Two major contenders for Saturday's $100,000-added Northern Dancer Stakes -- Lloyd Madison Farm's Champali and James McIngvale's During -- turned in sharp works on Sunday in preparation for the one-mile race.
Champali, the winner of the Iroquois (gr. III) and John Battaglia Memorial and runner-up to Midas Eyes in the Derby Trial, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.20 under jockey Tammy Fox. The move over a "fast" track was the third fastest of 29 at the distance.
The Northern Dancer will be Champali's first race since a bout with colic knocked him out of a run in the May 17 Preakness (gr. I). Trainer Greg Foley said the Glitterman colt appears to be fully recovered and ready for a big effort on Saturday.
"He's acted awfully good here the past week," said Foley. "The colic knocked him down pretty good for a couple of weeks. He never quit eating or anything like that, but he wasn't himself for a while."
Champali has a career record of 6-1-1 in nine races and has earned $333,954. He figures to be the morning line favorite for the Northern Dancer, one of four stakes races with total purses of $1.35 million on the June 14 "Stephen Foster Super Saturday" card.
The main threat to Champali in the Northern Dancer could be During, who breezed the same distance in :59.80, which ranked second among the moves at the distance. Jockey Cornelio Velasquez, who will ride During for trainer Bob Baffert in Saturday's race, was aboard for the work. During breezed with his regular work partner Trial By Jury, who was timed in 1:00.60 -- the fourth-fastest work of the day.
During may be best known for a narrow allowance loss to Atswhatimtalknbout at Santa Anita. He finished seventh as the favorite on a "muddy" track in the Bay Shore (gr. III) at Aqueduct, but bounced back in his last start to finish a solid runner-up to Phillips Racing Partnership's Best Minister in the Sir Barton at Pimlico.
"He ran in New York and he hated the track that day," said John Good, the assistant who handles Baffert's stable at Churchill Downs. "He came back at Pimlico and I still don't think he liked the track, but he ran a huge race that day. He got tired and that was understandable, since it was his first race in five weeks since the Bay Shore. I think we've got him ready for this one."
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