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Afleet Alex colts gear up for G1 Arkansas Derby


Tuesday, March 01, 2011 |
Elite Alex and Sway Away both will be adding blinkers when they postward in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 16 at Oaklawn Park. The race, carded at 1 1/8 miles, is the final prep for both 3-year-olds who could be on there way to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby (G1) with a good effort this weekend.

Elite Alex adds blinkers after falling too far back behind a slow pace in the Louisiana Derby (G2) last month. He managed to make up nearly a dozen lengths in the stretch to finish fourth. Trainer Tim Ritchey has the bay right on target though, with a bullet six furlong move from the gate in 1:11 3/5 on April 6, one of the fastest times of the entire Oaklawn meet.

Elite Alex is one of only three horses in the field to have previously run the Derby's nine furlongs and also was third in the Southwest S. (G3) locally on Feb. 21. An extremely wide trip may have cost him a better placing in that race.

Sway Away gets the equipment change following an uncharacteristically subpar performance in the Rebel S. (G2) last month. After the race, it was discovered that the colt had lost a tooth when he hit the starting gate.

Normally based at Santa Anita with trainer Jeff Bonde, Sway Away ran second in both the Best Pal S. (G2) and the San Vicente (G2) in California prior to shipping to Oaklawn. Bonde has kept the bay colt at Oaklawn since the Rebel, where he has turned in a couple of solid works, including a quick 1:12 3/5 for six furlongs on April 7.

Afleet Alex is the nation's leading third-crop sire and the only one of the group currently with progeny earnings over $1 million.