Lani works five-eighths; Danzing Candy, Trojan Nation visit track
With trainer Mikio Matsunaga looking on, Lani worked five furlongs in 1:01 over a fast track after the renovation break Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs. The move was the third fastest of 18 at the distance.
Lani's work was the only one of the morning among Kentucky Derby (G1) hopefuls on a day in which two more anticipated participants made their first visits to the track.
Fractions for the work were :12.40, :24.40, :36.60 and :48.60. The work was the third fastest of 18 at the distance.
"The rider did a very good job. It was a nice work," trainer Mikio Matsunaga said through spokesman Keita Tanaka. "I think he is fast enough and happy enough to run in the Derby."
Danzing Candy and Trojan Nation galloped after the break, a day after arriving at Churchill Downs from their Southern California bases.
With exercise rider Rolando Quinones in the saddle, Danzing Candy, accompanied by a pony, jogged once around the track, before going solo in a light gallop around the oval.
Back at Barn 41, Sise, who never has started a horse at Churchill Downs, said he was pleased with the way Danzing Candy moved over the surface, and indicated that he would have a stronger gallop Wednesday.
"He shipped well, and only left a little bit [feed] last night," Sise said. "But that's to be expected with shipping in and we fed him kind of late last night. We fed him a big mash, too, and he only left a couple of handfuls."
Sise, 64, never has had a Derby starter, but has had a couple horses who were on the Kentucky Derby trail before being derailed. Last year Sise was preparing Prospect Park for the Kentucky Derby when the colt exited his fourth-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) with an elevated white blood cell count. The other horse that Sise had hoped to run in the Derby was California Chrome's sire, Lucky Pulpit, in 2004.
"My biggest disappointment was last year with Prospect Park because he wants to go a mile and a quarter," Sise said. "The only relief from that disappointment was that no one was going to beat American Pharoah, although it would have been nice to hit the board."
Trojan Nation jetted in from California on Monday then Tuesday morning he was trackside at Churchill Downs during the 8:30-8:45 a.m. (EDT) special Derby/Oaks training period.
Trojan Nation still is a non-winner, but his bang-up second-place finish in the Wood Memorial (G1) earned him the right to run for the Roses, thus his appearance in Louisville. He was sent here by an Irish ex-patriot (trainer Paddy Gallagher) and accompanied by another Irish ex-pat, Andy Durnin, the stable's right-hand man and chief exercise rider.
Durnin will hold down the fort until Gallagher's arrival Tuesday evening. And Durnin knows how to navigate the Derby. This is his fourth go-round with the race for a fourth trainer.
"Fusiachi Pegasus (the winner) for Neil Drysdale in 2000, then Borrego (10th) for Beau Greeley in 2004 and Make Music For Me (fourth) for Alexis Barba in 2010," he said. "Now here I am again; how lucky a guy am I?"