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Arkansas Derby'sNehro readies for Belmont | Sports & Recreation

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Arkansas Derby'sNehro readies for Belmont
Arkansas Derby'sNehro readies for Belmont

Zayat Stable's Nehro, the runner-up in Oaklawn Park's $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) before another second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1), completed his preparations for Saturday's $1 million Belmont Stakes (G1) with a half-mile workout over the New York-area's giant main track.

With exercise jockey Cesar Garcia aboard, Nehro went four furlongs in 50.88 according to New York Racing Association clockers. Typical of top horses for trainer Steve Asmussen, the Mineshaft colt was out early in the morning and went through relatively easy early fractions of 26.24 before galloping out five furlongs in a controlled 1:04.17.

“I thought he worked great," said Toby Sheets, Asmussen's New York-based assistant. "It was just exactly what the boss wanted. We were very pleased with him. He came back good, so onward and upward.”

Monday's workout comes on the heels of a considerably sharper workout last week at Churchill Downs which Asmussen termed "the best I've seen him lay down." That six-furlong drill in 1:12.20 was in company with another stakes-placed 3-year-old, Dominus.

Nehro is expected to be the lone Oaklawn Park representative in the Belmont Stakes, the final jewel of the Triple Crown and called the "Test of Champions" because of its demanding 1 1/2-mile distance. He is expected to be among the favorites along with Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, who posted a bullet workout Monday in his first drill at Belmont Park, and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner Shackleford who worked Sunday morning at Belmont.

Jockey Corey Nakatani, aboard for both the Arkansas and Kentucky Derbys, retains the mount in the Belmont Stakes.