Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes winner Beethoven is at Gulfstream Park working towards a 2009 campaign.

Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes winner Beethoven is at Gulfstream Park working towards a 2009 campaign.

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography

Oxley Prospects Work at Gulfstream

Trainer John Ward maps winter campaign for Beethoven and Strategic Decision.

(from Gulfstream Park track notes)

Two of John Oxley’s top 3-year-old prospects worked out at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 3 for trainer John Ward, including Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) winner Beethoven.

Calvin Borel, who rode Street Sense  to win the 2007 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), shipped in to work Beethoven, going three furlongs in 36 flat. Edgar Prado, rider of 2006 Derby winner Barbaro, was aboard Strategic Decision, a maiden out of the champion mare Beautiful Pleasure. He was timed for an easy half-mile in 50 1/5.

With three victories from five starts, including the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs Nov. 29, Beethoven’s winter campaign is booked pretty solid, according to Ward, who won the 2001 Florida Derby (gr. I) and Kentucky Derby with Monarchos.

“His goal is to make the Holy Bull (gr. III) and the Florida Derby,” said Ward of the Kentucky-bred son of Sky Mesa . “Where we go in between is up in the air.”

The $150,000 Holy Bull is Jan. 31 at one mile around one turn. The $750,000 Florida Derby is Mar. 28 around two turns at 1 1/8 miles. Ward’s dilemma for a February race is whether to stay at one mile for the $250,000 Fountain of Youth (gr. II) Feb. 28 or try added distance.

“We have to decide whether to go out of town for a two-turn race (in February), or maybe, even a workout here might be best for us,” he said.

Strategic Decision, a homebred son of Distorted Humor , will try to build on a third-place finish in his debut over Polytrack at Turfway Park on Dec. 12. His regal breeding and training style lead Ward to think improvement will come quickly.

“Once he’s in a regular running routine, he’s the type of horse that will move forward,” he said. “He’s working his way into a running style and I’m sure each race he goes in will be better than his last.”

Prado was positive after the workout and his chances at the 2009 Gulfstream season.

“John is really high on him and he ran really well first time out,” said Prado. “Hopefully I get a chance to ride him when his next race comes around. It’s too early to get very excited about anyone, but I’m looking forward to many of the horses I rode in New York coming down here.”