02/01/2012 5:51PM

Fair Grounds: Nehro working toward return

Barbara D. Livingston
Nehro, runner up in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, remains eligible for an entry-level allowance.

Nehro, the 2011 Kentucky Derby runner-up, is making steady progress toward his 2012 debut, according both to trainer Steve Asmussen as well as the colt’s pattern of morning workouts.

On Tuesday, Nehro breezed five furlongs in 1:03, his longest work this winter and his fourth drill since resuming serious training late last year.

“He came out of it in good shape, and he’s progressing nicely,” said Asmussen. “I like the miles he’s gotten in, and the way he’s coming along. We’re bringing this process along pretty slow because we want him to last.”

Nehro hasn’t raced since he finished fourth in the Belmont Stakes. After having surgery to remove a bone chip in an ankle, Nehro joined Asmussen’s stable at Saratoga before the decision was made to withhold him from racing him during the remainder of 2011. Second in the Louisiana and Arkansas derbies before his Triple Crown run, Nehro has earned $885,140, but the Mineshaft colt has won just once and thus remains eligible for an entry-level allowance race.

“When he is ready, you’re not going to have trouble finding a race for him, since he has all his conditions,” said Asmussen.

Also working for Asmussen on Monday were Thiskyhasnolimit, winner of the Louisiana Handicap in his most recent start, and Z Dager, runner-up in the Lecomte Stake while making his third career start and first against other winners. Both horses, Asmussen said, are on target to start again on Feb. 25 at Fair Grounds, Thiskyhasnolimit in the Mineshaft Handicap and Z Dager in the Risen Star Stakes.

The Asmussen barn, overseen when Asmussen is absent by assistant trainer Darren Fleming, has assumed its usual position atop the trainer standings with 34 winners through Jan. 29, 12 more than second-place Tom Amoss.