Ride On Curlin , a leading contender for the upcoming $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. I), had his last major drill before the race April 6, breezing seven furlongs in 1:26 4/5 at Oaklawn Park.
Daniel Dougherty's 3-year-old son of 2007 Arkansas Derby winner Curlin worked over a fast track with exercise rider Brian Beccia on board. It was the only drill at the distance recorded during the morning at the Hot Springs track.
"He worked really good," said trainer Billy Gowan, a former assistant of Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg. "It was the same type of work he had before the Rebel (gr. II). He started out slow and finished fast. I do know he's really good right now. He's perfect."
Ride On Curlin was third in both the Southwest (gr. III) and Rebel at Oaklawn. The bay colt, seeking his first stakes victory, has been worse than third just once in his career while logging a 2-1-4 line from eight starts with earnings of $214,687.
Jon Court is to be aboard Ride On Curlin. He is one of six definite starters for the Arkansas Derby. The others are Bayern , Strong Mandate , Tapiture , Commissioner , and Conquest Titan. Danza is possible.
At Santa Anita Park, Bayern drilled seven furlongs from the gate with Gary Stevens aboard Sunday in 1:23 4/5, handily, for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. The son of Offlee Wild is making his stakes debut for owner Kaleem Shah after winning his first two starts impressively, including a 15-length allowance romp Feb. 13 at Santa Anita.
WinStar Farm's Commissioner breezed a half-mile at Palm Meadows Training Center Sunday for trainer Todd Pletcher, turning in a :49.05 clocking. The Kentucky homebred colt by A.P. Indy ran third in the Sunland Derby (gr. III) March 23, a month after he was sixth in the Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (gr. II).
Graded stakes-placed Danza, a son of Street Boss conditioned by Pletcher for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, also worked Sunday at Palm Meadows, breezing a half mile in an identical :49.05.
The post-position draw for Arkansas Derby and Oaklawn Handicap will be Wednesday, April 9 at 12:30 p.m. on the first floor of Oaklawn's grandstand.