Heading into the weekend, El Areeeb had the second-most Road to Kentucky Derby (G1) qualifying points with 20, trailing only Classic Empire and his 32 points. However, a victory by Girvin in the Risen Star Stakes (G2) netted him 50 points and shot him straight to the top of the leaderboard.
Even though El Areeb now finds himself in fourth place, behind Girvin, Classic Empire, and Untrapped (who finished second in the Risen Star and earned 20 points), he put in a quality work on Sunday, February 26 at the main track at Laurel Park. The five-furlong run was timed at 1:00 4/5 and was the fastest of the day.
“We’re delighted. It was a very good work this morning,” said trainer Cal Lynch. “He came back good and scoped good and went right in his feed tub. So far, all systems are a go.”
It was El Areeb’s second work at Laurel since winning the Withers Stakes (G3) on February 4. His next race will be the Gotham Stakes (G3) on March 4.
“The track wasn’t as fast as it was last week and he still went in a minute and change. That’s the way he is. He’s going to work quick whenever he thinks he’s going to do something with Trevor, but he did it all in hand,” said Lynch. “He galloped out (to six furlongs) in 1:13 all the way back around to the three-eighths pole. He’s in good form and the horse is doing well. That’s why we’re going ahead and decided we’d take a shot at the Gotham rather than wait any longer. You have to go ahead and run them when they’re good.”
The strong workout and hot streak of four straight wins makes El Areeb a favorite in any race he runs. He is expected to travel to New York upon completion of his training on March 3.