Sierra Leone Back On the Worktab At Saratoga

Sierra Leone | Horsephotos

'TDN Rising Star' Sierra Leone (Gun Runner) returned to the worktab for the first time since his bang-up second to Mystik Dan (Goldencents) in the GI Kentucky Derby, breezing a half-mile in the company of his GIII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby-winning stablemate Domestic Product (Practical Joke) in :48.20 (3/31) over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga. With light rain falling, the pair galloped out six furlongs in 1:14 4/5, according to trainer Chad Brown.

“I thought the horse worked super,” Brown said of Sierra Leone, who was once again equipped with the blinkers for the move. “I'm very, very pleased with him. He's settled into Saratoga nicely.”

Off as the 9-2 second favorite in the Derby, the $2.3-million Fasig-Tipton Saratoga topper sustained a long run from the rear and locked up with Japan's Forever Young (Jpn) (Real Steel {Jpn}) for the stretch drive. The two exchanged bumps repeatedly and Sierra Leone, who drifted in several paths, was just up for second in a tight three-way photo. Brown holds no concerns about Sierra Leone's antics going forward.

“I think he was just getting a bit tired in the stretch and those two horses were leaning on each other,” said Brown. “I'm turning the page on that. It's just part of him.”

The conditioner is giving Domestic Product a pass for his 13th at Churchill Downs, as he threw a shoe and grabbed a quarter. While Sierra Leone is on target for the June 8 GI Belmont S. at the Spa, Domestic Product is not under consideration for the 10-furlong test, though he has healed up well, Brown said.

Also on the tab for Brown were Program Trading (GB) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) and I'm Very Busy (Maclean's Music), first and seventh home, respectively, in the GI Old Forester Turf Classic on the Derby undercard. The two went a half-mile in company in :49 flat (9/31) Saturday morning and each has the GI Resorts World Casino Manhattan S. on the Belmont undercard as their next target, and Brown is also willing to excuse I'm Very Busy's effort.

“I'm Very Busy didn't handle the paddock well on Derby Day and he was not acting right,” the trainer said. “He stuck his foot in the hind portion of the gate and that race is a total throw-out for him.”

Also headed for Belmont Day engagements are 'TDN Rising Star' Blazing Sevens (Good Magic), who went four furlongs in :49 flat (47/186) at Belmont ahead of the GI Hill 'n' Dale Metropolitan H; and the GI Acorn S.-bound Regulatory Risk (Omaha Beach), who galloped a half-mile in :49.52 (81/186) over the Belmont training track Saturday morning.

In other Met-related news, White Abarrio (Race Day) breezed a half-mile in :47.58 (1/90) at Belmont Friday morning. Third in last year's renewal, the 5-year-old would be making his first start since finishing a disappointing 10th in the G1 Saudi Cup in February.

Brown added that Resolute Racing's 'TDN Rising Star' Sweet Rebecca (American Pharoah) would work Sunday and a decision on a possible appearance in the G1 Coronation S. at Royal Ascot would likely be made the following day.

 

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