Ministers Wild Cat is finally where trainer Neil Drysdale wants him following a six-furlong work in 1:13.20 at Hollywood Park Tuesday for the $100,000-added Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles Sunday.
He was bounced around like a pinball on the first turn of the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland April 19, explaining a disappointing fifth-place finish as the favorite in his last start.
He was scratched from the Laz Barrera Memorial Stakes at Hollywood May 26 after he coughed the morning of the race.
Ministers Wild Cat, a royally bred son of Deputy Minister out of champion mare Hollywood Wildcat, has won two of five starts for owner-breeder Irv and Marge Cowan of Florida. Hollywood Wildcat scored her first major victory here in the 1993 Hollywood Oaks for Drysdale and the Cowans.
A field of five or six is probable for the Affirmed. Definite are: Chief Planner, David Flores, 119 pounds; Eye Of The Tiger, Alex Solis, 119; Blazonry, Mike Smith, 118, and Ministers Wild Cat, Victor Espinoza, 118. Probable are Outta Here (119) and Bullistic (112).
Bill Currin, trainer and co-owner of Outta Here, said he would make a final decision after the chestnut colt works here Thursday.
"I'm concerned that a mile-and-a-sixteenth is a little short for him, but he needs a race before the Swaps," said Currin in reference to the $400,000 Swaps Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on July 13. Currin must also decide on a new jockey since regular rider Kent Desormeaux was unable to make flight connections from Japan, where he is currently based.
Arthur Calva, assistant to Jerry Hollendorfer, said that Eye Of The Tiger worked four furlongs in :48 Monday under exercise rider Jeff Catalan "just to keep him on his toes."