Hero's Tribute worked five furlongs over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs Sunday.

Hero's Tribute worked five furlongs over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs Sunday.

Bill Denver

Monarchos, Dollar Bill, and Hero's Tribute Work at Churchill

Three of the leading Triple Crown hopefuls -- Monarchos, Dollar Bill, and Hero's Tribute -- worked over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs Sunday, with Hero's Tribute earning a bullet for his five furlong work.

Hero's Tribute completed his five furlongs in 1:01 1/5, the co-fastest of nine works at the distance. Stablemate and Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Monarchos was clocked in 1:02 2/5 for the same distance.

"(Hero's Tribute) handled the racetrack well last fall here and he has gotten more mature, more focused -- everything has been better," trainer John Ward said. "I instructed the rider to make him go ahead a reach for the ground a little bit in the last eighth and go ahead and gallop him out. It was the other side of that coin with Monarchos as I cautioned the rider not to overdo it. Monarchos gets into the game so quickly that I really didn't want to overdo it with him. So Monarchos was probably leaning against the rider a little bit more. I'm pleased with both of them."

Hero's Tribute galloped out six furlongs in 1:14 4/5, and Monarchos in 1:15 1/5. Both Ward trainees were ridden by exercise rider Brian Beccia.

"I would have rather not had to work in the mud today, but if I get through it without any problems I think it adds another dimension to them," Ward said. "It gives them another experience. That's what we're doing at Churchill early. Every day you train over this racetrack should give you a slight percentage edge. ... I was telling some people the other day that these 3-year-old colts are like a young Army recruit going to boot camp. But the 3-year-old Derby colts don't go to Army boot camp -- they go to Special Forces boot camp. They've got to learn to do it all at any time."

Dollar Bill was the only horse working six furlongs on the day. The Risen Star stakes winner came home in 1:15 3/5 under exercise rider Joanne McNamara. He galloped out seven furlongs in 1:30.

The son of Peaks and Valleys won the Brown and Williamson Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) over a sloppy Churchill strip last November. "He won here in the mud," trainer Dallas Stewart said. "He likes the mud. He'll be tougher if it's muddy."