(From Churchill Downs)
Two Churchill Downs-based 3-year-olds that are being pointed toward a battle against Big Brown in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) were reported to be doing well with just over two weeks remaining before the June 7 “Test of the Champion.”
Mr. and Mrs. William Warren Jr.’s Denis of Cork, third in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Macho Again, runner-up in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and winner of the $100,000-added Derby Trial at Churchill Downs, turned in some exercise over a “fast” surface under the Twin Spires May 22.
Denis of Cork galloped in his second trip to the track since a five-furlong work in 1:01 over a “fast” track May 19 at Churchill Downs. The David Carroll-trained son of Harlan's Holiday had jogged May 21.
“He came out of the work beautifully, and we’re very happy with him,” Carroll said. “It just seems like he’s coming back into form, and we’re getting some nice weather, too. He just seems to be seems to be coming back to himself. We still have a couple of weeks, and I’m very happy with him.”
Carroll said that Denis of Cork was scheduled to work again May 26. Jockey Robby Albarado, who will ride Carroll’s colt in the Belmont, is scheduled to be aboard for that Memorial Day move.
Denis of Cork will take a record of 3-0-1 in five races and earnings of $413,582 into the Belmont. His victories include a win in the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park.
Trainer Dallas Stewart said that Macho Again jogged in his first visit to the track since the Preakness. The son of Macho Uno overcame traffic problems to finish second, 5 1/4 lengths behind Big Brown at Pimlico.
Stewart said that the colt would go to the Belmont if all continues to go well.
“It’s been awhile, but it’s great to have a good 3-year-old,” Stewart said. “It’s a shame we didn’t get going earlier. We were thinking he was a Louisiana Derby (gr. II)-type horse, but we just got set back with him. But it’s all working out now. He needed a little time to mature. It would have been nice to have a Kentucky Derby horse, but it doesn’t always happen. That’s why the Derby is the Derby.”
If Macho Again does go to the Belmont, Stewart anticipated a half-mile work May 31. The colt is scheduled to ship to Belmont Park June 3.
The career record for Macho Again stands at 3-3-0 in nine races, and he has earned $343,761.