04/30/2013 2:32PM

Kentucky Derby: Itsmyluckyday thrives in cooler climate at Churchill Downs

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Eddie Plesa (right), at the shed row with Itsmyluckyday on Tuesday, says his horse has adapted well since arriving from Florida.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. had his hands full simply trying to walk his Kentucky Derby hopeful Itsmyluckyday around the shed row at feed time on Monday. His exercise rider, Peter Shelton, had a similar problem trying to keep the Florida Derby runner-up from running off during  training hours the following morning.

Plesa said Itsmyluckyday couldn’t have adapted any better to his new surroundings at Churchill Downs or, even more important, the racetrack itself, following his arrival from Calder on Saturday.

[2013 KENTUCKY DERBY: Get PPs, contender profiles, live updates]

“He always takes a nice hold, although he seemed to be just a tad more aggressive today,” Plesa said a short while after Itsmyluckyday’s impressive-looking gallop on Tuesday. “I think the cooler weather helps him. You see horses leave Florida and come up here and they all seem to like it. I’d rather see him aggressive like that than just going through the motions. You see some horses out there and they just don’t look comfortable. They’re all out there going around, but some look better than others.”

Plesa said he remains unconcerned by the fact Itsmyluckyday’s final Derby work, a half-mile in 53 seconds last Thursday at Calder, did not go according to plan. That followed a sharp 1:43.20 mile drill one week earlier.

“The work’s not going to make a difference between him winning or losing the race, in my mind,” said Plesa. “I was looking for about a 50, but I preach to all my riders I’d rather have you go too slow than too fast. And that was just the case. It might have led people to believe there’s a problem with the horse. But as you can see since he got here, there’s no problem with him. He couldn’t be doing better.”

Howard Burtis More than 1 year ago
It's going to be my lucky day at the window. Great Trainer and great Family. Good Luck, from everyone at Loose Cannon Stables.
Albert More than 1 year ago
Plesa is trying to bring this horse out of the regression he suffered winning the Holy Bull...he has not been the same horse since....I don't care how much he likes the cooler weather....he has to get back to a tough higher level in order to beat this field. Not likely.
Curtis V Slewster More than 1 year ago
That comment makes absolutely no sense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its my Lucky day is not bred to go 1 1/4 successfully. He's a fighter that will fade IMO
Eric Singer More than 1 year ago
That's what is so exciting about horse racing - having opinions and being passionate about them. I disagree with Lenny - I don't think the slow move is a big deal at all. The horse ran well earlier in the year, he comes off a two month break and loses to Orb (the likely Derby favorite) he's worked okay besides that work and he's had a meaningful race as a prep. What he has going for him - finished 2nd to Orb, high Beyer figs, positional speed and an interest in winning. If he loves Churchill so much the better. What makes me less sure - Orb passed him easily and even if IMLD improves if Orb improves too why would he beat him? (a better trip due to his positional speed is possible.) Unclear that he wants 10 furlongs, I agree with Thomas below a mile and a 1/6th to 1 and a 1/8th seems a much better fit. In my bones I feel like he is an excellent choice for the minor slots, and I still think he could offer fine value on top on Derby Day. If he drifts up to 15-1 or higher I will have to consider using him on top of exotic wagers (along with a couple others, with all horses being 5-1 or better the prices could be huge in a 20 horse field.) Keep on with refining your views and may all your tickets be winning ones.
Lenny Mamola More than 1 year ago
I disagree you can not work a horse in 53 seconds and get him fit for the Derby or any race unless he has been working brillantly before hand and it was just a maintenance work
J.L. Boey More than 1 year ago
He did. He had two bullet drills at 5f and 8f at Calder prior to the 53s maintenance work (last of 9 clockings that day).
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
He is a monster up to 1 1/16 maybe even be there at 1/8 pole...but ORB is the winner. Could be same exacts as Florida Derby though if Plesa says he is ready.
gallopingtom More than 1 year ago
All he has to do is run back to his races in January and he's a winner. Most of the horses have to run the race of there life. He just needs to run back to the good form.
Mike Rutledge More than 1 year ago
Not only do I think IMLD will outfinish ORB I think he is the winner.
Paul Gibb More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ED Broome More than 1 year ago