Triple Crown Contenders Each Breeze 5-furlongs in South Florida
Upstart Records Bullet in 59.95 seconds; Frosted Clocks in at 1:01.10
BOYNTON BEACH, FL â€“ Triple Crown contenders Upstart and Frosted took the track just after 8:00 a.m. Saturday at Gulfstreamâ€™s satellite training facility Palm Meadows to record their final pre-Kentucky Derby (G1) breezes.
Lambholm South Holy Bull (G2) winner and Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1) runner-up Upstart recorded the bullet move of the morning, clocking in at 59.95 seconds for five-furlongs. With exercise rider Vicki King aboard, the son of Flatter galloped about a quarter-way around the track before pulling up and breaking off to breeze at the half-mile pole. The bay recorded his first split in 12 4/8 seconds before being asked to pick up the pace slightly, and the ridgling immediately responded, improving his second split by almost a full second. He powered through the lane for the second-half of the work under a virtually motionless King and appeared difficult to pull up after a strong gallop out.
â€œHe felt great,â€ King said. â€œHe felt really good. Heâ€™s done everything right. He went the right time â€“ everything, the fractions were perfect.â€
â€œHeâ€™s push-button. Heâ€™s really a nice ride,â€ she added. â€œIf he messes up, itâ€™s the riderâ€™s fault, because he does anything you ask him to do!â€
King said having difficultly pulling up is the norm when riding the eager bay, noting he has great endurance.
â€œHeâ€™s always like that â€“ before and after the breeze,â€ she said. â€œHeâ€™s just wants to go around again. Heâ€™s happy to keep going.â€
Trainer Rick Violette was similarly very pleased with Upstartâ€™s work, noting the ease with which he carried his speed.
â€œIt was kind of typical [for him], very professional,â€ he said. â€œHe looks like heâ€™s two-minute licking but heâ€™s going in 12 [second-intervals]. He didnâ€™t want to pull up. He did it easily, and it basically was a typical Upstart work, which is what we were looking for.â€
Violette said heâ€™s learned that his trainee excels when racing off fast works.
â€œAll [Vicki King] has to do is move her hands a little bit and he accelerates,â€ he said. â€œHe likes to work fast going into his races. His best races have come off fast workouts. When I toyed with that and toned it down a little bit, he didnâ€™t run his A-race, which is kind of my program, but it was also something weâ€™ve learned [about him] as a 2-year-old and 3-year-old. He wants to zip a little bit, and we try to keep our horses happy.â€
Following the work, Upstart cooled out when walking Violetteâ€™s shed row before being led to the turnout ring and taking a routine roll on his back. Upon rising, the ridgling let out a playful buck, seemingly full of energy after the serious exercise. Violette said his trainee has thrived since missing a scheduled workout about two weeks ago due to a spiked fever.
â€œHe looked like he just walked out of his stall,â€ Violette said. â€œItâ€™s pretty cool. Weâ€™ve had one little bullet that we dodged, and it doesnâ€™t seem to have had any after effect, thatâ€™s for sure. Heâ€™s had two good breezes and a two-minute lick, and now weâ€™ll just let him feel like King Kong for a week and head him over there (to Louisville) and see what happens.â€
Upstart will return to the track Sunday to gallop before traveling to Louisville on Tuesday.
â€œHeâ€™ll leave Tuesday. Heâ€™ll gallop a little bit tomorrow and Monday. Tuesday will be his walk day, and then weâ€™ll recharge for a big day on Saturday,â€ Violette said. â€œHeâ€™ll just gallop [leading up to the Kentucky Derby]. Heâ€™ll school in the gate and school in the paddock and thatâ€™s it â€“ just a couple one-on-one stuff.â€
Wood Memorial (G1) winner Frosted, who finished second and fourth, respectively, in Gulfstreamâ€™s Holy Bull (G2) and Fountain of Youth (G2), breezed minutes earlier. Under exercise rider Rob Massey, the dappled gray breezed five furlongs in 1:01.10. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee was timed in an almost identical 1:01.35 when he worked last Thursday.
â€œWe had a great racetrack today,â€ McLaughlin said. â€œWe wanted to see a maintenance work, and weâ€™re all systems go. He worked great â€“ went in 1:01 â€“ and it was very similar to last week. Weâ€™re very happy with it.â€
â€œWe didnâ€™t want to see any changes, and weâ€™re just happy to keep seeing the same, seeing him work well and within himself,â€ he added. â€œHeâ€™s gone perfect.â€
After training up to the Wood Memorial at Palm Meadows, McLaughlin elected to return the son of Tapit to South Florida to keep things status quo. Under a sunny sky on a warm, picture-perfect morning, McLaughlin said the weather also played a role in his decision.
â€œGoing into the Wood [Memorial], he worked every week here and flew up there and won,â€ he said. â€œWeather was a big thing. It looked rainy in Kentucky, and it has been, and in New York, too. It just looked like it was the right move. Heâ€™s trained great here.â€
Frosted will depart for Louisville on Tuesday and spend the rest of the week galloping up to a start in the Run for the Roses.
â€œOn Tuesday he flies at noon. Heâ€™ll train here (at Palm Meadows) Tuesday morning, fly up, and train there (in Louisville) Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and maybe Saturday, too. Weâ€™ll also go through the paddock, but not in the afternoon.â€
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