A chestnut colt by Maria's Mon, Strong Contender was purchased for $800,000 at the Keeneland April 2-year-old sales. He has been brilliant winning his only two starts – a 3 ¾-length debut victory at Arlington Park in August and a one-mile Feb. 22 allowance race at Gulfstream by 4¾ lengths.
John Oxley's undefeated 3-year-old Strong Contender worked five furlongs in :59 4/5 at Gulfstream Park on Wednesday morning in his final major tune-up prior to his probable start in the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) March 25 at Turfway Park."He worked very well," said trainer John Ward. "If he comes out of it in good shape, we'll van him up to Kentucky a week from today (March 22). He's never flown before, so I don't want to subject him to that scenario just yet."