With less than seven weeks to go before the 2017 Kentucky Derby, the top-ranked 3-year-old in America took to the track at Keeneland on Monday morning.
Undefeated graded stakes winner McCraken, owned by Whitham Thoroughbreds and trained by Ian Wilkes, is in Lexington preparing for the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, Lexington’s $1 million Kentucky Derby prep race on April 8.
The Keeneland Spring Meet is April 7-28.
McCraken, ranked No. 1 in this week’s National Thoroughbred Racing Association Top 3-Year-Old Poll, worked 5 furlongs in one minute flat Monday with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard.
“It was a maintenance work, just what we were looking for,” Wilkes said. “Everything’s good.”
McCraken has won all four of his races. On Feb. 11, he scored a 1½-length victory in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs in his 2017 debut. A minor ankle strain kept the colt from his next scheduled start in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 11.
“Maybe missing that race was a blessing,” Wilkes said. “He’s a different horse. He’s filled out, stronger. Things happen for a reason. You may not agree at the time; you may not want it to happen. But things happen for a reason. I think he’s a bigger, stronger horse right now. Just in that short time, he changed on me. Maybe (missing the race) was a good thing.”
Wilkes said McCraken probably will work again Sunday or Monday.
Keeneland Spring Meet
When: April 7-28
Post time: 1:05 p.m.