04/30/2012 3:28PM

Kentucky Derby workouts: Daddy Nose Best looking ready for his best

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The field is in the home stretch as far as Kentucky Derby workouts are concerned. Five more prospective Derby runners turned in their final major preps on Monday, including Santa Anita Derby runner-up Creative Cause and Mark Valeski, a horse who has yet to be confirmed a definite Derby starter by his trainer, Larry Jones.

Union Rags also made his first appearance since his spectacular workout 48 hours earlier, jogging a mile and visiting the paddock shortly after 7 a.m.

The temperature had already pushed into the 60’s by the time the track opened at 5:45 a.m. The warming trend is expected to continue through the weekend with a forecast for temperatures to hit the mid and high 80’s on both Oaks and Derby day.

[KENTUCKY DERBY WORKOUTS: Latest updates, Mike Welsch’s video reports]

Work of the day

Daddy Nose Best (four furlongs in 49.23 seconds): Time only matters when you’re in jail, the old adage goes, so one shouldn’t be fooled by Daddy Nose Best’s modest final clocking. This was simply a maintenance breeze, and although the final time was more than a full second slower than his stablemate Sabercat produced 30 minutes earlier, the manner in which Daddy Nose Best finished and galloped out set him apart from the others.

Daddy Nose Best was reserved coming away from the pole, completing his opening eighth- and quarter-miles in 13.36 and 25.70 seconds respectively with exercise rider Carlos Rosas glancing down to check the stopwatch on his left wrist at every pole. Daddy Nose Best picked up the pace effortlessly once settling into the stretch, covering his final two furlongs in 23.53 seconds without any encouragement before galloping out very willingly into the turn, completing five eighths in 1:02.45 and pulling up six furlongs in 1:16.80.

Daddy Nose Best has trained nearly flawlessly over his home track during the past 10 days and gives the impression he is ready for his best yet on Derby day.

Sabercat (four furlongs in 48.02 seconds): Working several minutes after the track opened for business, with Rosas aboard, Sabercat had a little more run on his mind leaving the pole than Daddy Nose Best, covering his opening quarter in a much swifter 24.10 seconds. But despite the relatively quick pace, he too was able to finish strong without need of urging, shading 24 seconds for his final quarter while also galloping out with interest, completing five eighths in 1:01.04 and pulling up six furlongs in 1:15.45.

Although the work was a little faster than expected for a routine Steve Asmussen maintenance move five days in advance of his race, Sabercat looked very sharp finishing as well as galloping out both around the turn and into the backstretch. Like his stable mate Daddy Nose Best, Sabercat has given every indication he is coming into the race in peak form.

Creative Cause (four furlongs in 47.54 seconds): The Santa Anita Derby runner-up did not appear to be moving smoothly when jogging with a pony as a prelude to a work that also followed a brief visit to the starting gate. Creative Cause travelled much better once allowed to really stretch his legs, posting opening splits of 12.50 and 24.22 seconds before being put to urging to finish strong down the stretch, completing his final quarter-mile in a crisp 23.32 seconds under pressure. He let up just a bit during the gallop out, completing five furlongs in 1:01.32;

Creative Cause, who had shoeing issues the previous day, breezed with his head cocked slightly outward the entire way, which may just be his normal way of going. The work, in and of itself was good, although the overall impression of the entire training session merely average at best.

Mark Valeski (five furlongs in 1:00.34): The Louisiana Derby runner-up came away running from the pole under Larry Melancon, setting blistering splits of 23.45 seconds for the opening quarter and 34.81 for three-eighths. Despite the fast pace, Mark Valeski finished willingly enough without urging, although he clearly began to tire approaching the wire, completing his final quarter-mile in a mediocre 25.43 seconds before shutting down early during the gallop-out.

Jones opted to postpone his decision regarding Mark Valeski’s Derby status another 48 hours, perhaps an indication this morning’s decent but certainly not spectacular work did nothing to sway his opinion one way or another.

Liaison (five furlongs in 1:00.83): Working outside and in company with stablemate Mile High Magic, the pair broke off at the 4 1/2-furlong pole and continuing out a sixteenth of a mile beyond the finish line. Liaison, under decidedly less urging than in his previous work, which came without company five days earlier, went along at a fairly even pace, posting fractions of 24.70 and 48.52 seconds before completing his final eighth in 12.31 and galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.32. Jockey Martin Garcia, aboard Liaison, did have to encourage his mount a bit near the end of the work and again with a series of light taps with the stick during the gallop-out, to match strides with a partner who appeared to be the more impressive of the team.

Union Rags did little more than jog a mile and worked up a bit of a lather during his time on the track, which was of no concern for trainer Michael Matz or those of us who had observed him showing a similar propensity throughout the course of the winter in south Florida.

Prospective also returned to the track for the first time since his promising work on Saturday and looked well, his coat shining, as he put in yet another strong gallop over a surface he has handled well these past 10 days.

Trinniberg was scheduled to breeze three furlongs at the end of a long gallop. Instead, he wound up doing little more than a modified open gallop through the stretch, covering three-eighths in 41 seconds and change from the quarter to seven-eighths pole.

“He was very hyper when we took him out of the stall this morning, so we decided to back off on him today,” explained trainer Bisnath Parboo. “We kept the rings on and let him mostly jog, to keep him from doing too much so close to the race,”