Although the time was a little faster than he wanted, trainer Barclay Tagg said the work was a maintenance breeze, coming 10 days after the Hook and Ladder colt finished 11th in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Tagg said he is continuing to point Big Truck, who has won or placed in five of eight career starts, for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). With $194,500 in earnings in graded stakes, Big Truck ranks 19th on that list, which is used to determine the starting field should more than 20 horses be entered in the Derby. If he does not get into the Derby, the colt will be entered in the May 17 Preakness (gr. I).
The trainer who saddled Funny Cide to win the 2003 Derby said he is drawing a line through Big Truck’s Blue Grass effort. “What else can I do?” the trainer asked rhetorically. He, like many other trainers whose horses did not fare well in the Blue Grass, is willing to dismiss the race’s outcome to the fact the race was run over a synthetic surface. While the colt had trained well over Polytrack leading up to the Blue Grass, Tagg said the track surface is different in the afternoon than during morning training hours. He attributed that to the difference in track maintenance in the mornings and afternoons, with the track being harrowed periodically between races.
Meanwhile, Tagg plans to work his other Derby contender, Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Tale of Ekati, at Keeneland April 23. A homebred son of Tale of the Cat racing for Charles Fipke, Tale of Ekati has three wins and a second to his credit in six career starts. His $738,000 in graded earnings places him third on that list, behind Pyro and the filly Proud Spell, who will be entered in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and possibly the Derby.