04/16/2011 2:19PM

Kentucky Oaks: R Heat Lightning drills bullet half-mile

Email
Bob Coglianese
R Heat Lightning is scheduled to fly to Kentucky Monday along with her stablemate Uncle Mo.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Uncle Mo may have lost his status as the favorite for the Kentucky Derby, but his stablemate, R Heat Lightning, continues to look every bit the horse to beat in the Kentucky Oaks.

Saturday, in her first workout since romping to an 8 1/4-length victory in the Gulfstream Oaks on April 2, R Heat Lighting drilled four furlongs in 47.20 seconds over the Belmont Park training track. It was the fastest of 94 works at the distance.

Working by herself following the 7:30 a.m. renovation break, R Heat Lightning, under exercise rider Hector Ramos, went her first quarter in 23.45 seconds and her second quarter in 23.75 seconds. She galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.39 and pulled up six furlongs in 1:13.81.

“That’s pretty standard for her, she’s an exceptional horse in the morning,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “It may have been a little bit on the fast side, but it was impressive to watch. We’re very, very happy to hopefully have her running in the Oaks and we’re pleased with the way she’s doing.”

Prior to winning the Gulfstream Oaks, R Heat Lightning won the Davona Dale at Gulfstream by 7 1/4 lengths.

R Heat Lightning is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs on Monday along with Uncle Mo, who for the second straight day galloped 1 1/8 miles over the Belmont Park training track. Since finishing third as the 1-9 favorite in the Wood Memorial, Uncle Mo has jogged two days and galloped two days. While he was scheduled to gallop or jog on Sunday – depending on track condition following forecasted heavy rains – Uncle Mo will not be able to train Monday due to the early time of his flight.

Uncle Mo was diagnosed with a gastrointestinal infection following the Wood, something that is not expected to interfere with his training toward a possible start in the Kentucky Derby on May 7.

“The horse is galloping really well,” Pletcher said before catching a plane to Lexington for Saturday’s Blue Grass Stakes where he was to saddle three horses. “His enthusiasm level on the racetrack is good, his energy level is good. Everything we’ve seen on the racetrack is good. We’ll ship to Kentucky on Monday and go from there.”

The Pletcher-trained Cal Nation worked four furlongs in 48.19 seconds in company with the older stakes winner Alma d’Oro. Cal Nation, beaten a nose by stablemate Dance City in a first-level allowance race at Gulfstream on March 19, is pointing to next Saturday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct.

Also working for the Jerome on Saturday was Rattlesnake Bridge, who went four furlongs in 49.82 over the training track, Free Entry, who went five furlongs in 1:01.67 over the training track and Vee’s Accolade, who went four furlongs in 47.60 seconds over Belmont’s main track.