Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner JUSTIFY walked the shedrow at Churchill Downs on Wednesday, one day after breezing a bullet half-mile in :46.80 over the fast main track at the venue ahead of the 150th Belmont Stakes (G1).
It was the first official work from the chestnut son of Scat Daddy since he clocked seven furlongs at Santa Anita Park in 1:25.20 on April 27. Since then, the Bob Baffert trainee has captured the first two legs of the Triple Crown and will attempt the sweep at Belmont Park on June 9.
Stablemate and fellow Belmont Stakes hopeful RESTORING HOPE also walked the barn on Wednesday after breezing seven furlongs in 1:26 at Churchill on Tuesday.
Assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes reported all was well from the barn on Wednesday. The two colts are scheduled to fly to New York on June 6.
Grade 2 hero BRAVAZO, sixth in the Kentucky Derby and runner-up in the Preakness in his past pair for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, jogged two miles with exercise rider Danielle Rosier aboard on Wednesday.
According to Lukas, the dark bay son of Awesome Again is scheduled on Thursday to have his only official work for the Belmont Stakes, and first move since April 28, “as long as the weather doesn’t stop us.” The weather will also determine whether Bravazo will go out during the special 7:30-7:40 a.m. (ET) training period reserved for horses pointing to the third jewel of the Triple Crown or when the track opens at 5:30 a.m.
The sophomore colt is set to van to New York on Monday.
Lightly raced TENFOLD, fifth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) and third in the Preakness Stakes (G1) in his two stakes start to date, galloped nine furlongs on Wednesday with Angel Garcia holding the reins.
“The horse is doing good,” trainer Steve Asmussen said.
The Curlin colt received a day off Tuesday but is scheduled to breeze five furlongs on Saturday for Asmussen, who is looking for a relaxed effort in “1:01 and change, 1:02” ahead of the Belmont Stakes.
“It’s who he is physically and the rhythm I want him in that I think will be most effective in the Belmont for him,” the horseman said. “He’s just going to have to be big, relaxed and cover the ground with the frame that he has.”
Tenfold will fly to New York on Tuesday, according to Asmussen.
Grade 1 scorer FREE DROP BILLY clocked five-eighths in :59.60 on over Churchill’s fast dirt on Memorial Day Monday, and returned to the track Wednesday to jog two miles under exercise rider Juan Segundo.
Jockey Robby Albarado piloted the Union Rags colt to a 16th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby last out, and trainer Dale Romans confirmed he’ll have the call for the Belmont Stakes.
“In my opinion, he’s still one of the best riders in the country,” Romans said of Albarado. “And for big-money races, he’s the man I want.”
Free Drop Billy will fly to New York on June 6.