(Catching Freedom / Photo by Coady Photography)

(Dornoch / Photo by Coady Photography)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team / Darren Rogers & Kevin Kerstein:


 With two weeks remaining until the 150th runnings of the $5 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) and $1.5 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), the action was non-stop on a chilly Saturday morning at Churchill Downs as 12 contenders recorded published workouts beneath the Twin Spires.

          Kentucky Derby contenders that recorded workouts were Catching Freedom (five furlongs, 1:00.80), Dornoch (four furlongs, :48.20), Endlessly (five furlongs, 1:00.80), Just a Touch (four furlongs, :48.20), Just Steel (one mile, 1:40), Mystik Dan (five furlongs, :59.40) and Society Man (four furlongs, :48.20).

          Oaks workers were Gin Gin (five furlongs, 1:00.80), Into Champagne (five furlongs, 1:00.20), Lemon Muffin (five furlongs, 1:02.20), Tarifa (five furlongs, 1:00.80) and also-eligible Impel (four furlongs, :49.60).

          The action started Saturday at 5:15 a.m. (all times Eastern) when trainer Brad Cox breezed his first two of 18 workers, Catching Freedom and stablemate Castlewarden. Catching Freedom began his work from the 4 ½-furlong pole, starting about one-length behind Castlewarden and finishing even at the completion of the move. Catching Freedom completed splits of :25.40 and :37.80 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.20 and completing his move through seven furlongs in 1:26.20, according to Churchill Downs Clocker John Nichols.

          At 7:30 a.m., Cox’s second Derby contender, Blue Grass (GI) runner-up Just a Touch, returned to the work tab with a half-mile move under jockey Florent Geroux. Owned by Qatar Racing, Resolute Racingand Marc Detampel, the lightly-raced colt completed an opening quarter-mile of :24.20 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.20.

          “He’s doing great and feeling great,” Geroux said. “He’s a very nice colt with a very bright future.”

          After Just a Touch’s move, Cox worked his Oaks contenders, Godolphin’s Tarifa and Calumet Farm’s Gin Gin, together. The duo began their work at the 4 ½-furlong marker with Tarifa breezing to the outside of her stablemate while completing modest early fractions of :13 and :37.20. They galloped out together six furlongs in 1:14.20.

          One of the more unique works of the morning was from BC Stable’s Just Steel, who encountered several planned and unplanned workmates. Just Steel began his work by himself until he got to just outside the five-furlong pole when stablemate Daily Grind joined to his inside. The duo was then briefly joined by a set of workers from the Norm Casse barn at the half-mile pole but by the quarter-mile pole they were able to get separated to finish their work together.

          Just Steel completed fractions of :13.40, :37.20, :49.40 and 1:13.80, according to Nichols.

          “When he won the Ed Brown Stakes as a 2-year-old he wasn’t nearly as tall and big and heavy as he is right now,” Lukas said. “I don’t think he’ll be winning any 6 ½-furlong races (like the Ed Brown) anytime in the near future. He’s got a pedigree that he’ll have no problem getting a mile-and-a-quarter, unlike many of the horses in the race. We have opinions, horses have the facts. They have the brilliance to show that ability doing things at distances we know probably shouldn’t be the best for them.”

          Lukas also worked his Longines Kentucky Oaks contender Lemon Muffin five furlongs in 1:02.20. Owned by Aaron Sones, Lemon Muffin qualified for the Oaks by winning the Honeybee (GIII) at Oaklawn.

          Other Kentucky Derby action Saturday included trainer Danny Gargan working his Derby duo of Dornoch and Society Man together. Dornoch, the winner of the Fountain of Youth (GII) at Gulfstream Park, worked to the outside of his stablemate Society Man, who recently finished second in the Wood Memorial (GII) at Aqueduct.

          Trainer Kenny McPeek’s Barns 6 and 7 had a flurry of activity Saturday morning including Derby contender Mystik Dan recording a published workout outside fellow 3-year-old Northern Flame. Owned by Lance Gasaway, 4 G racing and Valley View Farm, Mystik Dan and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. swiftly completed opening fractions of :23.80, :35.60 and :47.60. The duo galloped out together six furlongs in 1:12.60.

          “When Mystik Dan won the Southwest it was ultra impressive,” McPeek said. “After that race we decided not to come back until the Arkansas Derby where he got turned sideways in the first turn. All that said he ran a good race. He’s a fresh horse and hasn’t been over-taxed in the preps. I think it sets him up well for the Kentucky Derby.”

McPeek’s Longines Kentucky Oaks contender, Brookdale Racing, Mark Edwards, Judy Hicks and Magdalena Racing’s Thorpedo Anna also breezed at 7:30 a.m. outside of stablemate Band of Gold, who’s possible to run in the Oaks should enough defections occur. Thorpedo Anna, the winner of the Fantasy (GII) at Oaklawn, is expected to be one of the favorites for this year’s Kentucky Oaks.

          “She’s a super nice filly,” McPeek said. “I was very impressed with how easily she was able to win the Fantasy off the layoff and she’s run very well over this surface here at Churchill. … They better bring a bear (in the Oaks) because I’m bringing a grizzly. I wouldn’t be afraid to run her against the colts.”

          Another Longines Kentucky Oaks hopeful to work was Six Column Stables, Randy Bloch, Jim Gladden, Mike Davis and Michael Steel’s Into Champagne. The talented 3-year-old filly worked outside her stablemate Kiss Me Again through an opening quarter-mile of :24.40 and galloped out several lengths in front of her workmate through six furlongs in 1:13.80.

          Sunday’s work tab at Churchill Downs could include Risen Star (GII) runner-up Track Phantom.

          Fans can watch the “Morning Works Show presented by TwinSpires” each morning from 7:25-7:45 a.m. on the Kentucky Derby YouTube, Facebook and X accounts.


The early known stakes probables have been released from Churchill Downs Assistant Racing Secretary and Stakes Coordinator Dan Bork. Updates will come to these fields daily until their respective entry days:

          The 14th running of the $200,000 Roxelana Overnight Stakes, run on Saturday, April 27 at six furlongs, entries taken Tuesday: Last Leaf (Eddie Kenneally); Malloy (Wayne Catalano); Nom De Plume (Paulo Lobo); and Samarita (Jose Rodriguez).

          The ninth running of the $300,000 William Walker (Listed), run Wednesday, May 1 at 5 ½ furlongs on turf, entries taken Wednesday: Amidst Waves (George Weaver); King of Gosford (GB) (Phil D’Amato); No Nay Mets (IRE) (George Weaver); Sketch (IRE) (Conor Murphy); and Works For Me (Joe Lee).

          The sixth running of the $200,000 Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight Stakes, run Wednesday, May 1 at 1 ½ miles, entries taken Wednesday: Next (Doug Cowans); and O P Firecracker (Robbie Medina).

          The 19th running of the $350,000 Opening Verse (Listed), run Thursday, May 2 at one mile on turf, entries taken Thursday: Saratoga Flash (Saffie Joseph Jr.); Shirl’s Speight (Roger Attfield); and Stitched(Greg Foley).

          The 30th running of the $250,000 Kentucky Juvenile, run Thursday, May 2 at five furlongs, entries taken Thursday: Her Holy Name (John Hancock); Strummin (John Hancock); Turnbuckle (Lance Rutledge); and West Memorial (John Hancock).

          The third running of the $200,000 St. Matthews Overnight Stakes, run Thursday, May 2 at six furlongs, entries taken Thursday: Bango (Greg Foley); and Manny Wah (Will Walden).

          The 39th running of the $1 million Fasig-Tipton La Troienne (GI), run Friday, May 3 at 1 1/16 miles, entries taken Saturday: Hoosier Philly (Tom Amoss); Idiomatic (Brad Cox); Pretty Mischievous (Brendan Walsh) and Xigera (Phil Bauer).

          The 21st running of the $750,000 Alysheba presented by TwinSpires (GII), run Friday, May 3 at 1 1/16 miles, entries taken Saturday: Il Miracolo (Antonio Sano); Money Supply (Joe Sharp); Steal Sunshine(Bobby Dibona); T O Saint Denis (JPN) (Daisuke Takayanagi); and Trademark (Vicki Oliver).

          The 69th running of the $600,000 Eight Belles presented by Sysco (GII), run Friday, May 3 at seven furlongs, entries taken Saturday: Asternia (Randy Morse); Do Gooder (Jena Antonucci); Harbor Springs(Greg Foley); Lady Moscato (Wayne Lukas); Launch (Jorge Delgado); Maxisuperfly (Eric Foster); New Diamond (Patrick Biancone) and R Harper Rose (Steve Asmussen).

          The 40th running of the $600,000 Edgewood presented by TwinSpires (GII), run Friday, May 3 at 1 1/16 miles on turf, entries taken Saturday: Band of Gold (Kenny McPeek); Buchu (Phil Bauer); Pink Polkadots (Joe Sharp); Ragtime Lady (Tom Amoss); and Simply In Front (Eddie Kenneally).

          The 67th running of the $400,000 Modesty presented by Derby City Gaming (GIII), run Friday, May 3 at 1 1/8 miles on turf, entries taken Saturday: Henrietta Topham (Geoff Mulcahy); Sparkle Blue (Graham Motion) and Tryinmyheartout (Shane Wilson).

          The 14th running of the $400,000 Unbridled Sidney presented by Resolute Racing (GIII), run Friday, May 3 at 5 ½ furlongs on turf, entries taken Saturday: Stone Silent (Brian Lynch).

          The 38th running of the $1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (GI), run Saturday, May 4 at 1 1/8 miles on turf, entries taken Saturday: Anglophile (Brian Lynch); and I’m Very Busy (Chad Brown).

          The 89th running of the $1 million Churchill Downs presented by Ford (GI), run Saturday, May 4 at seven furlongs, entries taken Saturday: Bo Cruz (Al Stall Jr.); Here Mi Song (Billy Stinson Jr.); Hoist the Gold (Dallas Stewart); Minnesota Ready (Tom Amoss); Oscar Eclipse (Brian Lynch); Tejano Twist (Chris Hartman) and Three Technique (Jason Cook).

          The 38th running of the $1 million Derby City Distaff presented by Kendall-Jackson Winery (GI), run Saturday, May 4 at seven furlongs, entries taken Saturday: Alva Starr (Brett Brinkman); American Band(John Haran); Fingal’s Cave (Dave Donk); Oliva Darling (Jorge Delgado); Red Carpet Ready (Rusty Arnold II); Spirit Wind (Saffie Joseph Jr.); Sterling Silver (Lance Rutledge) and Vahva (Cherie DeVaux).

          The 39th running of the $750,000 Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (GII), run Saturday, May 4 at one-mile on turf, entries taken Saturday: American Sonja (GB) (Joseph O’Brien); Be My Sunshine (Saffie Joseph Jr.); Delahaye (Chad Brown); Evie Jets (Mertkan Kantarmaci); Mission of Joy (Graham Motion);Safeen (Eddie Kenneally) and Sister Lou Ann (Saffie Joseph Jr.).

          The 30th running of the $600,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint presented by Sentient Jet (GII), run Saturday, May 4 at 5 ½ furlongs on turf, entries taken Saturday: Axthelm (Saffie Joseph Jr.); Bad Beat Brian(Brittany Vanden Berg); Big Invasion (Christophe Clement); Coppola (Dale Romans); Eamonn (Joe Orseno); Extendo (Joe Orseno); Mischief Magic (IRE) (Charlie Appleby); Mister Mmmmm (Joe Sharp); Mo Stash (Vicki Oliver); Nothing Better (Jorge Duarte Jr.); Our Shot (John Terranova) and Panther Island (Laura Cazares).

          The 100th running of the $600,000 Pat Day Mile presented by SAP (GII), run Saturday, May 4 at one-mile, entries taken Saturday: Glengarry (Doug Anderson); Knightsbridge (Bill Mott); Nash (Brad Cox) andWho Dey (Tom Drury Jr.).

          The 33rd running of the $600,000 American Turf presented by TwinSpires (GII), run Saturday, May 4 at 1 1/16 miles on turf, entries taken Saturday: Abrumar (Saffie Joseph Jr.); Dancing Groom (Antoino Sano); Legend of Time (GB) (Charlie Appleby); Neat (Rob Atras); Rock’n a Halo (Tom Amoss) and Trikari (Graham Motion).

The third running of the Knicks Go Overnight Stakes presented by L&N Federal Credit Union (Listed), run Saturday, May 4 at one-mile, entries taken Saturday: Best Actor (Brad Cox) and Strava (Norm Casse).

DOWN THE STRETCH – UAE Derby (GII) winner Forever Young had a more serious gallop Saturday morning briefly in company with the Dale Romans-trained Floki’s Flight, who went on to record a five-furlong move in :59.60. Forever Young is scheduled to breeze Tuesday. … Blue Grass (GI) winner Sierra Leone worked a half-mile in :48.80 Saturday morning at Keeneland. He’s scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs in the coming days.