Wednesday Notes: Titletown Five Breezes Tuesday for 100th Louisiana Derby

By Graham Ross, Staff Writer

NEW ORLEANS (Wednesday, March 20, 2013) –Paul Hornung et al.’s Titletown Five breezed six furlongs Tuesday in 1:16.20 at Oaklawn Park in preparation for the 100th anniversary edition of the $1 million Louisiana Derby on March 30 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

Titletown Five, who finished second, beaten a length and a quarter, in Oaklawn’s $60,000 Gazebo Stakes March 2 in his only start this year, is conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who called something of an audible when announcing his latest plan of sending the sophomore son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow to New Orleans for the Grade II Louisiana Derby during a teleconference Tuesday. The colt had been scheduled for a start in this Sunday’s Grade III Sunland Derby before the late change of plans.

Titletown Five will be ridden by Jon Court, who earlier this winter teamed up with Lukas to capture the Grade III Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds with Calumet Farm’s Oxbow. That colt then ran fourth in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes at the local oval and was second in Oaklawn’s Grade II Rebel last Saturday.

CODE WEST, PROUD STRIKE IN MONDAY MOVES FOR LOUISIANA DERBY – Gary and Mary West’s Code West, who finished second by a nose in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Feb. 23, worked six furlongs handily in 1:12.40 on Monday at Santa Anita in preparation for the Grade II Louisiana Derby March 30.

Conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert,Code West will be attempting to make amends for that narrow defeat in which he was caught in the last jump by the 135-1 longshot Ive Struck a Nerve, who has since been sidelined by injury.

Code West will be ridden once again by jockey Martin Garcia, who handled the reins on Code West in the Risen Star.

Mike McCarty’s Proud Strike, another expected starter for the 100th anniversary edition of the $1 million Louisiana Derby,breezed six furlongs in 1:14.20 during training hours on Monday at the Crescent City oval.

Proud Strike, conditioned by 11-time Fair Grounds trainer champion Steve Asmussen, made the pace briefly in the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes before weakening to be beaten 3 1/2-lengths at the wire.

Four horses prepping for the Louisiana Derby worked last Sunday – two at Fair Grounds and two others at South Florida’s Palm Meadows Training Center.

At the local oval Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Departing, trained by Al Stall Jr., and Gold Mark Farm’s Mylute, trained by Tom Amoss, bothbreezed a half-mile in 50.60

Down at Palm Meadows, Dogwood Stable’s Palace Malice went five furlongs in 1:00 flat and WinStar Farm’s Revolutionary went the same distance in 1:00.60.

Both Palace Malice and Revolutionary are conditioned by five-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher.

Last Saturday at Fair Grounds, Marrette Farrell et al’s Ground Transport,trained by Mike Stidham,breezed a bullet five furlongs in 59.40, while Erich Brehm and Gene Voss’s Whiskey Bravo, trained by Keith Desormeaux, went seven furlongs in 1:28 flat.

J-LU LLC’s Hip Four Sixtynine, trained by Bobby Barnett, went four furlongs in 48 flat and Brittlyn Stable’s Sunbean, another sophomore trained by Stall, went four furlongs in 50.60.

JOCKEY PAT JOHNSON FEELING GREAT AFTER SUCCESSFUL SURGERY MONDAY – Jockey Pat Johnson, who suffered a broken collarbone when unseated from his mount following the fourth race last Saturday, underwent surgery Monday and was in high spirits Wednesday when discussing his operation.

“It’s amazing how it worked out so quickly for me,” said Johnson. “The orthopedic specialist was in the office when I went in to see the doctor and he took me right in, put the plate in and had me out of there in just a little bit more than an hour.

“The whole operation was very cut and dried and it’s amazing how much better I feel already,” said Johnson. “The pain is subsiding quickly and I’m already on the fast track to healing. I’ll be back galloping horses again real soon.”