Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby winner Curlin led Asmussen brigade of Derby workers, Monday at Keeneland.

Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby winner Curlin led Asmussen brigade of Derby workers, Monday at Keeneland.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Asmussen-Trained Curlin, Zanjero, Reporting for Duty Continue Working Toward Derby

Trainer Steve Asmussen sent Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Curlin and stablemates Zanjero and Reporting for Duty for a final Kentucky Derby prep over the Polytrack surface at Lexington’s Keeneland Racecourse on Monday, April 23.

Curlin worked five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 with splits of :13, :25, :36, and :49. The chestnut son of Smart Strike, who races for Jess Jackson, Padua Stables, George Bolton, and Midnight Cry Stables, is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs April 23. He will have a final half-mile breeze at Churchill Downs April 30 before running in the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

“He went really well, handled the track nicely, and was very patient when he walked back to the barn,” Asmussen said. “I love his state of mind, he’s nice and relaxed since the Arkansas Derby. He’s a very talented horse and hopefully everything goes well.”

Unbeaten in three career starts, Curlin broke his maiden by 12 3/4 lengths Feb. 3 at Gulfstream Park. He then scored a 5 1/4-length win in the Rebel Stakes (gr. III), and most recently won the April 14 Arkansas Derby (gr. II) by an impressive 10 1/4 lengths.

Zanjero, coming off a third-place finish in the April 14 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, worked 5 furlongs in 1:01 with splits of :13 4/5, :25, :37 3/5, and :49 3/5. He got the last ¼ in :23 3/5 and galloped out in 1:42.

The bay son of Cherokee Run, owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, was scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs with Curlin and is aiming for a final April 30 work at the Louisville track as well.

“They’re both running on pretty much the same schedule,” Asmussen said. “They’re both doing well, both looked very good and comfortable.”

Asmussen’s other potential Derby contender, Reporting for Duty, worked in company with the 3-year-old filly Appealing Zophie, who last finished eighth in the March 10 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II). The pair got three-quarters of a mile in 1:12 2/5

Coming off a second-place finish in the Illinois Derby (gr. II), Reporting for Duty is a chestnut son of Deputy Commander owned by Cathy and Bob Zollars.

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