Mohaymen continues to please in penultimate work for Florida Derby
Two weeks out from a showdown with fellow undefeated colt Nyquist in the $1 million Florida Derby (G1), Mohaymen continues to flash the form that has him considered the leading three-year-old Triple Crown prospect on the East Coast.
Shadwell Stable's multiple Grade 2-winning son of Tapit soared through a five-furlong breeze in 1:01 Friday morning over the main track at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park's satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.
Cruising alone down the stretch shortly after 8:20 a.m. (EDT), Mohaymen was never asked by regular exercise rider Miguel Jaime after going through splits of :13 2/5, :25 1/5 and :36 3/5 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:15 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
"He went great; just what the boss asked for. It was perfect," Jaime said. "We're just getting ready. He feels great, like a Ferrari, you know? We're doing good so far, looking forward to the Florida Derby."
The 65th running of the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby will highlight a blockbuster 14-race program on April 2 at Gulfstream that features eight stakes, seven of them graded, worth $2.4 .million.
A 28-year-old native of Mexico, Jaime has been up for every jog, gallop and work since Mohaymen relocated to South Florida in early December. Friday's breeze -- the fastest of 10 horses at the distance -- was the second since Mohaymen improved to 5-0 with a dominating victory over late-developing Zulu and previously unbeaten Awesome Banner and Awesome Speed in the Fountain of Youth (G2) February 27.
"It's a pleasure to be on a horse like that," Jaime said. "He's getting better every day, every race. He's getting stronger, bigger. We haven't seen him really run yet. We expect him to run a big race. He hasn't shown everything. We're in a good spot right now. Today, everything went good."
McLaughlin continues to be impressed with Mohaymen, winner of the Nashua (G2) and Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct to close his two-year-old season before opening 2016 with a decisive victory over Grade 1 winner Greenpointcrusader in the Holy Bull (G2) January 30.
"He worked very well. He's doing great and he's fit, and we're happy. We just have to keep working and keep him happy," McLaughlin said. "He's got a great mind, and that's all part of it. He's doing everything right and continues to. We're not looking for any changes."
McLaughlin won't be in town for Mohaymen's final scheduled work prior to the Florida Derby, a half-mile on March 25. The trainer leaves Sunday for Dubai where he has several horses competing on the World Cup program at Meydan March 26, including Frosted in the $10 million World Cup (G1) and Lady Shipman in the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint (G1). He will return to Florida the following day.
"He's happy these days. He was ready to work. He's been real happy lately and wanting to do a little more out there. He trains great and does everything right and he seems to be push-button for the riders," McLaughlin said.
"He's won easy every time, and we're very happy with him. We're not looking for any changes," he added. "Obviously, Nyquist will be tough and it's a big race, Grade 1. If we get pushed, we get pushed. We hope it's not gut-wrenching for both horses but we do have five weeks to recover."
(Adam Coglianese Photography)