Things haven’t exactly gone according to plan this year for 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade I) winner Fort Larned, but trainer Ian Wilkes will look for things
to turn around beginning with the $500,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) at Churchill Downs on June 15.
Janis Whitham’s Fort Larned made his 2013 debut in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (GII) and lost jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. after stumbling at the start. In his second and most recent start of the year, he finished
fifth as the 1-2 favorite in the Oaklawn Handicap (GII).
“This is like a restart for the year
for us,” Wilkes said. “We had a couple hiccups earlier this year and now
we are looking to restart our year and point everything to the
The Stephen Foster Handicap is a “Win
& You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which will be run
at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 2.
In prep for the Stephen Foster, Fort
Larned breezed five furlongs in :59.80 on the fast main track at
Churchill Downs on Friday morning. It was the third fastest work of 21
at the distance.
“The horse is doing great,” Wilkes said. “He worked very well this morning.”
Working under Calvin Borel,
Fort Larned recorded fractions of :12.80, :25 and :37.20 and galloped
out six furlongs in 1:11.80, seven-eighths in 1:24.40 and a mile in
“Calvin did me a favor and worked him
this morning, but Brian won’t be taking off. (Hernandez) will have the
mount (in the Stephen Foster).”
In addition to being aboard the bay
son of E Dubai for the Classic victory last year, Hernandez guided Fort
Larned to wins in the Whitney Handicap (GI) and Prairie Meadows
Cornhusker Handicap (GIII).
Nominations for the Stephen Foster Handicap close Saturday, June 1.