Alternation (right) may run in the Arkansas Derby.

Alternation (right) may run in the Arkansas Derby.

Coady Photography

Alternation Still Possible for Arkansas Derby

Three-year-old colt had to be scratched from last month's Rebel Stakes (gr. II).

Pin Oak Stable’s Alternation  pleased his connections April 2 with an under-control workout at Oaklawn Park as the 3-year-old colt attempts to prove his meltdown in the gate of the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) is behind him. If so, he could take another swing in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. I) April 16.

“I was very happy with it,” said trainer Donnie Von Hemel, who watched ontrack from his pony as Alternation and jockey Luis Quinonez officially posted a five-furlong breeze in 1:01 2/5. “He broke a little slow in the first part of it, but thereafter, each quarter seemed to get a little better. I was happy, especially with the way he moved down the lane.”

Clockers assigned a five-furlong time, but Von Hemel considered the entire lap around the track in evaluating how the Distorted Humor  colt is doing. The gallop out through six furlongs was 1:14 1/5 and the final quarter from the turn to the wire was :23 4/5. Alternation got a lather of sweat on his neck through the exercise and Von Hemel was most happy with the colt’s extension through seven furlongs.
“There are factors on top of this work that will help us make a decision,” Von Hemel said. “We also have the factor of who comes for the race and how he comes out of this workout, but I like what I saw today from him.”
Quinonez was also happy with Alternation, who became agitated by the crowd on Rebel day and flipped in the starting gate.
“That was a great work from him,” he said. “He finished up really nice. I wish he can stay like this, like he is in the mornings. In the mornings he’s great every time. That afternoon? I just don’t know what happened to him.”