Photo: Benoit Photo
Battle of Midway and Royal Mo, second and third in the Santa Anita Derby, each worked Sunday morning for what their connections hope will lead to a position in the starting field of 20 for the 143rd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 6.
Royal Mo’s three furlong effort was too slow to make Santa Anita’s official work tab, which has a cutoff time of 39.80 for that distance. With Gary Stevens in the irons, Royal Mo was timed in just over 41 seconds, with a quarter mile clocking of more than 27 seconds.
“He didn’t go too fast, but it’s no big deal,” said trainer John Shirreffs of Royal Mo’s time. “Gary wanted to work him to become more familiar with him. Normally, I’d put my exercise rider on him, but this is something Gary likes to do.”
Qualifying points for the Run for the Roses could be an issue, however, for Royal Mo, who, with 30, currently ranks 24th, four spots from No. 20.
“The points are out of our control, but we’ll keep training him with the Kentucky Derby in mind and try to stay on course,” Shirreffs said.
Shirreff’s other Kentucky Derby candidate, Santa Anita Derby winner Gormley, who worked three furlongs Saturday in 37.80, is secure in qualifying points with 125, third behind Girvin (150) and Classic Empire (132).
Battle of Midway, with 40 points, is tied at 17th with four other horses. A son of Smart Strike owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, Battle of Midway went four furlongs in 48.40 under Edgar Rodriguez for Jerry Hollendorfer, who termed it “a maintenance work.”
Source: Santa Anita Park