Trainer Ian Wilkes said he is leaning toward the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) for Fort Larned after last fall's Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner breezed an easy half-mile at Palm Meadows Training Center March 21.
The work, timed in :50 3/5, was the first for Fort Larned since he stumbled badly and lost his footing two jumps out of the gate in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) March 9. Fort Larned grabbed a quarter in the incident, making a start in the March 30 Skip Away Stakes (gr. III) on Florida Derby day at Gulfstream Park "very remote," Wilkes said.
"We'll probably go in the Oaklawn Handicap," Wilkes added.
The $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap, contested over 1 1/8 miles, is April 13 at Oaklawn Park.
As far as the work was concerned, Wilkes said, "He went good. I just wanted a light work to see where he was. Everything's really good. He listened to the rider. He responded when he was asked to finish it off a little bit. So I'm very happy."
Janis R. Whitham's 5-year-old Kentucky homebred by E Dubai out of the Broad Brush mare Arlucea has won eight of 20 career starts while banking $3,687,236. In addition to the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park, the bay horse also captured the Whitney Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course last year.