04/04/2012 12:46PM

Oaklawn: Optimizer's final tune-up for Arkansas Derby may come Tuesday


Optimizer, the runner-up in the Grade 2, $500,000 Rebel at Oaklawn, remains on target for the Arkansas Derby and could have his final work for the race on Tuesday, said his trainer, D. Wayne Lukas. Optimizer had a major work here Monday, going six furlongs in 1:12.60 under jockey Jon Court.

“It was an outstanding work,” said Lukas. “I wanted it to be a little more significant, not a maintenance work. I wanted him to finish and he did. He came home in 23 and change.

“He’s doing so well right now. He’s putting on weight. He’s getting stronger every day out there and so forth, that I thought we better ask him to do a little something.”

Court was aboard Optimizer in the Rebel, when the horse came rolling through the stretch to finish three-quarters of a length behind Secret Circle. Optimizer earned a career-high Beyer Figure of 91. Earlier in his career, the horse was third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. Optimizer races for his breeder, Bluegrass Hall.

Bluegrass Hall and Lukas have another promising 3-year-old in Skyring, a recent maiden winner at Oaklawn whom Lukas said is to be entered in the Grade 2, $500,000 Illinois Derby that runs Saturday.

◗ Nehro, who is a candidate for the Grade 2, $400,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 14, worked five furlongs in 1:02.20 on Wednesday morning at Oaklawn. He went by himself, in the second set after the track opened. Nehro on Sunday was scratched from the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap.

◗ Amie’s Dini, who is being pointed for the Grade 2, $300,000 Fantasy here April 11, breezed a half-mile in a bullet 47.80 seconds first after the break Wednesday, with Oaklawn head clocker Jim Hamilton catching her galloping out five furlongs in 1:00.60. Entries for the Fantasy will be taken on Friday.