CLOSING ARGUMENT - Philip and Marcia Cohen's colt had his final Derby prep Monday morning, breezing five furlongs in 1:01.60 under exercise rider Danny Wright.
"He went along fine and came back in great shape," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. "He's all set now. He'll walk tomorrow, then gallop the rest of the week."
This will be McLaughlin's Kentucky Derby debut as a trainer, but he's no stranger to Churchill Downs.
"When I was an assistant to Wayne (trainer D. Wayne Lukas), I was here the year Winning Colors won the Derby (1988)," McLaughlin said. "But it's different coming here with your own horse."
Closing Argument won the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream in February, and last out was third, nine lengths behind Bandini, in the Blue Grass Stakes. Cornelio Velasquez, who has been his regular rider, has the call again in the Derby.
CLOSING ARGUMENT - Saturday's Derby Trial winner walked the shedrow 30 minutes this morning for trainer Ron Ellis. Ellis said B. Wayne Hughes' son of Stephen Got Even is slated to walk for a third straight day on Tuesday as per the trainer's schedule.
"I've got the easiest week of anybody here," Ellis joked. "Don't Get Mad is doing great. He ate everything last night and looks like it will be a real happy week."
A rider assignment for Don't Get Mad is pending, Ellis indicated, and could be made later today. Derby Trial pilot Gary Stevens is booked to ride Noble Causeway.
GIACOMO - Mr. And Mrs. Jerry Moss' Giacomo came out of his Sunday workout in good fashion, trainer John Shirreffs reported this morning from his Hollywood Park headquarters.
"The legs are clean, the bucket's clean and he had a good night's sleep," said Shirreffs of his Kentucky Derby contender, who breezed six furlongs in a bullet 1:11.80 Sunday.
Giacomo, two lengths back of Buzzards Bay while fourth in the Santa Anita Derby, walked Monday morning. He is scheduled to be shipped to Kentucky Wednesday morning from Ontario airport on an early flight, which also will carry Buzzards Bay for trainer Jeff Mullins.
GOING WILD - Bob and Beverly Lewis' Going Wild walked the shedrow on Monday, one day after a bullet five-furlong workout in :59.60. Jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. will make his second career Derby appearance Saturday aboard Going Wild.
GREATER GOOD - Lewis Lakin's Greater Good galloped two and a quarter miles before the renovation break with exercise rider Betsy Couch up. Trainer Bob Holthus, who ended a 16-year Derby drought by saddling Pro Prado in Derby 130 last year, was asked when he thought he might have another Derby starter on his hands.
"Probably when he won the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (GIII) at Turfway (Park on Sept. 18)," Holthus said. "He was going down the backside, and I thought he was going to pull up. He got 20-some lengths off the lead, and when he finally decided to run, he caught them in about a sixteenth of a mile. We felt comfortable then he could handle two turns.
"We purposely didn't run him at Keeneland (last fall), because we didn't want to overrace him. He ran twice here (at Churchill Downs), and unfortunately a horse fell in front of him in the Iroquois (GIII). He almost pulled up to a walk and then came on to get third and then he came back and won the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII). Other than the Arkansas Derby (when the colt washed out), he hasn't made any mistakes."
John McKee, who has been aboard for all eight starts - which include five victories - has the Derby call.
GREELEY'S GALAXY - B. Wayne Hughes' Greeley's Galaxy, an anticipated $200,000 supplemental to the 131st Kentucky Derby, went through his usual routine this morning, galloping a mile and one-half under exercise rider Mikki Fincher.
The Illinois Derby winner is slated for a five-furlong drill Wednesday. Warren Stute, who, at 83, would be the oldest trainer to win the Kentucky Derby should Greeley's Galaxy succeed Saturday, is due back in Louisville to oversee his horse's final Derby prep. Charlie Whittingham was 76 when he won the 1989 Derby with Sunday Silence.
HIGH LIMIT - Gary and Mary West's High Limit, who suffered his lone defeat after three victories in finishing a distant second to Bandini in the Blue Grass Stakes, continued his progress toward the Kentucky Derby with a mile and one-half gallop this morning under exercise rider Jose Cuevas.
High Limit, a bay son of Maria's Mon, is on schedule to breeze a half-mile Wednesday for trainer Bobby Frankel. Ramon Dominguez again has the call on the Louisiana Derby winner.