Rockport Harbor Takes First Step on Triple Crown Trail

Edited from Oaklawn Park release
In his first workout since being injured while winning the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) last year, Rick Porter's Rockport Harbor breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:02 at Oaklawn Park Wednesday.

The gray colt suffered a deep gash to his right hind leg early in the Remsen, yet went on to outduel previously unbeaten Galloping Grocer while getting the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.4, topping his previously undefeated rival, Galloping Grocer.

Undefeated in four starts for trainer John Servis, Rockport Harbor backtracked from the five furlongs pole to the finish line, then cantered with the pony back to the five-eighths pole, where he broke off and eased to the half mile marker. Without any urging from exercise rider Bobby Velez, "Rocky" gained speed after an opening furlong in :13.1, got the quarter-mile in :25.2, then moved through three furlongs in :38. After passing under the finish line in :49.2 and working out to the seven-furlong pole in 1:02, the colt galloped out six furlongs in 1:16.4.

"I did not carry a stick, said Velez, "And I was merely trying to keep him together for the first part. At the head of the stretch, he switched to his right lead and really picked it up. At the eighth pole I grabbed him because he wanted to do more than we wanted."

Reached by phone at his Philadelphia Park headquarters, trainer John Servis said "Bobby told me the horse worked really well. There's a chance he may make the Southwest Stakes (February 19)."