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Helium, Three Other Tampa Runners Step Up Kentucky Derby Preparations
Helium winning the Tampa Bay Derby (Credit: SV Photography)

Helium, Three Other Tampa Runners Step Up Kentucky Derby Preparations

OLDSMAR, FL – 4 Kentucky Derby (G1) candidates that competed at Tampa Bay Downs this season worked out over the last few days in the Bluegrass State as their trainers stepped up preparations for the May 1 Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs.

Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Helium, who has not raced since his March 6 victory here, breezed 5 furlongs from the starting gate at Churchill Downs on Friday in 1:01 4/5 under jockey Julien Leparoux. The unbeaten (3-for-3) colt had breezed 5 furlongs in 59 1/5 seconds last Saturday over the Churchill Downs surface.

Owned by D. J. Stable and trained by Mark Casse, Helium will be ridden in the 147th edition of the 1 1/4-mile classic by Leparoux, who replaces Jose Ferrer, his jockey in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby.

Hidden Stash, who was second here to Helium and third in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) on Feb. 6, breezed 4 furlongs Wednesday at Keeneland in 47 4/5. Trainer Vicki Oliver is expected to van him to Churchill Downs on April 27.

Although he is currently 23rd in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points standings (the field is limited to 20 starters), 3 horses ahead of him have been withdrawn, making him eligible. Rafael Bejarano is the jockey.

Curlin Florida Derby (G1) winner Known Agenda, who finished fifth in the Sam F. Davis in his lone Tampa Bay Downs start, breezed 5 furlongs Friday at Churchill Downs in 1:00 2/5. The Todd Pletcher trainee, who has improved dramatically since the addition of blinkers, has the services of jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.

Florida-bred colt Soup and Sandwich, the runner-up in the Curlin Florida Derby, went out this morning at Churchill Downs, breezing 5 furlongs in 59 4/5. He galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:12 2/5 and completed 7 furlongs in 1:25 1/5.

Soup and Sandwich broke his maiden at Tampa Bay Downs on February 24 in a mile-and-40-yard allowance/optional claiming event. Tyler Gaffalione will ride Soup and Sandwich for Casse and breeder-owner Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation.

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