News and STORIES

Wells Bayou, Warrior's Charge Work at Oaklawn

Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Monday April 20, 2020
Two of trainer Brad Cox's top horses, Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Wells Bayou and Arkansas Derby (G1) runner Warrior's Charge, recorded workouts April 19 at Oaklawn Park.

Wells Bayou

Wells Bayou breezed in company under exercise rider Gustavo Abrego and went five furlongs on a fast track in 1:00 2/5. It was his third move since taking the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on March 21. 

The son of Lookin At Lucky was on the outside during his drill. Along with stablemate Wild Union, Wells Bayou's opening quarter-mile went at :24 2/5, three furlongs at :36 4/5, a half-mile at :48 2/5, and galloping out six furlongs in 1:12 2/5 and seven furlongs in 1:26 2/5.

"We were looking for a good work today — if we decide to run," Cox said. "It was one of those things where we were just kind of looking to see how he would respond, and he worked really well. Pleased with him.

"I would label him a candidate right now," Cox said when speaking about the Arkansas Derby.

Wells Bayou holds the second spot on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 104 points, 100 of which came from his Louisiana Derby win. His second-place finish in the Feb. 17 Southwest Stakes (G3) awarded him four points. 

Warrior's Charge

One of Cox's other stakes winners, Warrior's Charge, breezed April 19 as well. He is preparing for the May 2 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) for older horses. 

The 4-year-old son of Munnings went a half-mile in :47 under exercise rider Edvin Vargas, and it was the second-fastest work of 53 at the distance. Warrior's Charge galloped five furlongs in 1:00, six furlongs in 1:12 3/5, and seven furlongs in 1:26 3/5.

Warrior's Charge's last start came in the Feb. 17 Razorback Handicap (G3), where he won by a head. The race is a major prep for the Oaklawn Handicap.

"He's obviously a horse that does not need company as he gets older," Cox said. "(Older horses) tend to do things on their own, get some races underneath them. He's a really, really solid work horse. He's doing what we like to see leading up to this race. Very similar to how he led up to the Razorback. It looks like it's going to be a really solid race. He's a solid horse, so we'll see what happens."

On April 16, the 1 1/8-mile Oaklawn Handicap closed with 38 nominations. 

According to Bob Baffert, he is aiming to run grade 1 winner Improbable in the Oaklawn Handicap. Improbable took second in the April 11 Oaklawn Mile Stakes, in what was his 4-year-old debut. 

Cox will also send Night Ops to the Oaklawn Handicap, who is owned by Arkansas automobile dealer Steve Landers. In his most recent start, the horse took the Essex Handicap, which is a major lead-up race to the Oaklawn Handicap. 

Merneith's Maiden Win at Oaklawn

While Cox's runners were working on April 19, Prince Sultan Bin Mishal Al Saud's Merneith broke her maiden in a six-furlong maiden special weight for fillies and mares on a sloppy track at Oaklawn Park. 

The daughter of American Pharoah is trained by Bob Baffert and was purchased for $600,000 by Narvick International at the Ocaloa Breeders' Sales March Sale of 2-year-olds in Training last year. She was consigned by de Meric Sales. 

In her first two starts, Merneith finished second, both coming at Santa Anita Park. She was defeated by a length in her Jan. 20 debut while running 6 1/2 furlongs, followed by a nose loss in a one-mile Feb. 23 maiden test.