Triple Crown nominee Petrov tuned up for a possible start in the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 18 with a 5-furlong work in company Saturday morning at Oaklawn for trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs. The gray son of Flatter covered the distance over a fast track in :59.60 under Greta Kuntzweiler.
Immediately following the work, Moquett said he's still leaning toward the 1 1/16-mile Rebel, which is expected to attract shippers from across the country.
“Just a maintenance breeze,” said Moquett, who co-owns Petrov with Rialto Racing Stables (Catherine Adams Hutt). “He can go :45 if you let him, but he's a very smart horse. He'll do what he's asked to do. Galloped out like a million dollars. He looked awesome.”
Saturday's work was Petrov's first since a runner-up finish in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 20. Petrov also ran second in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 16.
Oaklawn's fourth and final major Kentucky Derby prep is the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 15, another potential next-race target for Petrov.
“Right now, we're looking at the Rebel,” Moquett said. “The Rebel is going to be an unbelievably tough race. I know that. I have to make a decision whether I want to run two tough races before the Kentucky Derby.”
If Petrov runs in the Rebel, Moquett said New York-based Jose Ortiz would retain the mount. Ortiz, the country's winningest rider last year and a finalist for an Eclipse Award, rode Petrov in the Smarty Jones and Southwest.
Silver Dust, who is scheduled to make his next start in the Rebel, worked 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 after the renovation break Saturday morning for trainer Randy Morse. He finished fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Southwest, which was his 3-year-old and stakes debut and first start around two turns.
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