'TDN Rising Star' and GII Risen Star S. hero Mandaloun (Into Mischief) and D J Stable's Helium (Ironicus), upset winner of the GII Tampa Bay Derby, each tuned up for their upcoming starts in the GI Kentucky Derby May 1 with Saturday morning drills over the Churchill Downs main track.
Working in the company of his fellow graded-stakes winning Juddmonte colorbearer Bonny South (Munnings), Mandaloun went five furlongs in :58.80 in splits of :23.40 and :46.60 before galloping out three-quarters of a mile in 1:11.40 and seven-eighths in 1:25.60, according to Churchill clocker John Nichols.
“I thought they both worked great,” said trainer Brad Cox, who made a bee-line to nearby Muhammad Ali International Airport for a flight to Hot Springs to saddle 'Rising Star' Caddo River (Hard Spun) in the GI Arkansas Derby later in the day. “They both worked fast but looked like they were doing it really easy.”
Helium, who overcame a torrid trip from a high draw to cause a 15-1 upset in the Tampa Bay Derby Mar. 6, went five-eighths of a mile in :59.20, with his Kentucky Derby rider Julien Leparoux at the controls. Helium was timed in :11.80, :23.20 and :35.40 and was up six furlongs in 1:12 flat while working alongside his maiden stablemate Ghost of the Mambo (Ghostzapper).
“Everything went as smoothly as we could've drew it up,” said David Carroll, assistant to trainer Mark Casse. “He came in from Florida on Wednesday and has been doing very well since.”