Ritchey said Alex has been eager in the mornings. "When we started jogging him, he was ready to turn around then, so we had to go real easy with him. He didn't want to come off the racetrack a few times. He had been walking for two and half to three hours a day, and then we started to jog him, but I'll know more as to how much fitness he's maintained once he starts galloping on his own, and once we get a breeze underneath him. But he looks really good."Ritchey has maintained all along that the horse will dictate any decisions as to when and where he will run next. The main goal since the son of Northern Afleet returned from surgery has been to prepare him for a 4-year-old campaign, while hopefully getting in a race or two this year.
Trainer Tim Ritchey, after getting the OK from Dr. Larry Bramlage, sent Afleet Alex out for his first gallop Friday morning at Belmont Park. Ritchey, who spoke earlier in the day with Cash is King Stable managing partner Chuck Zacney, said he's pleased with the way the colt has been progressing.Bramlage, along with Dr. Patricia Hogan, who performed the surgery on the colt, had looked at the latest X-rays taken of Alex's hairline fracture before giving Ritchey the go-ahead to begin galloping the Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont (gr. I) winner. Ritchey had the colt out for an early morning jog, and then brought him out later in the morning for his first gallop, with the trainer alongside riding a pony."I spoke to Dr. Hogan and Dr. Bramlage yesterday, and they said the X-rays were really good," Ritchey said. "Dr. Bramlage gave us the OK to start galloping him. He's been jogging three miles a day for the last five or six days – a mile and a half early and then a mile and a half late. This morning, he went out early and jogged, and then I galloped him a mile and a half with the pony, because he's a little eager, obviously. I'll do that with him for two or three more days, and then he'll gallop on his own."