Richard Porter’s Hard Spun scorched the Churchill Downs main track Monday morning, blazing five furlongs in :57 3/5 under regular rider Mario Pino. Hard Spun worked in company, for a while at least, with graded stakes winner Wildcat Bettie B.
Trainer Larry Jones sent out Hard Spun and Wildcat Bettie B. at the gap near the one-mile chute promptly at 8:30 a.m. just after the renovation break. Jones then sprinted to the clocker’s stand to catch the action. He had to hurry.
Hard Spun went in fractions of :11, :22, :33 2/5, :45, and :57 3/5. He was caught galloping out six furlongs in 1:11 2/5. Hard Spun quickly separated himself from his workmate on the turn and was well ahead at the wire. Wildcat Bettie B. was ridden by jockey Joe Johnson.
Back at Barn 41 there were plenty of smiles from Jones, Pino, and Porter.
“Apparently he really liked the track,” said Jones. “He just got over it really well. I don’t know how I could be much happier. Mr. Porter, are you happy?”
“I’m happy,” Porter responded.
“Then I’m happy,” Jones shot back quickly.
“We put her (Wildcat Bettie B.) out there to where they would both stay in the bit,” Jones said. “She didn’t realize she bit off more than she could chew. Joe’s comment was, ‘I’ve never seen a horse work that easy that fast.’ He said he had real good view from where he was.”
It was by far the fastest work of the morning of 26 recorded at the distance. The next fastest time for five furlongs was :59 2/5 recorded by Ice Boyz.
“He has tendency to loaf a little bit,” Pino said. “When he got about a length on her, he started pricking his ears out there down the stretch. He was just floating in. Believe me, I didn’t think he was going that fast. I was real happy with the way he was going over the racetrack.”
Hard Spun, a son of Danzig, out of the Turkoman mare Turkish Tryst, was not started since winning the Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park March 24. He has won five of six career starts and has earned $473,470. His lone defeat came in the one-mile Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park Feb. 19. He was bred in Pennsylvania by Michael Moran and Brushwood Stable.