The morning action was hot and heavy March 18, as several Derby hopefuls worked on the heels of Sunday’s major drills at Palm Meadows Training Center.
Fountain of Youth (gr. II) winner Orb was out for a sharp half-mile spin in :48 flat at Payson Park this morning for trainer Shug McGaughey. The son of Malibu Moon will be one of the favorites for the March 30 Florida Derby (gr. I).
Bob Baffert worked San Felipe runner-up Flashback a half in :48 2/5. Baffert still has hopes of getting FrontRunner (gr. I) winner Power Brokerto the Derby off one prep, as well as his impressive maiden winner Tiz the Truth, who is back in serious training after a slight setback. Baffert’s confidence was restored when Power Broker drilled six furlongs in 1:12 3/5 March 18, while Tiz the Truth turned in a half-mile work in :47 4/5. Baffert is looking at the Wood Memorial (gr. I) for at least one of the two colts.
Hear the Ghost, winner of last Saturday’s San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), didn’t waste any time getting back on the work tab, breezing an easy half in :50 4/5 at Betfair Hollywood Park on March 17 for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
Also working at Hollywood Park the same day was Dice Flavor, the impressive El Camino Real Derby (gr. II) winner who is now heading to Dubai for the UAE Derby (UAE-II).
Another Belmont Wood worker was Gotham (gr. III) runner-up West Hills Giant, who worked a half in :48 4/5 for trainer John Terranova.
At Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots, Departing, winner of the Texas Heritage Stakes, breezed a half in :50 3/5 for the Louisiana Derby (gr. II).
Merit Man, winner of the six-furlong Spectacular Bid Stakes who hasn’t run since finishing fourth in the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. III) Feb. 2, worked seven furlongs in 1:29 flat for a possible stretch-out in the Florida Derby.