Eclipse Award-winning Shanghai Bobby prepared for the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby at Palm Meadows Training Center Sunday morning, breezing five furlongs in company with Palace Malice.
The 2012 juvenile champion, who suffered the first loss of his career in a second-place finish behind Itsmyluckyday in the Grade 3 Holy Bull on January 26, was timed in 1:00, as was his stablemate.
"It went really well," said trainer Todd Pletcher, whose three-year-olds ran the second fastest times of 26 recorded at the distance. "They finished up well, head and head, and galloped out strong."
Last year, Shanghai Bobby was undefeated in five starts, including a triumph in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita that clinched year-end honors. Favored to win his 2013 debut in the Holy Bull, the son of Harlan's Holiday set the pace before giving way to Itsmyluckyday, who scored by two lengths.
Sunday's workout under John Velazquez was his fifth in preparation for the Florida Derby, in which he's expected to meet Itsmyluckyday again and Grade 2 Fountain of Youth victor Orb. Rosie Napravnik is slated for the return mount aboard Shanghai Bobby.
"I think he's training as well as he was going into the Holy Bull, maybe better. He's a horse that's always run well, so we're not expecting him to all of a sudden change," Pletcher said. "We're hoping for more of what we've been seeing, and that's what we saw this morning."
Palace Malice, who was ridden by Edgar Prado, is scheduled to run in the Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on March 30.
Dreaming of Julia, who finished second behind Live Lively in her 2013 debut in the Grade 2 Davona Dale on February 23, breezed a half-mile in :49 2/5 seconds in preparation for the Grade 2, $300,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks on March 30.
"Dreaming of Julia just went a steady half with a good, strong gallop-out. I thought she went really well," Pletcher said. "She's on schedule."
Live Lively was also on the worktab at Palm Meadows Sunday for trainer Mark Hennig, beating her rival once again when breezing a half in :47 1/5 ahead of an expected rematch in the Gulfstream Park Oaks.
Other Pletcher-trained horses likely to run on Florida Derby Day include Travelin Man and Soaring Stocks in the $75,000 Sir Shackleton. The duo both worked Sunday at Palm Meadows, with Travelin Man logging five furlongs in 1:03 4/5 and his stablemate getting the same time in 1:02 4/5.
Seanchai is expected to contest the Grade 2, $150,000 Orchid and covered a half-mile Sunday in :50 ahead of that contest. Finally, Ciao Bella and Authenticity are scheduled to go in the Grade 3, $150,000 Rampart after going four furlongs in :49 2/5 and five-eighths in 1:02 3/5, respectively.