04/27/2010 11:00PM

Homeboykris finally gets his work in


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - I finally saw something this morning that I hadn't seen during training hours at Churchill Downs in almost a week: the sun! But that was not nearly as surprising as what I witnessed during the 15-minute window of training for Derby and Oaks horses following the renovation break, when I got to watch arguably the best Derby worker and best Derby galloper since my arrival in Louisville 10 days earlier. Unfortunately, neither will run in the race.

Temperatures were in the high 30s when the track opened at 5:45 a.m. with far more moisture on the surface than might have been anticipated considering the lack of rain during the previous 18 hours. Conditions were a little dryer and a lot better following the break, when the course was upgraded from muddy to good, although it remained on the hard side throughout the morning.

Homeboykris (four furlongs in 48.51) - After postponing his Homeboykris's final Derby prep for a couple of days looking for a dryer racetrack, trainer Rick Dutrow finally gave the green light immediately following the break on Wednesday, sending Homeboykris out to work an easy half-mile with jockey Julien Leparoux aboard. And Dutrow got exactly what he was looking for, an easy and relatively unspectacular breeze in which Leparoux pretty much allowed his horse to dictate his own pace before galloping out five eighths in 1:02.06.

This move was pretty much a shorter, mirror image of his previous six-furlong work over the track one week earlier.

"We know we're scuffling to get there and not the player in this race," Dutrow said afterward. "We're just going to play defense, sit back, and try to pick up as many horses as we can. We're be on Cloud 9 if we could pick up a check."

Endorsement (four furlongs in 47.23) - To be honest, I didn't expect this type of performance this morning considering what I'd seen from Endorsement over the past week. And while it has now become a moot point, it would be remiss not to at least acknowledge the superb work he turned in prior to being diagnosed with a condylar fracture less than an hour later. With trainer Shannon Ritter aboard, Endorsement was just cruising from start to finish, although he did suddenly switch back to his left lead approaching the wire, perhaps the point at which the injury may have occurred. The gallop-out was what made this work so brilliant, five-eighths in 1:00.20 and six furlongs in 1:13.45. The best I'd seen here all week.

The most eye catching gallop by any horse wearing a yellow Kentucky Derby towel that did not say "Work Mate" on it during my 10-day tenure in Louisville was turned in this morning by Setsuko, who looked like a million bucks dragging his rider around the track. Once again, it's unfortunate he'll not see the starting gate Saturday due to a lack of graded earnings. Instead, he'll prove a very formidable contender in Friday's Grade 2 American Turf.

The one Derby galloper I really wanted to see today was Sidney's Candy who didn't bring his "A" game, at least in my opinion, to the track on Tuesday. But that was certainly not the case Wednesday morning, as he looked sound and displayed a very high energy level throughout his tour of the course.

Devil May Care again went to the track without blinkers, with trainer Todd Pletcher continuing to play it cautious with her over a wet and very hard surface. She did seem a bit more focused without the shades than the previous morning.

American Lion did not have the flashiest of works on Monday, but he obviously has bounced back, looking just as smooth and strong as he had during his morning gallops prior to that work.

The one Derby contender who failed to make a good impression this morning was Dublin, who did hold the turns but was not striding out smoothly at all as he passed by the twin spires.