Centennial Farms' Wicked Strong breezed a half mile in :48 3/5 over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 8 in preparation for his expected start in the $1.25 million Travers Stakes (gr. I).
With regular exercise rider Kelvin Pahal up, the Hard Spun colt's time was the third-fastest of 19 timed moves at the distance.
Wicked Strong, who defeated Belmont Stakes (gr. I) victor and Travers contender Tonalist in the July 26 Jim Dandy (gr. II), galloped out five furlongs in 1:01 3/5.
"I thought it was good," said trainer Jimmy Jerkens. "I told (Pahal) to start out easy, and that's the beauty of working over here at the Oklahoma, they don't overdo it. I thought everything was perfect; it was just what we wanted. The time was just right, and he seemed to gallop out on his own, willingly. I thought it was a good work for two weeks after his last race and to set him up for a more serious work next week."
The 1 1/4-mile Travers is Aug. 23 at Saratoga.
Wicked Strong won the Twinspires.com Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) in April at Aqueduct Racetrack for Jerkens before running a troubled fourth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
With blinkers added for the Jim Dandy, he was a 2 1/4-length winner over Robert S. Evans' Tonalist, who was making his first start since ending the Triple Crown bid of California Chrome in the Belmont Stakes for trainer Christophe Clement.
"He's maintained (since the Jim Dandy)," said Jerkens. "He's gotten a little feistier since he's been up here, which colts tend to do. In a congested area like this, there's a lot of activity. It's not easy to take him out for a graze like it is (at Belmont).
"There's a lot of noise, but in a good way; he has to get used to it. There's going to be a lot of noise on Travers Day. He's not going to be a perfect angel ever. I'm really happy with where we're at right now."
A $375,000 Keeneland September sale yearling, Wicked Strong is out of the Charismatic mare Moyne Abbey. He was bred in Kentucky by William F. Flynn. He has amassed earnings of $1,244,610 while winning three of nine starts with one second and one third.