Like the King (Palace Malice), who earned a berth in the field for the Kentucky Derby by virtue of his last-out victory in the GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks over the Turfway synthetic track Mar. 27, drilled six furlongs over a firm Keeneland turf course in 1:16 Saturday morning under the watchful eye of trainer Wesley Ward.
With Drayden Van Dyke in the irons, Like the King started off his work well behind MSW & GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf third Outadore (Outwork) and GIII Futurity S. runner-up After Five (The Factor), passing the former while making up five lengths on After Five.
“I wanted to make sure [Like the King] got a lot out of it today,” Ward said. “Those were two good horses in front of him. He got a good blow today. I wanted Drayden on him today because it is only his second time on him.”
Van Dyke was aboard for the first time in the Jeff Ruby.
Ward said that Like the King's next two works will be on the main track under the guidance of former jockey Julio Garcia, with the last one Sunday, Apr. 25, weather permitting.