Clark Handicap contender Crafty Shaw, with trainer Pete Vestal.

Clark Handicap contender Crafty Shaw, with trainer Pete Vestal.

AP/ Renae Murders

Crafty Shaw Sizzles in Clark Workout

Edited from track report
Crafty Shaw, winner of the Schaefer Mile at Hoosier Park in his most recent outing, tuned up for a run in the $400,000-added Clark Handicap (gr. I) with a sizzling workout on Monday at Churchill Downs.

Churchill Downs clockers caught the 4-year-old son of Crafty Prospector, who was ridden by jockey James Lopez, breezing three furlongs in :34.20 over a "fast" track. Trainer Peter Vestal said the move was actually a four furlong work from the three-eighths to the seven-eighths pole and he timed Crafty Shaw in :46.20. The official three-furlong clocking was easily the best of the day's 11 works at the distance and nearly two seconds faster than the second-fastest move. Vestal's half-mile clocking of Crafty Shaw's work was a full second faster than the "bullet" work for four furlongs turned in by Argentine import Rocking Trick. Crafty Shaw galloped out very strongly with Lopez, who will ride the colt in the Clark, standing in the irons in an effort to pull the colt up.

"That's very typical of him," said Vestal. "He's a black-letter work horse. We never carry a stick on him. He just loves to work."

Vestal, who won the Clark in 1993 with Mi Cielo, was happy with the sharp move by his colt and said he thinks Crafty Shaw can be a contender in what is expected to be a deep and talented field for Friday's race.

"I think the key is just to get him to relax," he said. "I feel like there's going to be an honest pace, particularly with a horse like Tenpins in there. He's got a better shot with an honest pace and if he'll relax off of that, he'll finish."

Crafty Shaw also counts the Essex Handicap (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park, the Turfway Park Fall Championship (gr. III), and the Diplomat Way Handicap at the Fair Grounds among his four victories this year. Lopez has been in the saddle for all of those wins and in seven of the horse's nine races on the year.

"He's a very patient rider with good hands -- and he can finish on a horse," Vestal said. "That's important. He needs a rider that's strong down the lane. I think he fits this horse because he gets him to relax."

Crafty Shaw will bring a career record of 9-0-3 in 19 races and
earnings of $407,815 into the 1 1/8-mile Clark.

In other workouts Monday by Clark contenders, Generous Rosi breezed five furlongs in 1:02.80 and American Style breezed four furlongs in :48.

Meanwhile, trainer Murray Johnson said Spiral Stakes (gr. II) winner Perfect Drift, the third-place finish in the Kentucky would have a strong midweek gallop in preparation for the Clark. The gallop will take the place of a workout that had been scheduled for last Saturday but which was cancelled because of a foot ailment.

In other developments, Lido Palace was scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs sometime Monday afternoon following a flight from California to Lexington, Ky. The Chilean-bred was to be vanned to Churchill Downs.