Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets winner Sir Winston recorded his first official work of 2020 on Thursday morning with a five-furlong move in 1:02.86 over the Belmont training track.
Trained by Mark Casse for owner-breeder Tracy Farmer, the 4-year-old Awesome Again chestnut worked under exercise rider Amy Mullen and recorded splits of 26.00 and 38.60 while tracking a stablemate.
“He did it well,” said Jamie Begg, who oversees Casse's New York division. “He had a good run and gallop out. It was a nice progressive work. It wasn't crazy fast, but he did it the right way.”
Since reigning victorious in the “Test of the Champion” last June, Sir Winston was a disappointing 12th in the Woodchopper over a yielding turf at Fair Grounds on December 28.
Begg said the yielding turf was a contributing factor in Sir Winston's turf debut and is confident the colt could still handle the turf because of his ability on both dirt and all-weather surfaces. At age 2, he won the Display on the Tapeta track at Woodbine.
“I would cross that race out,” Begg said of the Woodchopper. “The more distance the better for him and that race was only a flat mile, so he was just starting to get going then. I think on a harder turf he may have handled it better. The way he closes he can run on the grass. He's won on (Tapeta Footings surface) and usually if you can take to dirt and synthetic, you can handle the grass.”
Sir Winston is out of the Afleet Alex broodmare La Gran Bailadora, who was a graded stakes winner over an all-weather surface.
Sir Winston is targeting the $100,000 Jazil on January 25 at Aqueduct as his seasonal bow with the Group 1, $12 million Dubai World Cup in mind.
Begg said there is a possibility of Sir Winston competing in the graded stakes program for dirt marathoners.
“I think this race should give us a good idea,” Begg said.
Begg also said Debby Oxley's recent maiden winner Love of My Heart will likely breeze Saturday morning in preparation for the $100,000 Ruthless on January 26 going seven furlongs for sophomore fillies.
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