While horsemen in Kentucky had to navigate through the muddy waters that was the Churchill Downs main track Sunday morning, trainer Graham Motion was able to bask in the sunshine and dry conditions in northeast Maryland as he watched Toby's Corner work six furlongs in 1:15 over the Tapeta surface at the Fair Hill Training Center in preparation for Saturday's Kentucky Derby. Exercise rider James Slater, a steeplechase jockey, was aboard for the workout.
"Everything went well,'' Motion said by phone from Maryland. "He went in 1:15, which is exactly what he did before the Wood and exactly what I hoped he would do. Today, right now, I feel great about everything; what tomorrow may bring I don't know.''
Actually, Toby's Corner worked six furlongs in 1:15.40 prior to the Wood Memorial, a race that he won by a neck over Arthur's Tale with Uncle Mo another length behind in third.
Toby's Corner, a son of Bellamy Road owned and bred by Dianne Cotter, was scheduled to jog at Fair Hill on Monday morning and will van from Maryland to Churchill Downs on Tuesday morning along with several other horses that Motion plans to run in stakes next weekend.
Sunday's work came one day after Motion was at Churchill Downs, where Animal Kingdom, his other Derby hopeful, worked six furlongs in 1:13.17 and Summer Soiree, who is pointing to Friday's Kentucky Oaks, went four furlongs in 48.76 seconds.
"If you'd ask me at this stage how's it going to go with the three horses, including the filly in the Oaks, I couldn't ask for it to go any better which is nice to be able to say that,'' Motion said.