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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

J P's Gusto Breezes; Sway Away Plan Revealed


J P's Gusto breezed today at Oaklawn Park as he prepares for the Grade II Rebel Stakes on March 19. Meanwhile, connections of Sway Away announced intentions to ship to the Rebel.

Unde Cliff Berry, J P's Gusto went six furlongs in 1:13.60 over a track that was drying quickly from overnight rains. It was his first breeze since finishing a troubled second in the Grade III Southwest Stakes on Feb. 21.

"That's a good work for him when he's working by himself," said trainer Joe Petalino. "He's got an even-running style and a big stride. He's going good right now."

Clockers caught J P 's Gusto through an opening quarter in :25, a half-mile in :49.20 and a final quarter in :24.40. The ridgling broke off at the six-furlong pole and had a considerable tail wind down the backstretch. He zipped around the turn and changed leads smoothly once turned back into the wind in the stretch. Berry said he was surprised by how quickly his mount eased up during the gallop out, but Petalino was reassuring.

"He's getting pretty smart," Petalino told Berry meeting up at the barn. "He was by himself, and he knew he was done once he got past the wire. I think he wants and is going to need something to shoot at when he's out there to keep him going."

"I liked how he got a little faster in every quarter," said Berry. "You always enjoy getting on horses like this. He started off kind of medium, but then picked it up as we went along."

J P's Gusto was ridden by 2010 Eclipse champion Ramon Dominguez for the first time in the Southwest, but that rider has also been aboard or is scheduled to ride three other hopefuls on the Kentucky Derby trail in the coming weeks. Petalino expects to hear some time this weekend if Dominguez will be back in Hot Springs in two weeks. Meanwhile, Petalino was happy with today's work.

"This was about as good as what he did in his last breeze before the race," the trainer said. "We’ll look for a sharper five-eighths next time before we run, and I went today to give myself a day or so to play with in case of bad weather."

Bonde Sending Sway Away

Recalling his successful Rebel Stakes raid in 2008 with Sierra Sunset, California-based trainer Jeff Bonde is sending Grade II San Vicente runner-up Sway Away to the race.

Sway Away was closing fast on The Factor in the his last start at seven furlongs. The Rebel will be the first chance for the son of 2005 Arkansas Derby winner Afleet Alex to race around two turns. Regular rider Garrett Gomez, who was aboard Lookin at Lucky last year, is expected to be back aboard.

Bonde said the horse’s sire and running style make Oaklawn the obvious choice for the colt’s next prep.

“He has a pedigree that says he’s going to run all day,” Bonde said. “With the way he trains, I don’t see any problems for him stretching out at all.”

Sway Away worked yesterday at Santa Anita Park, going five furlongs in 1:02.80 under Gomez. “Garrett came off of him very happy with the way he worked,” said Bonde.

Archarcharch, Elite Alex to Work Sunday

Grade III Southwest Stakes winner Archarcharch and Elite Alex, third in that race, are both scheduled to have workouts Sunday morning in preparation for the Rebel. Jon Court will be aboard the Jinks Fires-trained Archarcharch, while Calvin Borel will pilot the Tim Ritchey-trained Elite Alex through his drill.

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