Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Winner Classic Empire Preps for Kentucky Derby
Classic Empire, last year’s champion 2-year-old who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, galloped at Churchill Downs yesterday in preparation for the Kentucky Derby.
Expected to be the wagering favorite at post, Classic Empire won the Arkansas Derby last time out and gave his fans and connections confidence that he’s returned to his champion form.
“It was incredibly rewarding to see Classic Empire return to his full potential,” assistant trainer Norm Casse said. “It was extremely frustrating and challenging this winter with his antics but it means so much to our team that he returned the way he did.”
The 3-year-old son of Pioneer of the Nile and half-brother to Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, Classic Empire finished 2nd in the Derby points standings and has amassed $2.1 million in earnings with 5 wins in 7 starts. That includes the 2nd fastest winning time in the 26 runnings of the Bashford Manor (G3) in his stakes debut last July at Churchill Downs.
Jockey Julien Leparoux has the call on Classic Empire for the Kentucky Derby. Check out Classic Empire’s workout below and this weekend at Churchill Downs as the full field arrives at the track in preparation for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby May 6. That includes the other expected Derby favorite Always Dreaming, who who along with Patch made his first trip over the Churchill Downs track Wednesday. Both galloped 1 3/8 miles for their trainer Todd Pletcher.
The exclusive training period for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders at Churchill Downs started last Saturday. The track offers a live stream of the works, in conjunction with TwinSpires.com, that will be available at multiple sources including Twitter via @KentuckyDerby and kentuckyderby.twitter.com; Facebook at www.facebook.com/kentuckyderby; and www.kentuckyderby.com/workouts/live.
The Twitter stream, available globally to logged-in and logged-out users, also will feature a timeline of Kentucky Derby-related tweets alongside the live video.