LOUISVILLE - Hard Spun passed his test at Churchill Downs and will return in three weeks to run in the Kentucky Derby.
The 3-year-old colt handled the dirt track well during a morning workout, which was all trainer Larry Jones needed to see before committing Hard Spun to the Derby.
"He went quick enough over the track and it took nothing out of him," Jones said as he led Hard Spun around the barn after the workout. "He came back very fresh and that was the key -- to see how much he had to fight the track. And apparently, there was no fight. He just kind of slipped over it."
Hard Spun, a winner in five of six races, covered 5 furlongs in 1:00.20.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Sun Herald
"He handled the track well, did everything right," exercise rider Larry Melancon said.
The move to run in the Derby comes after weeks of indecision. Hard Spun did not like the dirt track at Oaklawn Park, where he finished third in the Southwest Stakes for his only defeat. Hard Spun came back and won the Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park on Polytrack, and then was sent to Keeneland to train on its synthetic surface.
Drawing for reserved seats
Churchill Downs is offering 1,000 reserved tickets for the Kentucky Derby at a public drawing on April 14 that could give lucky winners some of the best seats in the house for the famous race. Tickets range from $103 to $180 per seat, will be sold in pairs of two and must be paid for at the time of the drawing.
The drawing is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. and run until the tickets are gone.