Wicked Strong breezed a solid half-mile in :49.62 (14/28) Thursday at Belmont Park’s training track, and he’ll stay there until about a week before the Kentucky Derby.
With exercise rider Kelvin Pahal in the irons, the dark bay son of Hard Spun was accompanied by a pony coming onto the track and galloped a mile before breaking off for the breeze.
New York Racing Association clockers caught Wicked Strong in splits of :12.19 and :35.76, galloping out five furlongs in 1:02.84.
Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said he was pleased with the move.
"He did most of his work on the turns, which is what I wanted; I thought it would keep him from working too fast," said Jerkens, who has never saddled a Derby starter. "He eased up a little bit in the stretch and then picked it before the wire. It was just what I was looking for."
Wicked Strong, the Wood Memorial winner, is fourth on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 102 points and is one of three New York-based horses pointing to the Run for the Roses. Wood runner-up Samraat is fourth with 100 points and Uncle Sigh, who was fifth in the Wood, is No. 20 with 24 points.
Both Samraat and Uncle Sigh are scheduled to work Friday morning at Belmont Park.
Jerkens said Wicked Strong has come out of the Wood, run on April 5, in good shape.
"He's a little bit on the light side, but I don't see him any lighter after running that hard and that tough a race," said Jerkens. "I didn't think he lost a pound, and I'm really happy about that."
The trainer said Wicked Strong will have one more work at Belmont, most likely at six or seven furlongs next Thursday or Friday, before being vanned to Louisville.
"He's never been on a plane, and he's been up and down to Florida twice," said Jerkens. "I'm not sure if he'll go the day after he works, or two days after. We'll have to see."
Wicked Strong, whose sire Hard Spun was runner-up in the 2007 Derby, probably will blow out over the Churchill Downs strip two days before the Derby, Jerkens said.
General a Rod
Meanwhile, in Louisville, General a Rod breezed a sharp five furlongs in :59.80 (1/4) at Churchill Downs Training Center for trainer Mike Maker. General a Rod most recently finished third in the Florida Derby behind Constitution, now off the Derby Trail, and Wildcat Red.
General a Rod breezed five in :59:80 (1/4) at CDT.
Edited NYRA release