Undefeated Sir Oscar and his recent workout partner Weigelia will give trainer Manny Azpurua a busy Saturday when he saddles the former in the Fountain of Youth and the latter in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. III).
Sir Oscar has been on the shelf since sweeping the Florida Stallion Series races at Calder and beating state-breds Nov. 15 in the Price Juvenile there. He posted his third bullet workout of the past four weeks Sunday when he went five furlongs in 1:00 3/5.
"So far he's been doing everything so good," said Azpurua. "He's done everything I expected and I'm hoping for a beautiful race this weekend."
Like others in the Fountain of Youth field, Sir Oscar will be hoping to start a march toward the Florida Derby (gr. I), and perhaps eventually the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Like others in the field, Saturday will be his first race after an extended winter break.
"Like everyone I have concerns when you bring a horse back after three months away from racing," said Azpurua. "But he's been doing everything right and I don't have any complaints. It means something when you come back from a time away, but I still expect a big race because I believe he has a lot of class and is doing great."
Weigelia, who matched Sir Oscar's workout Sunday, has already raced once at Gulfstream. The son of Safely's Mark finished second to Fountain of Youth contender Frisky Spider Jan. 25. The horse broke his maiden convincingly, albeit in a $40,000 claiming race, last October. His development since has surprised Azpurua.
"He has improved in everything he has done. He's doing really well," said Azpurua with a bit more astonishment than when he spoke of Sir Oscar. "His owners and I discussed it and I was thinking he needed some more time, but they all convinced me to go in the race. We had to wait for him to develop and mature over the past few months, but I believe he's going to run a beautiful race. And his last race was after two months off, so he has that in his body now, so he should really be ready to do well."