Jacks or Better Farm Inc.'s Fellowship, who sits at No.19 on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 32 points, remains under consideration for the May 7 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) after switching barns from former trainer Stanley Gold to new conditioner Mark Casse. How the Florida-bred son of Awesome of Course trains at Churchill Downs will ultimately determine his Derby status.
“It's not like we're really 100 percent sure just yet,” assistant trainer Norman Casse said Friday morning. “We're going to breeze him and if he's doing well then we'll run, and if we don't think he's training well then there's no pressure to run him. But so far so good. He's been training well since he got here. He's just been galloping for the past couple of days we'll probably breeze him Sunday or Monday if he continues to do well.”
Fellowship is coming off a trio of third-place efforts against graded stakes company at Gulfstream Park, which came in the Holy Bull (GII), Fountain of Youth (GII) and Florida Derby (GI), respectively. Should they opt to not race in the Kentucky Derby, Casse was unsure as to where they would race him.
“I don't know any back up plans yet, we'll just see how he trains and then pick something out for him,” he said. “But right now it's the Derby and if he's not training well then maybe we'll back off of him and find something else for him.”
Casse also went onto speak of Catch A Glimpse, a recent winner of the Appalachian (GIII) at Keeneland on Thursday stating that the Canadian Horse of the Year is a possibility for the $150,000 Edgewood (GIII) on the May 6 Kentucky Oaks undercard.
“I think that's a possibility, but we're a little apprehensive because of the crowd,” Casse said. “She's a pretty flighty filly which sounds kind of crazy since she's won the Breeders' Cup and been to all the big racetracks but the Oaks crowd will be a lot different from anything else she'll ever see. I almost feel like crowd deserves to see her, so we'll see how she trains.”
The Appalachian was the 3-year-old daughter of City Zip's fifth consecutive win, which included a victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (GI) at Keeneland last fall.
“I don't know if we've seen how good she really is,” Casse said. “I feel like when she makes the lead she starts doing goofy things because she's pulling herself up and not really paying attention. It almost seems like she's distance limited, but no one can really get to her so I'm wondering if the further she goes on if she's just going to keep doing the same thing. If you go back and watch the race, she galloped out a long way. She still had tons of horse left after the race.”
Another new face in the Casse barn for Jacks or Better Farm is Awesome Banner, a well-beaten eighth last time out in the March 12 Tampa Bay Derby (GII), who is likely to point to either the $100,000 William Walker Memorial – the Opening Night feature on Saturday, April 30 – or the $250,000 Pat Day Mile (GIII) on the Kentucky Derby undercard.
Elsewhere, the other Kentucky Derby contenders continued their preparations for the race on Thursday morning. Winchell Farm LLC's Gun Runner galloped a-mile-and-a-quarter on the main track. GMB Racing's Mo Tom galloped 1 ½ miles. The Dale Romans-trained duo of Brody's Cause and Cherry Wine both galloped and are scheduled to breeze Sunday, which would be their first workouts since respective first and third-place efforts in last Saturday's Blue Grass (GI) at Keeneland. Koji Maeda's Japanese invader Lani galloped six furlongs on the main track.
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