04/15/2012 12:17PM

El Padrino preparing as if he will make Kentucky Derby field

Tom Keyser
El Padrino currently stands 23rd on the list of graded earnings that will determine the field for the May 5 Kentucky Derby.

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. -   El Padrino, whose Kentucky Derby status remains in limbo, worked four furlongs in 49.01 seconds in company with 2011 Travers winner Stay Thirsty on Sunday morning at Palm Meadows. The work was the first for El Padrino since his fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Florida Derby 15 days ago.

El Padrino, winner of the Risen Star at Fair Grounds, currently has $250,000 in graded earnings, which places him 23rd on the list that will ultimately determine the starting field for the Derby if more than 20 horses are entered as expected.  Bodemeister, with his convincing victory in the Arkansas Derby, was the only horse who moved ahead of El Padrino following Saturday’s two key Derby preps.

“I thought we had about as good a day as we could hope for on Saturday, not getting passed by too many horses on the earnings list,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “Right now we’re still hopeful he’ll get in.”

El Padrino broke off at the half-mile pole outside Stay Thirsty and the pair went along evenly and easily to the wire shortly after the renovation break on Sunday , posting splits of 12.18 seconds, 24.19, and :36.53 for the opening three furlongs. El Padrino did not gallop out as strong as Stay Thirsty, falling about a length behind after completing five-eighths in 1:01.89.

“I thought it was a good work They finished into a bit of a wind and he had a productive gallop out,” said Pletcher. “I put him in company with Stay Thirsty because I felt they’d make good work mates. Stay Thirsty is a very reliable work horse and by having them go in company it gave El Padrino a good breeze while also giving me a good barometer on Stay Thirsty’s fitness. Right now we’re going to prepare this horse as if he’s going to get into the Derby. As far as that goes, it’s out of our control.”

If El Padrino does make the Derby field, he will need a new jockey. El Padrino was ridden in the Risen Star and Florida Derby by Javier Castellano, who is also the regular rider for Pletcher’s undefeated Gemologist.

“Javier is riding Gemologist in the Derby,” said Pletcher. “At the moment the mount on El Padrino is open.”

Both Gemologist and Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy had routine gallops earlier Sunday at Palm Meadows. Pletcher said Gemologist is still scheduled to have his first work back since winning the Grade 1 Wood next Sunday while Pat Byrne is planning to breeze Take Charge Indy either Thursday or Friday Both works will take place at Palm Meadows.

On Saturday, Florida Derby runner-up Reveron worked a mile in 1:43.44 over a sloppy and tiring racetrack at Calder.  Trainer Agustin Bezara is considering running Reveron on Saturday at Keeneland in the Grade 3 Lexington in a last-ditch effort to improve his position on the graded earnings list. Reveron is presently next in line behind El Padrino with $220,000.