Trainer Carl Nafzger's pair of contenders for the Kentucky Oaks--Robert Manfuso's Belterra and Elizabeth Valando's Take The Cake--each worked five furlongs on Tuesday over a "fast" track at Churchill Downs.
Belterra, the winner of the Golden Rod and third in Keeneland's Ashland breezed five furlongs in 1:01.60 in her first series move since she underwent throat surgery following the Ashland. Jockey Jon Court was in the saddle as the daughter of 1990 Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled rolled through fractions of :25 and :50 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.20.
"She was eager to get to work today and seemed to really enjoy her training," said Court. "There were no signs of stress. She clipped around there pretty good getting to the pole and worked a nice easy quarter. She picked it up as we turned for home and just kind of leveled off. It was a good even work."
But assistant trainer Ian Wilkes saw less than he had hoped from Belterra.
"It wasn't spectacular," he said. "It was an even work--just an even work. Nothing to write home about."
Court and Wilkes were more enthusiastic about Take The Cake, who breezed five furlongs in a sharp :59.20. Court was aboard as she breezed in fractions of :24, :47.80 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.80. "She worked real good," said Court. "She had no problems and worked pretty dad-gum good."
"She's doing good, she's training good, she's happy," said Wilkes. "Her mind's in the right place.