Outwork lives up to name in Belmont drill in company

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TwinSpires Staff

April 22nd, 2016

Edited press release from NYRA

With Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez in the irons, Wood Memorial (G1) winner Outwork had his penultimate breeze for the May 7 Kentucky Derby (G1) Friday morning at Belmont Park, covering a half-mile in :48.87.

Stepping onto the training track just after the second renovation break, the son of Uncle Mo was accompanied by a pony to the backstretch before being turned loose behind stablemates Spooked Out and Awesome Gent (who clocked :49.59).

Owner-breeder Mike Repole was on hand with trainer Todd Pletcher, who caught Outwork in splits of :12 3/5 and :24 1/5 before he caught and passed his targets, finishing about 2 1/2 lengths in front and galloping out five furlongs in 1:01 4/5, up in 1:14 4/5.

"In his races, he's been no worse than second [early on] and we wanted to teach him something, so we might as well let him take some dirt and put him behind horses," said Velazquez. "He actually relaxed really well."

Outwork will be making his fifth career start in the Derby. The colt broke his maiden at Keeneland a year ago, and returned at Tampa Bay Downs on February 13 to win an optional claimer. In his next start, he finished a length behind the Pletcher-trained Destin in the Tampa Bay Derby prior to his hard-fought Wood victory, in which he took the lead at the three-eighths pole and held on to win by a neck over the closing Trojan Nation.

"You certainly don't want to experiment [by taking him back] in the Wood Memorial," said Pletcher. "We felt it would have some benefits and it was a very well-executed breeze. We learned he doesn't mind some kickback and he settled behind horses nicely. So check that off for things you don't have to worry about."

"When Todd's happy with the work, I'm happy with the work," added Repole. "It seemed like Outwork actually settled better behind horses than when he's side-by-side. He went by Awesome Gent and Spooked Out like they were $10,000 claimers. And they're stakes horses. It was fun to watch."


Pletcher said Outwork would depart by van on Monday for Churchill Downs, and would likely have his final prep for the Derby next Friday.

In other Derby news from New York, trainer Leah Gyarmati reported Friday morning that Adventist, who is 22nd on the Kentucky Derby points list, emerged from Thursday's work in good order as his connections necessarily take a "wait-and-see" attitude as to his next start.

Adventist, who has finished third in the Wood Memorial, the Gotham (G3) and the Withers (G3), covered a half-mile in :48 4/5 over Belmont's training track.

"It was really a maintenance work," said Gyarmati of the Treadway Stable color-bearer. "I was happy with the way he did it, and I thought his gallop-out was good, too."

Adventist would need two horses to drop out of the potential Derby field in order for him to be guaranteed a spot in the starting gate. Gyarmati said there was a possibility the colt could be shipped to Churchill Downs to await that possibility, or he could remain in New York for the Peter Pan (G2) on May 14, or await the Preakness (G1) on May 21.

"It will be up to [owner] Jeff [Treadway]," said Gyarmati. "There are a lot of options, and right now, they're all open."

Outwork photo courtesy of NYRA/ Coglianese Photography/Joe Labozzetta.