03/10/2009 11:00PM

Old Fashioned no slave to workouts


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Handicappers looking to separate the undefeated Old Fashioned and his chief rival, Silver City, in the Rebel at Oaklawn on Saturday might debate the fact that Old Fashioned has worked just once in the 26 days since the two horses met in the Southwest, while Silver City has breezed twice.

It might be a mistake, however, to knock the favorite. Old Fashioned's schedule is by design, said his trainer, Larry Jones. He is so comfortable with the colt's fitness he felt one work would suffice leading up to Old Fashioned's second start of the year in the Grade 2, $300,000 Rebel.

"He just doesn't need any more," Jones said. "When we started this year, we were looking at six races in a row, and so we don't want to overdo him before we get through with it. That's all he needs for this race."

Old Fashioned, who worked a bullet five furlongs in 59 seconds here Sunday, is the early favorite for the Kentucky Derby. His run-up to that race is scheduled to include three starts at Oaklawn, including the Grade 2, $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 11. From there, the goal is the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes. Jones is managing the horse with the long term in mind, the idea being to bring an improving, fresh horse to Churchill on May 2.

"That's why we're not going in with just two preps to the [Kentucky] Derby," Jones said. "We're letting the races keep him fit, and there's no reason to be hanging him on the fence all the time. He gets a lot out of his gallops, because I don't just go out and let him hobbyhorse. We let him gallop."

Old Fashioned's work Sunday was more about maintenance, as Jones already has an excellent foundation in the horse. That became evident in the Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest. He tracked a hot pace and went on to a 3 1/4-length win over Silver City in his first start since the Grade 2 Remsen on Nov. 29. Ramon Dominguez rode Old Fashioned and commented he did not even hear the horse blowing after the Southwest.

In Old Fashioned's work Sunday, he caught unexpected company and some traffic in the stretch. He sat alongside the rival until overtaking him approaching the quarter pole, and then galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.

"The work the other day took nothing out of him," Jones said. "It was a pretty sharp work. I think he's showing his readiness."

The Rebel had six probables as of Wednesday, the others being Hamazing Destiny, His Greatness, Poltergeist, and Wise Kid. Trainer Steve Asmussen, who has a number of horses eligible, said Wednesday he was "still on the fence" with regard to plans for the Rebel.

Flat Out training up to Arkansas Derby

Flat Out, an impressive winner of the $50,000 Smarty Jones here Jan. 19, will not start in the Rebel and instead will train up to the Arkansas Derby, said his trainer, Scooter Dickey.

"He had a little bruised heel," Dickey said Wednesday. "It's just about healed, and we're about ready for him to breeze again. He's not off the trail."

Flat Out races for Oxbow, which also owns Rebel nominee Pointing Home. Dickey said Pointing Home is a possible for the Rebel but also an allowance on the undercard Saturday.

Two-turn test for Hamazing Destiny

Hamazing Destiny, widely considered the most impressive debut winner of the meet, will make his two-turn debut in the Rebel. Westrock Stable bought majority interest in the horse last month and transferred him to trainer D. Wayne Lukas following Hamazing Destiny's romp in a six-furlong maiden race in 1:10.44. He has since put in a nice series of endurance works at Oaklawn.

"It's that time of year when I need to find out where I am," Lukas said. "I want to find out if two turns are in scope. I know he's a very talented colt, but it will be his first two turns. He is long on ability, but he's short on seasoning. He's just had the one out.

"I've tried to in the last 35 or 40 days put him into situations that would move him up on the mental-seasoning part. We're working on that part of it, and now its time to step up and see if all that stuff is working for me. I pulled on 60 years of experience to see if I can maybe get this horse where I want to get him."

Terry Thompson has the mount on Hamazing Destiny.

Just Jenda, Hightap to Honeybee

Just Jenda, the winner of the $75,000 Tiffany Lass at Fair Grounds, has been committed to the Grade 3, $100,000 Honeybee for 3-year-old fillies here Sunday after coming out of a bullet five-furlong work in good order, trainer Larry Jones said.

Just Jenda breezed in 59.20 seconds here Tuesday, with clockers catching her galloping out six furlongs in 1:11.40.

Hightap, who has won her last two races by a combined 12 lengths, is on deck for the Honeybee, said her trainer, Steve Asmussen. She is to be ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan.

Derby trip offered at benefit

A trip to this year's Kentucky Derby is among the items to be auctioned off during the Racetrack Chaplaincy of Arkansas's benefit dinner Friday night at the Hot Springs Country Club.

Funds raised will benefit backstretch workers and the ministry of the chaplaincy, said president Jerry Hissam.

* Everyday Heroes, an impressive debut winner, heads a first-level allowance sprint Friday at Oaklawn.