Sporting Chance Remains On Target For Southwest Stakes

Grade 1 winner Sporting Chance emerged in good order from Monday’s bullet workout and remains a candidate to make his 3-year-old debut in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Feb. 19, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Thursday morning.

Breezing over a fast surface under David Cohen, Sporting Chance zipped 5 furlongs in 1:00.40 – best of 47 works recorded at the distance – with a final quarter-mile in :23.40 and galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:13.60, according to clockers.

“Very impressive,” Lukas said. “The thing that surprised me the most was the strength of the gallop out. If he had worked 1:13, I would have been impressed, too, let alone gallop out (1:13). It was really a nice work. Very pretty.”

Sporting Chance (knee chip) hasn’t started since winning the $350,000 Hopeful Stakes (G1) Sept. 4 at Saratoga.

Monday’s work was the third at Oaklawn since Jan. 9 for Sporting Chance, a son of 2000 Horse of the Year Tiznow who was purchased for $575,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale by Lukas’ longtime clients, William Mack and Robert Baker.

Lukas has had the Southwest and $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 17 – Oaklawn’s second and third major Kentucky Derby preps – as landing spots for Sporting Chance’s 3-year-old debut. Both races are 1 1/16 miles.

“It’s still the target,” Lukas said of the Southwest. “We don’t have to commit, but it’s definitely on the radar screen for us. I would say after that work, we definitely moved a notch closer.”

Lukas said Sporting Chance will work again Monday or Tuesday.

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