Afleet Alex, scheduled to work later this week for the first time this year.

Afleet Alex, scheduled to work later this week for the first time this year.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Afleet Alex Due to Work; Southwest Field Takes Shape

Edited from Oaklawn Park release
Trainer Tim Ritchey confirmed Monday morning that Afleet Alex, runner-up for the 2-year-old championship, will have his first work of his 3-year-old season later this week at Oaklawn Park.

"Alex will go a half-mile with Jeremy Rose up either Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, depending on the weather," Ritchey said at the barn, "...probably Thursday. He'll either go early or after the (8:30-9 a.m.) break. Again, it depends on the weather."

As a 2-year-old, Afleet Alex posted a 4-2-0 record from six starts, and banked $680,800 for the Cash Is King Stable. He won the Hopeful (gr. I) and the grade II Sanford (in record time) at Saratoga, and completed his campaign with second-place finishes in the Champagne (gr. I) and Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). His narrow loss to Wilko in the latter race cost him the 2-year-old title that went to Declan's Moon.

The son of Northern Afleet  jogged a mile at a two-minute clip on Sunday morning, and walked the shedrow Monday morning.

"We'll put him on a regular training schedule after this week," Ritchey said, noting that Oaklawn Park's Rebel (gr. III) and Arkansas Derby (gr. II) are the primary goals.

At this point, the only other Southwest definites are Greater Good, Silver Haze, Munificence and Southern Africa. And the California- based Southern Africa, twice fourth to Declan's Moon last fall, isn't that definite. His connections have yet to obtain a flight to Arkansas.

John McKee, who will return Wednesday from suspension, will ride Greater Good for trainer Bob Holthus, and Calvin Borel has the call from trainer Jim Hudson on Munificence, who is undefeated in three starts.

"I know Greater Good will be a short price," Holthus said this morning, "but the last I looked, he still has to get around the racetrack before they give us the check."