Doug O’Neill confirmed Saturday he’s now training the son of Tapit, a 3-year-old out of the well-known dam Love the Chase, who produced 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness hero California Chrome.
Fort McHenry breezed a half mile Friday in 48.80 seconds.
“We’re excited about him having a run at Santa Anita in a few weeks,” O’Neill said.
Janie Buss, the sister of Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, privately purchased Fort McHenry from Coolmore connections. Terms of the deal weren’t shared, though the price figured to be substantially less than the $1.1 million Fort McHenry brought at auction as a yearling.
Fort McHenry has raced five times, breaking his maiden at third asking for former trainer Todd Pletcher before disappointing when ninth in Gulfstream Park’s Nov. 30 Smooth Air Stakes.
The former connections gelded him, dropped down the class ladder and returned Feb. 2 in that starter optional claiming event at Aqueduct. Fort McHenry set the pace and looked like a winner in the one-mile event before fading in deep stretch.
“The way he looked when he came in, and his current form,” O’Neill said, “I think he’d be very competitive in a starter allowance. Hopefully he improves from there.”
Buss campaigns horses under the Purple Rein Racing banner. Among her runners is Lakerball, a multiple stakes winner also in O’Neill’s care.