Back to Work at Gulfstream for Wood Upsetter Lord Miles
Joseph Trainee Swirvin Set for Long Overdue Return Saturday
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Vegso Racing Stable’s Lord Miles has returned to Gulfstream Park, where Saturday’s Wood Memorial upset winner will begin preparation for a start in the May 6 Kentucky Derby (G1) Thursday morning.
“He’s had a couple of easy days. He got back to Gulfstream Sunday. He’s going to go under tack tomorrow,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said Wednesday. “We’ll build him up from there.”
Lord Miles, who pulled off a 59-1 shocker over favored Hit Show by a nose while racing 1 1/8 miles for the first time in the Wood, is likely to complete his serious Derby preparation at Gulfstream before shipping to Churchill Downs.
“He’ll have two works. I’d have to say probably both at Gulfstream. We’ll see how the weather is. He’ll probably work on Fridays, so he’ll probably ship on a Saturday or Sunday [before the Kentucky Derby},” Joseph said.
Fresh off a successful Championship Meet title defense, Joseph deflected credit for Lord Miles’ widely unexpected victory at Aqueduct.
“The biggest secret is: the better the horse, the easier it is. That’s the reality of it,” he said. “Sometimes we tend to overcomplicate things, but there are no two ways about it, the better the horse, the more mistakes you can make and still have success.”
Joseph expressed ‘satisfaction’ for helping prominent owner Peter Vegso get his first Kentucky Derby contender.
“Peter Vegso has given us horses for about two years now. He’s given us more horses. He’s never been to the Derby. He’s had a Breeders’ Cup winner, but he’s never been to the Derby, so it gives us a lot of satisfaction,” said Joseph of Lord Miles’ owner, who celebrated Unrivaled Belle’s 2010 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (G1) victory at Churchill Downs with co-owner Gary Seidler.
Lord Miles’s Wood victory was his first in four starts following an impressive 5 ¾ length debut victory Nov. 19.
“We were excited with his training going into the race. When he broke his maiden very nicely, we thought we had a really good horse. We figured with more distance he would get better,” Joseph said.
The son of Curlin didn’t live up to expectations in his next three races while finishing third in the Jan. 1 Mucho Macho Man, a sixth-place finish in the Holy Bull (G3) and a fifth-place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby.
“The Mucho Macho Man was an OK run but not what we wanted. We expected him to win and he ran third. The Holy Bull was when everything went upside down. We put blinkers on him that day. That race took away some confidence. It put some doubt in your head,” said Joseph, who subsequently removed the blinkers for his next start. “I thought at Tampa his race was better than it seemed. We dropped back and then came back on. That gave us confidence to give him one more try in the Wood.”
While preparing Lord Miles for a Derby start, Joseph is readying Bassett Stables’ Swirvin for a long overdue return to action Saturday at Gulfstream. When last seen in action, the 3-year-old son of Girvin withstood heavy pressure while setting the pace to prevail by a half-length in a 6 ½-furlong maiden special weight race Dec. 3 at Gulfstream.
“He was supposed to run and got sick. Then we shipped him to Turfway Park and had to be scratched. He got loose in the post parade on Jack Ruby Day. He dropped the rider on the backside and got loose,” Joseph said.
Swirvin, who is scheduled to face six rivals in a six-furlong optional claiming allowance, tuned up for his highly anticipated return with a five-furlong breeze at Palm Meadows in 1:00.50 last Friday.
“He’s training very well. He had a good work the other day. He’s in good order,” Joseph said. “From a Beyer [Speed Rating] standpoint, it wasn’t that good, but he should move forward from it.”