Little Belle Works for Oaks at Keeneland

Little Belle Works for Oaks at Keeneland
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Ashland winner Little Belle worked at Keeneland on April 25 in preparation for the Kentucky Oaks.

Darley Stable’s Little Belle, winner of the April 5 Ashland Stakes (gr. I), sailed through her April 25 half-mile work at Keeneland in :46.20, second-fastest of 42 outings at the distance. The A.P. Indy filly is scheduled to make her next start in the May 2 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
“I wish we could run (the Oaks) here at Keeneland,” said Neal McLaughlin, assistant to and brother of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “She loves this track and has just been doing really well here.”
With exercise rider Marsha Barrs aboard, Little Belle performed “a little more than what I was looking for or expecting,” McLaughlin said. “Last week, she went a half in forty-seven and four fifths, and she did it real easy so I didn’t really expect her to take off like she did today. She definitely knew what she wanted to do today when she hit the pole. She had running on her mind and worked quite quickly.
“I’m glad we’re a week out from the big day so she can recover a little bit from that. That was a little more than we normally get. But on the Polytrack, it doesn’t seem to be too hard on them and they come out of these breezes well.”
Little Belle made the first five starts of her career at Aqueduct, where she won the Busher Stakes in February. She is scheduled to remain at Keeneland until the day before the Oaks, when she will ship to Churchill.
“We’re going to stay here as long as we can,” McLaughlin said. “She just really likes this track here. With the weather looking like it could be a little questionable next week with rain and all, I’d just rather stay here and keep her happy.”

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