It can be argued that no horse was flattered more by American Pharoah 's Triple Crown run than Arnold Zetcher's Firing Line , but the second-place Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) finisher might not be returning to racing as soon as expected.
Trainer Simon Callaghan said June 11 the Line of David colt has been having some foot issues recently and that Firing Line is "50-50" for a possible run in the $350,000 Los Alamitos Derby (gr. II) July 4. Firing Line jogged Thursday morning at Santa Anita Park and Callaghan said he could be ready for a timed workout the week of June 14.
"(His front left foot) got very sore and I think it was about to come to an abscess," Callaghan said of the colt who was just a length back in the Kentucky Derby before a troubled run in the Xpressbet.com Preakness Stakes (gr. I). "We caught it in time and we're working on it, but sometimes those feet—it just takes a little longer than you initially think."
If Firing Line is ready for a return to Los Alamitos Race Course, he may run into a familiar rival in Kaleem Shah's Dortmund , who had his first timed drill since the Preakness June 11 at Santa Anita, covering four furlongs in :49 1/5. Trainer Bob Baffert would not commit to any race for the son of Big Brown , but said the Los Alamitos Derby is on the radar.
Dortmund and Firing Line provided fireworks in their first Los Alamitos meeting, when the pair, along with Mr. Z , hit the wire in a blanket finish, with the Baffert trainee a head in front. They also met up in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. III, Dortmund first, Firing Line second), the Kentucky Derby (Firing Line second, Dortmund third), and the Preakness (Dortmund fourth, Firing Line seventh).
"We're going to work him, see how he is, then get him back to top form. He needed that little break," Baffert said of Dortmund's Triple Crown campaign. "We've got the Los Al Derby, but there's all kinds of stuff. There's no main target. There's just targets. That's just the first option."
A potential new shooter in the Los Alamitos Derby could be Fox Hill Farms' Kentuckian, runaway winner of the Lazaro Barrera Stakes (gr. III) May 10.
The lightly-raced Tiznow colt trained by Jerry Hollendorfer was also on the Santa Anita main track Thursday, drilling five furlongs in :58 4/5, his third bullet workout of four since the Lazaro Barrera.