04/23/2013 3:31PM

Churchill Downs: Fort Larned breezes for Grade 2 Alysheba

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Tom Keyser
Fort Larned, last year's Breeders' Cup Classic winner, might run next in the Grade 2 Alysheba on Kentucky Oaks Day, May 3.

Fort Larned, the reigning Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, worked four furlongs in 48.80 seconds at Churchill Downs on Tuesday, his first breeze since finishing a disappointing fifth as the odds-on favorite in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap on April 13. He galloped out five-eighths in 1:01.80.

The Oaklawn Handicap was the second disappointing outing in a row for Fort Larned, who stumbled and lost rider Brian Hernandez Jr. immediately after the start of the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap five weeks earlier.

“I think he really struggled with the track out there at Oaklawn, which is unusual for him, although I don’t want to take anything away from the winner [Cyber Secret], who ran very well that day and beat us fair and square,” trainer Ian Wilkes said. “But sometimes you just have to put a line through a race and move on from there.”

Wilkes said he was pleased with Fort Larned’s work Tuesday and, if all goes well, he’ll run him in the Grade 2 Alysheba on Kentucky Oaks Day, May 3.

“I thought he went well this morning,” Wilkes said. “The horse is doing fine, although if there are any questions, I certainly won’t run him in the Alysheba.”

Sharjil Ahmad More than 1 year ago
I believe hes gonna run back big time. Hes fresh. As Ian said, just put a line thru the last race. Hes a nice horse. Not a freak of nature, but he can still win a few big ones if things go right for him.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Something is amiss with Fort Larned and I fear Wilkes knows it. He had the horse on the shelf for quite some time and put him in a VERY easy spot 2 back. He should have walked those horses around the track. The Oaklawn race was not a very daunting challenge either. Now Wilkes is eager to get him on the track again. Hmmm.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
There's nothing I'd rather see than FtLarned back in BCC form. Best to all the connections getting him there.
Ronald Dodgen More than 1 year ago
Fort Larned only bad races have come on slow tracks once at Churchill when the winner Ron the Greek ran his last 1/8 in 13 2/5 and closed 5 lengths while beating Wise Dan. He came back to Churchill and ran a nice second losing by one length in track record time which was fast 17. Then of course losing at Oaklawn Park which was slow 3. His Breeder's Cup win was fast 15 Prairie Meadows was fast 20 Saratoga was fast 16.
J.L. Boey More than 1 year ago
You had his two Churchill races backwards. This horse is inconsistent. I think he may be one of those who needs a clear lead coming around the final turn.
Meghan Janusz More than 1 year ago
Am I the only one who remembers the bad race he ran in the Stephen Foster last year? He bounced out of that fine. I'd expect him to come back just fine.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Is Wilkes missing something with this Colt?
Ronald Dodgen More than 1 year ago
Yes this horse needs a track with some hop in it not a dead track.
Justin Mato More than 1 year ago
fort larned HAS TO be on the lead or he doesn't win
gallopingtom More than 1 year ago
Horrible training job. IMHO. Horse should've been given time off or run in a Grade One like the Carter for example. I like Fort Larned and I hope he regains his form.
DavidM More than 1 year ago
The Carter? He would likely be run off his feet early in a Gr 1 sprint.
Gunner More than 1 year ago
Good Luck betting this one back.
Chris Rush More than 1 year ago
What??? I'm a Fort Larned fan, but here's a copy and paste from Mary Rampellini's twitter on April 12: Fort Larned looked strong galloping first set at #Oaklawn: "He skipped over the ground. He likes it here," said trainer Ian Wilkes. Then the horse throws a dull race and he "struggled with the track... at Oaklawn." Why make excuses? He should have just said that Cyber Secret smoked him. I was there at Oaklawn that day- that's what happened. I hope he runs great in the Alysheba. He's a great horse. But I'll take someone else in that race until I see evidence of FortLarned2k12.