The speedy Eightyfiveinafifty had his first work since a fourth-place finish in The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (gr. III) in the mud at Churchill Downs, covering a half-mile in :47.06 May 8 over the main track at Aqueduct. The move was the fastest of nine at the distance.
“It was super,” said Gary Contessa, who trains the colt for Harold Lerner, John Moirano, and Team Stallion Racing. “He always works well, but he was a little tired after the Derby Trial. I’m seriously considering the Woody Stephens for him, but it’s not etched in stone. If I see he’s moving along like his old self, he’ll go, but I want to make sure of that before I commit.”
Contessa said Eightyfiveinafifty would likely work three more times, including May 16, in advance of a possible start in the $250,000 Woody Stephens (gr. II), a seven-furlong tilt on the Belmont Stakes Day undercard June 5.
“In the Derby Trial, he acted like a horse who didn’t handle the track,” said Contessa. “He came back blowing hard and the race seemed to take something out of him—usually it’s all you can do to walk him after a start. It could have been he didn’t like that particular track on that particular day, or maybe the mud will be a problem for him going forward, but I may try him in the slop another day just to make sure.”