04/26/2013 3:30PM

Kentucky Derby training plans shuffled

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Barbara D. Livingston
Vyjack worked Friday at Churchill Downs, with his rider (and trainer), Rudy Rodriguez, urging him through five furlongs in 1:00.36 in an effort Rodriguez called "perfect.”

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – With rain predicted to fall this weekend at Churchill Downs, workouts for several contenders for the May 4 Kentucky Derby are being adjusted, with Falling Sky, among others, going out Friday, and trainer Todd Pletcher deciding to work the majority of his Derby, and all his Kentucky Oaks candidates, on Saturday now instead of Sunday.

[KENTUCKY DERBY WORKOUTS: Video analysis, news, and times]

Falling Sky and Vyjack were two of three Derby prospects to work here on Friday, but only Falling Sky’s work was adjusted owing to the predicted weather. Also working on Friday was Golden Soul, but trainer Dallas Stewart had his eye more on the points list than the weather, hoping there will be enough defections to get Golden Soul, currently 23rd on the points list, into the race.

It’s not impossible. Two of the horses currently in the top 20 – Govenor Charlie and Winning Cause – are uncertain for the Derby. Govenor Charlie has not worked since April 11, and though he was given a clean bill of health after having a hind foot examined last week at a local veterinary clinic, his training obviously has been compromised.

His trainer, Bob Baffert, on Friday said he would not make a decision on Govenor Charlie until he arrives and watches Govenor Charlie work.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do until I see him,” Baffert said.

[DERBY WATCH: Top 20 Kentucky Derby contenders with odds and video]

Baffert had originally planned on traveling here on Thursday, but pushed that back to Saturday, and said Govenor Charlie will work Monday or Tuesday.

Winning Cause is doubtful for the Derby, but his trainer, Pletcher, said he would not make a final decision until Winning Cause works, likely on Monday. The work had been scheduled for Sunday, but Pletcher did not want to move the work up to Saturday, being as Winning Cause just ran last Saturday when winning the Coolmore Lexington.

If those two drop out, Golden Soul would move to 21st on the points list. Tiz a Minister, currently one spot above Golden Soul, is entered to run at Betfair Hollywood Park on Saturday, and is highly doubtful for the Derby. The wild card in the equation would be a Derby Trial winner from Saturday night whose connections wheel back in the Derby, since that horse would rank above Golden Soul on the points list.

But the chances of Golden Soul, who has just 14 points, getting into the Derby are certainly improving, and Stewart is hoping it works out.

“I think he deserves a chance,” Stewart said Friday morning after Daily Racing Form clocked Golden Soul working five furlongs in 1:00.74. “He was beaten 4 3/4 lengths by Revolutionary in the Louisiana Derby, with a wide trip, and I think Revolutionary is one of the ones to beat.”

Golden Soul was fourth in the Louisiana Derby, following a sixth-place finish in the Risen Star. He is owned and was bred by Charles Fipke, who also has Blue Grass winner Java’s War – another homebred – in the Derby with trainer Kenny McPeek.

“He’d like to have eight!” Stewart said animatedly. “He’s a pretty fun guy.”

Shortly before Golden Soul’s drill, Falling Sky worked six furlongs in 1:13.49, a drill that was moved up one day owing to the weather report, according to Reynaldo Abreu, the assistant to trainer John Terranova. According to the Weather Channel, there was a 50-percent chance of rain on Saturday, but it was not expected to begin in earnest until late morning, and then worsen through the day.

“John’s coming in tonight, and he was going to work tomorrow,” Abreu said Friday, “but we changed our mind because we didn’t want to take the chance of working him on a hard, sealed track. We wanted to get out it out the way. The track was perfect today.”

Also working was Vyjack, who went five furlongs in 1:00.36 with his trainer, former jockey Rudy Rodriguez, aboard. Rodriguez was urging Vyjack with an aggressive hand ride, and some audible encouragement, as they neared the wire, but he said Vyjack “went perfect.”

“I didn’t want to go too fast,” Rodriguez said. “He handled himself very good. He’s learning how to behave. He did it the right way, without any encouragement until the last sixteenth.”

Rodriguez said he likely would give Vyjack another work next week, “three-eighths, maybe a little half.”

“He’s got a lot of energy,” Rodriguez said.

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch