Four Wheel Drive Turns in Bullet Breeze at Turfway
Stablemate Maven also working toward seasonal debut.
By Christine Oser Monday, 6:34 PM
Breeze Easy’s undefeated Breeders’ Cup winner Four Wheel Drive turned in a bullet half-mile work Feb. 24 at Turfway Park as he continues preparations toward his sophomore debut.
With Julio Garcia up, the American Pharoah colt breezed four furlongs on Turfway’s synthetic track in :47 flat, the fastest work of 13 at the distance. It was his third work back since wrapping up his 3-for-3 juvenile season in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2T) at Santa Anita Park.
“I’ve kind of been stepping him up with his company each week,” Ward said. “It was a beautiful work as well. Not only was it a quick time as you’d expect from a horse like this, it was very visually impressive.”
Ward has Four Wheel Drive penciled in for the 5 1/2-furlong Palisades Turf Sprint Stakes, part of Keeneland’s opening day April 2. The colt won on debut in the Rosie’s Stakes last summer, then annexed the Futurity Stakes (G3) and the Breeders’ Cup.
On Monday Ward also sent out Richard Ravin’s Maven, another American Pharoah colt, for a five-furlong move in 1:02 1/5 at Turfway with Garcia aboard.
Wanting to keep Four Wheel Drive and Maven separated on race day, Ward is considering a start in New York for Maven’s comeback race. Aqueduct Racetrack’s calendar includes the six-furlong Bridgetown Stakes for 3-year-olds on turf April 11. Ward said a decision will be made at a later date.
Unraced since July when he ran at Goodwood, Maven broke his maiden on Aqueduct’s dirt last April and won the Connolly’s Redmills Prix du Bois (G3) at Chantilly in June.
“They worked great, both of them, really nice,” Ward said. “We’re excited. Everything went to plan.”
Down in Florida at Palm Meadows Training Center, Ward trainee Cambria turned in a five-furlong breeze on turf in 1:03. The Stonestreet Stables homebred was ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint after winning her first three career starts, including the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes.
“She was kind of small last year, that’s why we took an easier route to get her going,” said Ward, who ran the Speightstown filly at Presque Isle Downs for her first two outings. “She kind of superseded everybody’s expectations. She was kind of like a little, tiny filly, but man, she’s got a big, huge heart.
“After the Breeders’ Cup, Barbara (Banke of Stonestreet) wanted to give her some time to grow up. She didn’t do much growing. She did kind of grow wider and thicker. But I’ve been very impressed with her breezes so far since she came down from Ian Brennan at Stonestreet (in Ocala). He was happy with her as well, but she’s certainly working better this year than last. As soon as we get a little bit further on, we’ll kind of decide where we’re going to come out with her.”
Sunday at Palm Meadows, Ward sent out David Mowat’s Kimari for a five-furlong drill in 1:02.25 on the turf. The Munnings filly was fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint following wins in the Indian Summer Stakes and Bolton Landing Stakes. She was also second, beaten a head, in the Queen Mary Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot.
Ward said Kimari is likely to start the season in the April 10 TVG Limestone Turf Sprint Stakes, a 5 1/2-furlong turf dash for 3-year-old fillies at Keeneland.