Susumu Fujita’s undefeated Forever Young (JPN) worked six furlongs in 1:19.60 over a fast track Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs. With jockey Ryusei Sakai aboard, Forever Young posted fractions of :14.80, :28.80, :42.60, :55.20, 1:19.60 and out seven furlongs in 1:33,60. He was joined for the last half-mile by Cuffed Candy, an unraced 3-year-old for trainer Dale Romans. Trained by Yoshito Yahagi, Forever Young also visited the starting gate after the work. The winner of the Saudi Derby (GIII) and UAE Derby (GII) is scheduled to have another work next week.

After coming to the track for the first time Tuesday morning, Tami Bobo, Julie Davies and George Isaacs’ Catalytic returned Wednesday to gallop a mile and a half under exercise rider Olaf Hernandez. Trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., Catalytic arrived at Churchill Downs Monday morning after vanning from South Florida.

“He just galloped the mile and a half,” said Tristan Ford, an assistant to Joseph. “We’re happy with everything. He’s feeling good.”

Catalytic, the Florida Derby (GI) runner-up behind expected Kentucky Derby favorite Fierceness, is on target to work Sunday.

Trainer Brad Cox’s Derby trio of Catching Freedom, Encino and Just a Touch all galloped about 1 ½ miles Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. and schooled in the starting gate. All three horses are scheduled to breeze Saturday morning. Cox stated Encino’s jockey has yet to be confirmed for the Kentucky Derby.

Trainer Chad Brown’s Derby duo of Sierra Leone and Domestic Product galloped a mile and a half during the 7:30-7:45 training window for Derby and Oaks horses. Kriss Bon was aboard Sierra Leone, who gave Brown his third G1 Blue Grass Stakes  victory. Brown’s other Blue Grass winners were Good Magic, who finished second in the 2018 Derby, and Zandon, who finished third in the 2022 Derby. Sierra Leone is owned by the partnership of Peter Brant, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Westerberg and Brook Smith. Peter Roman partnered Domestic Product, winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (GIII) in his most recent start. Klaravich Stables owns and bred Domestic Product. Both colts are scheduled to work Saturday, weather permitting.

Trainer Danny Gargan’s two Kentucky Derby hopefuls both galloped a miler and a half under exercise rider Pricilla Schaefer. Winner of the G2 Fountain of Youth, Dornoch is owned by the partnership of West Paces Racing, R. A. Hill Stable, Belmar Racing and Breeding, Two Eight Racing and Pine Racing Stables. He put in his morning work at 7:30 a.m. Luis Saez has the Derby mount. Coming out at 9 o’clock for his morning exercise was Wood Memorial runner-up Society Man, who is owned by the partnership of Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, West Paces, GMP Stables and Carl and Yurie Pascarella. Frankie Dettori has the mount on Society Man. The two colts are scheduled to work in company Saturday morning with Saez aboard Dornoch.

“I think they worked fine together last week and going to do it again this week,” Gargan said. “This time, I’ll put Dornoch on the inside of Society Man. Another day of training down and one closer to the Derby.”

Amerman Racing’s Endlessly had a normal training day Wednesday, galloping 1 ½ miles around 5:45 a.m. The winner of the G3 Jeff Ruby Steaks  is scheduled to work Saturday.

Repole Stable’s champion Fierceness galloped a mile and three-eighths under regular exercise rider Danny Wright for trainer Todd Pletcher. Winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) last November at Santa Anita to wrap up the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old, Fierceness is scheduled to work Friday morning with John Velazquez aboard.

Susumu Fujita’s undefeated Forever Young (JPN) worked six furlongs in 1:19.60 over a fast track in company. With jockey Ryusei Sakai aboard, Forever Young posted fractions of :14.80, :28.80, :42.60, :55.20, 1:19.60 and out seven furlongs in 1:33,60. He was joined for the last half-mile by Cuffed Candy, an unraced 3-year-old for trainer Dale Romans.

“Thanks to Dale Romans (with providing the workmate) so we were able to do exactly what we want to do this far out (from the Derby),” Sakai said through a translator.

As usual, Forever Young warmed up in the mile chute for a half-hour during the first harrow break of the morning before commencing his work that went off slowly and finished with a final quarter-mile in :24.40. Following the work, Forever Young visited the starting gate.

Sakai has been aboard Forever Young in all five of his starts ranging in distance from a mile to a mile and three-sixteenths. Forever Young raced in Japan last year at age 2 and this year has been to Saudi Arabia and Dubai before coming here. Sakai said Forever Young, trained by Yoshito Yahagi, would have another work next week. However, Sakai will not be aboard for that work as he is returning to Japan to ride this weekend before coming back to Louisville late next week.

“The gate was no problem,” said Sakai, who missed out on riding in last year’s Derby after Continuar (JPN) was scratched days before the race. “He has been to the gate before at all the places he has run.”

Granpollo Stables’ Grand Mo the First exited his six-furlong work of 1:16.46 on Tuesday morning at Gulfstream Park in good order and is on schedule to van to Churchill Downs on Thursday. Trainer Victor Barboza Jr. will be here Friday, which is a scheduled walk day for Grand Mo the First. Trainer Whit Beckman was “calm, cool and relaxed” Wednesday morning watching G1 Louisiana Derby runner-up Honor Marie train. Honor Marie is scheduled to work Thursday morning with jockey Ben Curtis in the irons.

“I don’t really get nervous when I run a horse in a race I think they can win,” Beckman said. “It’s a weird feeling but right now I don’t feel too nervous.”

BC Stable’s Just Steel was the first Kentucky Derby contender to train Wednesday morning with Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas closely watching aboard his pony. The son of new Hall of Fame inductee Justify galloped about 1 ½ miles.

Lance Gasaway, 4 G Racing and Daniel Hamby III’s Mystik Dan galloped an easy mile and a half for trainer Kenny McPeek. Mystik Dan, the winner of the Southwest (GIII) and most recently third in the Arkansas Derby (GI) at Oaklawn Park, is scheduled to work Saturday. Brian Hernandez Jr. has the Derby riding assignment.

Emily Bushnell and Ric Waldman’s Resilience had an easy gallop at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. The winner of the Wood Memorial (GII) is scheduled to school in the paddock a couple times before the Derby, according to trainer Bill Mott.

Eric and Sharon Waller’s Stronghold, who arrived at Churchill Downs Tuesday afternoon at 4 o’clock from his base at Santa Anita, jogged a mile Wednesday morning with trainer Phil D’Amato’s wife, Sherri, in the saddle. Weather permitting, the G1 Santa Anita Derby winner is scheduled to work Saturday with Joe Talamoup.

Welch Racing’s Epic Ride, third in the Blue Grass Stakes (GI) in his most recent start, galloped Wednesday morning at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington, Kentucky, for trainer John Ennis. Trainer Jeff Engler reported Mugatu is back in consideration for the Kentucky Derby also-eligible list. The fifth-place finisher of the Blue Grass (GI) is based at Belterra Park in Ohio.

Here are the horses (with jockeys and trainers) that are qualified for the Kentucky Derby and those on the also-eligible list (in alphabetical order with AEs listed last in preference order):

Catalytic (Jose Ortiz, Saffie Joseph Jr.); Catching Freedom (Flavien Prat, Brad Cox); Domestic Product (Irad Ortiz Jr., Chad Brown); Dornoch (Luis Saez, Danny Gargan); Encino (TBA, Brad Cox); Endlessly (Umberto Rispoli, Michael McCarthy); Fierceness (John Velazquez, Todd Pletcher); Forever Young (JPN) (Ryusei Sakai, Yoshito Yahagi); Grand Mo the First (Emisael Jaramillo, Victor Barboza Jr.); Honor Marie (Ben Curtis, Whit Beckman); Just a Touch (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox); Just Steel (Keith Asmussen, Wayne Lukas); Mystik Dan (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek); Resilience (Junior Alvarado, Bill Mott); Sierra Leone (Tyler Gaffalione, Chad Brown); Society Man (Frankie Dettori, Danny Gargan); Stronghold (Antonio Fresu, Phil D’Amato); T O Password (JPN) (Kazushi Kimura, Daisuke Takayanagi); Track Phantom (Joel Rosario, Steve Asmussen); West Saratoga (Jesus Castanon, Larry Demerritte).

Also Eligibles: Epic Ride (Adam Beschizza, John Ennis); Uncle Heavy (TBA, Butch Reid); Seize the Grey (TBA, Wayne Lukas); Mugatu (TBA, Jeff Engler).

Return to the April 25 issue of Wire to Wire