Epicenter Back to Work, Targeting Summer Campaign at Saratoga

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Epicenter | Coady

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Epicenter (Not This Time), a too-good-to-be-second as the favorite in both the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S., has begun gearing up for a summer campaign at Saratoga.

The Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC colorbearer worked four furlongs in an easy :50.60 (31/37) at Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen's Churchill Downs base June 20, just his second move since rallying for runner-up honors in the middle leg of the Triple Crown.

“He's like a machine,” said David Fiske, longtime advisor to the Winchell family. “He took a few weeks off after the Preakness and now he's gotten a couple of slow half-miles in. We're trying to get him cranked up for the [GII] Jim Dandy S. [July 30] and then the [GI Runhappy] Travers [S. Aug. 27].”

Fiske continued, “Nobody's lost any confidence in him. He's still the same horse he ever was. Still acts the same, travels the same, trains the same… He is a professional racehorse.”

The 'Mid-Summer Derby' could also be a potential landing spot for Kentucky Derby upsetter Rich Strike (Keen Ice), Preakness winner Early Voting (Gun Runner) and GI Belmont S. hero Mo Donegal (Uncle Mo).

After getting first run into a supersonic early pace and enjoying a clear lead in the stretch, Epicenter came up a valiant 3/4 of a length short behind the second-longest shot in Kentucky Derby history.

Steadied and squeezed in the early stages two weeks later in Baltimore, the $260,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase was left way too much to do, rallying smartly from eighth to finish 1 1/4 lengths shy of the forwardly placed Early Voting.

Epicenter's resume also includes wins in the GII Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby, GII Risen Star S. and Gun Runner S.

“It's just the way it shook out–he was an unfortunate victim of circumstance in both the Derby and Preakness,” Fiske said. “Everybody is still pretty fired up about him. It will be exciting to get him back going again.”

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