After drawing an outside post for Saturday's $300,000 Rebel S. (G2) at Oaklawn Park, trainer Tim Ritchey plans to scratch Elite Alex and reload next week in the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds.
Elite Alex has two excuse-filled starts at Oaklawn this winter including a third-place finish in the Southwest S. (G3) February 21. That performance earned $25,000 in graded earnings which are used to determine eligibility for the Kentucky Derby (G1).
"It's all about getting to the (Kentucky) Derby," said Ritchey Saturday morning from his Oaklawn barn. "We can get another week. The stretch there is longer and there are 700,000 thousand more reasons down there than running from a wide post in a big field here. I hope he runs well enough so we don't have to worry about it, but it also gives us three weeks after that to the Arkansas Derby (G1)."
Ritchey said regular rider Calvin Borel will be aboard for a Sunday morning workout at Oaklawn to prepare for the 1 1/8-mile Louisiana Derby.
The $1 million Arkansas Derby will be run April 16.