Promising 3-year-old Balance the Books will not be making his his seasonal debut in the $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) as expected March 3 after missing some training time to a recent fever.
"I was going to run Balance the Books, but he got a temperature about a week ago. It's really disappointing, because he's the one I wanted to run there," trainer Chad Brown said from Palm Meadows Training Center on the morning of Feb. 27. "He's OK. I just went back to the track with him, but he did lose a couple days because of the temperature."
Brown had originally planned to prep Balance the Books in the Palm Beach, a 1 1/8-mile turf stakes at Gulfstream Park that attracted Kitten's Joy Stakes winner Charming Kitten, to prep for the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) at Keeneland April 13.
"I might have to go to Plan B and run him in the Spiral at Turfway (March 23) and then wheel him back in the Blue Grass," Brown said. "It wasn't my ideal plan, but you have to make adjustments with horses."
Should the son of Lemon Drop Kid perform well over the synthetic tracks at Turfway Park and Keeneland, Brown will certainly experience pressure to go for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 4.
"He's always struck me as a grass horse, or a synthetic horse, but there might come a day where we might try him on the dirt," he said.
Owned by Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence, the bay colt won two of four starts as a 2-year-old while earning $326,000.
Balance the Books finished a troubled third in last fall's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) behind stablemate Noble Tune, who was also nominated to the Palm Beach but won't run.
"He's never been a mile and an eighth before; I'm certainly not going to do it off a layoff, not with that particular horse. Balance the Books is better equipped to do a mile and an eighth, even off a layoff. He's a more long-winded horse," Brown said. "With Noble Tune, his first race back, I want to start him off at a slightly shorter distance if I can. I'm not positive what race that's going to be yet."