As for whether a strong effort in the Lexington would prompt a decision to make the Run for the Roses two weeks later, Hess wouldn't commit. But he left the option open.
"We're not making any plans now. We'll just have to cross that bridge when we get there. He needs to do a lot of things in this next race. He needs to run well, but he also needs to come back well and eat well and all that. We'd like to go, of course, but we have to wait and see what happens first."
With Mike Smith aboard, Ocean Terrace won the 1 1/16-mile El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) on March 8 by 1 ½ lengths in his stakes debut after victories his first two starts against maiden and allowance company.
In the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby, Ocean Terrace set a fast early pace in splits of :22 2/5 and :45 4/5 under regular jockey Kent Desormeaux while under pressure from Indian Express before quickly dropping back and out of contention on the run up the backstretch. After the race, Hess scoped the horse and discovered he'd bled, perhaps explaining his dull performance."He didn't bleed all that much, but he definitely bled," Hess said. "And the good news it seems to be all cleared up now."
Ocean Terrace will leave for Kentucky Tuesday on the "Buddy Gil Plane," Hess joked, referring to Tuesday's Tex Sutton charter that will carry Santa Anita Derby hero Buddy Gil and others.
As for Buddy Gil, all plans are still "go" for Monday's workout despite the prediction of rainy weather in Southern California. The son of Eastern Echo will work on the training track if the main track is closed and then ship Tuesday, trainer Jeff Mullins said. Buddy Gil also bled in the Santa Anita Derby and will have to work five furlongs in 1:03 or less for the vet before being cleared to resume training. The workout will take place next week at Churchill Downs.