News and STORIES

Sole Volante, Major Fed Prepare for Kentucky Derby

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Wednesday August 19, 2020
Sole Volante has been preparing to run in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve on Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs. The 3-year-old gelding recorded his second workout of the month at a mile, breezing the distance Aug. 18 on turf in 1:39 at Palm Meadows Training Center in South Florida. 

It was Sole Volante's second workout, and it followed a 1:40 workout for a mile Aug. 9 there as well. 

Sole Volante is trained by Patrick Biancone. 

"He worked very well this morning. We're very happy," Biancone said. "One more breeze, and then he'll van to Churchill Downs."

The grass is a common surface for the gelding to train on, with 16 of his last 25 recorded workouts taking place over the surface. The son of Karakontie ran to victory in his first two starts on turf last fall. Those outings included the Pulpit Stakes at Gulfstream Park, where the field included King Guillermo, a Kentucky Derby rival.

At the beginning of 2020, Biancone then moved Sole Volante to dirt.

"It's something we like to do," he said. "I like to work them on the turf, especially him because he's shown he's a turf horse, anyway. He's doing good right now. So why should I change?"

According to Biancone, Sole Volante will depart Florida Aug. 29 and arrive in Kentucky the following day. 

The Kentucky Derby

According to Biancone, Sole Volante will be joined by jockey Luca Panici in the Derby. He has been the gelding's rider for five of his seven starts, including a victory in the Feb. 8 Sam F. David Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs. 

Panici was also aboard Sole Volante last time out in the June 20 Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1), where they finished back in sixth after coming off a ten day rest.

It will be an 11-week break for the 3-year-old between the Belmont and the Derby. His past performances indicate that he does well when running fresh, taking his debut off workouts and an allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park on June 10 after a more than three-month long break.

Sole Volante runs for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Andie Biancone, who is the trainer's daughter and assistant. Andie is responsible for galloping multiple horses for her father, including Sole Volante.

"For sure it's very special," he said. "The first horse she has owned is running in the Derby. Very rare to have a rider, assistant trainer, and owner be the same person."

Sole Volante would be the fourth Derby starter for Biancone, but it will be his first in 15 years. His last representative was Brancusi in 2003, who finished 16th. Lion Heart finished second the year after, and Spanish Chestnut ran 16th in 2005.

Lion Heart put up a good run in the Derby, taking the lead in the opening mile before Smarty Jones moved ahead. The Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor-owned son of Tale of the Cat finished in second, beaten 2 3/4 lengths. 

Diamond Oops and Major Fed

While Biancone won't be pointing his other leading 3-year-old, Fasig-Tipton Fountain Youth of Stakes (G2) winner Ete Indien to Derby week, he will look to run Diamond Oops in the 5 1/2 furlong Twin Spires Turf Sprint Presented by Sysco (G2T) Sept. 4 on the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) undercard. 

The 5-year-old Diamond Oops is a four-time stakes winner and has placed in grade 1 events on both turf and dirt. 

Major Fed, who is another Derby Prospect, also turned in a workout at Churchill Downs on Aug. 18. He breezed five furlongs in 1:01 1/5. The son of Ghostzapper is owned by Lloyd Madison Farms IV, and he will work one more time before the Derby.