With heavy rain forecast for Louisville, Ky., April 25, trainer George Weaver opted to send Tencendur to the track early for his final workout before the Kentucky Derby.
With the skies opening up later at about the time designated for only Derby and Longines Kentucky Oaks horses to be on the track at Churchill Downs, Weaver's decision looked most fortuitous. The New York-bred colt by Warrior's Reward breezed five furlongs in 1:00 in company with stablemate Wake Up in Malibu.
Churchill clockers timed Tencendur in splits of :11 3/5 seconds, :23 2/5 seconds, :35 2/5 seconds, and :47 2/5 seconds for a half-mile. He continued on after the work to get six furlongs in 1:14. Jockey Manny Franco, who was aboard for Tencendur's only win, flew in for the workout.
The Philip Birsh homebred has a win, a second, and a third in three starts, with his best effort coming when second in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Previous to the Wood, Tencendur was fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Withers and Gotham stakes, both Grade 3.
Considering the forecast, some trainers opted to send their horses through their final Derby paces April 24, but Weaver did not want to alter the schedule for his colt.
"I didn't want to change the day of the workout and rolled the dice a little bit," Weaver said. "The track was in great shape. [Tencendur] pretty much did what we asked for. So we're happy."
Though Tencendur is winless in his last three outings, Weaver said the colt is on the improve and that he faced quality horses in the Withers victory of Far From Over and the Gotham, won by Derby prospect El Kabeir.
"From the beginning, he has always acted like he has some quality to him, and he has the leg and body type of a horse who could handle these types of distances," Weaver said. "He just came around. Every race was an improvement, and the [Withers and Gotham] were tough races. You knew he was OK because he wasn't getting beat very far."
Ridden by Jose Ortiz in the Wood, Tencendur stalked the early pace before moving three-wide to gain the lead before losing by two lengths.
"When we decided to go ahead and run him in the Wood, he really jumped up his performance," Weaver said. "Until he ran the race he did in the Wood Memorial, we weren't sure we were going to be here."