After Jean Lafitte S. winner DECISIVE MOMENT (With Distinction) worked five furlongs in a bullet 1:00 3/5 at Calder on Friday, trainer Juan Arias announced that he would head to Fair Grounds for the February 19 Risen Star S. (G3).
Decisive Moment's drill easily ranked as the fastest of 21 moves at the distance on the fast track.
"He was galloping out the five furlongs this morning," Arias said. "I got him going the half in :48. Last week he got the half in :49 and change."
During that January 28 breeze at the North Miami oval, clockers caught Decisive Moment going three furlongs in :36 3/5.
"I think I'm going to give him one more work next Friday," Arias said, "and then put him on a van for Fair Grounds early the following Monday (February 14).
"He should get to New Orleans that afternoon. I'll give him Tuesday off, do things like school him in the paddock that Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and then roll the dice on Saturday."
The Calder-based Decisive Moment will be invading Louisiana for the third straight time. His prior two races came at Delta Downs on the western edge of the Pelican State. Runner-up to Gourmet Dinner (Trippi) in the November 20 Delta Downs Jackpot S. (G3), Decisive Moment came back to Delta and romped by 3 1/2 lengths in the Jean Lafitte on January 14.
Ridden by Fair Grounds-based Kerwin Clark, Decisive Moment broke in stride to make the pace in the Jean Lafitte and drew off in the final furlong with "something left," according to the chart footnote.
"It's amazing how much a horse can change between his two-year-old and three-year-old seasons," Clark said a few days after the Jean Lafitte. "He's going to be a good one."
Arias made a similar observation on Friday.
"He has grown up a lot mentally in these recent weeks," Arias noted. "The thing we want to do now is make sure he keeps maturing the way he has been."
Arias, a 45-year-old native of Panama City, Panama, is a former jockey who rode from 1980 to 1990, switching his tack to the United States in 1981. He became an assistant trainer for Calder-based Richard Root for most of the '90s and took out his own trainer's license in 2001. He saddled Renda to win Monmouth's Junior Champion S. and Calder's Brave Raj S. in 2008 and then took her to California for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, where she disappointed. However, she bounced back next time out as a three-year-old to finish second in Gulfstream's Forward Gal S. (G2).
"She was my best horse up to now," Arias said, "but now I've got another good one."
The 1 1/16-mile Risen Star, named after the champion who won the 1988 Preakness (G1) and Belmont S. (G1), serves as Fair Grounds' final designed major prep for the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) to be contested five weeks later on March 26.