04/23/2009 11:00PM

Pioneerof the Nile a demon on dirt

Reed Palmer
I Want Revenge and Joe Talamo work five furlongs in 1:01.62 at Churchill on Tuesday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - As inevitably happens when several trainers choose to work their Kentucky Derby starters on the same morning, they also choose to send them out at almost exactly the same time. Such was the case here at Churchill Downs on Tuesday when four potential Derby runners all worked within approximately a five-minute span following the renovation break. Three of the four - Pioneerof the Nile, I Want Revenge, and Flying Private - worked simultaneously, with Chocolate Candy completing the hectic session several minutes later.

Churchill Downs

Cloudy, track fast, 48 degrees

The racetrack was officially termed fast but was on the deep side while continuing to dry out after being inundated by heavy rains for two days. The track was also noticeably slower after the break than earlier in the morning when most of the faster workouts were recorded.

Work of the day

Pioneerof the Nile (six furlongs in 1:13.52): Any questions regarding Pioneerof the Nile's ability to adapt to dirt after racing exclusively on synthetic surfaces throughout his career should have been erased after watching him glide across the track immediately after the break. With exercise rider Joe Steiner aboard, Pioneerof the Nile showed off his long, smooth stride while going effortlessly from start to finish, cutting out a series of 12-second eighth-mile splits without urging before finishing up with good energy to the wire and around the turn. He then proceeded to gallop out strongly down the backstretch before pulling up near the three-eighths pole. The final time might have been a bit misleading because of the somewhat tiring nature of the racetrack and the fact he worked without company. But make no mistake, Pioneerof the Nile has the look of a horse coming up to the Derby in peak form.

I Want Revenge (five furlongs in 1:01.62): With jockey Joe Talamo aboard, the Wood winner broke off approximately two lengths behind stablemate Gato Go Win and finished up about a neck in front of his mate while well within himself at the wire. Completed his final furlong in a modest 12.83 before drawing away from his company and galloping out six furlongs in 1:15.25 under just very moderate urging. Appeared to be a good maintenance move and an improvement over his first local work the previous week.

Chocolate Candy (one mile in 1:42.06): Like Talamo, jockey Mike Smith flew in from California for this work, which was very important considering Chocolate Candy has never raced or even breezed over dirt. Chocolate Candy began at an even clip, posting fractions of 24.79, 49.77, and 1:14.96 for the opening quarter, half, and six furlongs, but began to labor some nearing the wire and around the turn back to where he began at the seven-furlong marker. Completed his final quarter in a moderate 27.10 before galloping out 1 1/8 miles in 1:57.23. Was a tired horse at the end but must take into account the fact he was working over a relatively deep track. Should have gotten plenty of foundation out of this move.

Flying Private (five furlongs in 1:01.20): Worked with stablemate Lord and T., who provided little opposition once turning into the stretch, at which point Flying Private, with new rider Robby Albarado aboard, left him in the dust. Completed his final quarter in 25 under mild urging before galloping out six furlongs in a modest 1:16.

Flat Out (five furlongs in 1:03.26): The only potential Derby starter to work before the break when the racetrack was on the faster side, and he actually did his best running after his work, galloping out an additional eighth in 12.53 after plodding through the final quarter of the actual drill in 25.86. Not expected to make the Derby lineup.

The weariest person by the end of next week may turn out to be Rachel Alexandra's exercise rider, who certainly had her hands full getting the Kentucky Oaks favorite around the course without knocking anybody over on Tuesday. Rachel Alexandra is a joy to watch as she goes through even a routine morning gallop, pulling her rider out of the saddle while breezing around at a lively clip with her neck bowed to the outside and obviously enjoying herself every step of the way. Can't wait to watch her final scheduled Oaks prep here on Monday morning.