Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner War Chant worked seven furlongs in a bullet 1:26 2/5 Sunday on the firm Hollywood Park turf course, but no decision has yet been made on whether the talented 3-year-old will start in Sunday's $500,000 Early Times Hollywood Derby (gr. IT).
"War Chant looked well and handled the course well," said trainer Neil Drysdale. "He is coming up to this race as well as he was the Breeders' Cup Mile."
On Friday it was announced that Irving and Marjorie Cowan's son of Danzig--Hollywood Wildcat will be retired to stud for the 2001 breeding season but left a decision on whether to run in the Hollywood Derby to be determined later.
On Sunday, Drysdale said of the Hollywood Derby, "No decision will be made until late in the week."
A win in the 1 1/8-mile Hollywood Derby could bolster War Chant's case for an Eclipse Award in the male turf division. Two others likely to draw the attention of Eclipse voters will also race next weekend: Manndar in the $500,000 Citation Handicap (gr. IIT, Saturday, Hollywood Park) and John's Call in Sunday's $4,533,000 Japan Cup (Jpn-I).
As for the morning exercise, War Chant worked under exercise rider Marcelino Olguin in company with stablemate Hollywood Baldcat, a 4-year-old filly who finished third in the Bewitch Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland in April. Hollywood Baldcat covered the distance in an identical time of 1:26 2/5, three seconds faster than the next quickest work.
Drysdale may also enter Jokerman and Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) winner Sign of Hope. Sign of Hope worked seven furlongs on the turf Sunday under jockey Alex Solis, getting the distance in 1:30 4/5 in company with Elegant Ridge.
Also working toward the Derby was the Bobby Frankel-trained Igman, who went six furlongs in 1:13 4/5 under Kent Desormeaux. Igman won his first three races as a 3-year-old before finishing eighth in the Emirates Prix de Moulin de Longchamp (Fr-I) over soft going at Longchamp while trained by Andre Fabre.
Horses listed by Hollywood Park as probable for the Hollywood Derby are, with jockeys: War Chant, Gary Stevens; Sign of Hope, Alex Solis; Walkslikeaduck, Eddie Delahoussaye; Cocky, Corey Nakatani; El Gran Papa, Jerry Bailey; David Copperfield, Victor Espinoza; Zentsov Street, Chris McCarron; Muntej, Garrett Gomez; Designed for Luck, Laffit Pincay Jr.; New Advantage, David Flores; Brahms; Igman; Guillamou City; and Jokerman.