04/29/2012 12:03PM

Kentucky Derby 2012: Less than ideal conditions for Gemologist, El Padrino

Barbara D. Livingston
El Padrino worked more slowly than trainer Todd Pletcher wanted to see during pre-dawn hours over a muddy track Sunday at Palm Meadows.

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - Maybe next year, trainer Todd Pletcher will send his horses to Southern California to train for the Kentucky Derby.

Hoping to avoid the wet weather that plagued him in Kentucky last year, Pletcher opted this spring to keep his Kentucky Derby hopefuls Gemologist and El Padrino in south Florida for as long as possible. Given the beautiful weather here all winter it seemed like a good idea.

In reality, not so much.

After juggling his training schedule multiple times, Pletcher elected to work both Gemologist and El Padrino in the dark Sunday morning over a muddy Palm Meadows surface.

While Gemologist worked a decent half-mile, El Padrino went a pedestrian four furlongs in their final major training session before Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

Gemologist, the undefeated Wood Memorial winner, worked four furlongs in 50.49 seconds under exercise rider Hector Ramos. Working in company outside of last  year’s Demoiselle winner Disposablepleasure, the pair went virtually together through an opening eighth in 13.58 seconds, a quarter in 26.18 and they came home their final quarter in 24.31 seconds, with a final eighth of 11:59. Gemologist galloped out five furlongs in 1:03.16 and six furlongs in 1:18.53.

 “Basically that was a mirror image of Gemologist’s work prior to the allowance win here,” Pletcher said, referring to one-mile race at Gulfstream Park on March 16 he won by seven lengths. “He hadn’t run since November and he ran very well that day.”

Shortly after Gemologist finshed, El Padrino worked outside of Windsurfer, a maiden winner who was sixth in the Louisiana Derby. The pair went off slowly and picked it up only slightly, getting their last three-eighths in 39.79 seconds. Humberto Zamora was aboard El Padrino.

 “El Padrino’s [work] was slower than we wanted but based on this type of track you’d rather go a little on the cautious side than way too fast,” Pletcher said.

Pletcher’s decision to work before daylight did seem wise because as soon as El Padrino and Windsurfer finished galloping out it started to rain heavily.

Pletcher maintained that even had conditions been perfect this weekend, he wasn’t looking for fast workouts from either colt. He said both horses had their most serious move on April 20, a work that was moved up two days because of wet weather.

 Pletcher noted that both horses worked strong five furlongs that day, with Gemologist galloping out a mile in 1:42 and El Padrino galloping out a mile in 1:41.

Pletcher had opted to train in south Florida this year in part because last year he had to train his horses over a wet Churchill strip for the bulk of 2 1/2 weeks. Churchill’s main track was wet during training hours Sunday following Saturday night’s storm in Louisville.

 “The weather’s been spotty everywhere,” Pletcher said. “We got a little unlucky that the rain happened to fall on the two weekends. Last year, went to Kentucky and regretted that. You never know what the weather’s going to do for sure.”

 Take Charge Indy, the Florida Derby winner, jogged over the sloppy track Sunday after walking the shed row the last two days. Trainer Pat Byrne got Take Charge Indy’s final work in on Thursday over a fast track.

Brilliant Speed works for Woodford Reserve

About 30 minutes after Pletcher’s horses worked, Brilliant Speed, third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup turf, worked four furlongs in 52.74 seconds over what became a sloppy Palm Meadows main track Sunday in preparation for Saturday’s Woodford Reserve at Churchill Downs.

Like Pletcher, trainer Tom Albertrani had to alter his training schedule this weekend and wasn’t even sure the horse would work right up until the time that exercise rider David Wallace turned him around.

Brilliant Speed went his first quarter in 27.56 seconds and his second quarter in 25.18 seconds.

“This horse is training extremely well,” said Albertrani, noting that Brilliant Speed’s fifth-place finish in the Appleton on March 31 “put him back in the game.”

A plane taking all the above horses as well as others still here is scheduled to leave south Florida at 6 a.m. Tuesday.




Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Weither the Weather plays into work/preps and forward the Derby itself is more than likely. The works are behind schedule due to weather, accordingly horses worked out earlier/later than planned etc. Check out Derby day weather link. Also the horses in article had to work in the dark, no lights. A must to handicap now with what happens on track Friday, forecast Saturday, and early Sat card results leading to the big one. http://www.weather.com/weather/tenday/USKY1096 Last time, Mine That Bird came through the mud. Race was not a fluke. See what he did after, KD in triple crown that year. He was the Canadian 2-yr-old champ. Many bet against him because he drove up to C Downs in a van driven by his trainer who was on crutches and had a cow-poke sprint-horse trainer. The horse didn't fly in from overseas, lacked owner and trainer in good suits and hair cuts. PS, I will dress up for Derby simulcast, my fun day. Anyway, use your feel for racing in a probability way, not a gut- I-can say I was right way. Unless you are not betting with real dollars into the pool. What is the prob. of this race having 1st female jockey winning the race. Low. Because of size of field, many good horse this year, horse is not coming in as the very top contender, etc. Put horse in under spots or throw out. Creative Cause ~ see breeding for his sire Giant's C. Offspring never hit the board in Trip Crown, nor made the supers for that matter. And not many offspring even made it this far. And CC was beat in Santa A Dby by horse in this race: IHA. Horse has whip and goggles issues. Stops to look around at 9 fl, horses pass him and does not like crop encouragement. So list goes on. Secretariat's connections won two in a row. They won the year before with Riva Ridge. Can Animal Kingdom connections do this? Prob not as they do not have a Sect. to provide this probabilty. Etc Be Be it the Derby, any race, it's not one's opinion before nor after, handicapping hard numbers, Nicks, 5xbreeding, crunched numbers/stats, trip handicapping or how to bet aunt Mary's dream at church with $ she puts up. That's not enough. When you go to the window, that's when you have to be right. The right ticket construction = return to window to cash it. Flat bet only, Or ex vs box vs wheel, vs a leave out vs the all button. This year, my dear friend Steve is not here to enjoy the gates opening at KD. But if one were to place a bet he might say, "How much do you have to win?"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don Passidomo More than 1 year ago
Who knows right? "The best laid plans of mice, horses and men"
rvraynmary More than 1 year ago
I have been handicapping and betting horses for more than 60 years and learned an early lesson about workouts. I was a public newspaper handicapper at Centennial inLittleton CO in the 1970s and early 1980s. One year a horse that had raced in the Derby and Preakness wasbrought to the little off-the-path track and ran a public "workout." To us yokels not accustomed to seeing some of the better horses of the day that horse closely resembled a speeding bullet. A few days later he was entered in an allowance race and his odds at post time were 1-5. He ran a slow fourth and never was seen on a track again. The lesson: only the sophisticated should judge a horse by his works. Us amaterus should just use their judgment. Most trainers nearly always say they are pleased witha horse's works. i don't putmuch stock in workouts unless they are exceedingly slow..
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
Good point. I like to see that they are on a pattern. Every 7 day or every 14 days and work that trend. I like to see a nice breeze and average to above average times. If I see a good work horse with fast works, suddenly work slow, I pass. Or if a horse has had a tough campaign and working slow I toss. Its good to know the trainers as well and how they work. For example, Baffert always likes to work them fast so that is what you want to see in the workouts.
Mr 6 More than 1 year ago
however you will not beat 20 other horses in the biggest race with a missed or slow worktab unless the track is sloppy. both pletch horses will loose
Nick Gunritz More than 1 year ago
People make too much of the works leading up to the Derby. The El Padrino work probably was slower because his regular exercise rider was hurt the other day. Better too slow than too fast.
mrm More than 1 year ago
Only a jerk or someone with no real knowledgs of the game would make such a statement.
Nick Gunritz More than 1 year ago
Ok. Let me clarify, since 99.9% of people cannot witness the workouts, we are beholden to others opinions about these workouts. Furthermore, some horses are just not great work horses, so they might appear less than dazzling. Moreover, I rarely use workouts in my everyday handicapping, maybe only for maidens, & 1st time starters. So why start with the Derby? I think most important info you can glean from the overreporting of Derby workouts is not necessarily how great a horse is working, but rather if a horse is not working as he normally does.
James More than 1 year ago
Wow, I think it's pretty apparent who the real jerk is.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
LOl, Must of had a bad day at the track. I get your point Nick.
Feanor Matheis More than 1 year ago
agree with nick. Don't know what mrm is squawking about. I was a groom and horse owner before. Really, you don't even know if the workout rider was a 90 pound future jockey athlete or a 150 pound ex jockey trainer who still is active doing this. There wasn't a lot of science to it twenty years ago, and if there is something special going on, it's one of the hidden secrets the insiders keep to themselves, trying to look clever instead of like insiders.
Kany Levine More than 1 year ago
Then I'm pretty sure Nick didn't have Animal Kingdom last year . . .
Nick Gunritz More than 1 year ago
Nor did a lot of other people, hence the payout.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
I had him. Loved him. Spiral Race sealed the deal. There is a very Similar AK out there this year.
Feanor Matheis More than 1 year ago
Are you serious? Too many people did like him. His payoff wasn't great. I liked Animal Kingdom until I saw the odds. He was a huge underlay from the morning line. He had a great forward move, but over the long haul, no betting value. His odds weren't great for a huge field of Grade one runners. He was a handicapper pick, but just too much of an underlay.
WILL More than 1 year ago
Kany Levine More than 1 year ago
I had him Nick. And anyone who was paying attention knew that he had an absolutely dynamite work on the dirt the week before. 21-1 was really nice.
Mr 6 More than 1 year ago
I did.and Giacomo a few years back.......
AndrewD More than 1 year ago
Workouts only matter on the track where the horse is running. You either see something that jumps out and says this horse is a must play. See Animal Kingdom last year. Or you see a horse that wants no part of the track and it makes him an easy toss. See Golan in the 2002 Breeders Cup Turf.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
I picked AK cause of his ground he made up in the Spiral. That was all I needed to see. His works were fine leading up last year and got a great switch to JV.
Rodney Dangerfield More than 1 year ago
Nick, Stay away from I'll have another, and I don't mean the horse.
john More than 1 year ago
wow, you people are somewhat entertaining, but none the less, down right brutal for no apparent reason except maybe being mean spirited. Lighten up and enjoy the upcoming Derby. Didn't you know that's what makes horse racing? A difference of opinion.