The 143rd annual Kentucky Derby (G1) is set for this weekend on May 6. All of the top contenders are putting in their final training sessions in preparation for this year’s Run for the Roses. One such contender is McCracken. His final pre-Derby work took place at Churchill Downs on April 30. He was clocked running five furlongs in a time of 1:00 4/5 under jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.
The Ghostzapper son was timed in at the following fractions :13, :25 1/5, :36 4/5, and :48 4/5. He galloped out to six furlongs in 1:13 2/5, seven furlongs in 1:27 1/5 and finished off the mile in 1:41 4/5.
“Today was really good because he found his rhythm, which is what we were looking for,” said Hernandez. “A horse ended up galloping past him at the seven-eighths pole and it didn’t bother him. He was out there doing his own thing and just enjoying himself.
“When I wanted him to pick it up, when he knew it was time to pick it up, he picked it up. It was one of those maintenance type works that Ian was looking for and he was right on cue with it.”
The Churchill Downs track has been very kind to McCracken, as he has won all three of his career starts on the track, including breaking his maiden there and winning his first graded stakes race (Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes – G2).
“He loves it here, and you just have to enjoy him,” said trainer Ian Wilkes. “I like what I see. He looked like he was doing it easy going down the lane. He galloped out good, I didn’t want him to gallop out too far today, but he just kept wanting to go. I wanted the horse to want more, I wanted to come out of here wanting more.”