Several candidates for Oaklawn's Presidents Day stakes tripleheader recorded workouts on a cloudy, damp Sunday morning, including Gray Attempt who breezed 5 furlongs in advance of the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds Feb. 18.
Working just after the renovation break from the 5-furlong pole to the regular finish line, Gray Attempt went in 1:00.20 under Channing Hill and galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:12.60 over the muddy, sealed surface. The colt's final quarter-mile was :23.60.
“I was very pleased with the work,” said Jinks Fires of Hot Springs, who trains Gray Attempt for Dwight Pruett of Texarkana, Ark. “Unfortunately, a couple of horses broke off and then there were two gallopers in our way when we were trying to get ready to break off, so we got a little bit of a late run at the pole. We had to kind of let them clear before we took off. Very happy with him.”
The work was the first for Gray Attempt since a front-running neck victory in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 25, Oaklawn's first of four major Kentucky Derby preps. The 1-mile Smarty Jones, Gray Attempt's first start around two turns, was his third consecutive victory.
Like the Smarty Jones, the 1 1/16-mile Southwest will offer 17 points to the top four finishers (10-4-2-1) toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Derby.
Fires said regular rider Shaun Bridgmohan will have the mount in the Southwest. Fires won the 2011 Southwest with Archarcharch.
Long Range Toddy and Boldor, second and third, respectively, in the Smarty Jones worked for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. Breezing together before the break, Long Range Toddy and Boldor covered 5 furlongs in 1:00.20.
Bankit, sixth as the favorite in the Smarty Jones, also worked in company before the break for Asmussen. Bankit and stablemate Laughing Fox, a 3-year-old Union Rags colt who broke his maiden Jan. 25, were both timed in 1:00.80.
Two projected starters for the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) for older horses completed final major preparations for the 1 1/16-mile race Sunday.
Zia Park Derby winner Nanoosh breezed 5 furlongs in 1:00.40 for trainer Robertino Diodoro. Tiz He the One covered a half-mile in :52.40 for trainer Jeremiah Englehart.
The Razorback is the first major local prep for the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) April 13.
H.E. “Tex” Sutton flights carrying prospective Southwest and Razorback entrants to Arkansas are scheduled to arrive Wednesday (south Florida horses) and Thursday (Southern California).
The $200,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles will also be run Feb. 18. The Bayakoa is the first major local prep for the $700,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 14.
Post positions for the Southwest, Rebel and Bayakoa will be drawn Friday.
Stepping up in Class
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