Kentucky Derby candidate Battalion Runner put in his penultimate breeze before the Run for the Roses on Saturday, working a half-mile in company timed in 49.11 seconds over the Belmont training track, according to drf.com. The sophomore son of Unbridled's Song galloped out five furlongs in 1:02.43, and six furlongs in 1:16.25. His work had originally been scheduled for 9:30 a.m., but was moved up to 7:45 a.m. out of concern for the incoming rain.
“The idea was strong to the wire and strong gallop-out, and I think that's what we got from him,” said Byron Hughes, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. “I thought the track was a touch slower at 7:45 than it was at 9:30, but I thought he was well within himself.”
Ridden in his first four races by John Velazquez, the St. Elias Stable-owned colt does not yet have a rider named for the Kentucky Derby (Velazquez will ride Pletcher's Florida Derby winner Always Dreaming). In his most recent start, Battalion Runner finished second behind Irish War Cry in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, earning 40 points to get in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May. He is scheduled to ship to Churchill on Sunday.
Also working over Belmont's training track on Saturday was Cloud Computing, third-place finisher in the Wood Memorial. The son of Maclean's Music breezed by himself, covering a half-mile in 48.51 seconds. Following the work, trainer Chad Brown officially declared that Cloud Computing would not Run in the Kentucky Derby, but would rather be pointed to the Preakness.
“We decided that we are going to pass on the Derby,” Brown said. “The Derby is a rare opportunity, we have the points, we have a nice horse, but the fact we only have three races, we felt he lacks a little bit of foundation for a race that demanding. Discretion is the better part of valor. I'm going to train him as if he's going to run in the Preakness.”
Cloud Computing's owners, Seth Klarman and William Lawrence, have another candidate for the Kentucky Derby in the 3-year-old son of Into Mischief, Practical Joke. The Blue Grass Stakes runner-up will van from Keeneland to Churchill Downs on Monday.
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