Zayat Stables’ Nehro worked a sharp three-quarters of a mile at Churchill Downs May 30 in preparation for the June 11 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Nehro, second in the May 7 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), worked in company with stablemate Dominus, who finished second in The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill April 30. Nehro was timed in 1:12 1/5 for six furlongs on a fast track, according to Churchill officials.
Exercise rider Carlos Rosas was aboard Nehro for trainer Steve Asmussen. Nehro, a Kentucky-bred colt by 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft, finished second in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) and Arkansas Derby (gr. I) earlier this year.
“I was very pleased with the move,” Asmussen said. “Obviously we stuck Nehro in company and asked him for a good work. It was the best work I’ve seen him lay down.”
Churchill clockers credited Nehro with fractional times of :12, :24 1/5, :36 1/5, :48 and 1:00. He galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25 3/5 and a mile in 1:39.
After a rainy spring in Kentucky and a seemingly endless run of wet training surfaces, Asmussen was happy to see clear skies and a fast track for Nehro’s move.
“In his defense, it’s probably the first time he’s got to work on a fast track in about two months,” Asmussen said. “I think you saw why we were not wanting a sloppy track for the Derby.”
The work is the final major training move for Nehro at Churchill Downs prior to the 1 ½-mile final jewel of the Triple Crown at Belmont Park. Asmussen has a barn and division at the New York track and he said Nehro would probably depart for Belmont on the evening of June 2. A final pre-Belmont Stakes work is likely over the sprawling main track early next week.
“I feel really good about Nehro and the rest of the year for him,” Asmussen said.
It was a hectic morning for Asmussen, who supervised several works at Churchill Downs before departing shortly before 9 a.m. EDT to catch a flight to Texas. He will saddle four horses competing on Lone Star Million Day at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie.