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American Lion drills bullet for Derby
AMERICAN LION (Tiznow), in his first work since winning the Illinois Derby (G3) on April 3, drilled a half-mile in :46 4/5 on Wednesday morning at Keeneland over Polytrack.
With jockey James Graham up, American Lion broke off at the 4 1/2-furlong pole and reeled off fractions of :11 3/5, :22 4/5, :34 3/5 and out five furlongs in 1:00 2/5, according to Keeneland clockers. The move was the best of 15 at the distance.
"He worked good. He went a little faster than expected, but he did it so easily," trainer Eoin Harty said.
"He'll work five-eighths here next week. We'll see how he's doing, but probably (the work will come on) Tuesday or Wednesday and then he'll go on over to Churchill Downs."
American Lion is one of four WinStar-owned colts, all graded stakes winners, being pointed to the $2 million Kentucky Derby (G1) to be run at Churchill Downs on May 1. In addition to the Illinois Derby, American Lion also won the Hollywood Prevue S. (G3) last fall. David Flores has the Kentucky Derby riding assignment.
MAKE MUSIC FOR ME (Bernstein), who was sixth in the Blue Grass S. (G1) last weekend, is scheduled to depart Keeneland for Churchill Downs on April 20, according to Andy Durnin, assistant to trainer Alexis Barba. Owned by Ellen and Peter O. Johnson, Make Music for Me could secure a spot in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby pending the defections of enough horses ahead of him on the graded stakes earnings list, or he could race in the American Turf S. (G3) on April 30.
On Wednesday, the multiple Grade 1-placed stakes winner returned to the track for the first time since the Blue Grass, jogging twice around Keeneland's five-furlong training track.