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Aug 15, 2014

Jim Dandy and Whitney champs work


Saratoga Springs, NY ( - Jim Dandy Stakes winner Wicked Strong put in a four-furlong workout Friday morning at Saratoga ahead of the 1 1/4-mile, $1.25 million Travers Stakes on Aug. 23.

Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, Wicked Strong covered the half-mile, with regular exercise rider Kelvin Pahal, in 48.71 seconds over Saratoga's Oklahoma training track. The colt galloped out five furlongs in 1:01 3/5.

"I thought it was good," said Jerkens. "I told (Kelvin) to start out easy, and that's the beauty of working over here at the Oklahoma (training track), they don't overdo it. I thought everything was perfect; it was just what we wanted. The time was just right, and he seemed to gallop out on his own, willingly. I thought it was a good work for two weeks after his last race and to set him up for a more serious work next week."

Owned by Centennial Farms. Wicked Strong won the Wood Memorial on April 5 and finished fourth in both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes.

"He's gotten a little feistier since he's been up here, which colts tend to do," Jerkens noted. "In a congested area like this, there's a lot of activity. It's not easy to take him out for a graze like it is (at Belmont). There's a lot of noise, but in a good way; he has to get used to it. There's going to be a lot of noise on Travers Day. He's not going to be a perfect angel ever. I'm really happy with where we're at right now."

Wicked Strong, who wore blinkers for the first time in the Jim Dandy, has won three of nine career starts for $1,244,610.

Whitney winner Moreno got back to the track as well Friday at Saratoga. Trained by Eric Guillot, the 4-year-old gelding put in a two-mile jog for the second straight day.

"He'll work seven days out (before the Woodward)," Guillot said.

Owned by Southern Equine Stable, Moreno notched just his second stakes victory with the Whitney and collected $800,000. The gelding has won three times in 20 lifetime starts for $1,709,940.

This year, Moreno began with a third in the Charles Town Classic followed by a fourth in the Pimlico Special, 12th to Palace Malice in the Met Mile and was second in the Suburban Handicap.

Moreno won last year's Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park before getting third in the Jim Dandy Stakes and second in the Travers. He finished second again behind Will Take Charge in the Pennsylvania Derby before a 10th-place result in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

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