Conquest Titan tuned up for his next start in the Grade 3, $400,000 Holy Bull with a bullet five-furlong work in 1:00 2/5 for trainer Mark Casse over the fast track at Palm Meadows on Saturday.
Owned by Conquest Stable, the three-year-old son of Birdstone breezed in company with fellow sophomore Coastline, who was clocked in 1:00 3/5, second only to his stablemate.
"We don't normally work them together, it just happened that way," Casse explained. "Both of them are kind of on the same path in that they both ran toward the end of November and we gave them a little bit of a break. Now, they're both kind of getting cranked back up.
"We were wanting a good work out of them, and we got it. They went head and head, one was not better than the other. Both of them went really well, and we're happy. I think they're both on track for where they're headed."
Swynford winner Conquest Titan was 13th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on November 2, but bounced back to take an optional claiming contest at Churchill Downs 28 days later.
Coastline, owned by John Oxley, won the Street Sense at Churchill on October 27, then finished eighth in the November 23 Delta Downs Jackpot in his latest effort. Casse said the gray son of Speightstown could make his next start in the $150,000 Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park on January 20.
"When I say we gave them time off, they never missed any training. We just didn't breeze them," Casse remarked. "They never stopped training, they just went through a period where we just galloped them.
"Coastline is a little bigger, wider kind of horse, where Titan is a little more compact. I can see where Titan has grown up, and Coastline is coming along well, too. I think they're both above average horses; now we just need some luck."
In his last race, Conquest Titan went a mile in 1:35 1/5 to beat runner-up General a Rod by 1 3/4 lengths under the Twin Spires. Trained by Mike Maker, General a Rod came back to win the Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year's Day.
"I was very happy to see Michael Maker's horse win the Derby, because Titan beat him pretty solidly," Casse said. "His horse was making only his second start (in the Churchill optional claimer), and he obviously is an improving horse, and I feel as though our horse is, as well. We'll just have to see how it works out.
"This time of year, you have to have luck," the trainer added. "You have to have things go your way, and have them stay happy and healthy. Every day you kind of hold your breath. Right now, we're at a point in time where things can't go wrong or you miss out on the Derby trail."