A stakes victory in Pennsylvania has trainer Lynn Whiting pointing one of his 3-year-olds toward added-money races at Oaklawn Park. The Kentucky Derby-winning trainer is prepping Officer Alex for the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes on Jan. 21.
Owned by Winning Horses Stable and Choctaw Racing Stable, Officer Alex is taking a similar route to the Run for the Roses as the above stakes' namesake. Whiting's colt captured the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes just like Smarty Jones, winner of the 2004 Arkansas Derby, Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
Officer Alex had a workout on Wednesday at Oaklawn, going four-furlongs in 49 4/5 seconds.
"He'll do a little something more before he runs," said Whiting, who won the 1992 Kentucky Derby with Lil E. Tee, "He's a pretty decent horse, but he has to prove how good he is. You can project a lot of things but he has to answer the questions.
"He'll get a good three-quarters workout probably on Sunday and that should have him ready. He's coming off a good seven-eighths race and he put in a nice breeze before he left Churchill Downs. I've already done something easy with him here just to get him over the track ... something like an intermediate work in 49 and 4, galloped out in 1:04. He handled it well. We will ask him to get a little dirty on Sunday and that should have him ready."
Officer Alex won the seven-furlong PA Nursery by a length over 7-10 favorite Res Judicata. The Pennsylvania-bred colt had been eighth in a Churchill Downs allowance race more than a month earlier on Oct. 28. He broke his maiden first time out at Parx Racing on Sept. 8. His two wins in three starts was worth $72,222.
Stewart Elliott, Smarty's jockey, has been aboard Officer Alex in both wins.
If Officer Alex remains at Oaklawn, the track will offer the Southwest Stakes on Feb. 18 followed by the Rebel on March 16 with the Arkansas Derby on April 13.