07/22/2011 3:58PM

Saratoga: Apart works for Whitney with J. B.'s Thunder

Barbara D. Livingston
Apart, beating Colizeo in the Schaefer, worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 in preparation for the Whitney.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. − Trainer Al Stall Jr. did a little choreographing here early Friday morning, crafting a workout he hopes will ultimately lead to his second consecutive victory in the Grade 1 Whitney.

Stall sent out Blame to upset the odds-on Quality Road in the 2010 Whitney, a major stepping-stone en route to Blame’s courageous triumph over Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Stall has returned to the Spa this summer with Apart, a three-time graded stakes winner and potentially a major player in the wide-open handicap division during the final half of the season.

Apart worked in company Friday with J. B.’s Thunder, a 3-year-old who is already a Grade 1 winner but has been idle since finishing ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

“I wanted to work him with an older horse who could stay with him, but I don’t have anybody else in the barn capable of doing that other than J. B.,” Stall said. “The entire work was designed for Apart. I didn’t want J. B. to do too much since he hasn’t run since last fall, just be a good escort for him.”

Apart, with exercise rider Scotty Leleaux aboard, and J. B.’s Thunder, with former jockey Randi Melton, broke off at the 4 1/2-furlong pole and went along easily as a team to the wire, at which point Apart began to pull away as he continued on strongly into the turn. Both horses were officially credited with five-furlong works in 1:00.20.

“Randi did a good job with J. B., peeling him off at the wire and letting Apart go on by himself,” said Stall, a Louisiana native. “This was the first time he’s worked over this racetrack, and Scotty said he was totally silk, real smooth, and was very comfortable over the going with his long stride. The only negative was that it was a little warm, but where we come from, that’s nothing for us.”

Stall said Apart, who in his last start finished third making his Grade 1 debut in the Stephen Foster Handicap, would have one final blowout for the Whitney without company next weekend.

Stall also said he is hoping to finally launch J. B.’s Thunder’s 3-year-old campaign later in the meet.

“He had some bone bruising, so we gave him plenty of time, and I’m looking at around the third condition book to bring him back,” Stall said. “Maybe in a two other than allowance race on the turf.”

J. B.’s Thunder won his career debut over the local turf course one year ago.