Kentucky Derby

Gormley and Royal Mo Work for Kentucky Derby

Zoe Metz Photography

It wasn’t a case of musical horses Saturday morning when exercise rider Cisco Alvarado worked Santa Anita Derby winner Gormley, while the colt’s regular jockey, Victor Espinoza, accompanied the Kentucky Derby contender astride stablemate Ziconic.

John Shirreffs had a plan.

“Cisco has been working Gormley since before the Santa Anita Derby (on April 8), so we didn’t want to change anything,” the trainer said. “He’s been doing a great job, so there was no need to change. Having Victor on the pace horse was very important, too, because he has a good sense of pace.

“Also, it gives Victor a good chance to look at Gormley when he gets alongside of him, so it worked out well. I did that quite a bit with Mike Smith when he rode Zenyatta. You need a rider who knows how to set up a nice pace.”

That said, Shirreffs was pleased with the drill.

At 7:45 a.m., Gormley, in his final major drill for next Saturday’s 143rd Run for the Roses, went seven furlongs in 1:26.20, while Ziconic went in 1:27.40. The Santa Anita Derby third-place finisher Royal Mo also breezed under Alvarado, with Espinoza on workmate Shazara.

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Royal Mo went six furlongs Saturday in 1:13, while Shazara was clocked in 1:13.20. Royal Mo is currently one spot away from drawing into the Kentucky Derby field, which is based on qualifying points.

“I thought the work was very good,” said Shirreffs of Gormley, who, like Royal Mo, is owned by Jerry and Ann Moss. “Both he and Royal Mo will ship early Monday for Kentucky and arrive Monday afternoon.

Kentucky Derby Bonus: Access our Top 10 Kentucky Derby Wagering Mistakes for a step-by-step guide on how we’ve hit three straight Kentucky Derby winners.

“Tuesday, they’ll probably jog or do something, get out and stretch their legs somehow.”

Asked if he reaped any benefits from having won the Kentucky Derby with 50-1 outsider Giacomo in 2005, Shirreffs said, “You learn all the time. Every horse teaches you something.”

Santa Anita Park

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