04/23/2012 4:51PM

Kentucky Derby workouts: Daddy Nose Best peaking at right time

Barbara D. Livingston
Daddy Nose Best, with jockey Garrett Gomez up, works six furlongs in 1:13.70 in company with stablemate Z Dager on Monday at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – There was a time, not too long ago, when no trainer would dare start a horse in the Kentucky Derby without giving his 3-year-old plenty of opportunity to get acclimated to and at least one work over the Churchill Downs racetrack. But the times they are a changing, at least since Funny Cide shipped to Louisville from New York less than 72 hours prior to his victory in the 2003 Derby.

Only six of the 20 horses assured of a spot in this year’s Derby field, and eight potential starters overall, are currently stabled and training at Churchill Downs. Of that group, five worked over a fast track here Monday, including Isn’t He Clever and Optimizer, both of whom would need defections from among the top 20 on the graded earnings list to get into the race.

A sixth Derby prospect, Trinniberg, worked Monday at Calder.

Work of the Day

Daddy Nose Best (six furlongs in 1:13.70) – Trainer Steve Asmussen was obviously looking for something serious out of his Sunland Derby winner, stretching him out to six furlongs and putting him in company with no less a workmate than the multiple stakes placed Z Dager. He also had Daddy Nose Best’s new jockey, Garrett Gomez, along for the ride in his penultimate Derby drill.

Daddy Nose Best broke off outside and about a half-length behind his partner and went along in hand while posting relatively leisurely splits of 13.02 seconds, 25.54, and 37.76 for his opening three furlongs. Daddy Nose Best and Z Dager turned for home as a team, and both were put to pressure to finish, with Daddy Nose Best finally edging clear approaching the wire while completing his final three-eighths in a sharp 35.94. Z Dager was pretty much done at that point, but Gomez continued to let Daddy Nose Best run on past the wire, readily pulling away before being forced to throttle down and alter course to get around another horse galloping near the rail approaching the mile pole.

Despite the minor traffic issue, Daddy Nose Best ultimately galloped out seven-eighths in 1:27.10 before pulling up a mile in 1:43.

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

Daddy Nose Best is a 3-year-old who seems to be peaking at the right time, and this morning’s drill offered little to indicate otherwise.

“His company ran out of horse at the end, and he [Daddy Nose Best] hesitated to stay with him, so Garrett asked him a little to move away coming by the wire,” Asmussen said.

Sabercat (five furlongs in 1:02.62) – Although the Delta Down Jackpot winner’s breeze was structured similar to Daddy Nose Best’s work – he also broke off outside and about a half-length behind workmate Major Hope – the two moves were a study in contrast. Asmussen was not about to allow Sabercat to do too much, returning just nine days after his third-place finish in the Arkansas Derby. And sure enough, Sabercat just cruised through splits of 13.36, 26.32, and 38.48 for his opening three-eighths before finishing nicely. He completed his final quarter in 24.14 while reserved throughout, arriving at the wire a length in front of his partner before galloping out six furlongs in 1:16.32.

“Sabercat got Kentucky Derby-type experience in the Arkansas Derby,” Asmussen said. “He got in a lot of traffic and took a tremendous amount of kick back over a racetrack very similar to the surface here at Churchill Downs.”

Mark Valeski (five furlongs in 59.63) – With regular rider Rosie Napravnik aboard, Mark Valeski broke off about 1 1/2 lengths behind stablemate Hamiltonian, caught his target after an opening three-eighths in 35.73, and then gradually edged about a half-length in front while not really being asked to the wire. Mark Valeski let up a bit during the gallop out, completing six furlongs in an average 1:14.61.

The Louisiana Derby runner-up seemed to handle the track well while posting yet another in a series of fast works, although it would have been nice to have seen a little more interest during the gallop out.

“He’s the type of horse who just does enough to get the job done, and Rosie said when he moved alongside his workmate he had accomplished all he needed and began to pull himself up,” trainer Larry Jones said. “But he seemed to go well over the track, which is what I was looking for. I haven’t had a Proud Citizen yet who didn’t handle Churchill Downs well.”

Optimizer (four furlongs in 48.82) – Pretty much an average, maintenance-type move whose best feature may have been the fact that the Rebel runner-up finished on his right lead, something he did not do in his final work here last fall prior to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Isn’t He Clever (four furlongs in 51.60, according to track clockers) – He worked amongst the general population after the special Derby-Oaks training session, breezing a very easy half-mile in his first ever trial over this track.

Trinniberg (five furlongs in 1:02.40 at Calder) – According to track clocker Joe Savage, Trinniberg couldn’t have gone any easier, yet he still managed to complete his final quarter in 23.69 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:15.47 over the usually cuppy Calder strip.

Believe You Can works for Oaks

Prior to working Mark Valeski, Napravnik came out astride Jones’s Oaks prospect Believe You Can who arguably turned in the work of the morning, going an easy five furlongs in an eye-catching 58.95. Believe You Can began three lengths behind workmate Young and Lovely and finished two lengths in front, with a final quarter in 23.60 while well in reserve coming down the stretch.

“She’s an overachiever and likes to show how much she can open up on them when she gets to them,” Jones said, alluding to Believe You Can’s workmates. “She really doesn’t play fair.”

Chad Wilson More than 1 year ago
I like Baffert, but all this hype on Bodemeister is a little extreme. Go back and look at every major stakes race during the Festival of the South, Speed hung on in every race, so don't make him too much, he will not catch that kind of speed bias track or be that unpressured early. If he wins, he is going to have to do much more than he did in Arkansas
FMeatball More than 1 year ago
the 2 Daddys of course !!!
steve szymanski More than 1 year ago
Ramon is a crazy if he chose Hansen over Alpha. How do you screw up a no brainer like that choice? Anyone want to make a head-to-head wager on it?
john jenkinson More than 1 year ago
Michael Ciasca More than 1 year ago
Daddy Nose Best seems to be a the top of his game right now & seems to improve with distance. Another plus is that he worked very well at Churchill Downs. Of course you could always question the fact that he did not prep in any Grade 1 races & both Julian Leparoux & Mike Smith opted to ride other horses. Hopefully this is a blessing for jockey Garrett Gomez & the connections. Perhaps we will see a Gomez Oaks-Derby double!
Rodney Dangerfield More than 1 year ago
Very valid points, but you have to question who has he beat ? But the one thing I will say, I will throw out any Todd Pletcher horse before i throw out any Steve Asmussen horse.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was considering questioning who he beat. I really don't think that there is standout this year, you can make a case for so many of the horses who could win the race. I think when it comes to the Kentucky Derby there are so many variables, you got 20 three-year olds running 10 furlongs for the first time, this is not your typical race. I believe luck has a lot to do with winning & the best horse does not always win, it's all about the trip & who can get the distance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know why my reply was listed as anonymous, but that's me :(
Michael Ciasca More than 1 year ago
Ok last try, I am not anonymous!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am more concerned with how a horse looks beating whomever he beat,. than who he beat. DNB has done it nicely, while out-finishing colts this season who had perfect trips. I like to see a colt who can beat another who got the perfect trip and beat them squarely. I think DNB will be there or thereabouts. Another colt who looks great while running is union rags, his last work was a jaw-dropper. Go look at Gemologist's win in the wood and notice his upright/erect running style. Pardon me, but I don't believe a colt with that inefficient style can make the distance, regardless of class. I think Alpha, who is more naturally gifted, will finish in front of gemologist, maybe even crack the super.
James Mcrae More than 1 year ago
the more people forget about union the better let the oddds go up up up,cha ching
Kevin Potts More than 1 year ago
I love all of these stories about colts other than Union Rags. Go back and watch his races and then tell me how he can be denied in the quick pace that is set up in this years Derby.
BP More than 1 year ago
A Scat Daddy colt to win the Derby? I wouldn't bet on it. :)
John Vacanti More than 1 year ago
Daddy Long Legs won the 2mil race this year from Dubi.......pretty good credendials.
Dottie Bagley-D'Alessandro More than 1 year ago
I love fact the Ramon Dominguez chose Hansen over Alpha. I never thought Ramon was a good fit for the little horse. A liitle trouble in the Wood, Alpha quickly recovered from what could have been alot worse than a few scrapes. Now if only Alphas connections name Alan Garcia to ride Alpha , a PERFECT fit he would be to ride that horse. Alpha , by far is the best 3YO today. 2 turn expirience and bred to run 1 1/4 or longer in my eyes. Alpha to win the DERBY, Billy from Boston
Joel Winicki More than 1 year ago
I agree, "a perfect fit". A second tier jock riding a second tier derby horse. Match made in heaven! Lol.....
James P More than 1 year ago
It seems a stretch to claim that Alpha is "by far" the best 3yo today, but more power to ya!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't the let the naysayers dissuade you. I had giacamo when they all said I was crazy. I believe alpha will outrun his odds as well as finish in front of gemologist who is an easy toss out based upon his upright/erect running style. No way he can make the distance with that inefficient style. Alpha, however, doesn't have that problem. I think green-ness is his major issue, I would have pointed for the preakness, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him crack the superfecta. Right now, I am favoring the colt named in this article and union rags, but my evaluations are not complete. These two are both working lights out and I think they are both in terrific form, the pace of the race should suit. Early days, still. Early days.
Rob Beaudoin More than 1 year ago
Without Alan Garcia i believe Alpha could be 4th, Maybe 3rd. With Alan Garcia, He'd be the second horse I tossed after I find out who Rajiv is riding.
TravisStone More than 1 year ago
Daddy Nose Best is ending-up on a lot of short lists for the Derby.