Saturday, March 4, 2017

McCraken to Return to Track for Training

The unbeaten 3-year-old colt McCraken will return to the track on Sunday at  the Palm Meadows Training Center, his trainer Ian Wilkes said on Saturday.

Last Tuesday, Wilkes said that McCraken had a slight strain in his left ankle and  would not make a scheduled  start in the Tampa Bay Derby (Grade 2) at Tampa Bay Downs on March 11.

Wilkes's crew noticed the strain early Tuesday. Later that day, X-rays were negative. McCraken had worked a half mile at Palm Meadows in Boynton Beach.

"He's looking good, and it's very minor," Wilkes said.

Wilkes added: "What would you do if you had a sprained ankle?  You'd rest it and ice it. We did that.  We had the choice of missing a race or pushing the envelope.  We decided not to push the envelope."

Wilkes has not set a date for McCraken's next timed workout.

He said McCraken remains on target to run in the Blue Grass (Grade 2) at 1 1/8 miles at Keeneland on April 15.

That would be his final prep for the 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby on May 6.

McCraken has 20 Kentucky  Derby  qualifying  points.  Last year, the cutoff for getting into the 20-horse field  was 32 points.

The first four finishers in the Blue Grass will get  100, 40, 20 and ten points respectively.

McCraken, a  son of Ghostzapper, won the 1 1/16 mile Sam F. Davis (Grade 3) in a track record 1:42.45 at Tampa Bay on Feb. 11.

O n Saturday, Wilkes spoke in the Gulfstream Park  winner's  circle after his trainee Bird Song won the Fred W. Hooper Stakes (Grade  3).

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HorseRacing FLA staff