Photo: Oaklawn Park
the camp feeling he deserves one more shot at the big 3-year-old shows,
Shortleaf Stable’s Atigun is heading into the $1 million Arkansas Derby
Saturday off another
strong workout at Oaklawn.
Trained by Ken McPeek, the 3-year-old son of Istan was 11th in the Rebel Stakes (G2) March 17 but saw his training compromised earlier this winter by a quarter
crack that popped open just before the Southwest Stakes in Feb.
Terry Thompson, Atigun fired a bullet workout Saturday in company with
stablemate and Carousel Stakes hopeful Salty Strike, with both going
five furlongs in 59 3/5.
feel like he deserves another shot,” said assistant trainer Phillip
Bauer. “The workout was fantastic. He’s done so well since the last race
and we feel he probably
fooled us a little into thinking he was ready for it. He’s ready to
McPeek will start the Racing Festival of the South Wednesday with the
improving filly Illegally Blonde in the $300,000 Fantasy Stakes (G2).
The daughter of Mineshaft
was plagued by troubled trips this winter before a blow’em out
performance to break her maiden March 18.
on her last race, it looks like she belongs,” said Bauer. “You can’t
dodge anyone in a race like that, but if you go by her last race she has
a chance. You can
throw out her whole 2-year-old season, and then see that she’s probably
like a lot of Mineshafts that put things together later on. She’s
putting it together nicely at this point.”
Strike came out of her breeze with Atigun in good shape and appears
ready to tackle the six furlongs of the $75,000 Carousel in what could
be an audition for the
Humana Distaff (G1) on Derby Day at Churchill Downs. She’s been off
since winning the Dream Supreme Stakes in Louisville last November.
run so well at Churchill that I think the long term goal is to get her
ready for a big race there,” said Bauer. “We know she belongs with this
kind of group.”