Like the King stretches his Ky. Derby legs on the Keeneland turf

April 10, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky.—M Racing Group’s Like the King, winner of the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) on the all-weather surface at Turfway Park two weeks ago, worked 6 furlongs over a Keeneland turf course labeled firm in 1:16 Saturday morning.

The work was the first of three at Keeneland that trainer Wesley Ward has scheduled for Like the King in preparation for the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve on May 1 at Churchill Downs.

With jockey Drayden Van Dyke aboard, Like the King started far back of workmates Outadore and After Five, passing the former and making up 5 lengths on the latter.

“I wanted to make sure (Like the King) got a lot out of it today,” Ward said. “Those were two good horses in front of him. Outadore was third in the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Turf-G1 Presented by Coolmore America) and After Five was second in the Futurity (G3) at Belmont. He got a good blow today.”

Ward said he told Van Dyke’s agent, Gary Stevens, “that we know he likes the turf.”

“I wanted Drayden on him today because it is only his second time on him. (Like the King’s) next two works will be on the main track with Julio (Garcia) with the last one on Sunday (April 25) if the weather cooperates.”

Van Dyke rode Like the King in the Jeff Ruby and is to ride the colt in the Kentucky Derby.

Like the King, who is third on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 104 points, is scheduled to ship to Churchill after his final work here and gallop over the main track there.

Keeneland Press Release

Photo: Like the King in the winner’s circle after winning the Jeff Ruby Steaks, Drayden Van Dyke up. (Courtney Snow/PastTheWire)

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