Trainer Kenny McPeek said Fern Circle Stables and Three Chimney Farm's King Fury (Curlin) will be pointed to the GI Kentucky Derby or the GI Preakness S. after winning the GIII Stonestreet Lexington S. Saturday at Keeneland. The chestnut returned last night to McPeek's division at Churchill Downs, where he has two wins including the Street Sense S.
With the 20 points he earned in the Lexington, King Fury ranks 28th on the Derby points leaderboard and would need several defections to draw into the May 1 Run for the Roses, which is limited to 20 starters.
“All good; we are real proud of him,” McPeek said. “If his points get him in to the Kentucky Derby, we will probably run. It is his home track and he has won there. If he doesn't get in the Derby, he will run in the [May 15] Preakness. He seems like a horse that is ready to do all that. We will have to see how that ball bounces. It is out of our control, but we will keep his work schedule the same.”
At Aqueduct, trainer Danny Velazquez reported that his graded stakes winner Brooklyn Strong (Wicked Strong) will also aim for the Preakness after his fifth-place run in the GII Wood Memorial S. Winner of the GII Remsen S. as a 2-year-old, the gelding will also likely use the Apr. 24 Federico Tesio S. at Laurel as further prep for the Triple Crown's middle jewel.
“He came out of the Wood really good. It was a good tightener for him and a learning curve for me,” said Velazquez. “I went in there 100% believing in my horse but at the end of the day, going into those big races you need a big race. My horse showed up and he showed me that he belongs there. He was beat less than five lengths off a long layoff. He impressed me. I think we're going to try the Preakness. We'll look at the Tesio as a target race for him and to keep him fit.”
Velazquez said Brooklyn Strong had a difficult trip in the Wood Memorial when finishing 4 3/4 lengths back of longshot winner Bourbonic (Bernardini).
“I've watched the replay a dozen times and he never really got a break down the back side,” said Velazquez. “He was steadied behind traffic and that takes energy. When he finally found a hole he got banged around again. The mile and an eighth was a little hard on him off the layoff.”