Runnymede Racing's multiple stakes winner Alwaysmining turned in a sharp five-furlong breeze Saturday morning ahead of his next scheduled assignment in the $125,000 Federico Tesio Stakes April 20 at Laurel Park.
With regular exercise rider Felix Astudillo aboard and owners Greg and Caroline Bentley watching from the clockers' tower, Alwaysmining went in 1:00 over the all-weather surface at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., where trainer Kelly Rubley is based.
The work was the fastest of 17 horses at the distance. It was the second for Alwaysmining since the gelded sophomore son of Grade 1 winner Stay Thirsty ran his win streak to five, the last four in stakes, in the March 16 Private Terms at Laurel.
“I was impressed with him. He did it very easily. It was a very, very solid work,” Rubley said. “You're somewhat surprised when you look at the clock, because it doesn't look like he's going that fast, that's for sure.”
The Private Terms, contested at about 1 1/16 miles, marked the two-turn debut for Maryland-bred Alwaysmining, whose sire won the 1 ¼-mile Travers (G1) and 1 1/8-mile Jim Dandy (G2) as a 3-year-old in 2011. The Tesio is run at 1 1/8 miles.
Again this year, the Tesio serves as a 'Win and In' race for Triple Crown-nominated sophomores to the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1) May 18 at legendary Pimlico Race Course.
Alwaysmining was nominated to each of the individual Triple Crown preps in California, Kentucky and New York April 6, all with qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby (G1), but the connections decided to keep the gelding at home. He has raced exclusively at Laurel since his maiden triumph last June, after which he was purchased privately by the Bentleys of Unionville, Pa., about a 40-minute drive from Fair Hill.
“We nominated to everything to cover our bases, but I'm very happy with the path we've chosen for this horse. I think we're doing the right thing by the horse,” Rubley said. “He just continues to move forward. I have no complaints. Right now, we're looking forward to the 20th.”
Alwaysmining is scheduled to have a final tuneup next Saturday prior to the Tesio, where he figures to be the overwhelming favorite.
“We'll work next weekend and then we're planning to enter for the Tesio if everything goes well,” Rubley said.
The Tesio is one of seven stakes worth $750,000 in purses on the Spring Stakes Spectacular program April 20, including the $125,000 Weber City Miss for 3-year-old fillies, a 'Win and In' event for the 95th Black-Eyed Susan (G2) May 17 at Pimlico.
Also on the Spring Stakes Spectacular program are the $100,000 Frank J. Whiteley Jr. for 3-year-olds and up and $100,000 Primonetta for fillies and mares 3 and older, both at six furlongs; $100,000 Henry S. Clark presented by Fidelity First and James Blackwell Real Estate for 3-year-olds and up and $100,000 Dahlia for fillies and mares 3 and up, each at a mile on turf; and the inaugural $100,000 King T. Leatherbury Stakes presented by B&B Commercial Interiors for 3-year-olds and up sprinting 5 ½ furlongs on the grass.
Nominations for all seven stakes are due Thursday, April 11.
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