Derby Winner Rick Strike Works, Possible for Ben Ali

RED TR-Racing’s 2022 Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike (Keen Ice) worked five furlongs at Keeneland Wednesday morning in preparation for a possible start in the Lexington oval’s GIII Ben Ali S. Apr. 22. With Carlos Enriquez aboard, the chestnut covered the distance over a fast track in 1:01.20.

“I thought he worked good and finished strong,” trainer Eric Reed said. “We are looking here [1 3/16 Ben Ali] or Oaklawn [$1-million GII Oaklawn H. going 1 1/8 miles the same day]. We want to get the first one out of the way and then the [$1-million GI) Stephen Foster [S. on July 1]. We’ll see how they come up.”

Runner-up in the GII Lukas Classic last October, Rich Strike was fourth behind Flightline in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic before coming home sixth in the GI Clark S. Nov. 25. Following a two-month break, he returned to the work tab at Reed’s Mercury Equine Center in Lexington Jan. 21. Rich Strike has been working predominantly at Turfway earlier this winter.

Reed explained that he had initially looked at the Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Mar. 25 for Rich Strike’s seasonal return, however, “he nicked a quarter [hoof area], and we didn’t want to take chance that he might hit himself coming out of the gate.”

According to Reed, the ultimate goal for Rich Strike this season is the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Nov. 4.

“After the Foster, we are looking at either the Whitney or the Pacific Classic then back to Churchill for the Lukas Classic then the Breeders’ Cup,” said Reed.

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