Throughout a brisk morning April 19 at Churchill Downs, Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Lecomte Stakes (G3) winner Midnight Bourbon continued his serious preparation for the May 1, $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) with a swift five-furlong move in :59 4/5, the fastest of 13 horses at the distance.
Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, the Tiznow colt worked in company with recent Turfway Park maiden winner Bajan Rum through fractions of :12 2/5, :24, and :35 3/5. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:12 4/5 and completed seven furlongs in 1:26, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols.
“We’re obviously very excited about who Midnight Bourbon is,” Asmussen said. “Physically, he’s an absolutely beautiful horse. Going over the track now, he’s as good as he’s ever been. He’s always had a big frame, now there’s just more of him in the right spots.”
Midnight Bourbon won or placed in all three Road to the Kentucky Derby preps held at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots this season. He opened his 3-year-old campaign with a frontrunning one-length victory in the Jan. 16 Lecomte, finished third in the Feb. 13 Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford (G2), and last out was second in the March 20 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2). He is ninth on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 66 points.
He also generated some excitement following the work as he broke free from handlers in the barn area and ran off for a short while before he was caught.
Tuesday will be the first day on the track for Klaravich Stables’ Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) runner-up Highly Motivated , who arrived Monday at trainer Chad Brown’s Barn 25 at 8 a.m. ET from Keeneland.
Klaravich Stables’ filly Search Results , a contender for the April 30, $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) also trained by Brown, is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs Monday afternoon on a flight from New York. She is undefeated in three starts, which include wins in the March 6 Busher Invitational Stakes and April 3 Gazelle Stakes (G3), both at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Claiborne Farm, Perry Bass II, Ramona Bass, and Adele Dilschneider’s undefeated filly Soothsay was removed from Kentucky Oaks consideration Monday morning, according to trainer Richard Mandella. In her second career start, Soothsay won the April 3 Santa Anita Oaks (G2) at Santa Anita Park.
Juddmonte Farms’ Millefeuille arrived from Payson Park Training Center in South Florida Sunday night and was on the track Monday morning at 7:30 to gallop a mile under exercise rider Ailsa Morrison for trainer Bill Mott. She was second last out in the March 27 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) at Gulfstream Park.