Trainer Chad Brown sent out Klaravich Stables' duo of Crowded Trade (More Than Ready) and Risk Taking (Medaglia d'Oro) to breeze in company Saturday, while Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher had Whisper Hill Farm's Unbridled Honor (Honor Code) work in company with older graded stakes winner Fearless (Ghostzapper) at Belmont Park in preparation for next Saturday's GI Preakness S.
Risk Taking, winner of the GIII Withers S. and seventh-place finisher in the GII Wood Memorial S., worked outside of narrow GIII Gotham S. second and Wood Memorial third Crowded Trade, through five-eighths in 1:01.76 on a main track rated fast at 8:45 a.m. with the pair finishing together at the wire. Risk Taking was scratched out of Saturday's GIII Peter Pan S. in favor of the second leg of the Triple Crown.
“I thought they breezed super. It was just what I wanted,” Brown said. “I got them in 1:01 and even out in 1:13 and change. I was real happy with it.”
Brown added of Risk Taking, “His last two works were the best we've seen.”
As for Crowded Trade, he said, “He's only raced three times. He's run three really credible races and he's going in the right direction. He's had six weeks between races and I could see him running a really big race on Saturday.”
Unbridled Honor, runner-up in the GIII Stonestreet Lexington S., worked outside of Fearless on Belmont's dirt training track at 9:30 a.m. The pair covered a half-mile in :49.75 and out in 1:02.1 with a long gallop out through the turn.
“I thought both horses worked well to the wire,” Pletcher said. “Fearless was particularly strong on the gallop out and I thought Unbridled Honor did well. I was happy with both of them.”
As for Unbridled Honor, Pletcher added, “We weren't really thinking Derby at that time [in the Lexington]. We were hoping for a good performance, which we got. He finished up well and he continues to improve with each start. He had a good pace to run at that day. Hopefully, it will be a contested pace at Pimlico.”
Fearless, winner of the GII WinStar Gulfstream Park Mile S. and runner-up in the GII Oaklawn H., is being pointed to the GIII Pimlico Special S. May 14.
John and Diane Fradkin's homebred and El Camino Real Derby winner Rombauer (Twirling Candy), meanwhile, had his final timed workout in preparation for the Preakness Saturday morning, covering five furlongs in :59.80 seconds under jockey Flavien Prat at Santa Anita. “He worked in company, settled in a length behind the other horse, passed him coming to the eighth pole and went on about his business,” trainer Michael McCarthy said.
Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas has confirmed Ram (American Pharoah) as a starter for the Preakness. He won his second straight annexing an allowance on the GI Kentucky Derby undercard. “We realize he has to step forward to be effective,” Lukas said. “But when these horses are doing well, sometimes they'll step up and do what you want them to do. I always thought this horse had potential.”