’ll leave here for Virginia on Monday mornings after training and return Thursdays,” O’Connell said. “Same schedule as when Tampa ran this winter only now I”ll get 45 minutes extra to sleep on the plane.”