An Unexpected Busy Morning at the Downs

It was a beautiful chilly morning at Churchill, as the flurry of workouts scheduled for Saturday was for the most part moved up to Friday because of the rain in the forecast. International Star is still scheduled to work Saturday, whether at Churchill or Trackside Training Center. American Pharoah is on schedule for Sunday, with trainer Bob Baffert arriving Saturday night. The California contingent will arrive on Sunday, and on Monday we finally get to see Mubtaahij, who ships in from Arlington Park.

American Pharoah was into the bit and galloped with his usual good energy, showing off his long, powerful stride.

Danzig Moon's half-mile work in :49 was much better than his last work, as he appeared more comfortable and in control, and this time got the better of his workmate. He galloped out well and was still showing good energy back at the barn. Norm Casse caught him in :48 3/5. This was an excellent maintenance drill after last week's unplanned sizzling work.

Itsaknockout and Materiality prepare to work together, as Pletcher, like Mark and Norman Casse, called an audible and worked today because of the bad weather forecast for Saturday and into Sunday.

Itsaknockout and Materiality hit the wire together in their strong hallf-mile work in :48. Both colts made an excellent appearance, with Itsaknockout matching strides with his brilliant workmate. Both colts galloped out strongly together. This was a particularly big move for Itsaknockout, who needed the wake-up call after the Florida Derby debacle.

Stanford (in front) and Madefromlucky run into an open-galloping Keen Ice, with Madefromlucky having to do a little maneuvering moving inside the Dale Romans colt. Even with the training period restricted to Derby and Oaks horses, you never know what to expect. Ironically, Madefromlucky is now out of the Derby, allowing Keen Ice in the race.

American Pharoah shows off that classy look. He has a ton of personality and is always looking around and aware of everything around him.

Assistant Jimmy Barnes having a little fun with American Pharoah after bringing the colt out just to let him stand in the sun for about 20 minutes. He loved being out there, checking out everything around him.

More tender moments between Barnes and American Pharoah. This colt definitely grows on you. Barnes is eagerly awaiting the arrival of Dortmund on Sunday and then the real fun will begin.

Tencendur, a big strapping colt, was feeling good as he broke off into his gallop.

Itsaknockout made a splendid appearance this morning. If you're willing to toss the Florida Derby, his Fountain of Youth performance could make him a viable longshot, at least to pick up a piece of it.

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