Azeri Fires Bullet; Could Race Derby Weekend

Allen E. Paulson Living Trust's Azeri, the 2002 Horse of the Year and a dazzling winner of the recent Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park, worked a bullet four furlongs on a muddy track Wednesday at Churchill Downs.

The 6-year-old daughter of Jade Hunter covered the distance in 47.40 under exercise rider Yutta Lang. The training move, her first since she arrived at Churchill Downs following her record third consecutive Apple Blossom victory, was the fastest of 11 works at the distance.

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has told Churchill Downs officials that Azeri could run in one of the two Kentucky Derby (gr. I) weekend stakes events for older fillies and mares. Those races are the 19th running of the $300,000-added Louisville Breeders' Cup (gr. II), which will be run at a distance of 1 1/16-miles on Kentucky Oaks Day (April 30), and the 18th running of the $250,000-added Humana Distaff (gr. I), a seven furlong fixture on the Kentucky Derby Day racing card on May 1.

Azeri has won 15 of 17 starts and has career earnings of $3,344,820.