WPT Trio works for Graded Stakes
Three of West Point Thoroughbreds' stars continued preparations for starts in graded stakes with outstanding breezes on Thursday.
Graded stakes winner Awesome Gem turned in his last major work prior to the $1,000,000 Santa Anita Handicap(G1) on March 1st. Awesome Gem breezed a bullet six-furlongs in 1:11.3 at Hollywood Park. Under regular jockey David Flores, Awesome Gem broke off eight-lengths behind his company before inhaling his workmate at the sixteenth-pole and passing him well before the wire.
Trainer Craig Dollase said, "He could not have worked any better. He came out of the San Antonio breathing fire, and he has trained magnificently. We circled the Santa Anita Handicap as one of our main objectives for 2008 back in the fall. We could not have hoped for a better work heading into the race."
Leading Kentucky Derby candidate, and winner of the San Rafael(G3), El Gato Malo also drilled six-furlongs in preparation for the $200,000 Sham Stakes(G3) on March 1st. Also under David Flores, El Gato Malo went off by himself before picking up another worker at the half-mile pole. El Gato Malo worked six-furlongs in 1:13.4 and galloped out very strongly past the wire.
Dollase categorized the work as, "Perfect. David (Flores) was thrilled with the breeze. El Gato Malo has been tearing down the barn. We have had our hands full keeping El Gato Malo from kicking down the barn door after the San Rafael. All systems are a go for the Sham."
Saratoga Russell, an authoritative allowance winner earlier this month at Gulfstream Park, worked a sharp half-mile in 48.2 at Palm Meadows. The three-year-old son of Trippi is scheduled to make his next start in the $250,000 Gotham Stakes(G3) on March 8th at Aqueduct.
Trainer Rick Violette said, "This is a very talented three-year-old. With colts like him you must think about the Triple Crown races. He looks like he will go two-turns, but you never know until they do it. We're a little behind where we'd ideally like to be, but if you're going to take a chance now's the time to do it. This could be a special horse."