ELMONT, N.Y. - Two days before he is to ship to Louisville for a run at the May 1 Kentucky Derby, Gotham Stakes winner Awesome Act worked five furlongs in 1:01.53 Tuesday morning over the Belmont Park training track.
It was Awesome Act's first work since he finished third behind Eskendereya and Jackson Bend in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 3. It is the first of three scheduled works he is to have before Derby, said trainer Jeremy Noseda.
Awesome Act, with assistant trainer Wayne Tanner up, worked in company with the Maryland-bred stakes winner Peace Town. Starting two lengths behind his workmate, Awesome Act followed Peace Town through an eighth in 13.36 seconds and a quarter-mile in 26.15 seconds. After getting three furlongs in 37.73 seconds, Tanner guided Awesome Act outside of Peace Town for the stretch drive. Awesome Act received a tap on the left shoulder from Tanner in the stretch and went by Peace Town inside the final furlong. He finished about two lengths in front at the wire. Awesome Act got his final quarter in 23.80 seconds.
As was the case in the work prior to the Wood Memorial, Awesome Act was passed by Peace Town while the two galloped out. Awesome Act galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.63.
Awesome Act nicked himself on the left hind pastern, but it looked to a superficial cut. Prior to the Wood, Noseda acknowledged Awesome Act had an infection in the left hind pastern after the Gotham.
Tanner said he tapped Awesome Act in the stretch "just so he concentrates."
"You just got to squeeze him up a little bit without letting his head out, otherwise once he goes past his lead horse in his breeze he'll go to sleep," said Tanner.
Tanner said Noseda wanted Awesome Act to get something out of Tuesday's work because he'll likely have three or four easy days between Wednesday and Saturday. Awesome Act is scheduled to leave Belmont by van Thursday night and arrive at Churchill Downs on Friday morning. His first day on the track in Kentucky will likely be Saturday.
Tanner said Awesome Act would have his major Derby work late next week, with an easier blowout the Wednesday or Thursday before the race.