04/18/2013 9:04AM

Kentucky Derby: Itsmyluckyday works sharp mile at Calder

Tom Keyser
Itsmyluckyday, shown in a February workout, is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs on April 26.

MIAMI – Itsmyluckyday had his final serious tune up for the 2013 Kentucky Derby when working a mile in 1:43.10 shortly after dawn Thursday morning at Calder Race Course.

With exercise rider Hopeton “Bobby” Gray aboard, Itsmyluckyday cruised through a 26.82-second and 53.82 opening half-mile, then responded when set down leaving the three-eighths pole. He completed his final half-mile in 49.28 and final quarter in 24.80 over a fast track that had opened more than an hour earlier and had been cut up pretty well when Itsmyluckyday worked just prior to the renovation break.

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“I couldn’t be more pleased with the way he worked,” said trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. while watching Itsmyluckyday cool out immediately after the work. “The first half-mile is what it is, I just wanted him to finish up. I’ve been doing this a long time over here and they don’t tend to go much faster than 1:43 for a mile at Calder. Maybe one or two have but I don’t think I’ve had a horse finish like he did or gallop out so strongly after working a mile in that kind of time.

“I had Bobby work him rather than Elvis [Trujillo] because these mile works are his specialty, he’s been with me seven or eight years and he does it better than anybody I’ve ever had.”

Plesa said he may bring Itsmyluckyday back with one more easy work prior to putting him on the van for Churchill Downs next Friday, April 26.

“He’s bigger and stronger than he’s ever been,” said Plesa. “The 62 days between the Holy Bull and Florida Derby was just what we needed to do. He’s responded very favorably and is on top of his game right now.”

Itsmyluckyday won the Grade 3 Holy Bull, beating the then undefeated 2-year-old champion Shanghai Bobby by two lengths. He bypassed the Fountain of Youth before returning to finish second behind Orb in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.