Doug O'Neill stood in the Belmont trainer's stand Sunday morning trying to figure out when to work his 2-year-olds Stevie Wonderboy and Jealous Profit for their final tuneup for the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). Heavy rains had postponed their scheduled six-furlong works on Saturday, and after checking out the track. O'Neill decided to work them a half-mile on Monday instead.
"With the work being pushed back, I'll have them go a half and let them gallop out," said O'Neill, who watched his colts turn in strong gallops this morning.
O'Neill is excited about the future of both horses, especially Stevie Wonderboy, owned by Merv Griffin. The son of Stephen Got Even
has won his last two starts in exciting fashion, including a powerful five-length score in the Del Mar Futurity (gr.I).
"He acts like a freak," O'Neill said. "He's always acted like an older horse. He kinda just runs the last part of the race. He'll gallop along, and then when the rider asks him he just takes off. Our goal has always been next year, which is why we bypassed the Norfolk Stakes (gr. II). Also, I wanted to have him sharp for this race, and didn't want to have to go turns, then drop back to one turn."
O'Neill said he enjoys training for Griffin, but realizes the demands that go along with the job.
"He demands that everything be as perfect as they can be, which is one of the reasons he's been so successful," O'Neill said.
What O'Neill loves about Stevie Wonderboy is his laid-back attitude and professionalism.
"It takes him a while to warm up," he said. "He's one of those that just kinda likes getting his feet under him. Everything about him says route, yet he's been successful running shorter. He has such a great disposition. Even after he gallops and works you almost have to drag him around the shed row, he's so laid back."
O'Neill also is looking for big things from Jealous Profit, owned by J. Paul Reddam and Mark Schlesinger, now that the son of Trippi
has had a procedure done to correct a breathing problem. Although still a maiden after three starts, he has finished third in the Del Mar Futurity and Norfolk.
"He had throat surgery after the Norfolk," O'Neill said. "He had run well in his maiden race and the Del Mar Futurity, then in the Norfolk I told Corey (Nakatani) to try and stay up a little closer, and the colt started hyperventilating. We did a myectomy on him after the race and this will be his first start since the procedure."