News and STORIES

Bevy of Activity as Derby and Oaks Approach

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Wednesday May 01, 2019

Oaks Post Position Draw Held
A field of 14 fillies will take their best shot Friday in the Kentucky Oaks. Simon Callaghan’s Bellafina headlines the field and was installed a 2/1 morning line favorite. A winner of all three starts this year on her home Southern California circuit, she was assigned post 4 with Flavien Prat aboard.

Champagne Anyone (6-1), Restless Rider (6-1), Jaywalk (8-1), and Serengeti Empress (8-1) are the other horses with single-digit morning lines. Chad Brown trainee Dunbar Road is 5-1 on the morning line but needs a scratch to draw in off the also-eligible list.

(PP/prog., Horse, Jockey, CD M/L)
1. Out for a Spin, I. Ortiz Jr., 15-1
2. Chocolate Kisses, J. Leparoux, 20-1
3. Lady Apple, R. Santana Jr., 20-1
4. Bellafina, F. Prat, 2-1
5. Flor de la Mar, J. Rosario, 20-1
6. Positive Spirit, M. Franco, 30-1
7. Jaywalk, J. Castellano, 8-1
8. Motion Emotion, M. Smith, 15-1
9. Liora, C. Hill, 20-1
10. Champagne Anyone, C. Landeros, 6-1
11. Jeltrin, L. Saez, 15-1
12. Street Band, S. Doyle, 15-1
13. Serengeti Empress, J. Ortiz, 8-1
14. Restless Rider, B. Hernandez Jr., 6-1
15 (ae) Dunbar Road, J. Ortiz, 5-1
16 (ae) Point of Honor, J.Velazquez, 30-1

McKinzie Looks Formidable in Alysheba
Bob Baffert’s McKinzie faces a field of 10 in the Alysheba Stakes, carded as Race 7 on the Kentucky Oaks undercard Friday. A horse who figured to factor prominently into last year’s Kentucky Derby, McKinzie missed the race due to injury and returned to have a respectable 3-year old campaign. Now, in the classic division, McKinzie is expected to be a major player.

Owned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman, 4-year-old McKinzie enters the Alysheba off a tough loss by a nose to Gift Box in the rescheduled Santa Anita Handicap. His main competition Friday could come from Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) runner-up Seeking the Soul.

“He did everything but win last time,” Baffert told “He got beat by a nose and has some tough losses this year. But he got beat by a nice horse (in the Santa Anita Handicap). We didn’t get a perfect, perfect trip so hopefully, things will work out Friday.”

Shrouded in Secrecy
Adding to the mystique of Derby contender Maximum Security, the Florida Derby winner who rose to prominence after excelling in allowance conditions, trainer Jason Servis has elected to have all of his pre-Derby work done in South Florida instead of shipping to Churchill Downs. Called unconventional and risky by some observers, Servis has elected to put the son of New Year’s Day through three slow breezes. Gary and Mary West’s horse completed Monday’s four-furlong breeze in :53 4/5, which, of course, was the slowest of six moves at the distance.

“He went a mile in 1:58 and came home, I want to say, in :25 (seconds) for the last quarter,” Servis told “He galloped out a mile and an eighth in 2:12 and cooled out good. All systems are ‘Go.'”

Before Monday’s move, the listed works for Maximum Security since the Florida Derby include a three-furlong breeze in :42 April 21 and a half-mile breeze in :54.85 April 13, both at Palm Meadows. The controlled works have been the norm for Maximum Security, who prepped for the Florida Derby with a single half-mile move in :52.95 March 22.

Servis said he understands the need for half-mile workouts and breezes out of the starting gate for a young horse but is more comfortable with the longer open gallops as horses develop.

“I think it was after his second race that I took him off the rail so to speak and started doing the open miles,” Servis told “It’s just a maintaining thing, trying to avoid injuries that would set us back. Maybe in a fast breeze there is more risk than what I’m doing.”