Florida Derby Champ Fierceness With 'Super' Work; West Saratoga Breezes At Keeneland

Fierceness with John Velazquez aboard

Ryan Thompson

GI Florida Derby champ Fierceness (City of Light) breezed at Palm Beach Downs on Friday morning in preparation for the GI Kentucky Derby.

The Eclipse Award winner covered five furlongs in 1:00.35 under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, while working in company with fellow 'TDN Rising Star' Agate Road (Quality Road).

“I thought he worked super–a solid five-eighths with a good gallop-out, exactly what we were targeting,” Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher said. “I think he is doing every bit as good, if not better, than he was going into the Florida Derby.”

Plans for the Repole Stable homebred beyond Friday's breeze are still indefinite, said Pletcher, who will continue to monitor weather conditions in Kentucky.

Catalytic (Catalina Cruiser), who finished a distant second behind Fierceness in the Florida Derby, breezed five furlongs for trainer Saffie Joseph in 1:00.72 at Gulfstream Park on Friday morning.

“Everything went all right,” said Joseph. “I got him in a minute and four-fifths and the [six-furlong] gallop-out in 1:14-and-change.”

 

West Saratoga Drills Six At Keeneland

Harry Veruchi's West Saratoga (Exaggerator), who was last seen finishing as the runner-up in the GIII Jeff Ruby S. at Turfway Park Mar. 23, continued his preparation for an expected Derby start by working 6 furlongs in 1:16.20 over a wet-fast track at Keeneland on Friday morning.

With jockey Jesus Castanon aboard, West Saratoga produced eighth-of-a-mile fractions of :13.60, :26.40, :39.80, :51.20, 1:04.20, 1:16.20 and galloped out 7 furlongs in 1:30.20 while working on his own.

Trainer Larry Demeritte said West Saratoga would return to his base at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington and stay there until vanning to Churchill Downs on Friday, Apr. 26 with a 3-furlong breeze scheduled beneath the Twin Spires the next day.

“I am happy with the work, and right now everything is in place going forward,” Demeritte said of West Saratoga, who had breezed 3 furlongs at The Thoroughbred Center in :36.40 on April 6. “That work was for speed and this one for stamina. You can't do both at the same time. He will have a lot of long gallops (leading up to the Derby).”

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