Zayat Stables' NEHRO (Mineshaft) came out of his runner-up effort in Saturday's Kentucky Derby (G1) in good shape, trainer Steve Asmussen told reporters Sunday morning.
"We're very pleased with him," Asmussen said. "He's himself. He ate up last night and seems pretty good this morning."
Owner Ahmed Zayat said soon after visiting Nehro in his stall that the May 21 Preakness S. (G1) at Pimlico remains under consideration but the June 11 Belmont S. (G1) is a more likely spot for his next start.
"Let's put it this way," Zayat said, "if you looked at him right now you'd think you'd be out of your mind not to run in Baltimore. It's more probable we'd aim for the Belmont but I guess we are still possible for the Preakness."
A run in Baltimore would be Nehro's fourth race in eight weeks after runner-up finishes in the March 26 Louisiana Derby (G2), the April 16 Arkansas Derby (G1) and the Kentucky Derby.
"To look at him today you'd think he could run tomorrow," Zayat said. "He grazed for 45 minutes after the race. Today he's very playful, playing with us and kissing the kids. He came out of it in very fine condition."
Nehro's ultimate goal for the year, though, according to Zayat, will be the November 5 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs, and the owner said decisions about his status for Baltimore and New York will be made bearing that in mind.
Asmussen was asked about the challenge of getting a horse to perform as consistently strong as Nehro has with only two weeks leading up to his two most recent starts.
"It's as hard as you make it," Asmussen said. "Right now I think the circumstances dictated getting here. The Louisiana Derby was a big stretch off his maiden race and I thought he ran respectable but he needed to validate it to continue on that path. And then after the Arkansas Derby all of the focus was on the Kentucky Derby, which we're barely getting over."