Though a hoof abscess denied juvenile champion Classic Empire a start in the final jewel of the Triple Crown, in which he would have likely been the favorite, the colt has been healing well and returned to jogging on the racetrack. According to drf.com, the 3-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile, winner of this year's Arkansas Derby and a close second-place finisher in the Preakness, jogged one mile around the Churchill Downs oval on Friday morning. Trainer Mark Casse is pointing Classic Empire at the G1 Haskell on July 30 at Monmouth Park, a “Win and You're In” contest for the Breeders' Cup Classic.
“He jogged and did it well,” Casse said. “He's got some new shoes on. Everything is a go for the Haskell.”
Meanwhile, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing are likely to head in the opposite direction, targeting the G2 Jim Dandy Stakes on July 29 en route to the G1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 26.
“I thought he was pretty tired after the Preakness, and it's taken him a little while to come back to himself,” trainer Todd Pletcher said of Always Dreaming. “He's coming that way. We'll most likely gallop him for another week and then start getting him into a breeze program.”
Pletcher may also be considering the Jim Dandy for Belmont winner Tapwrit, and trainer Chad Brown has mentioned the Jim Dandy for Cloud Computing.
In other Triple Crown news, Conquest Mo Money was diagnosed with a “minor” sesamoid fracture and suspensory ligament injury after a work at Fair Hill Training Center before the G2 Woody Stephens on the Belmont undercard. The Arkansas Derby runner-up ran seventh in the Preakness, but has since had surgery to insert a screw in the sesamoid. He will be returning to owner Tom McKenna's New Mexico farm for recovery, which is expected to take approximately eight months.
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