Despite his poor showing in the Wood, Little Matth Man made his next start in the Preakness (gr. I), finishing eighth, 21-lengths behind Smarty Jones.
"After the Preakness, we found a chip fracture in his knee," trainer Martin Ciresa said. "We didn't rush him back because he's such a nice horse."Little Matth Man ran big in his return to the races, on Dec. 18, closing from 11 lengths out of it to win a six-furlong, third-level allowance at Pimlico by a head.
Ciresa says he is looking forward to stretching the colt back out on Friday. "He's much better going long around two turns so obviously, we were real happy with his race at Pimlico," Ciresa said. "He's training forwardly and I thought that race was a great prep. "He seems to be stronger than he was in the spring and he's put on about 150 pounds. He's even gotten meaner. Now we call him 'Little Mad Man.'"
Little Matth Man, undefeated in a pair of starts over the inner track, drew post six under jockey Stewart Elliott. Giving Little Matth Man a run for his money will be Rogue Agent, who has been reunited with trainer Michael Brice for the Alex M. Robb after making three starts in the fall with trainer Richard Schosberg. Brice saddled Rogue Agent to a second-place finish in this race a year ago.Rogue Agent always runs hard from the opening bell, although he might get some early pressure from Halo Malone. Brice says he isn't concerned about Rogue Agent getting into a speed duel. "Horses run with him all the time and usually get used up," Brice said. "He is what he is. He runs hard and trains hard." Rogue Agent breaks from post eight under jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr.
The Field for Friday's $75,000 Alex M. Robb includes:
1 -- Levendis (Mike Luzzi, 114)
2-- Pa Pa Da (Jose Espinoza, 115)
3 -- Stellianos (Eriluis Vaz, 113)
4-- Sherpa Guide (Aaron Gryder, 118)
5-- Mr. Determined (Shaun Bridgmohan, 117)
6-- Little Matth Man (Stewart Elliott, 118)
7-- Lord Langfuhr (Jorge Chavez, 116)
8-- Rogue Agent (Norberto Arroyo Jr., 119)
9-- One N Three (Richard Migliore, 115)
10--Halo Malone (Rafael Bejarano, 116)