(Catching Freedom / Photo by Coady Photography)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team / Darren Rogers:

KENTUCKY DERBY CONTENDER CATCHING FREEDOM

WORKS HALF-MILE IN :48.40 AT CHURCHILL DOWNS

 Albaugh Family Stable’s TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (Grade II) winner Catching Freedom began his preparations for the 150th running of the $5 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) with a half-mile move in :48.40 early Friday morning at Churchill Downs.

          Trained by Brad Cox, Catching Freedom worked at 5:30 a.m. ET with exercise rider Edvin Vargas in the saddle. The duo cruised through an opening quarter-mile in :24 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.20.

          “He’s settled in nicely since we shipped him back to Churchill from Fair Grounds,” Cox said. “He was impressive closing from that far back in the Louisiana Derby and I think the longer stretch at Churchill plus the mile-and-a-quarter should only help him in the Derby.”

          Catching Freedom began his career at Churchill Downs where he won a one-mile maiden special weight contest by 3 ¾ lengths. The well-bred son of Constitution started his path on the Road to the Kentucky Derby at Oaklawn when he won the Smarty Jones Stakes on New Year’s Day. Following that race, Catching Freedom finished third in the Risen Star (GII) at Fair Grounds, beaten only 1 ¾ lengths to Sierra Leone and Track Phantom. In the Louisiana Derby, Catching Freedom closed from nearly nine lengths off the early pace to win by one-length over Honor Marie.

          About two hours after Catching Freedom completed his work, his stablemate, Tarifa, began her preparations for the $1.5 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) with a half-mile breeze in :49.20. Owned by Godolphin, the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) winner is one of the top contenders for the first Friday in May with a near perfect resumé. Her only defeat from five starts was a fourth-place finish in an allowance contest as a 2-year-old at Churchill Downs.

          As of Friday, there were four Kentucky Derby contenders on the grounds at Churchill Downs: Catching Freedom, Endlessly, Honor Marie and Track Phantom.

          Endlessly is slated to work Saturday while Honor Marie and Track Phantom have scheduled works on Sunday.