Crowded Trade
Crowded Trade won at first asking at Aqueduct January 28. Photo by NYRA.

The Klaravich Stables duo of Crowded Trade and Risk Taking worked in company through a half-mile in 47.55 Saturday at Belmont Park for trainer Chad Brown.

Both horses are exiting the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 3 where they finished third and seventh, respectively.

“Risk Taking took some dirt but he really didn’t have any excuse, he just didn’t fire,” said Brown. “Crowded Trade, he missed the break a bit, and that might have cost him a little bit, but he had an opportunity to run down the lane and he ran really well.”

Brown said Crowded Trade is aiming towards a start in the Grade 1 Preakness, second leg of the Triple Crown, on May 15 at Pimlico Race Course. Brown captured the 2017 Preakness with Cloud Computing.

Boasting a perfect in-the-money record in three starts, Crowded Trade won at first asking in January at Aqueduct ahead of a narrow nose defeat to Weyburn in the one-turn mile Grade 3 Gotham in March. Last out, the More Than Ready chestnut closed well to be third in the Wood in a race won by the late-running longshot Bourbonic.

Risk Taking, a $240,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase, captured the nine-furlong Grade 3 Withers in February at Aqueduct ahead of a seventh in the Wood Memorial as the post-time favorite. The Medaglia d’Oro bay is targeting a start in the Grade 3, $200,000 Peter Pan on May 8 at Belmont.

“They both seem to have bounced out of the Wood in fine shape,” said Brown . “We’ll monitor them week to week, but they were moving well. I’m leaning towards the Preakness for Crowded Trade and with Risk Taking I’m leaning towards the Peter Pan.”

Brown will be represented in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby by Klaravich Stables’ Highly Motivated, who will work at Keeneland on Sunday. The Into Mischief bay, a $240,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase, graduated at second asking at Belmont in September ahead of winning the 6 1/2-furlong Nyquist at Keeneland in November.
Following a third in the Grade 3 Gotham in his seasonal debut, Highly Motivated gave likely Derby favorite Essential Quality a test in the Grade 2 Blue Grass on April 3 at Keeneland, battling the 2-year-old champion down the lane en route to a narrow neck loss.

“He’ll work a half-mile at Keeneland tomorrow,” said Brown. “I thought he ran terrific in the Blue Grass and he came out of it good.”

Brown’s previous Kentucky Derby starters include Good Magic [2nd, 2018], Practical Joke [5th, 2017], Shagaf [20th, 2016], My Man Sam [11th, 2016] and Normandy Invasion [4th, 2013].