McCraken won the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) in his seasonal bow.

McCraken won the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) in his seasonal bow.

Joe DiOrio

McCraken Resumes Galloping, Blue Grass Still the Target

Unbeaten son of Ghostzapper recovering from slight ankle strain.

Janis Whitham's unbeaten homebred McCraken has resumed galloping at Palm Meadows Training Center the past few days and remains on track to start in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland April 8 after emerging from a half-mile workout on Feb. 27 with a slight strain to his left front ankle.

Trainer Ian Wilkes said they discovered the son of Ghostzapper  was slightly off the morning of Feb. 28. Though x-rays on the ankle came back clean, Wilkes opted to nix the original plan of starting McCraken in the March 11 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and give the colt more time to recover from his minor setback.

"He's been to the track, galloped the last three days. I'm very pleased with him, he's doing good," Wilkes said March 7. "(The ankle) has been good. I'm stabled next to (trainer) Michael Matz and Michael has been very kind to let me use his vibration plate."

WINCZE HUGHES: McCraken To Miss Tampa Bay Derby with Ankle Strain

Wilkes said he hasn't yet decided when McCraken would work next but added "it wouldn't be too far away" as the bay colt only missed a few days of training.

McCraken came into his 3-year-old season with a buzz following a juvenile campaign that saw him win all three of his starts, including the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs Nov. 26. He lived up to that billing in his sophomore debut when he captured the Feb. 11 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) by 1 1/2 lengths in track-record setting fashion to remain unblemished in four outings with $310,848 in earnings.