Chitu works for Kentucky Derby

Sunland Derby winner Chitu worked six furlongs from the gate in 1:13 ⅕ the morning of April 27 in his final preparations for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Working in company with Party Time, the Baffert trainees were timed in fractional splits of :24 ⅖ seconds, :36 ⅕ seconds, :47 ⅘ seconds, and 1:00 ⅕. They galloped out seven furlongs in 1:27 ⅕.

The morning after his colt Bayern was disqualified from victory in the Derby Trial at Churchill, Baffert said Chitu showed more in his latest work than he did in an April 21 breeze. Although that April 21 work of a half-mile in :47 ⅗ seconds was co-second fastest of 46 working the distance, Baffert labeled it "sluggish."

"He worked very well from the gate today, so I'm happy about that," said Baffert, who has three Derby wins to his credit. "He worked a pretty solid three-quarters [of a mile]."

During the work, Chitu lost a special shoe that he wears to protect his right front hoof. Baffert said a fungus in the colt's toe caused a piece of hoof to come off about six or seven months ago and that he is equipped with the special plate to protect the area. The trainer said the fungus is under control and is not painful for the horse.

Tanma Corp.'s Chitu, a son of Henny Hughes -- Sea Gift, by A.P. Indy, was purchased for $300,000 at the 2013 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s March 2-year-olds in training sale. In his only loss in four starts, Chitu was a game second to Derby qualifier Candy Boy in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes Feb. 8. He came back to win the Sunland Derby March 23 in his most recent start.

Baffert said his other Derby hopeful, Rebel Stakes winner and Santa Anita Derby runner-up Hoppertunity, as well as Longines Kentucky Oaks probable Ria Antonia, would breeze at Churchill the morning of April 28 despite the forecast for inclement weather.