Updated on 05/05/2011 12:55PM

Kentucky Derby workouts: Brilliant Speed, Midnight Interlude finish preparations


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Another day in Louisville and another torrential downpour to greet the early arrivals at Churchill Downs on Monday morning for the beginning of a very busy training session which featured the final workouts of five potential Kentucky Derby starters, including Grade 1 Derby prep winners Midnight Interlude and Brilliant Speed, both of whom went out during the special Derby-Oaks training session at 8:30 a.m.

KENTUCKY DERBY WORKOUTS: Watch Mike Welsch's previous clocker report videos

Kentucky Derby workoutsThree Derby horses – Santiva, Watch Me Go, and Nehro – braved the heavy rains to get in their final drills well before sunrise over a racetrack that had been sealed overnight and which was subsequently floated during the renovation break and listed as sloppy throughout the course of the morning. The temperature was in the low 60s to begin the training session, but as is often the case around these parts, began to dip as the morning progressed.

Midnight Interlude (five furlongs in 1:00.46): This may have been the most important work of the day as the Santa Anita Derby winner was not overly impressive in his first local workout, which also came over a wet track six days earlier. Midnight Interlude was unable to keep up with his workmate Mythical Power, an older horse who is generally regarded as a strong work horse, during the early stages of that trial. To ensure that did not happen again, Monday morning, trainer Bob Baffert sent Mythical Power out without his blinkers and the result was decidedly different.

Breaking off a half-length behind Mythical Power under jockey Martin Garcia, Midnight Interlude was eager from the start, posting splits of 11.97 seconds, 24.30, and 36.06 for the opening three furlongs while turning into the stretch on even terms with his partner. But this time, instead of struggling trying to keep up with his mate through the final furlong, Midnight Interlude proved the stronger of the pair, hitting the wire about a half-length in front under minimal urging while striding out nicely to complete his final quarter in 24.40. Mythical Power’s work was complete at this point as Midnight Interlude moved away readily around the turn in what was arguably the continuation of his work more than a traditional gallop out with Garcia giving him three sharp right-hand taps of the stick for encouragement entering the bend to help him complete six furlongs in 1:13.89. Midnight Interlude did shut down a little abruptly shortly thereafter, pulling up seven-eighths in 1:28.71.

Like all the horses who worked Monday and for much of the past week, it’s hard to really ascertain how much the wet racetrack affects their performances one way or the other. That holds true for Midnight Interlude, who did stride out much smoother than he did working over a wet track that seemed a lot less consistent in nature six days earlier.

Brilliant Speed (five furlongs in 1:00.98): Arguably the most visually impressive work of the day was turned in by Brilliant Speed, the Blue Grass Stakes winner, in an important test for a horse whose best races have come on either grass or artificial surfaces. With assistant trainer Dan Blacker up, Brilliant Speed seemed to skip over the wet going, settling into a nice rhythm right from the outset and striding out efficiently through a final quarter in 24.78 without urging before galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.88. This is obviously a colt who is improving at the right time and from his performance Monday should be expected to move well up should the track come up on the wet side on Derby Day.

Santiva (four furlongs in 49.99): He was among the first horses through the gap when the track opened at 5:45 a.m. and the first of the three Derby horses to get their work done before dawn. This horse has appeared a little uncomfortable and lackadaisical during his morning jogs and gallops but looked better while working in company with another 3-year-old from trainer Eddie Kenneally’s barn, the stakes-tested Commonwealth Rush. The pair went off a very soft opening eighth in 13.58 with Santiva beginning about a half-length behind his mate after which they picked up the pace steadily, coming home as a team a final three-eighths in 36.21 with Santiva never really asked to extend himself by jockey Shaun Bridgmohan down the stretch. The gallop out was a solid one, five furlongs in 1:02.76.

Watch Me Go (five furlongs in 1:02): For a horse whose trainer, Kathleen O’Connell, said cannot stand up on a wet track, the Tampa Bay Derby winner certainly handled the adverse conditions extremely well. I liked his energy level leaving the pony at the top of the stretch and he showed similar eagerness once finally allowed to level off and stretch his legs a bit nearing the stretch. Like Midnight Interlude, Watch Me Go’s work could have easily been interpreted as a six-furlong move considering the manner in which jockey Freddie Lenclud was still giving him some encouragement around the clubhouse turn to complete six furlongs in 1:15.01. Watch Me Go looked at his best, however, during the gallop out as he continued on very willingly down the backstretch to pull up seven furlongs in 1:29.28 and double gallop out a mile in 1:45.14.

Nehro (four furlongs in 50.72): This was obviously just a maintenance move for a horse who will have had three starts in just six weeks come Saturday and as a result the final time is relatively immaterial, although the Louisiana Derby and Arkansas Derby runner-up just did not seem comfortable at any point over the wet racetrack. Nehro looked especially out of sorts through the stretch, trying to drift a bit under exercise rider Carlos Rosas down the lane before suddenly shifting prematurely back to his left lead approaching the wire. He then shut down quickly, galloping out five-eighths in a slow 1:05.48. This was a somewhat puzzling move from a horse who looked much sharper working over a similar track one week earlier and hopefully just a factor of the surface more than an indication of anything else.

Dialed In continues to look great physically but is just not the smoothest mover when he jogs or gallops slowly as he did during a driving rain at 7 this morning. In contrast, both Soldat and Archarcharch looked terrific during their routine gallops after the break.Soldat is already a proven commodity over a wet track while Archarcharch continues to get better and better the longer he has been here.

Kentucky Derby activity report
Monday, May 2, 2011

Animal Kingdom – galloped early at CD.

Archarcharch – galloped during 8:30 break at CD.

Brilliant Speed – worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.98 during 8:30 break at CD.

Comma to the Top – walked after working 5 fur. Sun. at Hol; ships Tues.

Decisive Moment – galloped during 8:30 break at CD.

Derby Kitten – galloped; Lex S. winner will do so up to race if he gets into field.

Dialed In – jogged, galloped early in second day back at CD.

Master of Hounds – arrives Tues. from Ireland.

Midnight Interlude – worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.46 with M.Garcia up during 8:30 break.

Mucho Macho Man – jogged, galloped in first day back after Sat. breeze at CD.

Nehro – breezed 4 furlongs in 50.72 with C.Rosas up at CD early.

Pants On Fire – walked after working 4 fur. Sun. at CD.

Santiva – breezed 4 fur. in 49.99 with S.Bridgmohan up at CD early.

Shackleford – jogged during 8:30 break after breezing 5 fur. Sat. at CD.

Soldat – galloped during 8:30 break in first day to track at CD after shipping in Sat.

Stay Thirsty – jogged after working 5 fur. Sun at CD.

Toby’s Corner – easy day after working 6 fur. Sun. at Fair Hill; ships Tues.

Twice the Appeal – walked for a 2nd day after breezing 6 fur. Sat. at CD.

Twinspired – jogged, galloped in first day back after Sat. breeze at Trackside; to CD on Tues.

Uncle Mo – jogged after working 5 fur. Sun.

Watch Me Go – breezed 5 furlongs in 1:02 with F.Lenclud up at CD early.