Donald Adam’s Prime Cut, a candidate to compete in the $1 million Belmont Stakes (Grade I) on June 11, worked five furlongs in 1:03.60 on Tuesday at Churchill Downs.
Exercise rider Dane Noel was in the saddle for trainer Neil Howard as the 3-year-old son of Bernstein covered the distance over a fast track in fractional splits of :13.40, :26, and :38.20 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:16.40.
“Everything went good,” Howard said. “I was just looking to go just a nice five-eighths – not too fast, not too slow. I thought he went well, finished good and galloped out strong. He’s been running – he’s just come off the Peter Pan – so he’s a pretty fit horse.”
Howard said Prime Cut remains in the Belmont Stakes picture, but a final decision is pending.
“He’s a possibility,” Howard said. “We’re still going to take another couple of days before we make a decision.”
Prime Cut finished third in his most recent start behind Alternation in Belmont’s Peter Pan (GII), and was runner-up to Derby Kitten in the Coolmore Lexington (GII) prior to that. His lone win in five races this year was a victory over the highly-regarded Bind in an allowance race at Fair Grounds. His career record stands at 2-2-2 in seven races with earnings of $123,685.
Meanwhile, Howard is making stakes plans for two other talented 3-year-olds in his care. He said that Gaillardia Racing’s Wilkinson, winner of Fair Grounds’ Lecomte (GIII), would likely compete next in the $125,000-added Matt Winn Stakes (GIII) – formerly known as the Northern Dancer – on Stephen Foster Day, June 18, at Churchill Downs. Courtlandt Farm’s Machen, winner of The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (GIII), will likely run in the Dwyer (GII) on July 2 at Belmont Park.
Also on the Tuesday work tab was Zayat Stables’ Riley Tucker, who is scheduled to bid for a second consecutive victory in the six-furlong, $100,000-added Aristides (GIII) on Saturday. The Steve Asmussen trainee breezed five furlongs in :50.80.
Works on the firm Matt Winn Turf Course included a pair of moves by Tom Proctor-trained stars. Glen Hill Farm’s American Turf Presented by RAM (GII) winner Banned breezed five furlongs in 1:03.80 in preparation for a possible start in the Jefferson Cup (GIII) on June 18. Barbara Hunter’s homebred Snow Top Mountain, who is being pointed toward the Early Times Mint Julep (GIII), covered the same distance in 1:00.20, which was easily the fastest time among seven turf works at the distance.