Updated on 09/17/2011 11:52PM

Kentucky Derby Clocker Report - Thursday, April 27

Sweetnorthernsaint gets his first gallop over the Churchill Downs track on Thursday.

Count Seaside Retreat in

Clear, track fast; 50¦

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A key five-furlong work by Seaside Retreat, another vigorous gallop from Sharp Humor, and the first local appearance by the intriguing Sweetnorthernsaint were the highlights during training hours at Churchill Downs on Thursday morning. The weatherman offered some relief to shivering railbirds following another brisk start, with temperatures rising into the mid-50's by the time the horses came back on the track at 8:30 a.m. after the daily renovation break.

Calling Seaside Retreat's five-furlong work (59.54 seconds) on Thursday "key" might be a stretch, considering he is likely to go off as the longest price in this year's Kentucky Derby field. But the work was a critical one, because it solidified his starting status. That decision directly impacts the chances of more fancied contenders such as Flashy Bull or Sunriver to crack the starting lineup when the Derby field is drawn Wednesday.

Seaside Retreat broke off a length behind Engineered, a 6-year-old high-priced claiming and allowance horse trained by Dale Romans. With jockey Patrick Husbands in the saddle, Seaside Retreat remained a length or two off his target while completing his opening quarter in 23.80 and three-eighths in 35.48. He readily drew abreast of his workmate entering the stretch, then easily edged clear through the final furlong while under little urging nearing the wire. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.39.

The work was visually impressive, easily the fastest of the morning over a track that was cuppy earlier and somewhat faster after the break. It was good to see Seaside Retreat relax so well after being a bit rank during a routine gallop the previous morning. It was a work that was good enough to move his connections to run in the Derby, but certainly not strong enough to make him anything other than a huge outsider in this year's field.

For the second morning in a row, Sharp Humor was a handful to gallop even though he was one of the last horses to train over the main course, at 9:30 a.m. As was the case Wednesday, Sharp Humor started off at nearly a two-minute lick, then picked up the pace as he approached the stretch, reeling off a pair of 13-and-change eighth-mile splits from the three-furlong pole to the eighth pole and completing his final half-mile in 55.42 around to the seven-eighths marker. This type of aggressiveness supports the thought that Sharp Humor will be difficult to keep off the early lead and a potential pace duel with Sinister Minister.

Sweethnorthernsaint made his first local appearance 15 minutes after the track re-opened following the break and had his routine gallop briefly interrupted by a loose horse shortly after breaking into a canter near the half-mile pole. This is a good-looking individual with a distinctive blazed face, whose performances in the Gotham and Illinois Derby figure to make him one of the more intriguing horses in this year's Derby.

Lawyer Ron had the racetrack to himself when he went two miles just past 8 a.m., making another sharp appearance while again galloping most of the way with his mouth open and head cocked to the inside.

Bluegrass Cat had another good morning and appears to love the local surface. His stablemates Keyed Entry and Sunriver returned to the track after taking Wednesday off but did little more than jog.

Cause to Believe visited the paddock, then galloped two miles, picking up the pace impressively the second time around.

Endine was the lone Kentucky Oaks horse to work, breezing five furlongs in 1:01.16 shortly after the renovation break and finishing with interest under little pressure.

Miss Norman, who ducked out badly on a couple of occasions while finishing a game second in the Fantasy Stakes, had a good morning. She galloped two miles right up against the inside fence, accelerating to better than a two-minute clip through the stretch and around the clubhouse turn the second time around.


A.P. Warrior: Galloped 1 1/2 miles at Hollywood Park.

Barbaro: Galloped 1 5/8 miles at Keeneland. Vanned to Churchill Downs.

Bluegrass Cat: Galloped 1 1/2 miles at Churchill Downs.

Bob and John: Galloped 1 1/2 miles at Santa Anita.

Brother Derek: Flew in from California. Arrived at Churchill Downs at noon.

Cause to Believe: Visited the paddock, galloped 1 1/2 miles at Churchill Downs.

Dawn of War: Breezed a half-mile, according to trainer Dale Romans.

Deputy Glitters: Walked the shed row at Belmont Park after working Wednesday. Shipped to Churchill Downs.

Flashy Bull: Galloped 1 1/2 miles at Keeneland.

Jazil: Galloped 1 1/2 miles at Belmont Park. Shipped to Keeneland.

Keyed Entry: Jogged two miles at Churchill Downs.

Lawyer Ron: Galloped two miles at Churchill Downs.

Mister Triester: Galloped at Churchill Downs.

Point Determined: Galloped 1 1/2 miles at Santa Anita.

Private Vow: Galloped one mile at Churchill Downs.

Sacred Light: Walked the shed row at Hollywood Park after working Wednesday.

Seaside Retreat: Worked five furlongs in 59.54 seconds at Churchill Downs.

Sharp Humor: Galloped 1 1/2 miles at Churchill Downs.

Showing Up: Galloped 1 3/8 miles at Belmont Park.

Sinister Minister: Galloped 1 1/2 miles at Churchill Downs.

Steppenwolfer: Galloped 1 1/2 miles at Churchill Downs.

Storm Treasure: Galloped one mile at Churchill Downs.

Sunriver: Jogged one mile the wrong way with a pony at Churchill Downs.

Sweetnorthernsaint: Galloped 1 1/4 miles at Churchill Downs.

- Mike Welsch