Catalytic – ©Coady Media

Owned by Ocala residents Tami Bobo, George Isaacs and Julies Davies, Catalytic also received his early race training from Davies.

On Saturday, the Curlin Florida Derby (G1) runner-up was out with exercise rider Olaf Hernandez during the designated training time for Oaks and Derby horses.

“He’s doing well,” trainer Saffie Joseph said. “He had a nice gallop today, about a mile-and-a-half again. I thought he got over the track well.”

Catalytic is scheduled to work Sunday during the designated training period for Oaks and Derby horses that starts around 7:30 a.m.

Catching Freedom

A graduate of Barry Berkelhammer’s early training program at Abracadabra Farm in Ocala, Fla., Catching Freedom was one of three Brad Cox trainees to work Saturday morning at Churchill Downs, clocking five furlongs in :59.20.

“All three had good, solid moves this morning,” Cox said.


Dornoch had his early education at Raul Reyes Kings Equine in Ocala, Fla.

The Danny Gargan-trained duo of Dornoch and Society Man have been workmates for each other throughout their careers. Hence, it was fitting the two pushed each other through the last major breeze ahead of the biggest race of their young lives.

Dornoch, owned by West Paces Racing, R. A. Hill Stable, Belmar Racing and Breeding, Two Eight Racing and Pine Racing Stables, and stablemate Society Man were once again in company as they put in a half-mile move in :46.60 during the 7:30 a.m. training period at Churchill Downs Saturday.

With Dornoch situated on the inside, the two posted splits of :11.60, 23.20, and 34.60 before galloping out in :59 and 1:12.60.

“The track is playing super fast right now,” Gargan said. “We thought we’d go in :47 and change, I got them [:46.80]. They went out nice though… We wanted to go a little bit slower but they looked good doing it, they were in hand, no one was asking them. We’re just hoping they come back good, everything looks good and they’re cooling out good.”


Endlessly (Outside) – ©Coady Media

Also a graduate of Abracadabra Farm Endlessly was confirmed for the Kentucky Derby by trainer Michael McCarthy Saturday morning.

The Oscar Performance colt had drilled a half-mile in :47.80 Friday morning and the trainer had called owner John Amerman not long after to discuss the next step for his multiple-stakes winner.

The bay was a winner of five of his six starts, none of them on dirt. In light of that, the conditioner gently encouraged his boss to consider staying on the sure road and entering Endlessly in the $600,000 American Turf (G2) next Saturday.

But Derby Fever is hard to cure and owner-breeder Amerman and his wife Jerry opted to take their big shot at the world’s most famous race.


The possible Kentucky Derby favorite who received his education for racing at Ocala Stud, had a quiet walk morning Saturday at Churchill Downs following his :48.80 final prep Friday for the Run for the Roses.

“He looked super this morning,” trainer Todd Pletcher said of his Curlin Florida Derby (G1) winner. “We’re all good.”

John Velazquez will ride Fierceness in the Derby.

The Fierceness connections are hoping to repeat the 2017 Derby-winning pattern of Always Dreaming, who won the Run for the Roses with the Pletcher and Velazquez team after winning the Florida Derby.

Just a Touch

Trained for racing by David Scanlon at Reid Nagel’s Oak Ridge Training Center in Morriston, Fla., Just a Touch was one of three Brad Cox trainees to work Saturday morning at Churchill Downs, going five furlongs in 1:00.30 under jockey Florent Geroux.

“Solid morning overall,” Geroux said. “Just a Touch is very easy. He did everything on his own.” Geroux is set to ride Just a Touch in the Derby.

“I thought Just a Touch went pretty working a minute and change and galloped out in hand,” Cox said.

Track Phantom

Co-owned by FTBOA board member Mike Hall’s Breeze Easy, Track Phantom had another routine mile-and-a-half gallop Saturday around 5:45 a.m. under exercise rider Roberto Howell.

The Steve Asmussen trainee is scheduled to school in both the paddock and starting gate prior to the Derby.

West Saratoga

Sam F. Davis (G3) third-place finisher West Saratoga completed his major training for Derby 150 by working three furlongs under jockey Jesus Castanon in :37.20.

With Veruchi and trainer Larry Demeritte looking on from the frontside, West Saratoga clocked an initial eighth in :11.80 and galloped out a half-mile in :50.20.

“He was good this morning and handled the track well,” said Castanon, who waited to work until six other Derby and two Oaks hopefuls had completed their breezes. “He has handled every track that I have been on him … Tampa, Turfway, Keeneland and here.”

Demeritte only got to see the last part of the work.

“By the time we got to the frontside, I just got to see the stretch,” Demeritte said. “I liked the gallop out. I was hoping for :36, but he had strong gallop out.”

Demeritte said West Saratoga would walk Sunday and then gallop up to the race with paddock schooling slated for Monday and a gate visit for Tuesday.

Return to April 27 issue of Wire to Wire