Rock Hard Ten, who finished sixth in last Sunday's Haskell Invitational (gr. I) as the favorite, will finally be going home on Sunday.
The second season begins in earnest for the 3-year-olds the weekend of Aug. 7-8, with the runnings of the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I), Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II), and West Virginia Derby (gr. III). If there is even the slimmest chance of dethroning Smarty Jones for the title, someone is going to have to run the table.
Mercedes Stable's and Madeleine Paulson's Rock Hard Ten, runner-up to Smarty Jones in the Preakness Stakes, turned a swift and visually impressive five furlongs Saturday morning in a final tuneup for next Saturday's Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.
Rock Hard Ten finally had the day everyone was waiting for in the $409,300 Swaps Breeders' Cup (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Hollywood Park Saturday, taking command in the stretch for an easy 3 3/4-length victory.
Rock Hard Ten, runner-up to Smarty Jones in this year's Preakness Stakes (gr. I), heads a field of six 3-year-olds who will clash in the $400,000 Swaps Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) Saturday at Hollywood Park.
In his first work since a fifth-place finish in the Belmont Stakes on June 5, Rock Hard Ten drilled five furlongs in 1:00 Sunday at Hollywood Park under jockey Patrick Valenzuela. Imperialism also worked Sunday.
Rock Hard Ten, one of the leading 3-year-olds in the nation, galloped on the main track at Hollywood Park on Thursday with an eye toward the $400,000 Swaps Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr.II) July 10.
Jason Orman, trainer of Preakness (gr. I) runner-up Rock Hard Ten, is taking aim once again at Smarty Jones in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I), saying "If we were running for second, we wouldn't be here."
With Rock Hard Ten having already been trounced by Smarty Jones in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), trainer Jason Orman can only hope that the mile and a half distance of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) will help bring the two colts closer together in the third leg of the Triple Crown.
It took Rock Hard Ten three tries, but he finally worked Tuesday morning for the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) with jockey Pat Valenzuela, who may or may not ride the colt in the Belmont, aboard. Even the distance and time of the work are uncertain, depending on how you look at it.
Mercedes Stable's Laura's Lucky Boy gave trainer Jason Orman his first stakes success with an electrifying stretch drive to win the $109,400 Will Rogers (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds in stakes-record time on the Hollywood Park grass Saturday.
His connections hope that Rock Hard Ten, who threw a fit prior to being loaded into the starting gate for last week's Preakness (gr. I), could improve on his second-place finish in the race with some improved etiquette in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Laura's Lucky Boy will attempt to give trainer Jason Orman his first stakes victory on Saturday. The colt will be one of the leading contenders in the $100,000 Will Rogers Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds on Hollywood Park's turf course.
Mercedes Stables' Rock Hard Ten, runner-up to Smarty Jones in the Preakness Stakes (gr. II), has been getting accustomed to his new surroundings at Belmont Park since arriving here Monday. The son of Kris S. is preparing to start in the grade I, $1 million Belmont Stakes June 5 and will attempt to deny Smarty Jones the Visa Triple Crown.
John Servis, trainer of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) victor Smarty Jones, said Thursday that "All systems are go right now" for a start in the Preakness May 15.
Mercedes Stables' and Madeleine Paulson's Rock Hard Ten, third via disqualification in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and excluded from the 130th Kentucky Derby (gr. I) because of insufficient earnings in graded stakes events, tuned up for an expected run in the Preakness (gr. I) with a seven furlong workout Tuesday at Churchill Downs.
Although the blistering five-furlong works by Smarty Jones and Birdstone dominated the morning activities Saturday, it was the well-conceived plan by Song of the Sword's owner Ernie Paragallo that set several major events in motion.
Trainer Jason Orman scratched Rock Hard Ten out of the Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III) in favor of taking a chance on the Kris S. colt drawing in to the May 1 Kentucky Derby.
Mercedes Stables LLC and Madeleine Paulson's Kentucky Derby (gr. I ) hopeful Rock Hard Ten worked five furlongs Tuesday at Churchill Downs in the colt's first serious training move at the track since his arrival from his Southern California base last Friday.
Will Rock Hard Ten qualify in graded earnings for the May 1 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and who will ride him if he does? Trainer Jason Orman doesn't know, but he plans to ship the third-place finisher in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) to Kentucky in hopes that he'll run.
Trainer Jeff Mullins was uncommitted Sunday about starting Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Castledale in the May 1 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), but said a decision will come in a few days.
Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner Wimbledon has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite for Saturday's $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).
Lacking experience and making his first stakes start, Rock Hard Ten faces a daunting task running in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 3.
Kentucky Derby hopeful Rock Hard Ten worked seven furlongs in a bullet 1:24 2/5 at Santa Anita on Saturday morning in preparation for a start in either the April 3 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) or the April 10 Arkansas Derby (gr. II).
Undefeated 3-year-old Rock Hard Ten, impressive in his two victories thus far, is not definite for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 3, trainer Jason Orman said.
Rock Hard Ten stamped himself as a prime candidate for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 3, rolling to a sharp 1-¾ length victory over Teton Forest in a $53,872 allowance event for 3-year-olds Wednesday at Santa Anita Park.
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