With jockey David Flores in from California, WinStar Farm’s American Lion worked five furlongs in 1:02 3/5 over a muddy track at Churchill Downs April 26 in preparation for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
The Tiznow colt was timed in fractional splits of :12 3/5, :25 2/5, and :37 3/5 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:16 2/5.
"It was just a maintenance work," said trainer Eoin Harty. "With the track like it was, I didn’t want to take any risks. The horse is very fit, he’s training very well over the track so I really just wanted him to stretch his legs, which is basically what he did."
Flores said he did not want the colt to work fast, considering the track conditions that have been muddy or sloppy for the past several mornings. "He just cruised out there," said Flores, who rode American Lion for the first time when they paired to win the Illionis Derby (gr. III).
Bred by WinStar and Dr. William Lockridge, American Lion broke his maiden in his second career start and followed with a victory in the Hollywood Prevue Stakes (gr. III). Elevated in company, the colt finished third in the Robert B. Lewis (gr. II) and was fourth in the San Felipe (gr. II) previous to his Illinois Derby triumph.