Pin Oak Stable’s homebred Alternation,
the top-ranked horse in the latest NTRA Poll, completed his major
training preparations for Saturday’s Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) at
Churchill Downs with an easy five-furlong breeze in 1:05.40 on the fast
main track beneath the Twin Spires on Tuesday morning.
Working prior to the morning renovation break under regular exercise rider David Contreras,
Alternation recorded fractions of :14.20, :28, :41.20, :53.60 and
galloped out six furlongs in 1:18.20 and seven furlongs in 1:32.20.
Even though the work was the slowest of 12 at the distance, trainer Donnie Von Hemel was happy with the breeze.
“He started out slow, but then finished very nicely and galloped out
very well,” Von Hemel said. “He came back to the barn full of himself.”
A 4-year-old dark by or brown son of Distorted Humor, Alternation is
undefeated in four starts this year. He won the Essex Handicap, the
Razorback Handicap (GIII) and Oaklawn Handicap (GII) – all at Oaklawn
Park – prior to just getting his nose on the wire ahead of Zayat Stables LLC’s Nehro last time out in the Pimlico Special (GIII).
Overall, Alternation has a career record of 8-1-1 from 13 starts and earnings of $900,004.
Weighted at one pound lighter than the top weight Wise Dan, Alternation will carry 122 pounds in Saturday’s Stephen Foster and will be ridden by Luis Quinonez, who has been aboard the colt for nine of his career starts, including seven of his eight victories.