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One prep for Kentucky for Avery Island

J A McGrath

Godolphin trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is forming the opinion that Avery Island will need just one more run under his belt before lining up in the G1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday, 5 May.

McLaughlin is looking at the G2 Louisiana Derby, over one mile and an eighth, on Saturday, 24 March, as the colt’s final prep race for the ‘Run For The Roses.’

A range of options were laid out before the trainer following the colt’s noteworthy victory in the G3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct on 3 February.

But McLaughlin is coming around to the view that only one more start is required to prepare for the big day — unlike stablemate Enticed, who needs to build up qualifying points to ensure a place in the field.

“The Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds fits us well for Avery Island. It is seven weeks since the Withers at Aqueduct, and six weeks before the Kentucky Derby. We are tentatively pointing that way (Fair Grounds). The timing is good,” he said.

As a back-up, McLaughlin also has the G2 Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland and the G2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, both on Saturday, 7 April, to fall back on, should the colt need an extra run.

The trainer added that Enticed was likely to go next for the G3 Gotham Stakes, over one mile, at Aqueduct on Saturday, 10 March. 

“I would like him to have two runs before the Kentucky Derby, and he needs to perform well to get to Churchill Downs,” he pointed out.

Enticed finished fourth to Audible in the G2 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, 3 February.

Both McLaughlin’s Derby colts are scheduled to have serious training work-outs this Friday.