Classic Empire Works Five Furlongs At Winding Oaks, Now Pointed To Arkansas Derby

by | 03.28.2017 | 10:12am
Classic Empire (Pioneerof the Nile) wins The Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (G1) at Keeneland

Champion Classic Empire worked five furlongs from the starting gate Tuesday morning at Winding Oaks Farm in Ocala, the Daily Racing Form reports.

The son of Pioneerof The Nile was clocked in 59.60 seconds for the five furlongs, which he worked in company with multiple graded stakes winner Airoforce. Jockey Julien Leparoux was aboard for the work.

“We thought he went really well,” trainer Mark Casse told the Form. “As soon as he got in front of Airoforce he pulled himself up a little bit, but not to do anything (bad) but just cause he lost interest.”

After the work, Casse said that Classic Empire would use the G1 Arkansas Derby on April 15 as his final prep race for the G1 Kentucky Derby. Casse indicated that part of the reason for going to Oaklawn was that “it gives us an extra week.” It would also let them avoid the undefeated McCraken, who is targeting the G2 Toyota Blue Grass April 8.

“Right now the toughest horse out there is McCraken,” Casse said. “We'll wait and meet McCraken at the Derby.”

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