Hello Hot Rod
Hello Hot Rod cruised to his maiden victory at Laurel Park.

BTR Racing and Dark Horse Racing’s Hello Hot Rod has handled a stretch out in distance in each of his first three career starts and could continue that trend in his next outing in his stakes debut, trainer Brittany Russell said.

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After winning at seven furlongs on November 13 and capturing a one-turn mile on December 13 at Laurel Park, Hello Hot Rod could be a possibility to compete in the Grade 3 Withers on February 6 at the Big A.

The Mosler sophomore ran second by a neck to Doubleoseven in a six-furlong debut sprint on October 30 at Laurel. Russell kept Maryland-bred Hello Hot Rod at the same track for his next two starts, where he registered a maiden-breaking effort by 4 1/4 lengths before posting a 2 1/4-length victory over next-out Howard County Stakes winner Shackqueenking as the even-money favorite last month in an allowance optional claimer.

The 1 1/8-mile Withers would mark the first two turn race of Hello Hot Rod’s career and would allow him the opportunity to compete in a Kentucky Derby prep race that offers 10-4-2-1 qualifying points to the top-four finishers. Russell also said the $100,000 Miracle Wood contested at one mile on February 13 at Laurel remains a possibility as well.

“He seems like distance shouldn’t be an issue forward,” Russell said. “We could wait for the Miracle Wood. We nominated around to give ourselves some options. They both are options. We’re just going to get him back on a work schedule and see how he moves forward from there.”