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Schoolofhardrocks worked six furlongs over Santa Anita's fast main track Friday morning in 1:12 4/5 as the son of Rock Hard Ten prepares for the Grade 1, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 5.
Trainer Gary Contessa seemed pleased with what he saw physically and mentally on Friday morning after $1 million Wood Memorial hopeful Uncle Sigh had an easy gallop around Belmont Park's training track, his second day back after a six-furlong work in 1:15 on Tuesday.
Javier Castellano has had a pretty good winter. He captured his first Eclipse Award as champion jockey, set a North American record for single-season purse earnings, and broke his own record in becoming just the second rider to claim three consecutive Champions meet titles at Gulfstream Park.
When Wildcat Red takes his place in the starting gate Saturday for the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, he will carry the hopes of a pair of small-scale operations on the road to the Triple Crown.
Among the chief contenders in Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks is House Rules, who will be making her fifth start of the Champions Meet for owner Joseph V. Shields Jr. and trainer Allen Jerkens.
California Chrome's Kentucky Derby Express continued to gain steam when the California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit was listed as the 5-1 morning-line favorite in Churchill Downs' fourth and final Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) pool that opened at 9 a.m. Thursday and runs until 3 p.m. (PDT) on Saturday.
Who would have thought the Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year's Day would prove to be such a formful race?
That's exactly what has happened, though, as the top three from that contest -- General a Rod, Wildcat Red and East Hall -- line back up on Saturday in the 63rd running of the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.
The final round of major preps, a three-week window consisting of seven races worth a total of 170 points apiece (100-40-20-10 scale), begins this Saturday and it's important to note that winning isn't everything -- six of the last 13 Kentucky Derby victors dropped their last start.
Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Gulfstream Oaks lost its favorite when Davona Dale and Forward Gal winner Onlyforyou fatally broke down in a recent workout. Trainer Todd Pletcher will instead send out the promising but untested In Tune in the 1 1/8-mile test.
Saturday's Grade 2, $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks drew only a field of five but there is plenty of excitement surrounding the 1 1/16-mile event due to the presence of Untapable and Unbridled Forever, who will meet for the first time.