04/18/2010 11:00PM

Dublin eager in five-furlong drill at Churchill


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The task of attempting to shed a little light on the way the contenders are training up to the Kentucky Derby became a little easier this year after Churchill Downs decided to allow only Derby and Kentucky Oaks horses on the racetrack during a 15-minute window between 8:15 and 8:30 a.m., immediately after the renovation break. Horses are only allowed on the track during that period if they are wearing their personalized saddle towels.

All but two of the Derby horses currently stabled on the grounds took advantage of the fresh and relatively traffic-free racetrack Monday morning, including Dublin, who turned in the only workout among the group of Derby horses to train after the break.


With jockey Terry Thompson aboard, Dublin (five furlongs in 59.13 seconds) broke off about 1 1/2 lengths behind stablemate Buzzin An Dreamin, was already a length in front after the pair had barely gone an eighth-mile, began pulling well clear approaching the stretch, and was all by himself when crossing the finish line under just mild encouragement. Travelling at a strong clip from the outset, Dublin posted splits of 11.76, 23.23, 35.07, and 47.04 before pulling up rather abruptly and galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.38.

The original plan for the pair to work in company failed as a result of Dublin being too sharp and too strong from the beginning of the drill. It would have been nice to see a little more during the gallop out, considering he'll be asked to stay 1 1/4 miles in less than two weeks.

Among the Derby candidates who made the best impressions simply galloping here Monday were Super Saver, Paddy O'Prado, and Noble's Promise.

Super Saver was on his toes and eager to go through his paces Monday. The son of Maria's Mon is the only member of the Derby field with a win over the track, the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club in his juvenile finale, and a couple of good weeks would place him high up in the second echelon of key contenders behind stablemate Eskendereya.

Paddy O'Prado has the unmistakable look of a grass horse the way he gallops with his head down while pounding the ground with every stride, not surprising considering his best races have come either on turf or artificial surfaces. But he was also on the muscle and seemed to drag his exercise rider around the track Monday, a continuing sign that he is maintaining his top form of the past six weeks.

Noble's Promise remains a question mark coming off some minor injuries suffered in the Arkansas Derby, but he turned in a strong and spirited gallop on Monday in preparation for Tuesday's very important workout.

Awesome Act did not appear to be the smoothest of movers as he galloped the course tucked right behind a stablemate while travelling on his left lead nearly the entire way.

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