Multiple Grade 3 winner El Areeb clocked an easy half-mile in :51.60 on Wednesday over Laurel Park’s fast main track for trainer Cal Lynch. It was the penultimate move for the Exchange Rate colt ahead of an expected start in the $750,000 Wood Memorial (G2) on April 8 at Aqueduct.
As in his past breezes, El Areeb worked in company with stablemate and multiple stakes queen Winter, who had jockey Trevor McCarthy aboard. Lynch’s son and assistant, Charlie, held the reins on El Areeb.
“He felt great. He keeps continuing to grow and get better and better every day. We loved the way he worked today,” Charlie Lynch said. “He was pulling me all the way around there so we’re really happy with that. My dad had a really big smile on his face when we got back so that’s a good sign, usually.”
Winter, who captured the Maryland Racing Media Stakes and Nellie Morse Stakes at Laurel in her past two races, is also headed to Aqueduct. The gray daughter of Awesome Again was given the same time as El Areeb for her four-furlong breeze ahead of Sunday’s Top Flight Invitational Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct.
“It was an easier work today than last week. Winter is running in the stake on Sunday and I didn’t want her to go too fasts and leave her race on the track,” Cal Lynch said. “They both worked really good and came back good. It looks like the Wood is right on schedule.”
The horseman said El Areeb will go out for his final Wood Memorial breeze on Tuesday, April 4, and ship to New York the following day.
“We haven’t run into him yet. We’re not trying to make life any harder than we have to,” Lynch said in regards to facing Grade 2 victor Irish War Cry in the Wood Memorial. “At some point you have to run into them, if it has to be the Wood. This will separate them out a little bit, then we’ll decide who’s going to the (Kentucky) Derby (G1) and who’s not.
“We can only train our horse. If he does what he’s supposed to do, he’s competitive with all those horses,” he added. “Numbers-wise if he runs back to any of his three or four races before, he’s competitive.”