05/01/2014 12:02PM

Wicked Strong blows out three furlongs

Tom Keyser
Wicked Strong blew out three furlongs Thursday over the Churchill Downs main track, two days before his start in the Kentucky Derby.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – As he did two days before winning the Wood Memorial, Wicked Strong blew out three furlongs Thursday, this time going in 36.78 seconds over the Churchill Downs main track, two days in advance of the Kentucky Derby.

Under exercise rider Kelvin Pahal, Wicked Strong galloped from the eighth pole all the way around to the quarter pole, where he got into his work. Wicked Strong, looking fluid while reaching out in the stretch, went from the quarter pole to the wire in 24.13 before galloping out an additional furlong around the clubhouse turn in 12.65.

Jerkens said the purpose of the move was to “open his lungs up a little bit; long way, a mile and a quarter.”

Jerkens did not get to see much of the breeze. He said Wicked Strong needed a hind-shoe repair, keeping Jerkens at the barn longer than normal and preventing him from getting to the front side in time to see the work.

Jerkens said he instructed Pahal not to let Wicked Strong gallop out too strongly after the work “because I didn’t want him to do too much. He’s got a great, long stride to him. At least that’s all done. All the training’s done.”

Wicked Strong was made the 8-1 third choice in the wagering at Wednesday night’s post-position draw, but with the scratch Thursday of Hoppertunity, Churchill’s Mike Battaglia revised his morning line to reflect Wicked Strong being the second choice at 6-1.

Also, the scratch means Wicked Strong will move in one spot from post 20 to post 19, a post from which I’ll Have Another won the Derby in 2012.

“More important than us getting in a little closer – that doesn’t make any difference – it’s unfortunate for them that’s for sure, but it’s another good horse out of there,” Jerkens said.

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch