Although the afternoon action will be hot and heavy this weekend, there still was a good deal of morning activity around the country Friday and Saturday, as several top 3-year-olds prepared for upcoming stakes.
Heading the list was the Bobby Frankel-trained Master David, winner of the Sham Stakes, who drilled a sharp seven furlongs in 1:25 4/5 at Hollywood Park Friday, indicating he has completely shaken the cough that kept him out of Saturday's $1 million Florida Derby.
Frankel had considered running Master David in next Saturday's Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, but will now likely wait until the April 10 Wood Memorial (gr. I), a race he won last year with Empire Maker.
One horse who will be heading to the Gotham is Eddington, winner of his last two starts in brilliant fashion, who has been rapidly climbing up the list of Kentucky Derby contenders. The son of Unbridled worked five furlongs in a bullet :59 flat at Gulfstream Saturday. Eddington and the rest of trainer Mark Hennig's horses will ship to Belmont Park next Thursday.
At Oaklawn Park Saturday, undefeated Smarty Jones, winner of the Southwest and Count Fleet Stakes, worked a sizzling five furlongs in :58 3/5, in preparation for Saturday's Rebel Stakes. It was the fastest of 35 works at the distance, and only one of two to break 1:00. Also prepping for the Rebel was Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) runner-up Mr. Jester, who breezed a half in :51 4/5.
In other Friday works, the Bob Baffert-trained Bornwithit worked a mile in 1:40 at Santa Anita, while White Mountain Boy, third in the Battaglia at Turfway Park, breezed five furlongs in 1:02 3/5 at the Bowie training center.