The prep races have all been run, and the prospective 20-horse field is almost set for the 2017 Kentucky Derby. The drawing for post positions is Wednesday, May 3.
But the work isn’t all done. Trainers of all the contenders will be putting the finishing touches on their hopefuls as we come to the race. For most, that’s long daily gallops designed to build stamina and conditioning. But the gallops will be punctuated with serious “workouts” — training at near race speed. These workouts are scheduled about a week apart, leading to the race.
Some of the local workouts may be shown on TV, but probably not more than 10 seconds worth of any. TV doesn’t dawdle. But we can.
We’ll take a look at the entireity of the workout, including not just the :59 1/5 seconds, say, that is timed by stopwatch, but also the prelude and wind-up: How does the horse look? Is it eager? Can he relax until called upon by the rider? How did the horse “gallop out”? Was he dog tired and happy it was over? Or could he hardly be pulled up and can’t wait for Derby Day?
In our final edition of Inside the Kentucky Derby, we’ll look at a couple of excellent workouts. TVG commentator Christina Blacker narrates a work by Gormley, at Santa Anita last weekend, and Churchill Downs handicapper Joe Kristufek has his eye on McCrackin training here.
Next week, we’ll be back to the written word for a full report on what to look for in the 2017 Kentucky Derby.
Inside the Kentucky Derby — Episode 5 (Video by Jonathan Vanderford)