Not only were Frosted and Upstart the last two Derby horses to arrive, their plane was delayed about three hours in Florida. But both arrived safe and sound Tuesday evening and were out on the track this morning and feeling good in their respective strong gallops. Both colts have not the smoothest roads on the Derby trail, with Frosted's bizarre Fountain of Youth performance and then going through a major transformation, and Upstart and trainer Rick Violette's battles with the ridiculously slow Gulfstream surface and being disqualified from first in the Fountain of Youth.
All eyes were on American Pharoah and Dortmund, and both colts had excellent gallops, with American Pharoah going around there at a very strong clip.
Tonight is the all important post position draw and the Derby trainers are just looking to get through it unscathed, and then it is clear sailing to the Derby.
Wood Memorial winner Frosted heads to the track for the first time. The colt looked very Civil War-ish, with his gray coat and decked out in Godolphin blue. The son of Tapit is a very attractive colt who has the refined look of a stayer and appears to be coming into the Derby in the best shape of his life.
Frosted turned in a strong gallop. Following his trip from Florida, he was looking for action and was striding out beautifully. Between trainer Kiaran McLaughlin adjusting his blinkers, putting Joel Rosario up on the colt, and having a lewellyn procedure done to free his breathing passages following a likely displacement in the Fountain of Youth, this is a totally different horse than the one we saw throw his head up and stop running after appearing to be on his way to a clear-cut victory.
Following his gallop, Frosted came off the track bouncing and it is apparent he is feeling good and has taken to Churchill Downs. The Godolphin team was out in full force to see their colt in action.
Yes, four photos of Frosted. Hmmm, I wonder who my value play is going to be. I don't think this photo needs any description other than to say this is one handsome classy-looking colt.
Upstart was the last Derby horse to gallop and also went along at a good clip and did everything the right way. Like Frosted, he is showing good energy and has recovered from his mild sinus infection, turning in two subsequent powerful works. Trainer Rick Violette couldn't be happier with him and in pinning a lot of his hopes on the fact that Upstart's speed figures puts him right up there with the fastest horses in the field. In fact, his Thoro-Graph numbers make him the fastest horse in the race, especially on a consistent basis, as he's turned in four negative numbers in his career, including one as a 2-year-old.
Following his strong gallop, Upstart spent a good deal of time just unwinding and enjoying some grass. This is one horse who will appreciate getting away from Gulfstream, just as Frosted did.
You had to love Firing Line's gallop, as he continues to flourish here. Lately, he's been wearing draw reins as you can see from this photo. Assistant starter Carlos Santamaria said they have made him much easier to gallop because they help keep him together. The rider now has better control of the colt and you can see that in his gallops.
Another horse who is getting into his daily routine and acclimating beautifully is Mubtaahij. Following his gallops he takes a little stroll up the mile chute and just walks around a bit before heading back to the barn.
Owner Ken Ramsey was out to watch International Star gallop, and then, as is his custom, gave out International Star buttons to whoever he happened to run into. They actually are pretty cool buttons, showing the horse flying a plane over the Eiffel Tower, the Coliseum, the Statue of Liberty ,the pyramids, and the leaning tower of Pisa, all sitting atop the world.
This is the scene every morning at 8:30 as a gauntlet of people line up to get a close-up look at the Derby horses as they wait for the track to open.
A daily routine has been Danzig Moon galloping stronger each day. Whether or not this horse is ready to compete with the heavy hitters, he is doing well and appears to be coming into peak form.