Working just after the renovation break at 8:30 a.m. EDT, the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) winner broke off in company with stablemate Moon Traveler (1:01 4/5) and clocked official splits of :12 2/5, :24 4/5, :36 4/5, and :49. He finished three lengths ahead and galloped out in 1:14 4/5 under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan.
"He worked really well," trainer Mark Casse said. "I asked Shaun to go in 1:01 or so and he said early he had to kind of wrangle him in a little bit. He said he was wanting to go a little quicker but he came home nice and did it easy. That’s a good work for him."
The 3-year-old son of Malibu Moon —Spirited Away, by Awesome Again , comes off a sixth-place finish in the April 15 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland. He has four wins and two seconds from eight starts with earnings of $443,192.
"He’s got to step it up a bit in the Derby but we think he can," Casse said. "When we threw the synthetic back at him, we kind of knew we were taking a shot with that. We were really more focused on trying to get here. This horse thrives on racing, and I kind of like the three weeks (between starts). He’s going to be a lot better horse for the Derby than he was for the Blue Grass. He will be all he can be on Derby day. Is that good enough? I don’t know."
Casse said that now that his colt has put in his final work, there's little to do but wait and worry.
''If you were grading him, I'd give him an A today. Now it's just holding your breath,'' he said. ''I've been holding my breath for the last six weeks. It's just a day-to-day thing because if any little thing goes wrong, it's (over). So, we just jumped another hurdle.''